School of English

Virginia Woolf, Europe and Peace

The 28th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf

Date: 21-24 June, 2018
Venue: Woolf College, University of Kent, Canterbury
Organising Committee: Derek Ryan, Ariane Mildenberg, Peter Adkins, Patricia Novillo-Corvalán

Special events

Concert: 'Pacifism and Pierrot: Debussy in Bloomsbury', Friday 22nd June 2018, 6-7.30pm

Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent

This concert springs from the recent discovery that Debussy’s children’s ballet La boîte à joujoux (‘The Toy Box’) was premiered by the Omega Workshops in 1915.  The performance was part of a series of pacifist concerts fundraising for Belgian refugees who made up the orchestra; the ‘dancers’ were cardboard marionettes, designed and operated by Workshop members.

This concert of French song and piano music explores themes of pacifism, feminism and equality through music associated with the Omega Workshops and with Virginia Woolf. Rarely performed music by Germaine Tailleferre and Nadia Boulanger complements familiar favourites by Debussy and Poulenc. The programme culminates in La boîte à joujoux, accompanied in this performance by Omega images. Performers: Lana Bode (piano) and Jennifer Witton (soprano).

A free drinks reception takes place in the interval.

The concert is preceded by a panel of talks introducing these works and music’s role in early twentieth-century pacifism (late afternoon, Woolf Lecture Theatre, University of Kent; free, all welcome). Speakers: Prof Christine Froula (Northwestern), Dr Charlotte de Mille (Courtauld Institute), Dr Emma Sutton (St Andrews).

Ticketing information to follow.

Presented by the Virginia Woolf & Music Project. For further information about our performers, see and

The Particle and the Wave, Thursday 21st June 2018

The Particle and the Wave
An audio/video/text piece by Himali Singh Soin with Dario Villanueva and David Soin Tappeser 

‘The Particle and the Wave’ is a video scroll through of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves as it searches for the 1,265 semi-colons in the text, while the distance between each semi-colon is used to create sound waves. It is an algorithmic measurement of the distance between the 1,265 semi-colons in the novel imposed on a C Dorian scale to evoke music. 

"We flash past signal-boxes; we make the earth rock slightly from side to side. The distance closes for ever in a point; and we for ever open thedistance wide again." -Virginia Woolf, The Waves

These semi-colons, a visual of the particle and the wave, both at pause and in motion, begin to pop, become bigger and bigger, until the text disappears and we are left with only bold assonance. It is about intervals, about an insistence on life, about the odd and invisible control of algorithms over our everyday lives and about the act of reading. Himali Singh Soin performs over this audio/video/text piece with improvised marginalia so that the text and the body merge as the artist chases the semi-colons to their last breath. A jazz drummer breaks the algorithm with improvised rhythm. 

For more, please click here: The Particle and The Wave

'Time Passes': A Lunchtime Polylogue, Friday 22nd June 2018

During the Friday lunch break, there will be a parallel reading in at least twelve European languages of Woolf’s ‘Time Passes’ (To the Lighthouse), an interlude that reflects on the destructive effects of war and relates past to future. By reading the section aloud in a multiplicity of languages, we aim to capture its transnational circulation through a polylogue that valorises the process of translation and the literary encounters it generates. The intersection of voices, accents and traditions emphasises Woolf’s dynamic modernist legacy and how our understanding of To the Lighthouse can be illuminated by the convergence of different cultural and linguistic horizons.


Image by Luz Novillo-Corvalán

School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 823054

Last Updated: 20/04/2018