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Conference: Thinking with John Berger

Cardiff Metropolitan University, 4-5 September 2014

A conference exploring the transformative potential, for educational practice, of the work of John Berger. The conference aims to survey the application of Berger's rich interdisciplinary work across a range of fields and disciplines: literary studies; visual arts; art history; philosophy; creative writing; film production and education; performance; drawing; photography; cultural geography; critical and cultural theory.

John Berger index

The Psychotherapist Paul Gordon features as a correspondent in the British Library's John Berger archive. In 2008, he sent Berger his book, The Hope of Therapy (published 2009); Berger read it, and wrote a book-jacket quotation:

To heal somebody you need first to be an expert in recognising wounds. Paul Gordon knows about the 100 despairs hidden behind the term Flexibility, the emotional mutilations inflicted by the present global economy. In this green oasis of a book there's a well of compassion. It will help you help....

The admiration is mutual, and Gordon has written a thematic index to Berger's articles in English. The British Library is proud to be able to host it here:

Past exhibitions and conferences

Exhibition at King's College, London: John Berger - Art and Property Now

Conference: Ways of Seeing John Berger

Presented by the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King's College, London, and the Department of English & Drama at the British Library

6-8 September 2012, London

2012 marked the 40th anniversary of two of John Berger's major works: the novel G., winner of the Booker and James Tait Black Memorial Prizes, and the collaborative, BAFTA-winning BBC TV series and book Ways of Seeing. In celebration, the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King's College, London, and the Department of English and Drama at the British Library - home, since 2009, to the major collection of Berger's papers - held a series of events.

The conference was held at King's College London, with an evening of discussion and celebration (including a presentation of the film Ways of Listening) at the British Library on Friday 7 September.

About the John Berger archive

John Berger. Pic:

The eminent writer, critic, and thinker John Berger (right) donated his archive to the British Library in 2009.

The archive of previously unseen 'put-aside objects' (Berger's description of archives in his collection Here is Where we Meet) was transferred to the care of the British Library from its former home in a remote French Alpine village.

Jamie Andrews (below), Head of English and Drama at the British Library, set off to that very village on 20 June 2009 to help sort through the Berger papers – previously stored in an old stables – and bring them back to the climate-controlled storage areas in the heart of the British Library's St Pancras building.

Jamie AndrewsJamie recorded his journey to retrieve the archive from the mountain-top village on the British Library Twitter feed.

He also posted sound updates on the AudioBoo website documenting his progress.

'John Berger's archive contains over 100 file boxes of drafts, scripts, reviews, and correspondence and I'm hoping to discover some surprises when I get there. John has asked for some help with the hay harvesting while I'm over there, so it should be a unique experience collecting a wonderful new addition to our pre-eminent literary collections,' said Jamie before he left.


Hear from Jamie on his trip to meet John Berger in the French Alps and view his photos on AudioBoo. For example, Jamie boos from Geneva below, and discusses John's views on the nature of archives and libraries. More boos

Google map of boos

Press coverage

The Guardian 20 June 2009 General article
BBC news website 22 June 2009 General article
The Guardian 23 June 2009 Early surprises from the archive
Le Monde 23 June 2009 La générosité de John Berger
BBC Radio 4 25 June 2009 (start at 19:01) Jamie interviewed on You and Yours
BBC Radio 3 Oct 2010 Jamie Andrews talks about 'Harvesting the Archive'

More audio

Geoff Dyer. Photo:  John Foley/OpaleGeoff Dyer podcast Exclusive interview with Geoff Dyer (right) – novelist, writer, and author of Ways of Telling: the Work of John Berger – who discusses John's work and archive (MP3, 24min 46sec)
John Berger reads 'The Accordion Player' A short story – unpublished at the time of this reading and here entitled 'A Jar of Wild Flowers', but later published under the title 'The Accordion Player' in Once in Europa – recorded at the ICA on 23 May 1985 (MP3, 66min 26sec)


John Berger Official site from 2005 London Berger season 'Here is Where We Meet'
Booker Prize John Berger page
Bloomsbury The publisher's John Berger page with extracts and reviews
British Library Sound Archive Search for recordings relating to John Berger

Research resources

John Berger index (PDF format, 81 KB) - an index to John Berger's articles in English, compiled according to subject and people.

Other acquisitions

Find out about other recent archival and manuscript acquisitions