November 27, 2020 from 15:00 to 16:00 (Montreal/EST time) Zoom meeting

Colloquium presented by **Frances Kirwan (University of Oxford)**

Moduli spaces arise naturally in classification problems in geometry. The study of the moduli spaces of nonsingular complex projective curves (or equivalently of compact Riemann surfaces) goes back to Riemann himself in the nineteenth century. The construction of the moduli spaces of stable curves of fixed genus is one of the classical applications of Mumford's geometric invariant theory (GIT), developed in the 1960s; many other moduli spaces of 'stable' objects can be constructed using GIT and in other ways. A projective curve is stable if it has only very mild singularities (nodes) and its automorphism group is finite; similarly in other contexts stable objects are usually better behaved than unstable ones.

The aim of this talk is to explain how recent methods from a version of GIT for non-reductive group actions can help us to classify singular curves in such a way that we can construct moduli spaces of unstable curves (of fixed type). More generally our aim is to use suitable 'stability conditions' to stratify other moduli stacks into locally closed strata with coarse moduli spaces. The talk is based on joint work with Gergely Berczi, Vicky Hoskins and Joshua Jackson.