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Institute of Philosophy London Aesthetics Forum: 2020-21 Report

During 2020-1 the Institute of Philosophy London Aesthetics Forum (LAF) has continued to hold its regular series of seminars on topics in aesthetics and the philosophy of art, but have switched to an online Zoom format, due to COVID.

The LAF aims to provide a lively environment for those already working in aesthetics and philosophy of art, and to foster new interest. LAF events are open to all, both inside and outside the University of London. Audiences tend to be multi-disciplinary, and talks are followed by extended discussion where the philosophical topics raised by the talks are explored in depth from a variety of perspectives. With the new online format, we’ve had over 100 attendees in some cases, and draw attendees from around the world.

The LAF now has 946 Facebook followers and 1,975 followers on Twitter, and the website received many thousands of hits in the past year.

One of the LAF’s aims is to benefit students who are working in aesthetics or related areas, providing opportunities for graduate researchers to engage with cutting edge work and meet (if this year, only in an e-format) other academics working in the area. Graduate students in the University of London also play a central role in organising the Forum’s activities, and in 2020-1 year this has included help on various organizational tasks, as well as participating actively in discussions.

We have aimed for a diverse programme, including talks by early career philosophers as well as by those more established in the field. Talks in 2020-1 included speakers from the U.K., the U.S., New Zealand, and Canada.  Our speakers were as follows:

John Hyman (UCL), “Truth and Truthfulness in Painting”

Panos Paris (Cardiff), “’On the Concept of Form in the Theory of Beauty”

Kathrine Cuccuru (Sussex), “The Problem with the History of Aesthetics Before Aesthetics”

Thi Nguyen (Utah), “The Arts of Action”

Susan Feagin (Temple), “Nonfiction Theater”

Noel Carroll (CUNY), “Forget Taste”

Sondra Bacharach (Wellington, NZ), “Vandalising Art”

Alex King (Simon Fraser), “Ethics, Aesthetics, and the Color Analogy”

SWIP: LAF aims for gender diversity in our talks. 4 of our 8 speakers this year have been women.

The LAF would like to thank the British Society of Aesthetics for their continued support.

—Andrew Huddleston

On behalf of the LAF’s 2020-21 organising group: Andrew Huddleston (Birkbeck), Stacie Friend (Birkbeck), Alex Grzankowski (Birkbeck); Sarah Kiernan (PhD Student, Birkbeck); Taylor Enoch (PhD Student, UCL)