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Post-referendum views from the UK

Post-referendum views from the UK

We are writing as active members of the CLE initiative, five days after the UK referendum on membership of the EU, in which one of us had a vote and the other did not, and both of us are deeply dismayed at the outcome.

Cultural Literacy in Europe was created through the forward-thinking of the Humanities committee of the European Science Foundation, which continued to support the activities of the initiative – together with COST – for the next eight years. From its inception, it has been based on the understanding that literacy is not so much a national as an international project, whose goals are shared by learners, educators, policy makers, artists, and professionals across national, religious, class or any other distinctions. The ‘Europe’ in our name stands for the awareness that issues of citizenship, literacy and cultural understanding require us to work across all kinds of borders and differences. ‘Europe’ is not and has never been, for us, a criterion of inclusion and exclusion from the CLE project. Rather, that word signals a deep sense of belonging to a cultural environment which, in spite of a complex and often difficult past, is committed to constructing a shared, inclusive future. The Europe we value is a joint enterprise celebrating both difference and consensus.

The London Statement produced in 2015, after the first international CLE conference, clearly states that Cultural Literacy ‘is a way of looking at social and cultural issues through the lens of literary thinking, employing communication, comparison and critique on a scale beyond that of one language or one nation-state’. In the light of the results of the UK referendum, we want to reaffirm the importance of that transnational perspective. Europe, understood as the ideal of an inclusive community engaged in the production of knowledge and understanding, remains one of the keywords of our project, and we will continue to work in pursuit of that ideal.

Naomi Segal & Loredana Polezzi 


From Literature to Cultural Literacy

The countdown to the start of the conference this afternoon started!

To get in the mood you might want to read this recently published article by one of the member of the Steering Committee of Cultural Literacy in Europe 2015 conference and driving force of the project, Professor Naomi Segal. She contextualises the project and its relevance for the future of the social and cultural value of our research.



Do or DIY Information As Material installation now open

The low-fi Information As Material installation has just opened at the Peltz Gallery, Brikbeck University.

There — and for now only there — you can pick up a free Xerox chapbook of the expanded second edition of Do or DIY. When they’re gone they’re gone. Here’s a taster:

picture“In the same year that James Joyce’s Ulysses and T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land were published, Carlos Díaz Loyola self-published his book of poems Los Gemidos. Loyola, a Chilean writing under the nom de plume Pablo de Rokha, only managed to sell a few copies. Indeed, both the public and the critics were so indifferent that the author sold the bulk of the edition by weight to the slaughterhouse where it was used to wrap meat. Today, accordingly, it is almost impossible to find a first edition of Los Gemidos, which is now considered to be one of the fundamental works of the Latin American avant-garde movement.”

Another recent IAM freebie can be downloaded from the Eclipse Archive. Nothing: A User’s Manual is a 48pp PDF featuring a long introductory essay and a preliminary bibliography that both try to map ideas of nothing and nothing-ness as they relate to late-modern and contemporary art practice. In no small part we want to share it as a teaching aid so please feel free to use it, misuse it and extend it. The download link is here.

Please pass on info about both projects.

As ever, recent books etc are listed on 

With very best wishes,

Nick Thurston