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All of our Taster Days for the foreseeable future will be taking place online. You will receive a link via email in order to access your chosen session(s). 

Taster Days consist of an hour-long lecture or workshop, followed by information about courses at Goldsmiths and a Q&A with a current student (where possible, this will be a student from the department).

Find out more about each taster day below. Most sessions will be recorded and available for a short time afterwards on our Vimeo channel.

Please note: you can only book onto sessions with a confirmed date and time.

Session details

Anthropology Taster Days

Why do we gossip?

Taught by: Gavin Weston

Date: 22 June 2021

Time: 4.30 – 6pm

In this lecture, we will explore gossip as a socially meaningful act. While being labelled a gossip is generally not a positive thing, gossip is a social phenomenon that is almost as ubiquitous as religion or kinship globally, but unlike those two widespread forms of social organisation, gossip is surprisingly similar around the world. Why is it so common? What social function does it serve?

Computing Taster Days

Is Computing all about technology? Exploring a career in Human Computer Interaction

Taught by: Jennifer George

Date: 7 July 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

A side of computing that is rarely promoted is what makes Computing useless without it: human interaction. This session will explore what skills you need to understand about human interaction to successful creation computing devices and have a career in human computer interaction.

Design Taster Days

Can You Design a Craze?          

Taught by: Dash Macdonald

Date: 19 July 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm      

For us, design is not just a way to make and do things; it is a way to understand and engage with the world. This session will introduce what design means at Goldsmiths and, through an interactive workshop, we will discover how to create a craze. Through a series of conversations and activities, you will gain an insight into design thinking and design processes, and we will show you how you can change the world, one craze at a time.

Drama and Theatre Taster Days

Questions of Performance

Taught by: Katja Hilevaara and Cass Fleming

Date: 23 June 2021

Time: 2 – 4pm

How does sound tell stories in theatre? The focus of this online practical workshop will be on sound as a key aspect in performance making. We will work together to create a piece of theatre only composed of a soundscape, so please come prepared with different objects that make sounds! 

Musical Theatre

Taught by: Bradley Rogers

Date: 23 June 2021

Time: 2 – 4pm

Sessions details TBC

*Please note that these sessions will run concurrently

Economics Taster Days

Is Bitcoin Money?

Taught by: Tomas Rotta

Date: 14 July 2021

Time: 4.30 – 6pm

In this lecture, Dr Tomas Rotta will answer four questions: What is money? Where does money come from? Is Bitcoin money? Is Facebook’s libra money?

English and Creative Writing Taster Days

Triple session: Women, men and language / The Gift / The Climate Crisis and Literature

Taught by: Padraig KirwanRichard Crownshaw and Pia Pichler 

Date: 21 June 2021

Time: 1.30 – 3.45pm

This exciting session will showcase the range of options available to you within Goldsmiths' English degrees. The session will be split into three parts:

Women, men and language

Whilst early commentators frequently reproduced rather than challenged stereotypes about “women’s language” and “men’s language”, recent studies focus on how speakers use language to “construct” or “style” their gender identities differently, depending on a range of factors, including the situation they find themselves in. In our session today we will think about some of the persistent language and gender stereotypes, and then consider some authentic language use, that is, everyday spoken English which scholars and students record and study to find out about how men and women really speak. Overall, this brief session will give an impression of the study of English language and linguistics from a sociocultural perspective, that is, the study of authentic language use in relation to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, social class, age but also situational identities.   

The Gift: Narratives of Choctaw and Irish Connection

In the winter of 1847, as the people of Ireland were being struck by a devastating famine, the Choctaw Nation gathered together what meagre funds they possessed following their traumatic forced removal from their tribal homelands during the Trail of Tears. Ultimately, they scraped together $710. Rather than buy badly needed resources – food, housing, and clothes – the tribe made the altogether remarkable decision to send the money to Ireland’s starving poor. This taster session will retell that powerful narrative and will do so in order to examine notions of charity and empathy between the poor, the dislocated and the transient. By examining various cultural landscapes, both then and now, we will consider both historical moments of cultural exchange and contemporary artists’ bid to reflect and honour such occasions. As well as reflecting on cultural exchanges, transatlantic links, a charity in the nineteenth century, and the story of the Irish and indigenous communities, the lecture will present the Choctaw gift as a reflection of the ways in which different communities see each other, both politically and culturally.

