Society Events

Birmingham Modern Greek Translation Series: launch of book by Thanasis Valtinos

The Society for Modern Greek Studies invites you to a Celebration of 20 years of the Birmingham Modern Greek Translation Series and a Launch of the translation of The Last Varlamis by Thanasis Valtinos.

The event will take place at 7:00 pm on Friday 13 May 2016, at the Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS. Admission is free, but please let the Secretary know if you wish to attend, by sending an email to:

Speakers will include:
Professor Dimitris Tziovas (series editor, University of Birmingham)
Dr Dimitris Paivanas (independent scholar, Athens)
Professor Stathis Gauntlett (in absentia) (translator, University of Melbourne)
and Thanasis Valtinos (writer and President of the Academy of Athens)

Information about all the volumes in the Birmingham Series can be found here.

This event, which is sponsored by the Ouranis Foundation and the A.G. Leventis Foundation, will be recorded and streamed by

Livemedia logo

You can watch the video here.

Renegotiating History in light of the ‘Greek Crisis’: a student-led workshop at the University of Oxford

Call for Abstracts: Renegotiating History in light of the ‘Greek Crisis’
University of Oxford, Wednesday March 16th 2016

How has the ‘Greek crisis’ mediated the ways in which Greeks conceive of, negotiate and perform their history - however ancient or recent?

This workshop will take place under the auspices of the Society for Modern Greek Studies and the sub-faculty of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford, and is organised by a committee of graduate students, for students.

Abstract submission deadline extended to: Sunday, January 24th 2016

Further details can be found here.

British SOE agents in Nazi-occupied Greece: lecture by Dr R. Bailey at King's College London

"Hazardous operations: British SOE agents in Nazi-occupied Greece and the strain of clandestine warfare"

Lecture by Dr Roderick Bailey (Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Oxford)

Monday 8 February 2016, 18:30
Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K6.29), King's Building, Strand Campus

This event is jointly organised by The Society for Modern Greek Studies and the Centre for Hellenic Studies, King's College London.

During the Second World War, small teams of elite Allied soldiers were dispatched into Occupied Greece to fight alongside local guerrillas. Most were agents of the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organisation tasked with encouraging resistance and carrying out sabotage behind enemy lines. From Crete to Thessaly and Thrace, SOE personnel shared the dangers and straitened circumstances of the Greeks they had come to help - and suffered accordingly. Illustrated with images from declassified files, this lecture discusses the nature and impact of the mental and physical stresses and strains to which SOE agents in Greece were exposed.

Dr Roderick Bailey is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine. A specialist in the study of the Special Operations Executive, he is currently researching the medical aspects of SOE’s work. His particular focus is the processes by which candidates were recruited and screened for this high-risk, high-strain, unconventional employment, the psychological stresses inherent in SOE work, and the procedures in place for diagnosing and treating survivors who returned from the field with psychological problems. His publications include the acclaimed official history of SOE's war on Mussolini's Italy, Target Italy (Faber & Faber, 2014), and a study of SOE's exploits in Axis-occupied Albania, The Wildest Province (Jonathan Cape, 2008).

Further information:

Greeks and Others in the Centre: the London launch of Discovering Downtown Cairo: Architecture ... and Stories

The London launch of Discovering Downtown Cairo: Architecture ... and Stories by Dr Vittoria Capresi and Barbara Pampe (Jovis, 2015) will take place at The Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS, on Thursday 29 October 2015, at 19:00.

Dr George Vassiadis (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Dr Vittoria Capresi (Berlin) and Barbara Pampe (Bonn)
Dr Alexander Kazamias (University of Coventry)

This event is jointly organized by the Society for Modern Greek Studies and the Centre for Greek Diaspora Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, in cooperation with baladilab

Refreshments will be served. This event is free of charge, but places are limited.
Please reserve your seat by sending an email to by Monday, 26 October 2015.

Download the invitation by clicking here

"Love's Labour's Lost or a Tale of Modern Greek Literature in English Translation": lecture by David Connolly

After the Society's AGM at the Hellenic Centre, London, on 6 June 2015, Professor David Connolly gave a public lecture entitled "Love's Labour's Lost or a Tale of Modern Greek Literature in English Translation". The full text of the lecture is available here.

Chairman's Report 2014-15

At the Annual General Meeting of the Society held at the Hellenic Centre, London, on 6 June 2015 the Chairman gave the following report:

In keeping with the usual pattern, this report covers the period of 12 months since the last Annual General Meeting, and also looks ahead to some events planned for the coming year.

