Blog from QMUL's School of English and Drama (SED)
Author: All Things SED Editor
I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website (www.sed.qmul.ac.uk) and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.
Having applied for a place at the School of English and Drama, we are sure you will have lots of concerns about what happens next.
We recognise how hard you will have been working and understand that this period is extremely unsettling. Please try not to worry, we will work hard to ensure that none of our applicants are disadvantaged by this unprecedented situation.
UCAS has advised that it will be providing an update for those applying for Undergraduate programmes as soon as possible.
If you have any specific questions about your course, your application or the School in general, we are happy to help. You can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
We will stay in touch and keep you up to date with our plans. In the meantime, stay safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming you soon.
Teaching, supervision and drop-in hours: All face-to-face teaching and student support in the School of English and Drama will take place online and/or by phone from Friday 13 March where staff are not taking industrial action.
Assessment: You are still expected to complete your assignments; in some cases, alternative forms of assessment will be set. You can submit your work up to 14 days late without the need for a Late Work application; this “grace period” applies to all assignments due in Semester 2 (i.e. those with deadlines from 16 February), the Exam Period (except alternative examination assignments for ESH101 and ESH110) and MA dissertations (due in August).
Access to Buildings: The Library and Arts One (including Drama’s performance spaces) have been temporarily closed. PC labs have been closed for health and safety reasons. Please consult Queen Mary’s central information for updates.
All academic Schools at Queen Mary are cancelling face-to-face teaching on their programmes from 5pm on Thursday 19 March.
In place of face-to-face provision, teaching and learning activities are being migrated online, principally via QMplus. In the School of English and Drama we took the decision to stop face-to-face teaching and migrate online from Friday 13 March.
This is in order to address multiple concerns about student and staff wellbeing, and to ensure a parity of experience for all students, including those who have been forced to absent themselves from class and/or return home due to the current pandemic.
Our joint honours partner Schools have made similar decisions, replacing face-to-face teaching with online teaching: the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film has cancelled all face-to-face teaching from Monday 16 March and the School of History has cancelled all face-to-face teaching from Tuesday 17 March.
Our decision is supported by the Principal of Queen Mary, Professor Colin Bailey.
No student will be required to come onto the Mile End campus for face-to-face teaching in the School of English and Drama for the remainder of this semester (until Thursday 9 April) or for examinations or other assessments in May.
No, although the School of English and Drama has closed physically the School’s administrative team remain available to support you remotely during normal working hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-1pm and 2-5pm); please email@example.com. Your teachers and advisors are available remotely for you for online teaching, supervision and support.
Academic staff have been asked to make the best possible arrangements for their modules in terms of providing online content, and to be available remotely for students in their classes during the normal timetabled teaching slots. These arrangements will necessarily vary, and you will need to watch out for specific announcements from your teachers about your lectures, seminars, and practice-based classes. In general we anticipate that online teaching materials will be available for you via QMplus for each class not affected by industrial action.
Please attend online classes at the scheduled UK time. If this isn’t possible (e.g. you’re asleep), please review the work and tasks for the assigned week at a convenient time, as close to the original class as possible.
Yes, as far as possible lecture content will be made available to you. Often this will mean reviewing a lecture from last year’s module via QReview, although sometimes teaching staff may post new video or audio content, or upload scripts. Copies of lecture slides and handouts will be uploaded to QMplus as normal.
Your teachers will advise you about what will happen in particular online sessions. You might, for example, be asked to email questions, contribute to online forum discussions, work through preparation questions, complete research tasks, etc. Copies of classroom slides and handouts will be uploaded to QMplus as normal.
In the first instance please contact your seminar/workshop leader or module convenor. They will be best placed to advise you what arrangements are in place for online learning on your module. Please be patient with your teachers as they adjust to this new way of working. You shouldn’t necessarily expect to find any additional online materials for the class until the date/time at which it is due to start.
The requirements for online learning in the School of English and Drama will be the same as your normal access to QMplus. However, if you do have concerns about your capacity to participate due to technical limitations, please get in touch for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have access to a computer due to financial hardship can apply for support through the Financial Assistance Fund. Please also advise your teachers of your concerns.
Queen Mary’s Library at Mile End and the University of London’s Senate House Library have been temporarily physically closed; please review their websites for up to date opening information. Both libraries offer online resources (e.g. journals, ebooks, databases) and you are strongly encouraged to make use of these resources, along with those on QMplus and other online sources, as appropriate (e.g. museums, galleries, artists, theatres etc.). Please be in touch with your teacher if you have concerns about access to resources.
