Through the Looking-Glass Sesquicentenary
Conference & Companion


  • Keynote Speakers: Diane Waggoner, Charlie Lovett

On the occasion of the sesquicentenary of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass in 2021 we will hold a fully-online conference whose focal point will be the Looking-Glass itself. Aiming to explore the significance of the mirror in literature, science, theology, art and other fields, it hopes to explore any facets of this concept that were relevant to ideas that shaped Carroll’s work, or, which have since been integral to its interpretation at different points in time.

Companion publication:

ALICE Through the Looking-Glass: A Companion edited by Franziska Kohlt & Justine Houyaux is forthcoming with Peter Lang in 2023.

Communicating Vaccines

communicating vaccines

This collaborative project between the Universität der Künste Berlin and the University of Oxford revolves around the topic of design, communication and vaccination. Images have always been important in disseminating opinions and information on vaccination. And, since the mid-twentieth century, visual communication has played a significant role in public health campaigns promoting vaccines.

Joining forces to bridge the fields of graphic design, medical history, and health communication, we set out to find visual forms of communicating about vaccines. Our project ‘Communicating Vaccination’ inspired a new course for Visual Communications students at UdK. The project aims to generate new interdisciplinary research and resources, including this student led website and the online exhibition ‘Pieks, sip, jab!’.

A project by:
Constanze Hein, graphic design lecturer at UdK Berlin, and Dr Sally Frampton, medical historian at Oxford.

Lucienne Roberts, London-based designer and Dr Franziska Kohlt, York-based researcher in Science Communication, the History of Science & Literature

The Marvellous Mechanical MuseumCompton Verney

(30 June- 30 September 2018)

Screenshot 2018-07-02 09.46.32

Beginning with the creations and mechanical exhibitions of the 17th and 18th centuries – a period often regarded as a ‘golden era’ of automata – the exhibition explores how such machines have long fascinated not only their own makers and wealthy patrons but the general public alike. The publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818 ushered in a new era of interest in automata – often referred to as the first work of Science Fiction – the exhibition will explore the literary creations of other beings: mechanical, virtual or, in the case of Frankenstein’s monster, those created through electrochemistry. The exhibition will also feature the whimsical creations of inventor Rowland Emett (such as his Cloud Cuckoo Valley), set designer for the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and a host of Contemporary Automata makers and artists.  


Insects Through the Looking-Glass

(14 June- 7 July 2018)

Screen+Shot+2018-06-02+at+08.31.31Insects have been central to our evolutionary history, and we continue to interact with them throughout our lives. Whether evoking joy or fear, our six-legged cohabitants induce strong emotions within us. It’s therefore not surprising that insects are deeply woven into many of our most beloved stories. The exhibit will explore the significance of insects within our favourite children’s stories over the past 150 years; the Alice in Wonderland books by Lewis Carroll, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and the Beetle Trilogy by MG Leonard. It will combine illustrations and text excerpts with real insect specimens, videos, and models to explore both the inspirations behind our authors’ insect characters, and demonstrate the surprising amount the authors teach us about the biology of these fascinating creatures.

Alice’s Day (Annual Event, 7 July)

  • A collaborative event of over 20 Oxford institutions celebrating the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, organised in conjunction with The Story Museum, Christ Church, The Bodleian Library, The Lewis Carroll Society, Oxford Museums, Cowley Road Carnival and others. Alice’s Day 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the novel’s publication as well as the anniversary of the famous river trip of Carroll and Alice on which the tale was first told. The event welcomed 10.000 guests!
  • In 2018 I will give a talk on “Lewis Carroll in Psychology-Land”, in the past I have spoken on fantastic underground journeys in children’s literature, and Illustrations in Victorian Children’s books. In 2014, I co-curated an exhibition of Underground-literature in the Bodleian Library’s Divinity School, which featured several Alice-related volumes as well as C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair (1953), George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin (1872), and J.R.R. Tolkien’s original illustrations of The Hobbit (1937)
  • Follow #AliceDay  and #Alice150 on twitter

‘George MacDonald’s Scotland’ Conference, University of Aberdeen, 2017

This three-day conference will explore all aspects related to the Scottish upbringing, education and heritage of the cleric, polymath and writer of fantastic literature George MacDonald. It aims to fathom the importance of this facet in his enduring literary, theological cultural impact upon a wide circle of thinkers and writers such as H. G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, and the Inklings. Attendees will be able to explore a selection of MacDonald’s manuscripts and letters through workshops and exhibitions. There will be an opportunity for delegates to visit the MacDonald’s birthplace Huntly, and see further resources held in the town’s Brander Library which is not usually available to the general public.

  • Keynote speakers include Colin Manlove (University of Edinburgh), David Robb (University of Dundee), Dimitra Fimi (Cardiff Metropolitan University) John Pazdziora (Shantou University).
  • Download the Call for Papers
  • Follow the conference on twitter and on facebook, and wordpress.

‘Wonderday’, Christ Church, Oxford

A sell-out public engagement study day, this event is directed at a university entry age and scholarly audience, as well as the general public. Featuring academics such as Kiera Vaclavic, Melanie Keene and Edward Wakeling, students as well as visitors from the general public will have the possibility to explore rarely seen archives and locations at Christ Church and in a series of lectures, tours and interactive events. This events presents a unique opportunity to learn more about the history of the creation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and its historical context in the very place it all began, from Alice’s Nursery and the Deanery Garden to Carroll’s manuscript material and Alice’s sketches, produced under the instruction of John Ruskin.

Ada Lovelace Bicentenary & Symposium

Bodleian Library, Oxford

  • A series of events celebrating the Bicentenary of Ada Lovelace, including a Conference, Symposium and Postgraduate Workshop, as well as Exhibition at the Weston Library (New Bodleian) in December 2015, collaboratively organised by representatives of the Bodleian Libraries, the Mathematical Institute,  Department for Computer Science and the English Faculty of the University of the University of Oxford
  • Click here for more information

Literature and Science Early Career Researcher’s Forum

University of Oxford

The Literature and Science Early Career Researchers’ Forum aims to bring together D.Phil students and postdoctorate researchers working in the interdisciplinary field of literature and science. The forum will act as both a reading group and research seminar in which researchers near the beginning of their careers will be able to present and develop their work. The forum welcomes researchers in literatures of all kinds from ancient to modern, and in the history of medicine as well as science. Historians and philosophers of science and medicine are also welcome. Up-to-date information on the group will be posted regularly on the Oxford Literature and Science Network website Information can also be obtained by emailing

The Common Denominator: A Postgraduate Conference in Mathematics and Culture

Leipzig University, 2014

  • Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Prof Robin Wilson (University of Oxford, Society for the History of Mathematics) and Prof Michele Emmer (Sapenzia University of Rome)

Organised by members and PhD students of the Institute for British Studies of Leipzig University, the aim of this three-day interdisciplinary conference (20-22 March 2014) is to bring together researchers from diverse academic and professional disciplines. By establishing mathematics as the common denominator between the individual panels, the links between mathematics and cultural studies are brought into focus. The conference will explore the reception and representation of mathematical concepts across such diverse fields as popular culture, literature, linguistics and didactics.

Gothic:  Culture, Subculture, Counterculture

St. Mary’s University College & Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham, 2013

  • Keynote-Speakers: Michael Snodin, Prof John Bowen, Prof Avril Horner, Prof Allan Simmons

An international, multidisciplinary two-day conference exploring cultural representations of the Gothic, in literature, film, architecture and more, held in Horace Walpole’s Gothic Castle, Strawberry Hill, in Twickenham.

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