As followers of the Ordered Universe and its blog will know, various members of the team worked with The Projection Studio (Ross Ashton and Karen Monid) in June this year, on their show Northern Lights, set, spectacularly, in York Minster. Excitingly the show has been shortlisted for two awards. The first as Best Event in the MinsterFM awards. Now, this is based on a public vote, and voting closes on October 29th. So, if you feel like casting one, just follow this link: https://www.minsterfm.com/local-events/lcavote-event.php
Second, Northern Lights has also been shortlisted for the Excellence In Media Arts Category at the York Culture Awards 2018. This is judged by panel, so we wish the show and Ross and Karen the best of luck for that one.
Anyone who saw the show live will not be surprised, but delighted, by these nominations – it really was something quite stunning – the Minster roof dissolving into sky, for example. It was a real privilege to be of some help in the planning and inspiration for what was projected, alongside other academic colleagues at the University of York. It’s quite appropriate that the show should be recognised – fingers crossed for the awards (and get clicking for the first one!).
Yesterday, Sigbjørn and Giles were hosted by the Theology and Philosophy Departments at Boston College, for a seminar on Ordered Universe, its methods, principal findings and ethos. We outlined the historical issues in encountering Grosseteste, the difficulties in tracing his steps, which affect in turn the context that can be given, or is assumed, for his earlier works. After that we ran through On the Liberal Arts, On the Generation of Sounds, On the Sphere, On the Six Differentiae, On Comets, On Light and On the Rainbow, to give a full conspectus of Ordered Universe activities. At each step we evoked the conclusions of Continue reading
Next week, Sigbjørn Sønnesyn and Giles Gasper will be talking about the Ordered Universe at Boston College, USA, Thursday 25th October, starting at 7.00 pm. They will be speaking on ‘Knowing through Speaking: Collaborative Learning through Interdisciplinary Research on Medieval Science.’
Bringing together a unique configuration of natural scientists, social scientists and arts and humanities scholars, the Ordered Universe Project integrates the conceptual tools of modern science with the textual methods of the humanities to explore the richness of Grosseteste’s thought. Each team member, from whatever discipline, contributes to editions, translations, analyses and presentations. In so doing, we are pioneering new ways of working across and between our disciplines. Trusting one another, and learning to learn from the past have presented creative demands. We have challenged academic and public preconceptions regarding the value of past science as ‘irrelevant’. To the contrary: the team has published new science (on rainbows, colour and cosmology) inspired by engaging with another thinker from eight centuries ago. The centre and heart of the project are our collaborative reading workshops: we all sit down together, and, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, grapple with and unlock the amazing world which Grosseteste opens up.
We’re delighted to be at Boston College, and very grateful indeed to Professors Eileen Sweeney and Boyd Coolman for arranging for this to happen. To speak to diverse audiences, to engage with their views and reactions is extremely important to the project. Boston, here we come!
Happy Grosseteste Day! The 9th October marks the anniversary of Grosseteste’s death, attended, as the chronicler Matthew Paris noted, with the miraculous sounds of bells in the night sky. As part of the Ordered Universe’s commitment to university access we led, for the second year, a strand based around the project for the OxNet Access Scheme. For us, this is based around the North-East, with a hub school at Southmoor, and involved a series of seminars from team members, an Easter school at Durham, and the summer school in Oxford. Here’s what some of the students on the course thought:
There are lots of explanations of retrograde motion available – but not so many with sandwiches. A little treat from our Dublin meeting – Seb Falk expelling retrograde motion at lunch….
As part of last week’s Ordered Universe symposium in Dublin, Seb Falk and Giles Gasper gave a talk about the work of the project (Giles) and medieval understanding of the night skies, and the instruments for measurement and observation available in the period. It was a lovely venue – in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin, an attentive audience, and a testing series of questions (!), finished off with Seb’s demonstration of how to use an astrolabe. An especially fascinating and Continue reading
Last week Ordered Universe members gathered in Dublin, hosted by Laura Cleaver and Karl Kinsella at Trinity College and Marsh’s Library. With our usual range of disciplines represented (philosophy, history, psychology, engineering, physics, creative arts, history of art), and with colleagues from Europe and the USA, we set to work on the four treatises for collaborative reading. Two days in Trinity, at the Long Room Hub, saw the group read through the middle third of Grosseteste’s treatise On the Supercelestial Motions. This challenging treatise deals with the question how the planets move, whether by external force, their nature, and what the effects of their movements are. We also read through, for the second time, On Bodily Motion and Light. Another complex piece of writing, the treatise focuses again on how bodies move, with a more consistent parallel with animal bodies, and exploration of medical material. This treatise ends with a startling passage on light as prime form; highly reminiscent of the treatise On Light. Continue reading
With less than a week to go before the next Ordered Universe symposium we have been making all of our preparations, including the full programme above. The four treatises for discussion are all in good shape, and we’re looking forward, as always, to the intensive reading process. To accompany our deliberations we have some shorter talks, by Professor Brian Tanner on the physics of light (just a small area of science!), and talks by Dr Cate Watkinson, Rosie Reed-Gold and Alexandra Carr, on their artistic engagement with the project. Our public lecture takes place on Tuesday 18th. The texts all concern light and motion, in their various ways, and reveal the amazing capacity of Grosseteste’s mind. We’ll keep you updated on our progress!
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA at sunset.
January 2019 – if you’re in or around Napa California, drop into the Napa Lighted Festival which runs in the second two weeks of the month. Various members of the Ordered Universe team will be participating with a series of talks and activities in the afternoons and evenings of the 17th, 18th, 19th. We’re thrilled by the invitation to work for and with the Festival, which came about through Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio. With a festival theme of Beyond, we’ll be working with Ross and Karen on a new projection show drawing on Grosseteste’s cosmological treatises: Horizon. On the Six ‘Diffeertiae’, On the Sphere, and others will feature in the new piece, under development at the moment. Taking research from the seminar-room to a different audience, in partnership with artistic collaborators is a fascinating and exhilarating experience. We’re very much looking forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Department in Napa to bring the best that we can to the city. Continue reading