Our speaker after the AGM last year was Professor Peter Mackridge and his subject “The Re-Hellenization of Greek since 1750”. The lecture attracted a large and appreciative audience, and demonstrated Peter’s consummate knowledge of the Greek language in its historical and synchronic dimensions, its written and spoken uses, and the complex issue of language planning. The text of his lecture is still available to read on our website if you missed it.

The annual Graduate Research Colloquium took place in June at the University of Birmingham, organized by Professor Dimitris Tziovas. Thirteen papers were given, by postgraduate students from the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford, and King’s College London. The colloquium was supported by grants from the Hellenic Foundation and from the University of Birmingham itself. This event has a firm place in the calendar of the Society, as it had before that in the time of SCOMGIU (the Standing Committee on Modern Greek in the Universities). We think it started in 1988, though recollections are somewhat hazy. Anyway, we regard it as one of the Society’s most important activities, since it provides the opportunity for postgraduate students to present their work, receive informal and helpful feedback, and get to know other students working in similar, or indeed different fields, within the broad area of Modern Greek Studies. The next colloquium takes place at King’s College London in four days’ time and we expect it to be just as valuable as its predecessors.

In March this year another similar event for postgraduate students took place under the auspices of the Society, but with one important difference: it was entirely organized by students themselves, with the student representative on our Executive Committee, Jessica Kourniakti, playing a leading role. With sponsorship from The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, it was entitled: “Diversity in 20th and 21st century Greek popular culture(s) and media”. Around 50 people attended and there was a full day’s programme of presentations, with a round-table discussion to end the formal proceedings. This innovative event made a very welcome addition to our programme, reaching out to a considerably wider range of students and institutions than is usually the case, thanks in particular to the use of social media. It is to be hoped that the event can be repeated next year, with similar success. Another initiative for which Jessica is responsible is the creation of a mailing list for postgraduate students, to provide regular information and to encourage closer contact, collaboration and awareness of one other’s work.

In the course of the year the Society organized two well-attended events commemorating significant landmarks in the history of Greece and Cyprus. On 28 October Dr David Wills masterminded and spoke at an evening event, at the Hellenic Centre, entitled “Greece at War: marking 70 years since the end of ‘Hitler’s Greece’”. The other speakers were our member Dr Violetta Hionidou, who focused on famine in occupied Greece, and two authors of books on the Albanian campaign and the resistance, John Carr and Alan Ogden. The second occasion took place at the University of Hertfordshire in November, and consisted of a lecture by Dr Klearchos Kyriakides on “The Annexation of Cyprus by the UK on 5 November 1914”. The organizational genius of our colleagues David and Klearchos ensured that both events were highly successful.

Finally, in a joint venture with the Modern Greek Section at the University of Cambridge, the Society co-hosted a fascinating lecture on “Masculinities and gender relations in the Old Greek Cinema”, given by Dr Achilleas Hadjikyriacou, Cultural Counsellor at the Cyprus High Commission. Since Dr Hadjikyriacou took up his position last autumn, he has taken a welcome interest in the work of the Society and we hope to collaborate further on future events.

The Executive Committee of the Society usually meets four times a year, but the officers are also in regular email communication with one another and with the other members when a need for consultation arises or when an urgent decision has to be taken, for example on matters referred to us by the European Society of Modern Greek Studies. Recently we agreed the text of a letter protesting against the abolition of Modern Greek A level, which your Chairman has sent to the Secretary of State for Education on behalf of the Society, with copies to the Secretary of State for Business, Education and Skills, and the Chief Regulator of Ofqual. We would urge all members to sign related petitions or to send their own letters to the relevant bodies, to oppose the removal of Modern Greek from the examination system, but more generally the drastic reduction in the teaching and examining of modern foreign languages that is taking place so tragically in this country.

Two members of the Executive Committee are retiring at the end of this year after serving two consecutive terms: Dr Klearchos Kyriakides and Dr Semele Assinder, who has also been our Publicity Officer. We thank them both very warmly for their valued contributions to the work of the Society. I also take this opportunity to record my personal thanks to the Secretary and Treasurer and the other members of the Executive Committee for their support and commitment.

After a dip at the beginning of the year as some members failed to renew their subscriptions (promptly), I can report that membership has again risen to close to a hundred, and we hope it will continue to increase as more people realize the benefits of membership, but also seek actively to associate themselves with our aims and objectives. The more members we have, the better we can fulfil our goals, and – to be blunt – the more we can do for our members. You will be pleased to hear that the Committee is not proposing any change to the current subscription rates.

