Society Events

The Annexation of Cyprus 1914: a public lecture by Dr Klearchos A. Kyriakides, 5 November 2014

The Society for Modern Greek Studies is pleased to invite you to a lecture by Dr Klearchos A. Kyriakides (University of Hertfordshire) with the title: "The Annexation of Cyprus by the United Kingdom on 5th November 1914: An Enduring Turning Point?".

The lecture, marking the centenary of this important event, will take place from 7:15 to 8:45 pm on Wednesday 5 November 2014, in Lecture Theatre N002, N Block, de Haviland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield.

The proceedings will be introduced and chaired by Professor Robert Holland (King's College London). A drinks reception follows. ALL WELCOME. If you wish to attend, please send an e-mail to

Further information can be found in the attachment below.

Greece at War: marking 70 years since the end of 'Hitler's Greece'

Tuesday 28th October 2014, 6.30-8pm, The Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London.

This evening of short talks (in English), organized by the Society for Modern Greek Studies, commemorates the 70th anniversary of the withdrawal of Nazi forces from mainland Greece in October and November 1944. The main speakers will be:
Dr Violetta Hionidou (Newcastle University): Famine in Occupied Greece;
John Carr (journalist and author): Survival or Sideshow? Greek and British perceptions of the Albanian campaign, 1940-41;
Alan Ogden (author): SOE in Greece: hero, villain or motley fool?

Free entry, but booking essential on 020 7563 9835 or at

Chairman's Report 2013-14

At the Annual General Meeting of the Society on 17 May 2014 the Chairman gave the following report:

As usual, I shall report on activities during the twelve-month period since the last AGM, and also mention some forthcoming events and our hopes and plans for the year ahead.
Our guest speaker after last year’s AGM, on 1 June, was Professor Thanos Veremis, Professor Emeritus of Political history at the University of Athens, who spoke on “The Greek Crisis: when the segmentary community meets with populism”. His lecture attracted a large audience and was followed by a lively question and answer session. If you missed it, you can still view it on the Society’s website.
Activities in the course of the year followed the, by now, established pattern: the annual postgraduate research colloquium, which in 2013 was held at Oxford University, and two or three other events organized by the Society, alone or in collaboration with other bodies. First the graduate colloquium: we are indebted to Prof. Marc Lauxtermann for convening this important opportunity for postgraduates to present their work in progress. On this occasion ten papers were given, notable for the range of subjects and disciplines represented, and particularly for the welcome attention paid to interdisciplinary approaches. Speakers came from the universities of Birmingham, Exeter, and Oxford, and King’s College London.
The next event in our calendar, in July 2013, was a conference on Contemporary Greek Cinema Cultures, held at the Hellenic Centre. The Society was a co-sponsor of the conference, along with the Universities of Reading and Glasgow, and the convenors were our members Tonia Kazakopoulou, Mikela Fotiou and Philip Phillis. It may be worth pointing out here that the Society is delighted to have the opportunity to lend its name to such academic gatherings organized by its members, and, where appropriate, to make a small contribution to the costs.
During the autumn we were involved in organizing two events, one in Cambridge and one in Oxford. In Cambridge we collaborated with the Modern Greek Section of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages to organize an evening of poetry and music to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Cavafy’s birth. The event was part of a world-wide series of events presented by the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sport, under the rubric "Celebrating C.P. Cavafy: 1863-1933". Professor David Ricks gave an introductory talk, and he was followed to the podium by the writer Louis de Bernières, a life-long devotee of Cavafy. There were readings of selected poems, in the original and in translation, by Patrick Boyde, Anastasia Christophilopoulou, Victoria Hislop and Christos Tsirogiannis. The evening concluded with a performance of settings for baritone and piano of three Cavafy poems by the contemporary composer Robert Walker. About 120 people attended, and the organizers were Liana Giannakopoulou and Regina Karousou-Fokas.
A rather smaller audience was present for the Oxford event, at which our member Rosemary Bancroft-Marcus presented her new book Georgios Chortatsis (fl. 1576-1596): Plays of the Veneto-Cretan Renaissance, published by Oxford University Press. Rosemary gave readings of extracts from her editions of the texts and from her translations, which impressed with their rhythmic fluency and accessibility. Other contributions were made by Elizabeth Jeffreys and David Holton.
We had hoped to organize another event in the spring but unfortunately our plans did not materialize. We hope to do better next year. This year’s graduate colloquium is, of course, already organized, in the capable hands of Dimitris Tziovas at the University of Birmingham. It will take place on Thursday 12 June and details have already been circulated to members. It’s worth noting that a record number of 13 papers will be presented, on topics spanning literature, history, politics, education, and the arts. It promises to be an exciting and rewarding day, and we are especially grateful to the Hellenic Foundation, which has agreed to make a substantial contribution to the costs of the event.
Looking a bit further ahead, on 28 October there will be an evening event to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Nazi occupation of Greece. We shall again have the pleasure of collaborating with the Hellenic Centre, and David Wills has put together an impressive list of speakers.
I think we must set ourselves two main objectives in the next 12 months. The first is to increase our membership, which is still small compared with the interest that we know exists “out there” in contemporary Greek culture. If every member were to introduce one new member (I wish we could offer incentives, such as Tesco points or Avios), the consequent increase in subscription income would enable us to extend our activities significantly. We need your help to spread the word. Secondly, our website needs more material. Please let us know about events of general Modern Greek interest, publications, conferences and so on that would interest our members, so that can truly be seen to represent the current state of Modern Greek studies and Modern Greek cultural activities in the UK.
As I said last year, the Society also aspires to reach out to other parts of the country, beyond the “golden quadrilateral”, so we would be very happy to become involved in events that members are planning or would like to plan, lectures, book launches, commemorative events, film showings and so on.
I would like to conclude by thanking the members of the Executive Committee for their support and commitment over the year, and especially to Nikolas Kakkoufa who steps down after two years’ service as student representative. And finally our sincere thanks to the Director of the Hellenic Centre, Mrs Agatha Kalisperas, for permitting the use of this wonderful hall and acting as co-host of the public lecture which will follow this meeting.

