SPIN (Secrecy, Power, & Ignorance Network)


SPIN and the SWDTP are delighted to offer a series of forthcoming panels and workshops on the theme of secrecy and ignorance

SPIN (the Secrecy, Power, and Ignorance research Network) is a collection of academics, artists and practitioners interested in understanding how knowledge is unmade in relation to social, political, and knowledge-making processes across all disciplines, in all areas of life, and across empirical, theoretical and methodological approaches.

Based across the southwest, with members at Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa, Cardiff, Exeter, Portsmouth, and UWE , we are an interdisciplinary group at all stages of career. We’re very keen to work with and support PhD researchers across the SWDTP to develop understandings of and methods associated with studying secrecy and ignorance. Do consider joining us for an event or two, or to find out more, visit our website.


Past Events

Adam Sisman on Le Carre: Writing and Researching Elusive Subjects – 24 November 2021, 1pm-2pm

This month, we are delighted to welcome guest author and researcher, Adam Sisman to discuss researching, interviewing and writing about the elusive David John Moore Cornwell (aka the globally successful spy fiction author John le Carré).  

Le Carré, who passed away last year, may be best known for his fictionalised spyworlds, but this fiction was often based on his own life and his experiences of working in MI5 and MI6 at the height of the Cold War. For Sisman, the challenge of writing and telling the stories of Cornwell’s life therefore meant negotiating these histories, as well as le Carré’s tendency to continue to produce ambiguity about his life and work.

Please join us for a conversation with Adam Sisman, author of John le Carré: The Biography. How can one research, write and tell stories about the world of intelligence? How does one conduct interviews, archival work and craft a narrative? What does it mean to research and write around secrecy?


Book launch: William Walters, ‘State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary ‘ – 22 September 2021

SPIN is delighted to host the book launch for Professor William Walters’ new book State Secrecy and Security: Refiguring the Covert Imaginary. In the book, William Walters calls for secrecy to be given a more central place in critical security studies and elevated to become a core concept when theorising power in liberal democracies.


Twenty Years of the Global War on Terror: Looking back, looking forward – 8 September 2021

Marking the twentieth anniversary of the Global War on Terror: This SPIN panel brings together a range of experts on the war to reflect on what we now know (and still don’t) about its causes and its legacies.

Covering the war on terror through its military occupations; the rise of new domestic and international surveillance and police powers; the development of new industries, technologies and specialists in terrorism and counter-terrorism (including the rise of special operations’ manhunts and drone warfare); as well as the scandals of extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo and torture, and the challenges of accountability in an age of digital archives and misinformation.