Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Ekphrasis in its Contemporary and Ancient Contexts

Ekphrasis conference 2022: banner

Ekphrasis in its Contemporary and Ancient Contexts

Establishing New Connections between Research, Artistic Practice and Pedagogy

Durham University and the National University of Ireland, Galway, 21–25 June 2022
Organizers: Peter Kelly (NUI Galway/Princeton) and Roy Gibson (Durham University)

Ekphrasis in contemporary literature is usually understood as as a verbal description of a visual object, often a piece of art.  In an ancient context, however it is often viewed as a descriptive speech which brings the thing shown vividly before the eyes.  These symposia will bring together contemporary poets, leading researchers in ancient literature, and experts in modern British and Irish poetry to discuss how ancient ekphrasis relates to its modern counterpart, while building new pathways between the Academic and Arts sectors.

1a) Tues 21 June 2022, 2pm–5.30pm:
Rewriting the Painted Landscape

Venue: seminar room G010, Moore Institute, NUI Galway & live stream.
Register for the live stream on Eventbrite:

Creative writers come together to read and discuss their use of ekphrasis and how ekphrasis can form a contact point between research and the Arts.


  • John McAuliffe
  • Vona Groarke
  • Sinéad Morrissey
  • Padraig Regan
  • Eva Bourke
  • Yiannis Doukas

1b) Wed 22 June 2022, 11am–1pm: 
Ekphrasis and Practice Based Teaching

Venue: seminar room G010, Moore Institute, NUI Galway (lunch to follow).

Lecturers in creative writing, who are also practicing poets, offer insights on how creative practices can be incorporated in teaching, especially in Ancient Classics.


  • John McAuliffe (University of Manchester)
  • Vona Groarke (University of Manchester)
  • Elizabeth Tilley (NUI Galway)

2) Fri 24–Sat 25 June 2022:
Re-imagining Ancient and Modern Ekphrasis (Durham University & live stream)

Venue: Department of History, HS110, Durham University & live stream.
Contact Roy Gibson (roy.k.gibson@durham.ac.uk) to register for the Durham live stream.

Ekphrasis conference 2022: Durham programme

Two-day academic symposium bringing together experts in the fields of Classics and contemporary British and Irish poetry, comprising formal papers on the use of ekphrasis in ancient and modern literature.


  • Jaś Elsner (University of Oxford)
  • Arianna Gullo (Newcastle University)
  • Bridget Vincent (Aarhus University)
  • Ruth Webb (Université de Lille)
  • Richard Meek (University of Hull)
  • Adam Hanna (University College Cork)
  • Peter Heslin (Durham University)
  • Edmund Thomas (Durham University)
  • Barry Sheils (Durham University)
  • Peter Kelly (NUI Galway)

Location: NUI Galway & Durham University    
Time:21–25 June 2022