David Holton

The AGM approved in principle a proposal that the Society should establish an open-access online journal, to be known as Modern Greek Studies Online. The Excecutive Committee will now appoint an Editor and Editorial Board.

SMGS 2014 AGM and lecture by Peter Mackridge: 17 May 2014, Hellenic Centre, London

The 7th Annual General Meeting of the Society will take place at 3:15 pm on Saturday 17 May 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, by Professor Peter Mackridge. The lecture is entitled: "The Re-Hellenization of Greek since 1750".

Peter Mackridge was Professor of Modern Greek at Oxford University from 1996 until his early retirement in 2003. His research interests cover various areas in Greek language, literature and cultural history since AD 1100, but he specializes in the period since 1750. His current interests include the history of the Greek language, Greek language ideologies, and the history of Greek cultural nationalism, but also aspects of poetry such as versification. His translations of stories by the 19th-century authors Vizyenos and Papadiamandis and a collection of haikus by the 21st-century poet Haris Vlavianos are due to be published in 2014. Peter is an editor of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies and a member of the editorial board of the Greek journal Kondyloforos. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens in 2008.

SMGS 2014 Graduate Research Colloquium: Programme and registration

The annual Graduate Research Colloquium of the Society for Modern Greek Studies, will be hosted by the University of Birmingham on Thursday 12 June 2014 (Lecture Room 1, Arts Building). The registration form is attached below.


11.00-13.00 Session 1 Chair: TBA
Georgia Tsatsani (University of Birmingham), The Modern Greek translations of Jean-Baptiste Racine during the nineteenth century: Antiquity, independence and cosmopolitanism

Panagiotis Petridis (University of Birmingham), Alexandros R. Rangavis’ The Lord of Morea: Fiction and Diplomacy

Georgia Kouta (King’s College London), A diasporic discourse on Irredentism: Anglo-Hellenic League’s propaganda regarding the ‘Megali Idea’

Maria Rizou (King’s College London), The loans of the National Bank of Greece to the Greek refugees from Romania and Bulgaria (1917-1920)

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-16.15 Session 2 Chair: TBA

Ioanna Skordi, (King’s College London), «με την ιερή που Σ’ το θρεψε Πλατωνική μανία»: the case of Angelos Sikelianos

Ioannis Stamos (University of Birmingham), Aristos Kambanis (1883-1956) and To Neon Kratos

Jessica Kourniakti (University of Oxford), Alexander the Great in education under the dictatorship of the Colonels (1967-1973)

Klairi Angelou (University of Bristol), Modern Greek sculpture: in quest of a national and international identity (as seen through the work of Jeanne Spiteris-Veropoulou, 1920-2000)

Varvara Mystaka, (University of Oxford) Reclaiming the Artist: The viewing of Jiannis Kounelli’s art by the Modern Greek audience.

16.15-16.30 Tea & Coffee

16.30-18.30 Session 3 Chair TBA

Dimitris Kalantzopoulos (King’s College London), The creation of a new political space in colonial Cyprus: KKK and AKEL, 1931-1950

Nicoletta Hadjipavlou (King’s College London), From a World War to an Armed Struggle: representations of British Colonial rule in the poetry of Costas Montis

Aglaia Despoina Giannakou (University of Birmingham), Spyros Plaskovitis’ The Dam and Vassilis Vassilikos’ The Leaf: characterization and the Kafkaesque atmosphere

Spyridon Chairetis (University of Oxford), Between Victimhood and (Queer) Resistance: Exploring the Representation of Male Homosexuality in Οι Απαράδεκτοι

Registration forms should be returned by 25 MAY to:

Professor Dimitris Tziovas
Department of Classics, Ancient History & Archaeology
Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman & Modern Greek Studies
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT
Tel: 0121-4145769
Fax: 0121-4143595

The Society is grateful to the Hellenic Foundation for a grant to support this Colloquium.

