Swedenborg Birthday Meeting 2016

still from Last Acre © Cartwright & Jordan 2016

Saturday 23 January 2016 | 4.00-6.00 pm (doors open and refreshments from 3.30 pm) | Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

The Swedenborg Birthday Meeting traditionally opens the Swedenborg Society’s annual programme of events and activities—an occasion that marries the Society’s informal and welcoming hospitality to the grandeur of celebrating Swedenborg’s vast cultural legacy.

This afternoon (23 January 2016) sees a premiere of Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan's new short film Last Acre (2016, 11 mins), a documentary portrait centred on a remote settlement of self-built shed and cabin homes, located on the sand dunes of England’s north west coastline, near Barrow-in-Furness.

This will be followed by three 20-minute talks and a panel discussion from our special guest speakers that will look at the influence of Swedenborgian and utopian thought on environmentalism, architecture and town planning. 

  • Devin Zuber, Assistant Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, where he is part of the Center for Swedenborgian Studies, will speak on Swedenborg’s influence on ecological aesthetics.
  • Ian Hunt, poet, critic and Lecturer in Fine Art, Critical Studies at Goldsmiths University, will speak on ‘E G Trobridge: Swedenborgian Architect’.
  • Ken Worpole, author and commentator on architecture, landscape and contemporary culture, and Emeritus Professor at London Metropolitan University, will speak about 'Experiments in Living: valuing the land as a basis for community'.

This is a FREE event, but please reserve a seat via our eventbrite page here

3.30 p.m. Doors open / refreshments
4.00 p.m. Introduction and short film screening: Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan's Last Acre (2016, 11 mins)
4.15-5.15 p.m. Devin Zuber 
| Ian Hunt | Ken Worpole
5.15-6.00 p.m. Panel discussion / Q&A / book signings

about the speakers

Devin Zuber is assistant professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. His forthcoming book A Language of Things: Swedenborg and the American Environmental Imagination (University of Virginia Press, 2017) explores the impact of Swedenborgian thought on 19th-century ecological aesthetics. Devin is the editor of a newly revised collection of critical essays on William Blake and Swedenborg (Swedenborg Foundation, forthcoming in 2016), and has published widely on 19th-century American literature.

Ian Hunt is a poet, academic and art critic who is Lecturer in Fine Art, Critical Studies at Goldsmiths University. Ian's current research is on British sculpture of the 1980s; the architecture of social and council housing; and the work of the performance artist Gary Stevens. His books include Library Relocations (Book Works, 1997) and Green Light (Barque Press, 2006) and his writing has been published extensively in art magazines such as Art Monthly.

Ken Worpole has written books on architecture, landscape and contemporary culture, and is Emeritus Professor at London Metropolitan University. Recent publications include Modern Hospice Design (2009), The New English Landscape (with photographer Jason Orton, 2013), and Contemporary Library Architecture (2013). The Swedenborg Society published Ken's New Jerusalem: the good city and the good society in 2015. He is married to photographer Larraine Worpole, with whom he has worked together on projects internationally as well as in Hackney, where they have lived since 1969.

Jacob Cartwright & Nick Jordan’s collaborative and cross-disciplinary practice looks at the relationship between the natural world and our multifaceted cultural histories. They published Alien Invaders with Book Works in 2006 and their films include The Audubon Trilogy (2010); Heaven, Hell and Other Places (2010), a documentary on Emanuel Swedenborg; and Between Two Rivers (2012). They have undertaken residences and commissions from institutions and organizations such as Forma, Book Works, ICA, The University of Manchester, The Swedenborg Society, Cornerhouse, Manchester Museum, and Headlands Center for the Arts, USA.