Please only travel in accordance with UK government guidelines; if you’re outside the UK, please consult local guidelines.
You are not required to attend performances, exhibitions or undertake independent fieldwork in the UK set for your modules. Your teachers will advise of alternative learning activities and any assessment-related adjustments, where appropriate.
Please only travel in accordance with UK government guidelines; if you’re outside the UK, please consult local guidelines.
Yes. All teaching staff are expected to retain their existing drop-in hours and to offer remote meetings via email, telephone, and/or video conferencing, advising of you of any changes to availability where necessary. Staff are expected to use the same mechanisms to offer dissertation supervision as normal. Please feel free to contact your advisor, teacher and/or dissertation supervisor to find out what arrangements they have made and to book a remote appointment.
Loan periods: The Library is working to extend loan periods for items already on loan. Please check the Library website for updates.
Fines: All fines have been waived as of Monday 16 March, and no further fines will be incurred during the closure period.
Holds (reservations): These have ceased as of Wednesday 18 March. See the Library website for information on access to resources (books) and further information on alternative ways to access resources during the closure period.
Please consult the Library website for more details of digital support and services.
You will be asked to complete any assessed individual presentations via telephone or video conferencing (e.g. Skype, FaceTime), or written alternative where this has been agreed with your teacher. Your teacher will be in touch to arrange this in due course.
In the case of any assessed group presentations, you will be set an individual alternative assignment directly relating to your presentation (e.g. written script or notes, powerpoint slides, podcast, video). Again, your teacher will be in touch with further details. You will need to make your submission online to QMplus (in the same way as a written assignment) and a dedicated submission point will be set up. The deadlines for these alternative assessments will be no less than two weeks after the date on which a group presentation was due to take place.
Specific arrangements for alternative assessments will be made for each practice-based Drama module this semester, where practical projects had been scheduled between 16 March—9 April and in the Exam Period (May 2020). Your teacher will be in touch with further details as soon as possible.
Queen Mary has cancelled in-person examinations this May/June, including for ESH101 Shakespeare and ESH110 Literatures in Time. However, you will still be expected to complete formal assessment for these modules, and details of the alternative arrangement to the in-person examination will be made available by your teachers as soon as possible.
Only if your assignment is more than 14 days (or 336 hours) late. In light of the coronavirus pandemic (as well as the effects of the recent industrial action), the School of English and Drama will not apply Late Work Penalties to any assignment submitted within two weeks (14 days, or 336 hours) of the deadline. You therefore do not need to submit a Late Work Report application for any written assignment submitted less than two weeks late.
This 14-day “grace-period” applies to all assignments due in Semester 2 and during the Semester 2 Exam Period. In other words, all assignments with deadlines that fall between 16 February 2020 and 31 May 2020, and MA dissertations (due in August), can be submitted up to two weeks late, without penalty. It does not apply to the formal alternative examination arrangements for ESH101 Shakespeare and ESH110 Literatures in Time (details to follow from the convenors shortly), which are subject to different assessment regulations.
Only in particular circumstances: You can replace your assignment on QMplus up to 14 days (or 336 hours) after the deadline without needing to submit a Late Work Report application. Please take care, though: any replacement submission you make more than 14 days after the deadline will mean that the assignment is considered late (even if you had originally made an on-time submission).
If you submit an assignment more than 14 days after the deadline, you should follow the School’s existing processes relating to late work. Students with extenuating circumstances specifically related to coronavirus/COVID-19 should contact email@example.com.
The latest date by which you can submit a late assignment that is due in Semester 2 or in the Exam Period is 1 June 2020at 12.00 noon.
1 June at 12.00 noon is also the deadline to submit any Late Work Report applications for assignments due in Semester 2 or in the Exam Period.
The School of English and Drama recognises that this an area of key concern for students. Your teachers are working on preparing alternative assignments as a priority and will advise you as soon as possible (this will vary according to staff participation in industrial action). In the meantime, please keep working on your original assignments, as far as is possible, in relation to your personal circumstances (alternative assignments will draw on this work).