Plans under discussion for the next twelve months include a joint event with Royal Holloway University of London, which will focus on the Greek community of Cairo, its history and architectural heritage. This will happen some time in the autumn. Before the end of the year we shall also launch the first issue of our online journal. Members will recall that the 2014 AGM approved a proposal to establish such a journal, to be called Modern Greek Studies Online. Since then Kostas Skordyles has been appointed editor, an editorial board has been set up, and a website designed. The first issue will include both academic articles and literary translation. Potential contributors can still submit their work for consideration via the peer review process, in time to appear in the first issue. Thereafter contributions will be uploaded to the website once they have been approved, so that the second and subsequent issues will grow through the year in question.

Looking ahead to 2016, we are discussing plans for a book presentation, as well as a joint event with King’s College London, and perhaps also a conference on a Cypriot theme, though deliberations are still at an early stage. The Executive Committee is always keen to discuss proposals for collaboration with other bodies or any other ideas that members may have to expand and enhance the activities of the Society. And finally, it gives me great pleasure to announce that our speaker next year, at the public event following the AGM, will be the distinguished social anthropologist Professor Renée Hirschon, author of the seminal Heirs of the Greek Catastrophe and expert on migration and refugee issues. Her work is more topical than ever and we greatly look forward to her lecture.

It remains for me again to express our gratitude to the Hellenic Centre, and in particular its Director Mrs Agatha Kalisperas, for their joint sponsorship of the event that follows and for allowing the use of this building.

David Holton
6 June 2015

The Society's AGM and lecture by David Connolly: 6 June 2015, Hellenic Centre, London

The 8th Annual General Meeting of the Society for Modern Greek Studies will take place at 3:15 pm on Saturday 6 June 2015 at the Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, London W1U 5AS. It will be followed at 4:30 pm by a lecture, open to all, to be given by David Connolly, Emeritus Professor of Translation Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

The title of his lecture will be: "Love's Labour's Lost or a Tale of Modern Greek Literature in English Translation" (see below for a synopsis).

DAVID CONNOLLY was born in Sheffield, England. He studied Ancient Greek at the University of Lancaster, Medieval and Modern Greek Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, and received his doctoral degree for a thesis on the theory and practice of Literary Translation from the University of East Anglia. A naturalized Greek, he has lived and worked in Greece since 1979 and has taught translation at undergraduate and post-graduate level for many years at a number of universities in Greece. His last position before retiring was as Professor of Translation Studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has written and talked extensively on the theory and practice of literary translation and on Greek Literature in general and has published over forty books of translations featuring works by major Greek poets and novelists. His translations have received awards in Greece, the UK, and the USA.

Synopsis of the lecture:
It is a generally accepted fact that Literary Translation is first and foremost a labour of love. In the case of translations of Modern Greek Literature, this labour is, for many reasons, often Herculean in its nature. Nevertheless, much Modern Greek literature exists in English translation, as a recent survey has shown. Regrettably, these literary works, with very few exceptions, fail to reach the major bookstores or the wider English-speaking readership and, in general, have had little impact in the UK book market. In my talk, I will briefly outline the findings of this survey, offer some possible explanations for this lack of impact and make some suggestions as to how the situation may be improved.

SMGS 2015 Graduate Research Colloquium: Programme and abstracts

The 2015 Graduate Research Colloquium of the Society for Modern Greek Studies will take place at King's College London on Wednesday 10 June 2015.

Venue: The Council Room (K2.29), Strand Campus, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS.
Admission is free but registration is required via Eventbrite. Please register at:

Martha Papaspiliou (King’s College London), Literary monuments to ‘national heroes’: nationalizing Kyra Phrosyne in the 19th century
Jessica Kourniakti (Oxford), Rebuilding the Colossus of Rhodes in the 1960s: Greek-American identity landmark or tourist attraction?
John Burke (Newcastle), Commemorating a troubled past on a divided island: Britain, Cyprus and the Kyrenia Memorial controversy of 2009
Marios Chatziprokopiou (Aberystwyth), Ashura in Piraeus: the performance and politics of lamentation by Shia Pakistani migrants in Greece

Mikela Fotiou (Glasgow), The cinematic work of Nikos Nikolaidis and female representation
Helga Malshi (Manchester), Pre-head and post-head adjectival modification in Modern Greek
Elena Bitsiani (Birmingham), Representing the bourgeoisie in fictional texts of the 1920s and 1930s

Iakovos Menelaou (King’s College London), Homosexuality as illness in Cavafy
Chloe Howe-Haralambous (Oxford), The cultural poetics of murder: the case of the Ogre of Seih Sou
Russell Henshaw (Oxford), Reform in Crisis: austerity and the social economy in Greece

Anastasios Mikalef (Birmingham), The pro-British press in the Ionian Islands (1849-1864)
Elissavet Evangelidou (Birmingham), The Dekemvriana in literature for young adults: the case of George Sari’s novel Oi nikites
Fiona Antonelaki (King’s College London), The sound recordings of Nikos Engonopoulos and Odysseus Elytis: a comparative listening

Abstracts of the papers can be found in the attachment.

