Inner Space: J G Ballard in the Seventies A Symposium

Ballard High Rise

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A day-long trip into the world of J G Ballard, plus a special preview screening of High-Rise

J G Ballard’s early 1970s writing, which includes The Atrocity Exhibition, Crash, Concrete Island and High-Rise, form together his greatest achievement, and exist in unique draft and manuscript form in the Ballard archive, housed at the British Library.

Ahead of the release of Ben Wheatley’s powerful film of High-Rise, in UK cinemas on 18 March, we present a day of activities to explore the author’s visionary novels, the era and the urban landscape they are set in, and the process of bringing them to the screen. The day includes a special preview screening of High-Rise

10.30                        Registration and coffee (included in ticket price)

11.00                        J G Ballard in the Seventies

An exceptional panel looks at the key themes and striking images of Ballard’s 1970s oeuvre. With the writer’s daughters, producer Bea Ballard and artist Fay Ballard; Jeanette Baxter, Anglia Ruskin University, author of Visions and Revisions among other books on Ballard; and celebrated writer Iain Sinclair, who published a book on David Cronenberg’s Crash. Chaired by journalist Chris Hall, who interviewed Ballard on a number of occasions.

12.15                        Crash

A screening of Crash! (1971, 17mins) which features Ballard in the lead role. Introduced by the director of the film, Harley Cokeliss.

Followed by an introduction to the Crash archive at the British Library by curator Chris Beckett.

13.15                        Lunch break

14.00                        Brutalist architecture: its pleasures and its discontents

Writer and broadcaster Travis Elborough chairs a discussion on the powerful, controversial, and at their best, beautiful urban buildings characteristic of the 60s and 70s, which form a striking backdrop to Ballard’s novels of the period. Speakers include John Grindrod, author of Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain, architect Charles Holland and blogger Andrea Klettner.

15.10                        High-Rise 

A special preview screening of High-Rise (Cert 15A, 118 minutes), directed by Ben Wheatley, and starring Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller and Elisabeth Moss. The film will be introduced by cast members Sienna Guillory and Enzo Cilenti.

17.20                        Creating High-Rise: post-screening Q&A

Meet the acclaimed designers behind the stunning visual impact of High-Rise – from its slick 70s stylings to everything that follows. Production designer Mark Tildesley who has worked on, amongst many other films, 28 Days Later and Sunshine for Danny Boyle and 24 Hour Party People and Code 46 for Michael Winterbottom. He also co-designed Boyle’s 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. He is joined by BAFTA award winning costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux , whose films include One Day, An Education, Brooklyn and The Constant Gardener  and television from Great Expectations and The Women in White to Gormenghast; and prosthetics and special effects creator Dan Martin, who collaborated with Ben Wheatley on Sightseers and A Field in England.

18.30                        Event closes

A special preview screening of High-Rise with Q&A, also takes place at the Library on Friday 11 March.  

View items from our Ballard archive alongside the manuscript of High-Rise, props from the film, Ben Wheatley’s shooting script and sketches and screen writer Amy Jump's notebook. From Friday 11 March - Thursday 31 March in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery.


Name: Inner Space: J G Ballard in the Seventies A Symposium
Where: Conference Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546