The streets of Whitechapel resonate with sounds of song as Victorian protest takes place

Academics from Queen Mary University of London have led a series of workshops with year seven students from five east London schools exploring how Victorian Londoners protested against their pay and working conditions.

Workshop organisers, Dr Vivi Lachs and Dr Nadia Valman from Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama, drew upon their research on the musical and political culture of nineteenth century Jewish immigrants to the East End. Students learned Victorian protest songs, made placards expressing demands and wrote their own political speeches and chants.

On Tuesday 25 September the students paraded along the streets of Whitechapel with professional musicians from the Great Yiddish Parade marching band. The parade followed the same route where east Londoners protested in the Victorian period, drawing upon the wave of strikes that spread across East London in 1889.

The songs of the parade were sung in Yiddish, the language spoken by the Jewish immigrant population, who made up the majority of poorly paid workers in Victorian east London.

After parading up Whitechapel Road, the students finished with performances in Altab Ali Park. The aim of the workshop and parade was to promote awareness of the local heritage of protest to enable students to articulate their own versions of protest through writing, design and song.

“Singing songs helped raise the morale of Victorian workers who were enduring terrible conditions in factories and workshops, and brought messages of hope that collective action could bring about change,” said Dr Lachs.

“We hope that this project will give students a glimpse into east London’s rich local history of protest,” added Dr Valman.

More information

The workshop, Protest in Victorian Whitechapel, was led by Dr Vivi Lachs and Dr Nadia Valman from Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama. Five schools from London’s East End participated:

– Central Foundation School for Girls

– Mulberry School for Girls

– Oaklands School

– Duke’s Aldridge Academy

– Issac Newton Academy

Photos by Paul Jordan

Welcome Back Returning Students in 2018/19 – Key Information

Hello returning second and third years as well as new students coming into these years!

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Timetables

Teaching starts on Monday 24 September but remember to look up your timetable here on QMPlus or in the app.

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#SEDMOVIENIGHT | Tuesday 25 September – 6-8pm | ArtsTwo Foyer and Lecture Theatre

Relax and unwind with your fellow students watching a movie voted for by you! There’s free drinks and snacks and you could win some ace prizes in our raffle.

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Show and Tell | Wednesday 26 September – 6-8pm | ArtsOne Lecture Theatre and Foyer

A new and exciting series of short TED-style talks hosted by the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

Speakers for 26 September:

  • Ema Boswood: Producer at Marlborough Theatre (Drama graduate)
  • Jade French: Researcher (English PhD)
  • James Lamont: TV writer and creator of The Amazing Adventures of Gumball (English graduate)
  • Zoe McGee: Literature Researcher at QMUL
  • Jen Harvie: Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance

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#SEDsummer – Win £25 Voucher for Your Summer Story

Welcome back to the School of English & Drama…

Apart from sitting on a beach or simply melting in the July heatwave here in London, how did you spend your summer? Tell us by email or Tweet / Insta with the hashtag #SEDsummer to enter to win one of two £25 Amazon vouchers.

Whether working 72 hours a week at the Edinburgh Festival, doing admin in PR, starting your own blog, work shadowing at a magazine, shelf-stacking in Sainsbury’s, teaching Theresa May to dance, tour guiding at Buckingham Palace, interning with the Civil Service… whatever you have been up to, we would love to hear from you.

Describe the achievements of your summer in 75 words or less and email it to sed-web@qmul.ac.uk or tag us on Instagram or Twitter @qmulsed and include the hashtag #SEDsummer

2 entries will win a £25 Amazon voucher. Deadline: 5pm on Friday 5 October 2018.

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Listen to our Show and Tell #1 Podcast

Show and Tell is a series of TED-talk style events where speakers from the arts, humanities and creative industries tell their stories at Queen Mary University of London. Find out more: bit.ly/showandtell18

This episode features publishing wizz Sarah Garnham, poet Bridget Minamore and dance artistic director Alex Whitley. Full biogs below.

The show is introduced by Patricia Hamilton, Charlie Pullen and features Rupert Dannreuther from School of English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Rupert Dannreuther
Rupert is responsible for marketing within Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama. He has worked for numerous organisations including Cineworld, Hackney Empire, The Yard Theatre and Rose Bruford College. In his spare time he runs To Do List a website about offbeat things to do in London.
todolist.org.uk

Sarah Garnham
Sarah graduated from QMUL with an English degree in 2016. She now works as a PR Executive in the busy children’s books department at Egmont Publishing and has worked for other publishers including Penguin Random House, HarperCollins and Canongate.
uk.linkedin.com/in/sarahjanegarnham

Bridget Minamore
Bridget Minamore is a British-Ghanaian writer from south-east London. She is a poet, critic, essayist, and journalist, often writing about pop culture, theatre, race and class. Titanic (Out-Spoken Press), her debut pamphlet of poems on modern love and loss, was published in May 2016.
bridgetminamore.com

Alexander Whitley
Alexander Whitley is a London-based choreographer working at the cutting edge of British contemporary dance. As artistic director of Alexander Whitley Dance Company he has developed a reputation for a bold interdisciplinary approach to dance making. He has also created work for several of the UK’s leading companies including the Royal Ballet, Rambert, Balletboyz, Candoco and Birmingham Royal Ballet.
www.alexanderwhitley.com