This research project is funded by an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship (2019-2021) and hosted by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Southampton.

The subject of the sentence

The subject of the sentence

6.30-8.30pm | July 23 2019 | Nottingham Contemporary


The third event in the Voicing the Political series invites participants to navigate between the voiced writing we hear onscreen and voiceable printed text. We will enlist the writings of the poet, artist and radical activist Anna Mendelssohn to propose new entry points into the politically radical poetics of Lis Rhodes. Vicky Sparrow will frame the session with a talk on ‘Radical Aesthetics, Artistic Agitation and Political Provocation’ (details below). A short talk by Sarah Hayden—focusing on formal disruption, vocal interruption and silencing—will preface a screening of Lis Rhodes’ A Cold Draft (1988, 28’). Participants will then be led to apply insights generated by ‘aurally reading’ Rhodes in a collaborative analysis of an experimental poem by Mendelssohn.

Guest talk by Vicky Sparrow: Radical Aesthetics: Artistic Agitation and Political Provocation

Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009), wrote in her landmark collection –Implacable Art – that ‘[m]inds do exist to agitate & provoke, to make—’ (Implacable Art, 2000, p. 18). This talk will consider the making of art as an agitation and provocation in Mendelssohn’s work, and will seek out connections between Mendelssohn’s experimental poetry and the visually and vocally disruptive work of Lis Rhodes. Under consideration will be issues around the self in art and under law, ideas of anger and its abstraction, and the possibility of political agitation through unruly aesthetic experiment. 

About Vicky Sparrow:

Vicky Sparrow is a Nottingham-based poet, teacher and researcher specialising in poetry and poetics. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham and the University of London (Birkbeck and Queen Mary), and edits reviews for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. She has recently completed her PhD on the poet-activist Anna Mendelssohn at Birkbeck, and will soon begin a Wellcome Trust Fellowship researching intersections between poetry and therapy. Vicky’s poems can be found in Front Horse, In TransitdatableedLitmus and elsewhere; her debut pamphlet Notes to Selves (2016) is published by Zarf Editions. 

Voicing the Political invites you to explore the politics of voice and voicing. Thinking beyond the equation of political agency with ‘having a voice’, these public events address vocality as a phenomenon at the confluence of embodiment and technicity, the individual and the collective, interior and exterior, sound and sense. The format for each session will comprise a mix of screenings, workshops, talks, collective reading activities, and live listening experiments. In this series, we will work together to interrogate the politics of how voice is used, represented, imagined and heard.  

These sessions may be of particular interest to writers and artists whose work encompasses vocal performance, textual materiality and language-driven practices.

All are very welcome to join the conversation. To book please email Mercè at


Attuning to voice

Attuning to voice