SMGS 2013 AGM – Chairman's Report

At the Annual General Meeting held on 1 June 2013, the Chairman gave the following report:

In this report I shall cover the period from last year’s AGM to the present, and also say something about forthcoming events and more general aspirations for the future. I speak as the chair of an active and committed committee and I would first of all like to express thanks to those who stepped down at the end of 2012: Eleni Papargyriou as Secretary, Sarah Ekdawi as Treasurer, and David Ricks as a member of the Executive Committee, not forgetting also John Kittmer who served as student representative until September 2012 (and now, of course, represents Her Majesty’s Government in Athens).

The guest speaker after last year’s AGM was the novelist Victoria Hislop. Rather than giving a formal lecture she opted for the interview format; Anthony Hirst ably took on the role of interlocutor and we learned much about Mrs Hislop’s love of Greece and the Greek people, the background to and the reception of her two novels set in Greece. It was, by common consent, a very enjoyable occasion and one which, I think, enabled the Society to reach out beyond the confines of academe to an appreciative philhellenic audience.

As I reported last year, we had an excellent response to the call for papers for the Annual Research Colloquium. The Colloquium duly took place in Cambridge on 7 June. There were 34 registered participants, who came from various universities in the UK (Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Loughborough, King’s College London, University College London, and SOAS), and also included a number of visiting students from Greece and Italy. Eleven papers were given, on a wide range of topics and disciplines within Modern Greek Studies; comparative approaches to literature were strongly in evidence, and it was good to have papers on the representation of identities in film and art, as well as on the Greek Diaspora, gender and class. We are especially grateful to the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation for providing a significant grant towards the costs of the Colloquium.

In October Klearchos Kyriakides organised a guided tour of the Royal Air Force Museum , with particular attention to exhibits relating to Greece and Cyprus. He followed the tour with a lecture on the wartime history of RAF Nicosia.

The Society’s next major event was organised in collaboration with the Centre for Hellenic Studies at King’s College London in November. Under the title “Sounds of the Greek world and beyond”, it celebrated the travel-writing of Patrick Leigh Fermor. Speakers were Professor David Roessel, Sir Michael Llewellyn Smith and Dr David Wills; Leigh Fermor’s biographer Artemis Cooper also took part in the round table discussion, chaired by Roddy Beaton, that concluded the formal part of the evening. This was a highly successful event, attended by over 100 people. The organisation was undertaken by Liana Giannakopoulou and John Kittmer.

In April the Society shared the honours with the Modern Greek Section at the University of Cambridge for a one-day conference on “Greece and Britain in women’s literary imagination, 1913-2013”, held in association with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. This time the main organisers were Eleni Papargyriou and Semele Assinder, who also both gave papers. The keynote address was given by Dr Vassiliki Kolocotroni of the University of Glasgow, and there were six other speakers, from Greece, the USA and the UK. Around 30 people attended and enjoyed a wide-ranging and enlightening exploration of the subject: British women novelists who set their work in Greece and Greek women writers whol have engaged with Britain. The Society is extremely grateful to the Leventis Foundation and the Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge for financial support.

Finally, just two weeks ago, members of the Society had the honour and privilege of being invited to the Residence of the Greek Ambassador, Mr Konstantinos Bikas, for a discussion on Modern Greek Studies in the UK and a splendid reception. We were most grateful to have this opportunity to get to know the new Ambassador, and we are indebted, yet again, to Dr Victoria Solomonidis, for her support and for facilitating this event.

Looking to the immediate future, next Tuesday in fact, we shall hold the usual annual Research Colloquium for graduate students, this year at Oxford, organised by Professor Marc Lauxtermann. Full details of this and other events can of course be found on the Society’s website. In July the Society has offered sponsorship to a two-day conference taking place here, in the Hellenic Centre. The subject is “Contemporary Greek Film Cultures” and it is arranged by colleagues at the Universities of Glasgow and Reading.

The Committee is planning further events for the next 12 months, and invites suggestions for the kind of thing that members would welcome, and indeed any offers to organise such events, perhaps in other parts of the UK where there is a cluster of members and a likely audience: South Wales, Bristol, Central Scotland, Birmingham, Leeds-Bradford? We would particularly like to host, or co-host, book launches, events for schools, commemorative events, and so on. And we hope to have some kind of involvement in the all-day celebration of Greek culture “Greece is the Word”, which is being planned to take place on the South Bank in October. Finally, although discussions are still at a very early stage, members may be interested to know that we are considering the possibility of a Society online journal. I hope to have more news about it by this time next year.

David Holton


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