As a lot of you know, each Head of Drama at QMUL takes on the post for three years and then hands it on. Today’s my last day as Head and I’m writing to thank all of you for making it such a pleasure. When I’m asked what it’s like at QMUL I always say that its brilliant, creative, energetic, original students make it an extraordinary place to work (and the staff too, of course!). Thanks to everyone I’ve worked with on Costume Dramas, Madness and Theatricality, London Theatre Now, Performing Shakespeare, MA/MSc Performing Mental Health.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the projects I did to keep me going through some of the less exciting bits of admin (trips to Bath, Coriolanus at the Barbican, Wiltons). Thanks to everyone who’s come to see me about everything from Theatre Company, to new societies, to Diversity in the Drama Curriculum. Thanks to all the student reps and all the ambassadors. Thanks to everyone who’s participated in this amazing Department over the past three years.
Next up as Head is Caoimhe McAvinchey. I know you’re all going to enjoy working with her enormously.
See you at graduation if you’re a Finalist; best of luck to everyone for next year.
Dr Bridget Escolme
Head of Drama
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London
London E1 4NS.
Queen Mary student and Tower Hamlets citizen journalist Seren Morris was awarded Third Prize in the 2017 London Voices journalist competition sponsored by The Media Society and London Learning Consortium at a high profile event at the London Reform Club last week.
Seren’s written entry considers the problems of London students trying to earn a living wage, and was part of a competition designed to encourage new talent into journalism.
Dubbed London Voices, the competition aims to promote emerging journalism talent across the capital and to generate a range of new perspectives and ideas about London. Aspiring citizen journalists submitted articles, videos or photos which debated and challenged the ways people think about their communities. The competition was launched against a background of discussion about the proliferation of ‘fake news’, and is part of an attempt to fight back by encouraging citizens to become part of reporting ‘real’ news about their communities and issues.
Seren has just completed her second year at Queen Mary, University of London, where she studies English Lit. She interviewed six London students about the vexed issue of trying to earn a living wage for work and internships, and the problems they face surviving economically while needing to take low (or no) paying work relevant to their studies and future work prospects. Her magazine-style entry can be watched on the London Voices website at http://www.londonlc.org.uk/london-voices/.
Media Society judges Patrick Barrow and Barney Jones loved Seren’s “beautifully presented” article and felt it was, “detailed, thoughtful and clear, with some great photos and graphics”. She was presented with her award by President of The Media Society, Richard Peel.
Seren credits her interest in journalism to both the Welsh tradition of celebrating arts and literature, and her mum and grandmother’s talent for creative writing and poetry. She also values the encouragement her father gave her around photography, which has impacted on her love of media in general. She hopes one day to work in print journalism and independent magazines, concentrating on women in the arts.
This is the last events and opportunities digest for the exam term.
Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.
This lecture draws upon Jenny’s experience as artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company, her work internationally and on the Paralympic opening ceremony for London 2012, to explore issues of access, aesthetics and social justice in theatre and performance.
An incredible 2 weeks of events lined up, including film screenings, discussions, interventions and performances.
The eclectic programme will be showcasing work from a range of academics, live artists and recent Queen Mary graduates.
Highlights in the next week include:
- First Flights (Thurs 8 June): A showcase of graduating students of 2017 including Chloe Dorato & Molly Giles, Trash City, Hugo Aguirre, Mimi Gilles, Georgina Da Silva, TABOO, Holly Smelt & Anna Dean, Rosie Vincent, Chloe Borthwick, Andrew Bourne.
- Alumni Showcase (Friday 9 June): A day of performances from QMUL alumni. Beth Christlow, Atlas, Ema Boswood, Hannah Maxwell, Moa Johansson, Amanda Hohenberg and Pussy Patrons.
See the programme
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I’m in the second year of my PhD at Queen Mary’s SED and a Teaching Associate. I have been balancing my PhD work on portraiture and radicalism with researching and creating project refuge/e which has so far toured to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, The Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, BALTIC centre for contemporary art.
The project originated in Lebanon. I was driving with my partner from the mountains in the north back to Beirut. We saw encampment after encampment of makeshift Syrian refugee shelters stretching across the Bekaa Valley. In Lebanon, 1 in 4 people is a refugee. This recent arrival of Syrians has added to the refugee communities of Palestinians, Iraqi and Afghani refugees to which the country already host. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Many of these structures had been standing for five years. They were built by the families which lived in them.
The shelters, barrikea, were made from ramshackle materials, wood and plastic sheeting provided by UNHCR as well as found items to improve and weatherproof the structure: advertising boards, corrugated iron, at least ten tyres to hold down the plastic on the roof. Between 8 to 14 people lived in a 7m x 4m space. The land the each shelter stood on was rented for around $100 a month. The architecture of the shelters tells us about the political situation in Lebanon and the social and economic pressures the whole county is under. The government’s policy is to make life sufficiently uncomfortable that Syrians will not be able to stay long term. The kit that Syrians are given on arrival is flimsy and short-term, designed to allow them to build themselves a shelter that will last a year or two at the most. It reminds you of the £55 per week asylum-seekers in the UK are expected to live on – as it is impossible to live on that with dignity, it is supposed to be a sop to domestic voters and to put people off coming if possible.
We wanted to show people in the UK what is going on in Lebanon, to counter the myth that refugees could just stay in their neighbouring countries. refuge/e is a reconstruction of one of these typical Syrian refugee shelters found in Lebanon. With funding from Art Fund and The British Council, we planned with UNHCR Lebanon an extensive research and material gathering trip in November 2016. We learned first-hand how people coped with this challenge, then shipped a shelter kit and local materials back to the UK. We then crafted sculptures in plaster and brass of of possessions found in these homes. As you walk around the installation you can listen to refugees speaking about their daily experiences of living for years in tents or shells of buildings, struggling for normality in displacement. Hassan and Birra, two young men resettled to Sheffield from Syria and Ethiopia respectively, will be in the installation everyday acting as our guides and experts by experience.
Each day there are live link ups to emerging refugee DJs from around the world at 18.30 most evenings and a talk on the role technology has played in the refugee crisis. There will be Iftar each evening too.
More details can be found at www.projectrefugee.co.uk
And you can follow us on twitter @amp_art_uk or on Facebook