What’s in a name? A lot, if that name is Stuart Hall. As has been said, there are almost as many Stuart Halls as there are people who know his work or were fortunate enough to know the person. Each of us has made him our own, through his influence on our research, thinking, writing and indeed our lives. So in the Media and Communications department on the Monday, when we heard of his passing that day, there was a palpable sense of shock and very great sadness. This came even from those had never actually met him, yet enjoyed his influence.
The morning of the sad news, quite spontaneously the idea emerged from the torrents of email traffic that we should re-name the New Academic Building, which became the department’s home three years ago, as the Stuart Hall Building. Some of us were inclined to put this into effect unilaterally and immediately. However wiser council prevailed and the correct channels were identified so the name change was duly and unanimously approved by our governing body. This was of course very well received in the department, with one recently appointed staff-member commenting: “I feel very proud to be working in the Stuart Hall Building. Great to be in a place where stuff like this can actually happen.”
We are now in the process of commissioning a sculpted plaque to be placed at the entrance of the building. This artwork will be selected from a competition for Goldsmiths students and alumni run by Goldsmiths’ Design Department. It will be unveiled by Stuart’s widow, Professor Catherine Hall on the 28th November at the end of the Media and Communication Department’s international conference, Stuart Hall: Conversations, Projects & Legacies. The conference will be proceeded by a ‘Stuart Hall Conversations’ week with teaching, events and screenings in the Departments of Sociology and Visual Cultures, the Centre for Cultural Studies and other departments as well as Media and Communication.
Stuart Hall’s legacy is very wide, deep and varied at Goldsmiths. Stuart is very much part of our tradition. Indeed as Catherine Hall noticed on a recent visit, the Stuart Hall Building is appropriately sited facing the College’s main Richard Hoggart Building on the other side of the college green.
The MeCCSA community is invited to come and share your reflections of the many works of Stuart Hall at the conference at Goldsmiths on the 28 November – we look forward to seeing you there.