TrinTalk: Art and Fear


Erykah Badu claims that art is the absence of fear, but what if the fears that we hold inside us are instrumental in the growth of the artist? TrinTalk: Art & Fear hopes to explore what being an artist means as well as the fears of success and failure that come along with opening up our art to the wider world.

Featuring talks on subjects as diverse as ‘Walking to the North Pole’ to ‘The Internet of Things’, TrinTalk is based on the TEDx format and gives alumni the opportunity to listen to inspirational talks on a fascinating range of topics. Conceived as a showcase of the vibrancy and diversity of our alumni, TrinTalk is hosted in College and includes lunch in a marquee in Nevile’s Court.


Nigel McCrery read History at Trinity College, after which he entered the BBC‘s Graduate Entry Scheme in 1990. He has since gone on to create a number of hugely successful television series, including Backup (1994/1996), Silent WitnessAll The King’s Men (1999), Born and Bred (2002/2006), Impact (2003) and New Tricks (2003/2015). He has also written several crime novels, Silent Witness (five books), The Detective Inspector Lapslie Books (four books).  He has also written Under the Guns of the Red Baron, History of the VC, History of the SAS, All the King’s Men (The Vanished Battalion). More recently McCrery finished writing two new ‘Silent Witness’ short stories for Boxfiction (2010). He has also written “Into Touch’ international Rugby players killed 1914-18. January 1915; “The Final Season” footballers killed in the Great War; “The Final Wicket”, First Class Cricketers killed in action during World War One; “The Fallen Few” Aircrew killed in action during the Battle of Britain. Currently working on, “Where the Smooth Waters Glide” Men who took Part in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race who died in World War One. “The Dimming of the Flame” Olympians Killed in World War One. McCrery is also writing his first stage play ‘Going Home.’ The new Lapslie book “The Thirteenth Coffin”, which was published in December 2015. McCrery has four TV series and three feature films in development and is due to publish six more books over the next two years.  He gives much of his time to children suffering from dyslexia, a condition he has suffered with from birth. On Thursday 14 February 2013, his old School The George Spencer Academy, in Stableford, Nottingham invited McCrery back to open their new Learning and Inclusion centre and named the building after him, ‘The Nigel McCrery Learning and Inclusion Centre.”  In 1992 while working as an Assistant Producer on the BBC1 show Tomorrow’s World McCrery arranged and paid for the remains of the Russian Royal Family to be brought to the UK for DNA examination. The work was carried out by Peter Gill who with the assistance of the Russian Forensic Scientist Paval Ivanoff established that the remains were indeed those of the Tzar Nicholas II and the rest of his family. The remains were brought over in an old BA travel bag before being placed in the back of his Volvo and taken to Peter Gill’s house. “Not many people” McCrery later joked “can say they had the Russian Royal family in the boot of their car.”  He worked for HRH The Prince Edward (a friend from his Cambridge days) from 2001 to 2002 as Head of Drama at Ardent Productions.

Beate Perrey (1991), BA/MA (Munich/Harvard), MA, PhD (Cambridge) is a classical concert pianist and musicologist. She is Professor of Piano Performance at the Centre of Research in the Arts and Languages of the EHESS, the Institut for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris.  Beate Perrey studied piano with world-renowned artist Tatyana Nikolayeva, M. Coonrod at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Sulamita Aronovsky at the Royal Academy of Music, Jacques Rouvier and Jean Fassina in Paris, and through masterclasses with Pavel Gililov, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling, Vitaly Margulis and Jorma Panula (conducting).  Elected Research Fellow of both Trinity and Christ’s College Cambridge University, Beate Perrey was Founding Director of the international Arts and Humanities research group In(ter)discipline — Cross-Currents and Resistances under the auspices of CRASSH, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge for 8 years.  Beate Perrey taught both music-focused and cross-disciplinary seminars at Cambridge University (10 years), UCL (1 year), as Visiting Professor at the École Normale Superieure Paris (1 year), as Senior Lecturer (tenure 2005), Director of Graduate Studies and Reader (2011) at Liverpool University (8 years), and at EHESS where she also supervises Habilitation candidates since 2008. Current projects focus on Living Performance: Music as Story, Beethoven’s late piano sonatas and Sense Experience in the Arts.