The Climate Crisis and Literature: Reading the Weather

In this section, we will explore the role that literature can play in helping us understand and engage with the climate crisis. Focusing in particular on the genres of the modern and contemporary novel, the seminar will examine the ways that fiction can help us imagine the imperceptible causes and unforeseen effects of climatic change, and the catastrophic environmental conditions that may be unfolding at a distance from us or that have yet to happen but in all probability will materialise. We will explore the ways that literature helps us to understand how we experience changes to climate and process environmental events psychologically. We will therefore examine the ways in which, in communicating climate change, the novel can persuade us to act, both as individuals and collectively, to slow down this ongoing planetary catastrophe. The seminar will draw on a number of literary texts and textual examples – although it will help if you have read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road – to demonstrate the novel as an archive of a changing climate and to examine its potential to intervene in this crisis.

History Taster Days

Double session: The Greatest Catastrophe? Germany in the First World War / Is there Black British history outside of Britain?

Taught by: Dr Alex Watson and Dr Christienna Fryar

Date: 8 June 2021

Time: 1 – 3pm

This exciting double session will showcase the range of options available to you within Goldsmiths' History degrees. The session will be split into two parts: 

The Greatest Catastrophe? Germany in the First World War

This part explores Germany’s extraordinary struggle during the 1914-18 war, and the ordeal’s evil legacy. It asks why Germans mobilised against – in their emperor’s words – ‘a world of enemies’ and it examines the fateful radicalisation of violence through the conflict. Germany was subjected to brutal invasion and illegal ‘starvation blockade’, and it perpetrated many of its own vicious war crimes, most especially in East-Central Europe. The lecture shows how the experience shattered German society, polarised politics and spawned the dreams of racial conquest later embraced by the Nazis.

Is there Black British history outside of Britain?

Black British history has become increasingly popular in recent years and—in the wake of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer and the ongoing Windrush Scandal—increasingly important. However, how we think about Black British history and what it includes shapes the power of the field, which has the ability to reshape how we understand the history of Britain. So what happens when we step beyond the British Isles? This lecture will serve as an introduction to a global Black British history, using the Caribbean as an example of the exciting possibilities this field presents.

History of Art Taster Days

The Architecture of the City     

Taught by: Louis Moreno

Date: TBC

Time: TBC

What can the design of a building tell us about the underlying processes which shape contemporary culture? In this session, we’ll take a brief look at architectural design movements in the 20th and 21st Centuries to understand how investigating buildings and cities can unlock a wider understanding of the relationship between politics, technology, ecology and society.

Journalism Taster Days

How to think like a journalist

Taught by: Ellie Levenson

Date: 24 June 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

Being a journalist is the difference between seeing an elephant walking down the street and thinking 'oh there's an elephant walking down the street' and seeing an elephant walking down the street and thinking 'I wonder why there is an elephant walking down the street, I will follow it and find out' and then, when you are home, researching the history of elephant sightings in your town.  In this session, you will learn how to think like a journalist, and how to train your brain to delve deeper into things that happen every day, so that you are never short of things to write about.

Management Taster Days

Sensemaking in Organisations

Taught by: Ai Yu

Date: 8 July 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

As early as the 1980s, Williamson (1981, p. 551) from the famous Carnegie School has warned us "hierarchical organization and associated controls are traced to the limited capacities of human actors to cope with the complexity and uncertainty with which they are confronted". If we take our cognitive limits on information processing seriously, it means that we must understand what managers/decision-makers actually do in their organizations and try to figure out "efficient procedures for computing actual solutions to concrete decisions problems" if possible (Simon, 1976, p.139). This is precisely the task of "sense-making", and we will be exploring this theoretical construct together by referring to Weick's (2008), Brown et al. (2015)'s, and a post-human conceptualization of sense-making before discussing its implication for organisational life in the contemporary world.

 

Marketing Taster Days

Markets: What are they? Where do they come from?

Taught by: Sven Molner

Date: 6 July 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

Markets present the main domain of action for marketing managers – managers analyse, segment and target markets to sell products and services. Indeed, marketing managers firmly believe that they need to develop a strong “market orientation” so their products and services will be commercially successful. But what exactly is the market, and where does it come from? In this session, we are going to explore the nature of markets and how new markets come into existence. We are going to discuss several real-world examples of new market areas, such as craft beer and e-cigarettes, to shed light on key features of markets and market creation processes.

Media Taster Days

Celebrity selfies and promotional culture

Taught by: Milly Williamson

Date: 5 July 2021

Time: 4.30 – 6pm

In this session, we will examine the emergence of the online celebrity selfie and its development as a complex form of advertising and branding. We will think about the race and gender politics of selfies and how they operate in the new digital economy of promotional culture.

Music Taster Days

Pastiche or Piracy? Musical Quotation in the 21st Century

Taught by: Alex de Lacey and Lauren Redhead

Date: 29 June 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm 

In March 2015, Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke were ordered to pay over 7million dollars to Marvin Gaye’s children after a jury found the pair to have copied the late singer’s ‘Got To Give it Up’ in its totality for their 2013 single ‘Blurred Lines’. Throughout musical history, composers have always re-worked and re-appraised existing material, be it through haphazard pastiche, knowing parody or—in more recent times—through sampling. However, discussions around usage are increasingly fraught with complication.  

