MFA Fine Art Lectures


As part of the MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths, there is a weekly ‘critical studies' lecture from a wide range of internationally-renowned thinkers and writers, which aims to expose the students to cutting-edge ideas in contemporary art, philosophy and cultural theory. These lectures are open to all. For more information visit

Podcasts in this series

Changing the Currency

Simon Sheikh

The presentation discusses the problem of assessing value in art, and of constructing critique. It looks briefly at Marx's theory of labour, followed by a revisitation of post-modern theory, as exemplified by Jean-François Lyotard's 'economic genre' and Jean Baudrillard's 'sign value', and concluding with an understanding of critique as a ways of changing the currency, as found in Michel Foucault's last seminars. Simon Sheikh is a Reader in Art and Programme Director of Curating at Goldsmiths. Recorded on 13 October 2014

Mon, 12 Jan 15 0

Wage Labour, Unpaid Labour and Unwaged Labour

Dave Beech

Dave Beech is an artist in the collective Freee. He teaches Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art

Mon, 12 Jan 15 0

The Commons and the True Commons

Peter Linebaugh

Radical historian Peter Linebaugh talks about the value of what we hold in common, how it can be threatened by private interests, and the possibilities for resistance. Peter Linebaugh works at the University of Toledo, Ohio. Recorded on 20 October 2014

Mon, 12 Jan 15 0

The Poverty in Art

Julia Ng

Historians of art and literature since Kant have known about an aspect of the present that is absolutely unlivable because of some excessive nearness to its end. Yet this aspect is also unlived: the moment in which we return to affirm its presence we become truly contemporary. This lecture pursues a trajectory to genuine futurity through episodes illustrative of the capacity to enter into relation with the unthought, unactualized, and unlived. Julia Ng is a lecturer in MA Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths. Recorded on 1 December 2014

Mon, 12 Jan 15 0

Decapitation Revisited

Michael Newman

Beheading is in the news. Rarely, however, is it discussed in relation to the long tradition of the severed head and and the history of decapitation in the West. If IS is taken as largely a phenomenon of modernity, then its use beheading as spectacle needs to be considered in this context. This lecture looks at three paradigms of decapitation: the mythic, which goes back to the head of Medusa as a petrifying image; the Christian, focused on St John the Baptist in relation to martyrdom; and the guillotine in the French Revolution as it shifts from being a mechanism for the redistribution of sovereignty to the enforcement of purity through terror. Michael Newman is Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths. Recorded on 8 December 2014

Mon, 12 Jan 15 0