Alyce Mahon is a Reader in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the Department of History of Art, and a Fellow of Trinity College, at the University of Cambridge. She studied the History of Art & Architecture and Modern English at Trinity College Dublin, before doing a PhD in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She received her doctorate in 1999 and took up her position at Cambridge in 2000.  She is the author of Surrealism and the Politics of Eros, 1938-1968 (Thames & Hudson, 2005) and Eroticism & Art (Oxford University Press, 2007) and co-author of Jean Jacques Lebel: Barricades (Cologne: Walther König, 2014). She has has also often acted as advisor to, contributed to the accompanying catalogues for, major international exhibitions on modern and contemporary art. In recent years these include: Silent Partners: Artist and Mannequin from Function to Fetish (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge 2014 & Musée Bourdelle, Paris, 2015), Le Surréalisme et l’objet (Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013), Leonora Carrington (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2013), Matta. Fiktionen (Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg 2012), Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism (Manchester City Art Gallery, 2009), and Surreal Things: Surrealism and Design (V&A Museum, London 2007). Her next exhibition project is the curation of the first retrospective exhibition of American Surrealist Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012) for the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid for 2018-2019.

Eugenio Polgovsky Ezcurra is a filmmaker and visual artist. He works as director, cinematographer, editor, sound designer and producer of his films. Polgovsky is known for the Mexican documentaries “Tropic of Cancer” ( Semaine de la Critique 2005) and Los Herederos “The Inheritors” (Mostra of Venice, Orrizontti 2008 & Berlinale Generation 2009). He is the first filmmaker in the history of Trinity College, Cambridge, to be elected as a Fellow Commoner in Arts.  Polgovsky is founder of Tecolote Films in Mexico City (2004). He has received 4 “Ariel”, Mexican Academy Awards and more than 20 International awards for his films, including the Joris Ivens Award in Cinema Du Réel, París 2005.  He has become a visionary, innovative and independent documentarist, and he brings an experimental spirit and a poetic eye to the medium of cinematography and has worked closely and in a prolonged way with the communities whose stories and conditions he has sought to explore. His personal cinematography enchained with a meticulous and original editing explore the backgrounds of the Mexican reality, from the rural ancient world to the present of the mega city of Mexico.  The MoMa of NY presented his film “Tropic of Cancer” as part of a selection of the region’s most innovative contemporary films.  In 2004, he filmed “Tropic of Cancer”, a naturalistic portrait of the struggle for survival of the families in the desert of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, which won numerous awards worldwide (Joris Ivens, 27 Cinéma du Réel, “Ariel”, IFF Rotterdam, presented in la Semaine de la Critique, Cannes, Sundance, etc…). In 2007, he founded Tecolote Films, a Mexican independent production company focused on documentary, and with the support of the Hubert Bals Fund and Visions Sud Est, produced “The Inheritors” documentary filmed in 8 rural regions of Mexico during three years, on the life and condition of the peasant childhood, its premiere was in the Mostra of Venice 08 and presented at Berlinale 09 (as first documentary invited on the history of Generation section) Winner of the Coral Award of the Havana Film Festival. In 2012 he directed “Mitote” (Mexican Ritual) a self-produced independent film, edited, and photographed by Polgovsky during the struggle of a Union of electricians colliding with the FIFA World Cup fans and Bicentennial celebrations at the heart of Mexico City, the Zocalo. In 2014 he won his 4th “Ariel” Mexican Academy Award for the best Short Documentary Film “Un Salto de Vida” (A leap of life) about the dramatic pollution of the Santiago river in Jalisco and a family that fight against corruption and impunity of the factories.  Polgovsky has been recognized with over 30 awards in his different skills, editing, photography, etc… In 2010 was invited to the Flaherty Seminar in Colgate US to present his filmography and attended a presentation of his films in Cambridge UK.