This presentation explores a number of examples from contemporary classical and popular practice, unpacking issues around authorship, copyright, and the ethics of borrowing. It will ask what Katy Perry has got to do with Edvard Grieg, provide historical context for Rosalía’s use of existing melodies with new lyrical content, and question why Timbaland’s use of material from the Middle East raises concerns around cultural imperialism.

Politics and International Relations Taster Days

Are we all populists now?

Taught by: Paul Gunn

Date: 13 July 2021

Time: 4.30 – 6pm

Populism is usually understood as a reaction against mainstream politics. The populist is supposed to renounce expertise and impartiality and to favour instead superficial appeals to her identity or her “biases”. Populism is thus understood as a threat to the legitimacy and efficacy of parliamentary democracy: the people it elects must be permanent outsiders, lest they be targeted themselves by populists. So long as they remain in power, good sense cannot prevail.

The goal of my talk is to show that this widely accepted viewpoint is uncharitable to those it seeks to describe: it asserts, rather than proves, their irrationality. And just to that extent, it hides the fact that the problem faced by “populist” is no different to that faced by those in the mainstream. We must all identify which politicians would supply the best solutions to problems, yet none of us (including those politicians) know with certainty which solutions would work—otherwise, there wouldn’t be any political disagreement. In the end, we all rely on conventions, not truths, to guide our decisions. The populist claims that mainstream conventions are wrong, which does mark her out as different. But the same claim is made by anyone who claims that changes are necessary. Voters, campaigners, prospective politicians, even students in classroom discussions all propose, with the populist, that they know the answers to difficult policy problems—and that their opponents are thereby wrong. What, then, marks the populist out as different, other than that we disagree with her non-obvious policy beliefs (just as she disagrees with ours)? Isn’t everyone who has an opinion about complex political questions technically a “populist”?

Psychology Taster Days

The Psychology of Magic

Taught by: Gustav Kuhn and Alice Pailhès

Date: 23 June 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

Magic is one of the oldest art forms, and for thousands of years, magicians have amazed people with their astonishing illusions. Magicians have developed very clever psychological tricks that exploit the limitations in your cognition. In the first half of the session, Dr Gustav Kuhn will explore some of the surprising ways in which magicians deceive you, and we will learn about the clever tricks they play on your brain. This section will include lots of perceptual illusions

In the second half, Alice Pailhès will explore the ease by which magicians can influence your mind, and she examines the science behind some of these mind control techniques. How free are you to make a decision? How can you nudge someone to make a better decision? This section will contain several interactive experiments that allow you to test this form of mind control.

Social, Youth & Community Work Taster Days

An introduction to studying social work, youth work and community work at Goldsmiths – applying social theories to work with people: Riots and Responses - What Needs Fixing, Individuals or Society?

Taught by: Naomi Thompson

Date: 24 June 2021

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

This session will provide a taster of social work, social science, youth work and community work in the STaCS department at Goldsmiths. We will apply sociological theory to real-life events and explore together the implications for working as professionals with young people and communities.

The session will be of interest if you know what you want to work with people in one of the public and social professions. It will be of broader interest to those wanting to explore sociology and criminology and how these theoretical areas can be applied to current political and societal events and responses. 

We will explore C. Wright Mills’ (1959) concept of the ‘sociological imagination’ and his theory that the individual cannot be viewed separately from the social context they inhabit. In particular, we will explore his idea that the problems people face can either be viewed as ‘private troubles’ or ‘public issues’. We will use this framework to debate whether the 2011 London riots represented problems with the individuals involved (private troubles) or were symptomatic of wider social problems (public issues).

We will consider whether politicians and the media frame social problems as private troubles or public issues, particularly in relation to young people. Particular ‘moral panics’ will be considered including ‘broken families’ and ‘teenage parents’. This session will expose how we may be led to view issues in a certain way that disguises inequalities and limits the ‘sociological imagination’, as well as how this affects policy and practice interventions for work with people.

The session will offer an introduction to the following BA programmes:

  • BA Social Science, Community Development and Youth Work
  • BA Social Work
  • BA Social and Community Work

The way we teach these programmes is dynamic and interactive, bringing the social sciences to life as you explore how they can be applied to understanding why people do what they do – and why society responds in certain ways.

Therapeutic Studies Taster Days

From the fear of contagion to contagious fears: a psychosocial approach to COVID-19  

Taught by: Chrysanthi Nigianni

Date: TBC

Time: 1 – 2.30pm

Session details TBC