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Heathwood Press

Heathwood Press


Hello everyone,

We have just launched our new website and are sending out several batches of newsletters to update our readers, friends, and colleagues about what has been going on over the last three months and what to expect from the organisation moving forward.

Launch of New Beta Site

– Our ambition as a group has always been to break down the barriers separating critical theoretical discourse and ‘the everyday practise of social and individual life’. In attempting to achieve this we have engaged with readers and have been working with several leading theories of alternative media and web application, to develop new ways in which a range of media projects can assist the organisation to bridge the theory-practise divide.

– One of the new features on our website includes the organisation’s Global Voice project, which acts as centralised hub or platform for the publication of non-profit research and reports.

The non-profit sector of society is notorious for its ability to encourage ethical and critical practise across many different social spheres. Drawing close links to some of the leading non-profit organisations, locally and globally, Heathwood can directly assist and support the ongoing research and practise of NPO’s in a number of fundamental ways: 1) to pull-in non-profit media, report, commentary and critique from around the world and disseminate that information in one centralised place; 2) to normatively engage with independent non-profits so as to support their efforts on a grassroots level with a highly engaged critical theory; 3) to listen to NPO’s across the globe and the struggles and conflicts they report in order to further our own understanding about social agency and structure;  and 4) to integrate non-profit research and data, which is heavily rooted in praxis, with Heathwood’s post-Frankfurt school critical theory.

– Another exciting feature that we’ve been working on for some time consists around the democratisation of media and how to make Heathwood’s site more representative of a truly social, participatory media centre.

To achieve this we have launched a new on-site comments system that allows for real-time discussion between members of the public as well as between readers/public and members of Heathwood. The aim of this new feature is to encourage over time the development of a fertile digital ground for discussion and the sharing of ideas.

Heathwood Network

We have also recently launched a new public forum called the Heathwood Network, which will further support and encourage direct discussion and engagement on a range of subjects. The forum can be accessed via the menu on our new site.

– We’ve also been developing a series of critical theory eGuides, ranging in subject from alternative education and epistemology to alternative economics and ideology critique. No launch date has been set for this programme.

-Lastly, we have been working on publishing a range of infographics, interactive media, videos and datablogs to further support our present research activity and public engagement campaigns.

New Members

We’ve welcomed a new member in past few months, Robert King, whose work in systems will be a great addition to the organisation.

We’ve also had the opportunity to work with some great people from around Europe and North America, including Glenn Rikowski, Chris Cutrone, Richard Wolff, Peter Thompson, Daniel Little, Geert Dhondt, Jeanne Willette, and others.

Moving Forward

There’s a lot planned for the upcoming year, including several new book publications and further expansion to our digital media projects.

If anyone has any questions or would like to discuss more about Heathwood and where it is headed, please feel free to contact Robert C. Smith at

Alternatively, follow the organisation on twitter for daily publication updates.


-The members of Heathwood

P.S. Feel free to forward this information to friends, colleagues or whomever you may think appropriate.

Robert C. Smith
Director and Researcher at Heathwood Institute and Press
Phone: +44 (0) 07919252541
Holt, Norfolk, United Kingdom


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The Politics of Utopia: Marxism, Myth and Religion
Friday, 19th November 2010

Workshop jointly organised by the Centre for Ernst Bloch Studies and the Bakhtin Centre

Humanities Research Institute, Gell St., University of Sheffield.

10.00 – 11.00: Reception and coffee

11.00 – 12.30 

Peter Thompson (Sheffield): “The Communist Hypothesis and the Invariant of Direction: Badiou, Bloch and the political theology of the impossible”

Craig Brandist (Sheffield): “Semantic Palaeontology and the Passage from Myth to Science and Poetry: The Work of Izrail Frank-Kamenetskii (1880-1937)”

12.30 – 13.30: Lunch

13.30 – 15.00

Esther Leslie (Birkbeck): “Mountains and Crystals: Utopia in the Snows of Weimar”

Richard Howells (King’s College London): “Creation and Creativity: Utopia and Navajo Design”

15.00 – 15.30: Coffee

15.30 – 17.00

Caitríona Ní Dhúill (Durham): “Experiments with the name of God: Bloch’s reading of mystery”

Johan Siebers (IGRS/Lancaster): “Parks and Deserts: Outline of a Blochian environmental philosophy”

17.00 – 18.00: Wine reception

18.00 – 19.30

Film screening and discussion in the Exhibition Space (titles TBA)

Craig Brandist,
Professor of Cultural Theory and Intellectual History,
Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies,
University of Sheffield,
Jessop West,
1 Upper Hanover Street,
Sheffield, S3 7RA.
Tel. +44 (0)114 2227413
fax +44 (0)114 275 1198


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Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht

Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: Story of a Friendship?

A one-day conference

6 November 2009
Malet Street, Bloomsbury
London wc1e 7hx
Rooms b36/b02 & b03

The English translation of Erdmut Wizisla’s formidable study Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship was published this Autumn by Libris. No one has a better view of the much disputed relationship between these two figures than Erdmut Wizisla, director of Berlin’s Benjamin and Brecht Archives. Greeting the German edition, Momme Brodersen, Benjamin’s biographer, spoke for many when he wrote: ‘If this book had appeared decades ago, it would have terminated an unproductive debate in one fell swoop: that of the influence – be it fruitful, be it disastrous – of probably the most significant German playwright and poet of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht, on probably the most significant critic of his day, Walter Benjamin’. Our conference celebrates the book’s publication and explores the ways in which Wizisla’s study augments, challenges or re-constellates previous analyses (most notably the one emanating from that other Story of a Friendship, published in English in 1982, by Gershom Scholem).

The conference is free, but please register beforehand by email to Julia Eisner,

Any queries may be directed to Esther Leslie,

Conference Programme
Room b36, basement, Birkbeck, main building
Papers are c. 20 minutes long and are followed by discussion

10.00am Registration
10.20 Opening words

10.30 Peter Thompson (Sheffeld)
Brecht, Benjamin and the Crisis of Modernity

11.10 Chryssoula Kambas (Osnabrck)
From West to East: An External Examiner Remembers

11.50 Break

12.10pm Barbara Engh (Leeds)
Friendship and Clang Figures

1.00 Lunch break

2.30 Erdmut Wizisla (Berlin) – The Benjamin Archive and the New German Benjamin Edition

3.10 Tony Phelan (Oxford) Brecht on Benjamin – ‘On the Philosophy of History’

3.50 Break

4.10 Summing up – Esther Leslie
Constellations and Comradeship

5.00 Conference closes

5.30–c. 8pm
Rooms B02 & B03
Erdmut Wizisla, Walter Benjamin
and Bertolt Brecht – the Story of a Friendship, Libris, London 2009

‘Wizisla’s brilliant study of the complex and controversial intellectual relationship between Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht will be the standard work on this subject for years to come. It blows away the dusty cliches that
have so far passed for scholarship in this area, thanks to Wizisla’s unsurpassed knowledge of previously unpublished documents and archive materials, which enables him to reconstruct and reconsider every dimension of Brecht and
Benjamin’s relationship from 1929 to 1940. Lucidly and accessibly written, this book is essential reading not only for Brecht and Benjamin specialists, but for all those interested in this crucial phase of twentieth century cultural history.’
– Steve Giles, Emeritus Professor of German Studies and Critical Theory, University of Nottingham.

5.30pm Welcome and wine
5.40 Words of memory and thanks – Nick Jacobs
5.45 Introduction – Tom Kuhn
6.00 Erdmut Wizisla – ‘My First Acquaintance with Brecht and Benjamin’
Thereafter wine and snacks

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