Singer, Potter and Sculptor: Ansy Boothroyd left Trinity College with a degree in Modern and Medieval Languages, a love of music and a job offer from the Academic Registrar of City University. Her talk will discuss the importance of creativity and self-expression through the arts – by a modern day renaissance woman.  After three years as an administrative assistant, she gave up the job to take up a postgraduate place at the Royal College of Music to study singing. Since graduating from there, Ansy has somehow survived for 24 years by piecing together an ever-changing freelance existence of many varied strands.  She has worked extensively as a freelance singer in a huge variety of different styles of music, spent a period of time working as a translator of libretti and sleeve notes, has taught singing for the past 14 years, became a potter in the early 90s and a stone sculptor a few years later and now also runs two choirs. In her spare time, Ansy writes poetry and is currently putting the final touches to her first novel.

Hannah Barry (2001) read History of Art at Trinity. The Hannah Barry Gallery grew out of a series of temporary exhibition projects in South London before establishing a permanent home in Peckham in 2007. The roster was built around British artists including Shaun McDowell, James Capper, James Balmforth and Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq.  The gallery has also initiated a series of high-profile international projects including the celebrated Palazzo Peckham for the 2013 Venice Biennale and Bold Tendencies as a not-for-profit creative enterprise and arts organisation founded in Peckham, South London located on Levels 7-10 of the disused municipal multi-storey car park. Over a 10 year period Bold Tendencies – together with its core partner projects Frank’s Cafe and the award-winning Multi-Story Orchestra – has transformed its car park home through an annual commissioning programme of visual art, music and literature and pioneering architectural commissions including Frank’s and the Hay Bale Auditorium. With immersive public spaces, spectacular views across London and an ambitious portfolio of education and community work the project has attracted more than 1 million visitors so far. The innovative commissioning programme has featured many of the most important living artists of our time (Adel Abdessemed, Richard Wentworth, AYR, Anthea Hamilton, Michael Dean, James Bridle, Camille Henrot to name a few).  From 2007-2014 she worked closely with Anthony d’Offay in particular on the fifty ARTIST ROOMS of Post-war and Contemporary art donated by Anthony d’Offay to TATE and the National Galleries of Scotland in 2008, with the generous help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. The purpose of the donation was to make available to regional museums in the UK curated monographic exhibitions of many of the most distinguished artists of modern times – from Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol to Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst – with a special emphasis on young people and education. The size of the donation makes ARTIST ROOMS one of the major acts of philanthropy in art of our time.  She is Co-Chair of the Chinati Contemporary Council, Marfa Texas and co-founded the Matchstick Press which published the first collection of the work of British poet Rachael Allen.

I was born and grew up in the City of York. At school, my interests took me in a scientific direction and I came up to Trinity in 1961 to read maths. Following graduation I studied fluid dynamics at Leeds University after which I was all set to work in the aircraft industry. However, the government’s cancellation of a major project (TSR 2) forced me to rethink and I applied successfully for a job as a teacher.  For the next forty years or so I taught maths in a variety of institutions including schools, a sixth-from college, universities, and prisons. During that time my interest in art grew steadily. I began to paint. General art classes led to portrait work and finally to life drawing. By then I knew that I needed to be more than just an occasional painter. I gave up maths teaching and enrolled on an HND course in fine art and since completing this I have been painting in a small studio at home.


10:30 am

Tea & coffee on arrival

11:00 am

Session 1 (3 Speakers)

12:00 pm

Q & A

12:30 pm

Drinks Reception

1:00 pm

Lunch in Nevile's Court

2:30 pm

Session 2 (3 speakers)

3:30 pm

Q & A

4:00 pm

Tea & Coffee

4:30 pm