All students collaborating on group assignments will asked to make an individual submission for that piece of assessment to QMplus. Where circumstances permit, you may continue to collaborate with others in your group, in person or remotely, depending on your personal circumstances. Where you are unable to continue collaborating, please inform the rest of your group and continue working independently on the assignment instead. Where a member of your group is no longer able to collaborate, please respect their decision and continue to work with the remaining members of your group. All members of a group may make identical written submissions to a group assignment when you are drawing on collective work. Please ask your teacher for further advice if you are uncertain.
Your mark for participation (where this applies to a module you are taking) will be generated on the basis of the teaching you have received. Your teachers will grade your participation sympathetically, especially in cases where you may have had absences or online access difficulties.
All assignments will now be submitted electronically via QMplus. Your teacher will advise on any revisions to the assignment brief (e.g. submitting photographs of objects you have made rather than submitting the object itself).
If you have missing assignments at the end of the academic year, you should follow the School’s existing processes relating to extenuating circumstances. Students with extenuating circumstances specifically related to COVID-19 should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline to submit your Extenuating Circumstances application is 1 June 2020 at 12 noon.
The School of English and Drama is committed to ensuring that no student is disadvantaged in their assessment outcomes as a consequence of the current pandemic, industrial action and the transition to online teaching. Members of staff in the School have been instructed to mark your work on the basis of the teaching you have received and the resources that you’ve been able to access, and asked to adjust their expectations as necessary.
In advance of the Subject Examination Boards in English and Drama that confirm your final marks for the year, the School will take extra measures to review student achievement and progression in order to ensure that all students are being treated equally and sympathetically.
Your Year Abroad does not count in the calculation of your degree classification (it’s a pass/fail element of your programme, which you only need to ‘pass’ in order to progress to your final year). We expect that students in the School of English and Drama who are studying abroad for the 2019-20 academic year will receive a pass grade for the Year Abroad.
The School of English and Drama is waiting for further guidance on this matter. In the meantime, the School can, though, promise finalists that in preparation for our Subject Examination Boards we will take extra measures to review student achievement in order to ensure that all students are being treated equally and sympathetically.
The University will provide guidance on this matter and you are advised to consult the centrally maintained FAQs for further information. It is not possible for the School of English and Drama to make its own decision about this issue.
No. Queen Mary has postponed summer graduation ceremonies, and will be communicating new dates as soon possible. Please consult QueenMary’s graduation informationandgeneral FAQsfor updates as they become available.
This guidance has been compiled in order to provide students in
the School of English and Drama with the best possible information available at
the time of writing. Please remember that the institutional, national, and
international contexts in light of the coronavirus pandemic are uncertain and
changing, and it is likely that this will continue for some time. As a consequence,
we will need to update this information from time to time. Any new decisions
that are taken will always be with the best interests of students and staff
firmly in view.
If you have a question for the School of English and Drama that is
not addressed by this page, please email us on email@example.com.
At the burial site of Richard Burbage, the first player of Macbeth: 13th and 14th of March at St Leonard’s Church in Shoreditch, London. Tickets available at the door or at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/macbeth
This talk offers a case-study of a multi-level, AI-driven research on a major problem in history: the story of property law in the modern world. It applies topic modeling, n-gram analysis, skip grams, phrase detection, sentiment analysis, guided vocabularies, geoparsing, and dynamic topic models to understand the changing valences of how contemporaries discussed the ownership and inhabitation of property over time.
Queen Mary Postcolonial Seminar: Prof. Carrol Clarkson 23 March 2020, 5-6pm, ArtsTwo 3.20 – QMUL Mile End Prof. Carrol Clarkson (Amsterdam), ‘The Aesthetics of Transitional Justice’ (a discussion, seminar paper available by request, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Alumni Angles: Women in Leadership celebrate International Women’s Day 24 March 2020, 6.30-9pm, Peston Lecture Theatre, QMUL – Mile End To celebrate #IWD2020 join us for the inaugural event of QMUL’s Alumni Event Series ‘Alumni Angles’, part of the Queen Mary Public Event Series. The panellist event Women in Leadership: A conversation with alumnae leaders, will feature four inspirational alumnae leaders who will be talking to you about their experiences in predominantly male-led sectors and discussing how we can collectively help create a gender-equal world. The event is free for all students, alumni and staff. Book tickets
Holly Hughes is the first IHSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Sexual Cultures Research Group (aka SexCult) at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in March 2020. Her visit is supported by the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences at QMUL. Book online
Martin O’Brien presents a landmark live art event at the world famous ICA. He continues his exploration of mortality through his pain-based practice.
