Promoting a positive, caring outlook, for the one life we have

The ‘post-truth’, ‘post-expert’ world: memes: past and present

Date(s) - 18/04/2019 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Tyneside Irish Centre Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SG

In this lecture, Richard Clay will argue that internet memes (images, texts, and films shared widely online) have intriguing historical precedents. Rather than giving us cause for alarm about the emergence of a  ‘post-truth’, ‘post-expert’ world, he will suggest that internet cultures have the potential to reinvigorate public debate just as new technology-driven phenomena have done in the past. Richard will argue that, while his parent’s generation invented the internet, and his generation took it World Wide with the Web, the next generations are working out how to make the laudable, as well as the laughable and the ‘dank’, go viral, reshaping the world for the better.

Richard Clay is a Professor of Digital Cultures at Newcastle University. Although Richard’s publications range across a wide array of subjects, they all tend to examine aspects of contested meaning making in public space. He often explores how changing technologies offer new opportunities to recode the meaning and value of the spaces that we share: from iconoclasm in revolutionary Paris, to graffiti’s use in armed conflicts past and present; from contemporary jewellery as wearable art, to watercolour’s role in the Birmingham Blitz. Over the years, Richard has led a range of major cross-disciplinary and cross-sector projects funded by the EU and by the AHRC. He has also written and presented six 60-minute documentary films for BBC 4: Tearing Up History; A Brief History of Graffiti; Utopia: in Search of the Dream (parts, 1, 2, 3); and How to Go Viral: The Art of the Meme (currently on iPlayer). He also wrote and presented the BBC Radio 4 documentary Two Minutes to Midnight.

Doors open at 6:30, the talk starts at 7pm. Talk and formal question will be finished by 9 but many people stay to chat afterwards.

We charge £1 for NEH members and £2 for non-members, which covers the cost of light refreshments.

Leave a comment