Lectures and Interviews

King Crimson I – Lecture (English and Spanish) – M J Grenfell 2019

This is a lecture I did in Santiago, Chili in 2017. We set it up through the Guitar Craft community network with special support from Marisol Palma (aka Yolanda Marvel). My topic is the first incarnation of the rock group King Crimson, 1969. Given my scholarly audience, I set my talk within a socio-cultural analysis of time and place based on the approach of the French social philosopher, Pierre Bourdieu in order to explore the creative immanence of the ‘expressive impulse’ in ‘trans-historic fields’. Quite a night: great audience with many good questions, and various crafties turning up I had not seen for a while.


Bourdieu and Social Suffering – Lecture – M J Grenfell 2020

A lecture from 2020 on Bourdieu and Social Suffering. From his earliest work, Bourdieu examines how one’s social position – through no fault of one’s own – can give rise to ‘suffering’. This talk explains how and why from earlier days to the present time. What can we do about it?


Bourdieu, State and Society – Lecture (English/ Spanish) 2018

An introductory lecture to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, covering theory and practice with numerous examples. This was given in Maza University, Mendoza, Argentina.


Ralph McTell: Parallel Lives – Interview – M J Grenfell with John Beresford 2017

I wrote the Ralph McTell book really as part of an academic project to explore the lives of creative artists and the way their biography shaped their lives. I encountered Ralph’s work from an early stage and it stayed with me through my life – interweaving itself with my own life. I was also struck how he used biography – his own, others and even invented characters – in his songs and poems. So, various ‘parallel lives’. The book also looked at creativity from a sociocultural, psychological and even ‘spiritual’ point of view. It was therefore not the typical popular music biography, and partly an experiment to see what happens when one brings a scholarly vernacular to a popular medium. John Beresford, who is a big Ralph McTell fan and manages a website on him, was kind enough to come down and interview me about the project.


Bourdieu – Introduction – Interview with M J Grenfell (English/ Spanish) 2019

I did an interview on Pierre Bourdieu in Argentina for an academic journal. Unfortunately, the cameraman lost it! This repeat was then recorded when I was back in the UK. They tracked me down to my bed and breakfast room in Cornwall and we re-did the interview impromptu. In it, I cover the ‘basic’ about Bourdieu. All involved agreed it was better than the original!


Educational Research – Interview with M J Grenfell 2017

This was recorded at my university at Southampton and was intended to be part of a post-graduate course on Educational Research. John showed himself to be an excellent interviewer – an ‘invisible skill’. I did not have any questions beforehand and so spoke ‘in the moment’. After the recording and we reviewed it, I was quite surprised at the way I had been able to formulate some really quite important issues about conducting research in general and educational research in particular.


Ralph McTell at Trinity College, Dublin – Interview/ Performance – M J Grenfell 2013

We invited Ralph to Dublin as part of the ‘Artist Biography’ project and were very pleased when he accepted to come. It turned out to be a special evening – for us, Ralph and his audience. The ‘right’ time and place. The idea was to interview him publically with him illustrating the discussion with some songs. Much preparation went into the evening, which involved a large number of Trinity staff. My collaborator in the project was colleague Marita Kerin. We prepared for the evening extensively with explorations of Ralph’s music and words. Marita did the actual interview and was brilliant.


We were all very moved by what happened.


On the Practice of Educational Theory – Prof. Michael Grenfell – Inaugural Lecture, Trinity College, Dublin 2010

It was a great honour to be appointed 1904 Chair of Education at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland. Part of the process is for the incumbent to offer an Inaugural Lecture, which sets out a main theme of their research and writings. I chose the issue of ‘theory and practice’, which is a topic that has haunted educational research. It was really the culmination of work which also involved the issue of reflexivity and began many years previously.


Quite an evening with a celebratory atmosphere.


Bourdieu, Language and Ethnography – Lecture – M J Grenfell  2017

An invited lecture I gave at the University of Sheffield. Issues of just what language was for Bourdieu and how his method can guide linguistic ethnographic research.