‘Born with a life-shortening disease, Martin has recently surpassed his life expectancy – as such, the artist is now living in what he terms ‘zombie time’. For The Last Breath Society(Coughing Coffin), Martin has gathered a society of sick queers, old queens and others thinking about death to collectively resist the loneliness of decay in a room full of coffins.’
Jerry Brotton hosted a BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature The East Speaks Back around Ottoman writer Evliya Celebi who will help us discover how the East saw the West in the 17th century. He is also speaking at Harrow Mosque on on early Islamic map making.
Phakama, People’s Palace Projects and Wasafiri Magazine: Three arts programmes based at Queen Mary University of London have each been rated strong or outstanding by the Arts Council England in its 2020 Creative Case for Diversity Report.
“So I got a phone call from Francesca telling me I had been nominated for the sem-finals for Gradventure – a competition for the student entrepreneurs of the University of London group where we would be pitching for funding! There were 16 semi-finalists and 8 of us made it to the finals!
On 1 February I had to pitch at Goldsmiths and a week later I was told I had gotten through to the finals! I believe I am the youngest finalist- the others have already graduated.
Next week, (March 12) I will be pitching for funding! By this time next year I want six authors published under Perspective Press Global so I need this funding to be able to provide services for editing, illustrating, marketing, cover designing etc.
When I graduate, I want to work on this full time; there is nobody else doing this in the UK and I already have a large following of almost 60,000 followers on my Instagram- many of whom message me asking me for help! I just need the funding to take it further; everything else is already in place!
Also, just as a side note, in celebration for International Women’s Day we will be donating a pack of sanitary towels (per book sale) for women who cannot afford them in order to raise awareness of Period Poverty!”
Roman Road Trust has launched their Crowdfund London to transform The Common Room into a fully-functional learning facility for the local community. Our alumna Rosie Vincent is the Director of the trust.
The Common Room is a temporary structure first built in 2014 in an un-loved corner of Roman Road. For the past six years, Roman Road Trust and Public Works have been testing out different uses for The Common Room to discover the needs and desires of local people.
The Common Room has been used by the local community for more than 50 events, workshops, and activities. It has become clear that local people are seeking a dedicated space to share their knowledge and skills with others.
However, The Common Room can only be used for
short periods during warm summer weather; the roof leaks, the floor is
slippery when wet, and it is too cold in the winter. It is clear the
structure needs to be transformed to enable Learning and Cultural
Programmes to be delivered throughout the year.
Roman Road Trust
is raising funds through the Mayor of London’s Crowdfund London to
transform the existing structure. The Common Room will need new roofing,
flooring, front extension, storage, and toilet.
Rosie Vincent, Director of Roman Road Trust says
‘This is a chance for the local community to come together to make something amazing happen in Roman Road. The Common Room is known and has been used by many local people and organisations over the years. It is now time for The Common Room to become what it truly deserves to be’
‘If we have enough support
from the local community, then the Mayor of London will pledge up to
£50k towards our project. But we have to first prove The Common Room is
something the community want through gaining pledges from local people
Once The Common Room is built, Roman Road
Trust and Public Works will plan a Learning Programme that will begin by
focusing on sustaining healthy high streets and providing training in
Community Organising to local groups. Cultural Programmes will be
planned in collaboration with local institutions to reflect our diverse
local community. The programmes offered in The Common Room will
continually evolve to suit the needs, desires, and interests of local
Shakespeare’s candlelit production of Macbeth premieres at The Holy Trinity Church,
Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s burial place, and then tours to London
for a very limited run at St Leonard’s
Church, Shoreditch, the burial site of Shakespeare’s main actor, Richard
Shakespeare is an innovative theatre company that combines scholarship and
creative practice inspired by the working conditions in which Shakespeare
conceived his plays. Shakespeare’s “myriad minded” texts are brought to life by
a diverse, gender-blind, actor-led ensemble, in an intensively short rehearsal
period, without a director.
Stratford location: Church of the Holy Trinity, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BG
The Duchess of Botany: Mary Somerset, Jacob Bobart, and the Formation of the Oxford Botanic Garden
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the University of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum (OBGA) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded doctoral grant from October 2020.
