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International gathering of story-makers at UEA

Fri, 07 May 2010

A major festival bringing together award-winning writers, photographers and artists takes place at the University of East Anglia next month.

The university is hosting Cosmopolis, an international arts event involving leading figures in the creative industries. A festival of words, images and sounds, the one-day event on June 5 will celebrate and explore the human practice of making stories.

The festival will include live music, discussions and a series of masterclasses giving an insight into the secrets of the creative industries, such as how to pitch a film, get music heard and fiction published.

Cosmopolis marks the launch of Think Something Different, a scheme to raise money for a student scholarship fund at the university's Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The initiative will support the development of a new generation of artists, critics and scholars and in so doing, help to sustain the culture of the arts and humanities in this country and abroad. Think Something Different is supported by a number of the foremost figures in the arts today, from the novelist and UEA creative writing graduate Ian McEwan, to the president of the London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Colin Davis, and the former director of the National Theatre, Sir Richard Eyre.

Prof Jon Cook, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at UEA, said Cosmopolis was aimed at anyone interested in the arts. He added: "We have a really interesting line-up of eminent people taking part in Cosmopolis and the idea is to make it a stimulating and entertaining day. We are bringing together those who have contributed to stories that have become important to audiences and readerships around the world and celebrating the University of East Anglia as a place where such stories are welcomed, as well as invented."

With a career spanning 18 years as an award-winning film, TV and theatre producer Judy Counihan (Cast Offs, No Man's Land, Antonia's Line) will share her trade secrets of pitching a film. Leading literary taste-makers including Lee Brackstone, editorial director at Faber & Faber, and Derek Johns, a literary agent from the renowned agency AP Watt, will give an insight into how to get fiction published.

An inside view of the music business comes from Austin Wilde, creative director at EMI Publishing, PR guru Alan Edwards, and music producer Russell McNamara (Björk, Basement Jaxx). A session entitled 'The Politics of Storytelling' will see novelists Giles Foden (The Last King of Scotland, Turbulence) and Richard T Kelly (Crusaders, 10 Bad Dates With De Niro), and New Statesman editor Jason Cowley, discuss how stories and politics are linked.

Cosmopolis will also see 'The Narrative of Human Rights' discussed by Judy Counihan, Sunday Times correspondent Hala Jaber (Amnesty International Journalist of the Year and British Press Awards Foreign Correspondent of the Year) and novelist Jay Griffiths (Wild: An Elemental Journey, Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time). In 'The Many Lives of Amit Chaudhuri', the UEA professor, novelist, poet and musician talks about trying his hand at being an 'artist'.

Music photographer Kevin Cummins and writer Paul Morley will talk about being behind-the-scenes of a cult era in 'The Story of Manchester', while photographer Dayanita Singh and writer Geoff Dyer will explore the relationship between 'Stories and Photos'.

The visual arts will be further represented with prolific curator and co-director of the Serpentine Gallery Hans Ulrich Obrist (number one in Art Review Magazine's Art Power 100). Other visual artists involved include Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Keren Cytter, and an exhibition of work by Indian press photographer Jushul Ray will be on display.

The event also promises an orchestral marathon of Haydn symphonies, as well as a performance from This is Not Fusion, the Amit Chaudhuri band.

Visit for more details, or email to receive programme updates.

Cosmopolis programme, June 5 2010:

Haydn Marathon - Marquee close to Drama Studio, 10am - 6pm
The UEA Symphony Orchestra is bringing to Cosmopolis a day-long marathon of Haydn symphonies from No.1 to No.104. You can pay £10 for a slot conducting from the podium or £5 to play with the orchestra in order to raise funds for a Performance Scholarship - or simply come to enjoy the music for free!

The Narrative of Human Rights - Lecture Theatre 2, 10am
A discussion between BAFTA award-winning producer Judy Counihan (Cast Offs, No Man's Land, Antonia's Line), writer and Sunday Times correspondent Hala Jaber (winner of the Amnesty International Journalist of the Year Award and the British Press Awards Foreign Correspondent of the Year, 2005 & 2006) and writer Jay Griffiths (Wild: An Elemental Journey, Pip Pip: A sideways look at time. Winner of Barnes & Noble Discover award and the inaugural Orion Book Award). This panel will be chaired by a representative of English PEN.

The Politics of Storytelling - Lecture Theatre 2, 11.10am
New Statesman editor Jason Cowley will discuss how stories and successful politics are inextricably linked, with novelists Giles Foden (The Last King of Scotland, Turbulence), Richard T Kelly (Crusaders, Sean Penn: His Life and Times, 10 Bad Dates with De Niro).

Stories & Photos - Lecture Theatre 2, 2pm
Renowned Indian photographer Dayanita Singh and novelist Geoff Dyer address a universal fascination: the narrative potential of the photograph.

The Many Lives of Amit Chaudhuri - Lecture Theatre 2, 3.10pm
Amit Chaudhuri, well-known for work as a novelist, poet, teacher, judge and musician, lesser-known for work as an army commander, chauffeur and filmmaker, is trying his hand at being an 'artist'. He will discuss whether 'artist' today a vocation hard-earned and hard-won, or if it can be achieved through vigilance and cunning.

The Story of Manchester - Lecture Theatre 2, 4.20pm
Kevin Cummins, arguably the most instrumental music photographer in British history and special guests will talk about being behind-the-scenes protagonists in an era that changed 20th Century popular culture.

In Conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist - Lecture Theatre 2, 5.30pm
The eminent international curator Hans Ulrich Obrist counts interviewing as an activity of parallel importance to his curating and boasts 19 books of interviews. The prolific curator-interviewer will be entering into conversation with the visual artists Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Keren Cytter.

This Is Not Fusion - Marquee close to Drama Studio, 6.40pm (free)
AKA The Amit Chaudhuri band, a project in experimental music, bringing together elements of classical Hindustani music with jazz, rock and the blues.
Cosmopolis is also proud to present a photography exhibition from the Indian Press photographer Kushal Ray, who has exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Indian National Gallery and student showcases.

Cosmopolis masterclasses: secrets of the creative industries:

How to Pitch Your Film - Lecture Theatre 4, 12.20pm
With a career spanning 18 years as a BAFTA award-winning film, television and theatre producer, Judy Counihan (Cast Offs, No Man's Land, Antonia's Line) has done her share of pitching. Join Judy as she shares her trade secrets and experience of the bright lights.

How to Get Your Fiction Published - Lecture Theatre 3, 12.20pm
Famous literary agent Derek Johns (Director, AP Watt), publisher Lee Brackstone (editorial director, Faber & Faber) and literary agent Kevin Conroy Scott (founder and director of agency Tibor Jones and Associates) will discuss the slush pile, first novels and the joys and sorrows of a fast-changing publishing landscape.

How to Make Your Music Heard - Drama Studio, 12.20pm
Austin Wilde (creative director, EMI publishing) and PR guru Alan Edwards (CEO, The Outside Organisation) will discuss the ups and downs of a career in the music industry.

Day passes are available priced £20/£15 conc, events in Lecture Theatre 2 are priced £7.50/£5.50 conc, and Cosmopolis Masterclasses are £5.50/£3.50 conc.
For tickets, go to or call 01603 508050.