Masculinities and gender relations in the Old Greek Cinema: lecture by Dr A. Hadjikyriacou

The Modern Greek Section of the University of Cambridge and the Society for Modern Greek Studies invite you to a lecture on Tuesday 12 May 2015:

"Masculinities and gender relations in the Old Greek Cinema: A close reading of Neighbourhood the Dream (1961)"
Speaker: Dr Achilleas Hadjikyriacou (Cultural Counsellor, Cyprus High Commission, London)

5.00 pm, Tuesday 12 May 2015
Room 2, Lecture Block, Sidgwick Avenue,
Cambridge CB3 9DA.

All welcome. Poster attached below.

"Diversity in 20th- and 21st-century Greek popular culture(s) and media": a student-led workshop

The workshop "Diversity in 20th- and 21st-Century Greek Popular Culture(s) and Media" will take place on Saturday 14 March 2015 in the Lecture Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building (2nd floor), Woodstock Road, Oxford, from 9:00 until 18:30. (Note change of venue.)

The event is organized by the Society for Modern Greek Studies, with sponsorship from The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

You can register, until 9 March, at


9:00 – 10:00 Registration

10:00 – 11:00
Panel 1: Inquiring about Identity: Methodologies, Frameworks, Practices
1. ‘Greece the Imagined Nation’: A study of selfhood and subjectivity through auto-ethnographic visual representations of ‘Ellinikotita’ (Greekness)
Michael Chronopoulos, University of South Wales
2. Oral evidences on Greek Popular literature of the 50s and 60s
Nikos Filippaios, University of Ioannina (Greece)
3. Social media and Greeks: the case of Facebook
Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, Maria Xenofodos, Achilleas Karadimitriou, Ioulia Daga & Elias Athanasiadis, University of Athens (Greece)

11:05 – 12:05
Panel 2: Building Musical Identities
1. Greekness and Gender in the ’80s and '90s Greek Popular Music Press
Reguina Hatzipetrou-Andronikou, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France)
2. Ασίκικο Πουλάκι - Regionalising in Greek music and poetry after 1974
Josh Barley, King’s College London
3. Why Rebetiko today?
Elli Leventaki, University of Ioannina (Greece)

12:05 – 12:30 Coffee Break

12:30 – 13:30
Panel 3: Filming Greek Subjectivity: Representations of selfhood, tradition and heteronormativity in Greek film and TV
1. Gays and Straights (queer things up): Negotiating Heteronormativity in Angelos
Spyros Chairetis, University of Oxford
2. Challenging the Patriarchal Canon: Paths of Diversity in Dogtooth and Miss Violence
Vera Mystaka, independent researcher
3. Subversion and Stereotype in ‘Το Καφέ της Χαράς’
Annie Demosthenous, independent researcher

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 15:30
Panel 4: An Ode to Suffering: Othering and Identifying in Digital and Television Media
1. Infecting the body politic: the HIV “Death Trap” and the Porous “Other”
Chloe Howe Charalambous, University of Oxford
2. Networks of suffering: encountering diversity in cross-cultural dialogues on the Internet
Huw Halstead, University of Kent
3. Multiculturalism and racism depicted in Greek satirical drawings
Emmanouela Tisizi, University of Edinburgh

15:30 – 15:45 Short Break

15:45 – 16:45
Panel 5: Intersecting Identities: Art and Place in Multimedia
1. “And everywhere you turn: Gods..myths..heroes”: YouTube and the Greek modernist project
Ioanna Zouli, South Bank University & Tate Research
2. Nudity in the Imaret: Heritage and the Art of Exhibitions
Elizabeth Cohen, University of Cambridge
3. ‘Vasanizomai’: From a Message of Agony Sprayed Across the Walls of Athens, to Internet Sensation
Jessica Kourniakti, University of Oxford

16:45 – 17:15 Coffee Break

17:15-18:15 Round-Table Discussion

18:30 Wine Reception


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