This studentship is funded for 3 years and 9 months (45 months) full time or part-time equivalent. It directly complements attention to OBGA’s heritage in preparation for celebrating the Botanic Garden’s 400th anniversary in 2021 by exploring key aspects of its early history.
Research will examine the material and intellectual networks that supported the development of its plant collections and institutional structures during the later seventeenth century, with a particular focus on two intriguing figures: the elite female botanical collector, Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort; and the Botanic Garden’s second superintendent, Jacob Bobart the younger.
full description of the project objectives and application process is available
in the Further Particulars.
This doctoral training grant is funded through the AHRC’s
Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme. Collaboration
between a Higher Education Institution and a museum, library, archive, or
heritage organisation is the essential feature of these doctoral training
grants. The doctoral training grant is fully funded (living stipend and tuition
fees) at UKRI rates and is subject to standard AHRC eligibility, rules, and
guidance for the research students whom they fund and support. AHRC’s
minimum stipend rate and indicative fees rate for 2020/21 are detailed on the
UKRI website. This
studentship also offers generous research expenses (including support for travel
between QMUL and OBGA), specialist training, and access to shared working space
at both institutions.
CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (or part-time equivalent). The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities. The award holder will be appropriately embedded for a period on this basis within the education team at OBGA, and will be encouraged to explore possible placements with external partners, including the Natural History Museum in London and University of Padua Botanic Garden.
This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Richard Coulton (QMUL) and
Professor Simon Hiscock (OBGA). The student will be expected to spend time at
both QMUL and OBGA, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded
students across the UK.
with interests in the history of science, garden and landscape studies, material
history, exchange networks, and the history of collections will be especially
welcome, as will those with relevant historical interests in heritage
management and museum studies. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact Dr
Richard Coulton (email@example.com) and Professor Simon Hiscock
(firstname.lastname@example.org) before preparing an
The successful candidate will commence their PhD in October 2020. They
will hold their doctoral training grant in the Faculty of Humanities and Social
Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, and will work in partnership with University
of Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum.
deadline: 5pm on Wednesday 11 March, 2020
Oozing Gloop (Drama graduate) will present The Gloop Show episode 2 on the same day. Karis Shearer Archiving Performance and Feminist Close Listening 12 Feb, QMUL (Graduate Centre GC202 3-5pm) Karis will be speaking about archival work and its hidden aspects, in a discussion informed by the methodology of ‘feminist close listening’. All staff and postgraduate students especially welcome for further information please contact Howard Finn at email@example.com.
Charlote Byrne (English/Comparative Literature) will be launching her Young Adult novel on Tuesday 3 March. Details here
Josh Fraser (English student) reveals all about the English society for Cub magazine. Read the piece
Saramarie Harvie (English student) hosted and curated Show and Tell #11 with a fantastic panel of speakers including: Sumaya Kassim Writer and Researcher (The Museum Will Not Be Decolonised) presenting inspiring intersectional mini talks.
Jen Harvie (Drama) has given a presentation on Genderqueering Time, Ageing and Relationships, with Split Britches at the
Looking for an LGBT+ friendly employer, not sure where to begin? Join us as part of the Students’ Union LGBT+ History Month and ahead of the Pride Careers Fair to find out the key aspects to look for when searching for the right employer to begin your career journey. Hear from a panel who will give invaluable advice and talk about their personal experiences.
Topics will include:
How to identify a supportive employer How to come out at work and the benefits How to build a network What LGBT+ students have to offer
We’ll be hearing from:
Triona Desmond – lesbian co-parent and Senior Chartered Trade Mark Attorney at Pinsent Masons LLP. Sal Morton (he/they) – a queer artsperson and senior researcher and content writer for career guide Chambers Student. Daniel Nasr – diversity & inclusion specialist for the charity and international development sectors, currently leading on Unicef’s inclusion strategy in the U.K. Dr Lipi Begum– senior fashion and sustainability lecturer and researcher for the University of the Arts London. Kenneth Pritchard– gay public affairs and strategic communications professional for the Post Office.
Timings for the event will be as follows: 16:00-17:00 Panel conversation 17:00-17:30 Audience Q&A 17:30-18:00 Chit chat
Interested in the Media sector? Journalism? Publishing? Theatre? Radio? Join us to explore a variety of industries and roles. Learn why these roles are realistic to pursue and how to secure a position in your chosen sector. You will hear from professionals who will talk about their personal experience of the sector and give you top tips along the way! Come prepared with some questions and be ready to do some valuable networking.
