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Chinese whispers commission marks AHRC's 10th anniversary

Date: 24/06/2015

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) today revealed the result of a special collaboration between a critically-acclaimed poet and 12 artists to mark the organisation's 10th anniversary.

Instigated by Dr Ricarda Vidal and Dr Maria-José Blanco from King’s College London, ‘Still in Translation’ is a poetic and artistic translation game, unveiled for the first time in the AHRC's online Image Gallery.

The gallery takes ‘Still’, an unpublished poem by award-winning English poet Denise Riley, as a starting point. Twelve contemporary artists responded to the poem, including Sharon Kivland, Domingo Martinez, and Sam Treadaway. The artistic translation process sees the poem become in turns a t-shirt, a catheter bag, a plant pot, and a funeral urn.

Dr Vidal explains:

Following the rules of Chinese Whispers, the poem was given to an artist with the commission to translate the words into imagery. The artist then passed on their image, but not the original text, to another artist. We were astonished by the results. Is it mere coincidence that the final image captures so much of the original meaning?

The AHRC Image Gallery is designed to showcase the range of digital images generated either as by-products or as outputs of research projects in the arts and humanities as a means of highlighting the richness and diversity of images created and used within the arts and humanities and to showcase the talents of those who create them, including those of doctoral students and early career researchers.

View the ‘Still in Translation’ Image Gallery on the AHRC website.

For further information contact Alex Pryce (AHRC) on 01793 41 6025 or a.pryce@ahrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.
  • King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2014/15 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 26,500 students (of whom nearly 10,400 are graduate students) from some 150 countries worldwide, and nearly 6,900 staff. The university is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.


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