Confirmed representatives include (with more to follow!):
PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) is a global
professional services firm operating in 157 countries and employing 276,000
staff in 100s of different roles advising businesses on areas including
audit, tax, legal, consultancy, climate change, human resources, risk, deals
and many more. They are really interested in employing graduates studying
Humanities and in fact already do employ a number of QM Humanities alumni.
Ashley O’Connell, a recruiter at PwC, is
coming to talk about why a global business such as PwC is interested in you,
what skills do you have that are valuable to a business like theirs, what kind
of opportunities exist, why these are good roles for Humanities students, what
they look for in students, what kind of activities they value that you get
involved in and how Humanities students can do well in recruitment.
Ashley is flying over from the Channel
Islands and will talk about opportunities in both London and the Channel
Islands including, graduate jobs, summer internships and insight
programmes. N.B. There are still vacancies for 2020 graduates to start in
the Channel Islands this summer.
If you are curious as to what you have to
offer a big business operating in any sector, this is a great chance to
understand how to market your degree in a way that makes you relevant and to
get top tips and insights from a business recruiter.
Finding deadlines and time-management overwhelming? Requiring academic support and guidance from undergraduate students? PASS is here to help!
(Peer-Assisted Study Support) is a mentoring scheme which is run by students
for students, specifically first-year students who have a keen interest in
gaining academic advice from upper-year undergraduate students. PASS is firmly
established in 14 departments at Queen Mary, including the English and Drama
department. Mentors at PASS offer invaluable and comprehensive help to
students, which has proven to benefit students moving onto their final years at
English PASS, most of the sessions which run on a weekly basis are orientated
around upcoming assignments and assisting students with queries related to
academia. I think this scheme is a great opportunity for first-year
students to consolidate their learning by discussing their queries or
more information about PASS feel free to email the links below:
Dominic Johnson is a Professor of Performance and Visual Culture in our department of Drama. In his profile below, he discusses his research which engages with LGBTQIA+ histories and practices, his work with living artists and his connection with the Pathology Museum.
How long have you worked at Queen Mary?
I’ve been at Queen Mary as a permanent member of staff since 2006. I worked
here for a year before that whilst I was finishing my PhD at the Courtauld
Institute of Art on the artist Jack Smith,
who was a pioneer in queer theatre and performance art in New York in the 60s
Could you tell us about your involvement in LGBT+ History month?
My research engages with LGBTQIA+
histories and practices. I’ve been documenting and historicising the
relationship between performance and visual culture and sexual practices and
sexual identities. I’ve been looking at artists who identify as LGBTQIA+ and whose
work is critical to histories of sexuality and sexual practices. An
example of this is working on an artist who uses S&M practices in his work
and thinking about the ethics and politics of trafficking a sexual practice
into a performance.
I teach the bulk of the week so I am busy with my students. I set up and
convene the MA
Live Art and I also run postgraduate taught programmes in Drama.
I also do research, which might include working directly with artists for
example through studio visits, as well as work in archives and arts
organisations. I’m a co-founder of the Sexual Cultures Research Group
and we have put on some really exciting events. I’m also on the board of
directors of the Live Art
In July I’ll be taking over as Head of Drama, so that will be a big change.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I enjoy working with students, especially the MA students as they really
focus in on their aspirations. Teaching works best when it is an active
co-creation of knowledge. When a class goes well, you go in and propose
something you haven’t fully articulated and through the process of presenting
and discussing it, something profound might come about.
I feel really privileged as a researcher as I get to work with and spend
time with artists. For example, I recently worked with the artist Skip Arnold in Marseilles. It was really
exciting to spend time with an artist who has been making important work for a
really long time and to collaborate together: we ended up organising an event
together in London at the Live Art Development Agency – I’m also publishing a
journal article on his work later this year. I find that exciting, thrilling
and joyful. I’ve had similar encounters with a lot of different artists and I
get to see performances all around the world: I recently went on research trips
to Mexico City, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
What do you see as your role in helping the University achieve its
The key strategies in, but also around, the published one have to be about
continuing to increase Widening Participation. Universities such as this one
need to encourage diversity – especially in terms of race and ability – amongst
its staff and students. The other strategy I had a hand in shaping was the Arts
and Culture Strategy, which runs until 2022 and is about encouraging
wellbeing through the arts, enabling access to the arts, and how it enhances
life for all students – and not just those studying courses in the arts and
What’s your favourite place on any of our campuses?
My favourite place is the Pathology
Museum. I’ve done a few events with Carla
Valentine, the Assistant Curator, including giving a lecture, and taking
students there on a second year drama module to learn about the archives. I’ve
been working with the Queen Mary archives to acquire live art collections. We
have recently acquired archives for Ian
Hinchliffe and Jon
John. Jon John’s archive includes huge amounts of blood-covered canvases,
piercing instruments, and other surprising materials that remind me of
the specialist artefacts in the Pathology Museum.
If you could tell a prospective student one thing about Queen Mary,
what would it be?
It’s in the East End and that is really crucial. It is such a rich and
diverse environment. Everything is on our doorstep, especially in terms of
performance and live art. You can go to the Whitechapel Gallery down the
road and access gems such as Live
Art Development Agency in Bethnal Green, Toynbee Studios in Aldgate, and Acme Studios across the Mile End Park.
Do you have any unusual hobbies, pastimes outside of work?
I box at a gym called Blok in Clapton twice a week. I’ve been boxing for a
couple of years. I just went to a class one day and totally loved it and I feel
like it’s great to do a form of exercise where you are constantly learning – at
the same time it clears your mind so intensely of all the things I otherwise
have to worry about. It feels deeply primal.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I published a book in 2015 called The Art of Living which included long
interviews with 14 artists or groups. I would invite them because the
conversations I had with them were totally thrilling and enjoyable. Three of
them have passed away since – each of them were friends – so it would be really
nice to talk to them again.
This interview was originally published on our staff website Connected.
See a free epic CLIMATE CHANGE art exhibition at Mile End Arts Pavilion: The exhibition will showcase the work of emerging
artists and designers alongside protest artefacts, exploring the
immediate challenges of the climate crisis and beyond, to the new way of
living. Throughout the exhibition there will be a range of associated events,
talks and workshops from organisations such as Women’s Environmental
Network, Client Earth and Extinction Rebellion as well as from featured
We caught up with creative entrepreneur Corinna Bordoli to talk about her new adventures in babysitting with ToddlerTunez after studying Drama at Queen Mary.
Tell us about ToddlerTunez. What’s the idea and how did it come about?
After graduating in Drama at Queen Mary, I started a Master in Arts and Cultural Management at King’s College. There I met Lea – my co-founder. One of the first things I remember about her is that she told me she had been babysitting on the side during her undergraduate degree in Music. She had created a company to better sell her services as musical babysitter, but at the time it was her alone doing the babysitting. I straight-away related to her as I also did babysitting on the side of my studies, and thinking about it, it had also been creative, mostly focusing on crafts and all families loved it. After completing my masters, we both went off to careers in arts administration. In December 2018, Lea asked me to join her as a co-founder of ToddlerTunez as she wanted to scale the business and give it a bit of a shake!
At the time, ToddlerTunez was basically musical babysitting to 0-5 year olds. When Lea and I started brainstorming together, we realised that we could do so much more with it! Now ToddlerTunez has a growing pool of sitters and we have recently started our first official marketing campaign. We cater for children from 0 to 15 with three different services – ToddlerTunez still 0 to 5 year olds, RocketTunez for children 6-10 years old, and FineTunerz for 11 to 15 year olds. ToddlerTunez combines two services in one: babysitting with creativity. All sitters help families with the usual babysitting chores – picking children up from school, taking them home, occasionally cooking meals. But they also provide creative sessions during those times, completely tailored to the families’ requirements. We match families with the perfect sitter for them – we also cater for different foreign languages and specific skills. Our sitters are all DBS checked and are professionals in their craft – we have actors, dancers, choreographers, musicians, singers and also puppeteers, mask makers, and more!
What are your favourite things about starting up a business?
All the reasons why I love starting up a business are connected to creativity. I have so many ideas every day. When you set up your own business you can actually follow all your ideas through and spend your time and energy making them happen. I love being able to set my own goals and achieve them following my own values. ToddlerTunez holds sustainability and diversity close to its heart and being the founder of a company gives you the option to operate following those values completely. Another one of my favourite things is the speed of learning.
ToddlerTunez is the first business for both my cofounder and I, and as I have been working as an employee for a while during my journey with ToddlerTunez, I have been realising that what I love most is learning. In a job as an employee, you learn intensively for the first two-three months. As an entrepreneur, you can learn at the same intensity every day. I had to quickly learn about taxes, pitching, marketing and every day it is a challenge and there is something I realise I have to learn. Which makes every day absolutely worth it.
Another one of my favourite aspects of being an entrepreneur is the connections made with people. Seeing people loving your business and being able to create a community around it is my goal. We are a business that is solving two problems in one – that of helping families save time and money by combining two services in one, and that of unemployment of creative professionals. Being able to solve those problems is definitely a reason to get out of bed every morning and work hard.
Who or what inspires you to make the project happen?
As a child, I grew up with au-pairs. The one I remember most and whom I am still friends with now – Barbara – was extremely creative. I still love doing my crafts and singing in my free time and I use creativity in my daily life – being an entrepreneur is the most creative job in my opinion. Exposure to creativity in early years is proven to help development including fine motor skills, speech, social skills etc. It also helps developing problem solving, listening, communication skills, and it gives lots of tools to develop imagination, mindfulness and concentration and to help adults never stop playing. This is what I think is most valuable for everyone and I believe all children should be granted exposure to creativity for those reasons.
With ToddlerTunez, Lea and I really want to help families in the UK, offering a service that is almost self organised as we do all the admin, so that all families can access it easily. A more mindful, creative society full of individuals who collaborate to solve problems is the world I want to see in the future. This inspires me every day to work on ToddlerTunez and I think it can contribute to the present and future happiness of families.
What would be your top tips for students to think about if they
want to start a business or project?
First of all,I encourage everyone to dive into any work opportunities that come up – whatever the job is – as it will provide a lot of skills but mostly makes you realise what it is that you really want or don’t want to do. I felt a bit ‘behind’ as coming from Italy, I had never studied drama before, so during university I tried to catch up on work experience. I joined societies, found more or less paid internships, worked for catering companies, worked as a model in the fashion industry, organised events freelance and did my occasional babysitting. That helped me see so much of the world and understand a lot about myself. This helped me find the field that I love – arts administration and operations – and gain experience in it.
After you have found your field, I suggest you to share and challenge your ideas with family, friends and strangers and start testing your ideas out. If you are interested in starting up a business I suggest you to listen to entrepreneurs’ podcasts, meet up with local entrepreneurs from whom you can learn about almost anything. Entrepreneurship is a very high-responsibility activity and can often feel lonely, but it can be lived amazingly when feeling part of a community.
How could students at Queen Mary help?
ToddlerTunez is currently looking for friends who value creativity, diversity, sustainability and love our idea to join our community. We need ambassadors and volunteers to help us spread the word through marketing and help in administration. In exchange, students will gain experience in arts administration and in the startup environment. This is also an occasion to meet friends and to get inspired by other amazing creatives. Every Friday afternoon this January, we are organising meet-ups around London, so let us know if you want to join, and tell your friends!
Get in touch if you know any potential clients, are interested in gaining experience in arts administration, becoming a sitter or knowing more about us! We are also eager to hear about your ideas on key locations, events, communities where we can best spread the word about ToddlerTunez.
Applicants who wish to be considered for an AHRC-funded studentship must apply directly to the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP). The deadline for applications to LAHP is January 31.. Only home and EU applicants are eligible to apply for AHRC funding.
who apply to Queen Mary before 19
January 2020 will
automatically be entered for the Queen Mary Principal’s Studentships (QMPS).
Home, EU and international applicants are eligible for the QMPS scheme.
BAME Studentships for UK/EU
encourage applicants from BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) groups who
have been previously under-represented in this process.
2020 entry, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences will be offering two
fully funded doctoral studentships (tuition fees and stipend of £17,009 per
year, or £8,505 part-time) to UK or EU applicants from a BAME background.
Awards are tenable for up to three years. Applications will also be considered
from students who are currently in the first year of a full-time PhD programme,
or the first two years of a part-time programme.
be eligible to apply for these studentships you must be UK or EU permanent
residents from a BAME background, and eligible to pay home/EU student fees.
for the BAME studentships must make
an additional application to be considered for these awards. This will consist
ID number from your application to a PhD programme at QMUL
monitoring information (via a questionnaire)
short statement of no more than 500 words detailing the challenges you have
experienced pursuing your research.
these elements should be entered or uploaded to an online application
tool administered by QMUL’s Doctoral College, by 1700 on19 January 2020.