English and Drama Newsletter – July 2020 Edition

Welcome to July 2020 from English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Virtual Celebration: Next month we’re celebrating our class of 2020 with a virtual event on 5 August. Final year students can register here

NSS: We have donated £175 each to World Wildlife Fund and Student Minds on behalf of our students for completing the National Student Survey. Thanks to everyone who completed this!

New Head of Drama: We would also like to welcome Professor Dominic Johnson (pictured above left) as our new Head of Drama. Read more about his work in the interview here.


Our student of the month for July is English student Eve Bolton.

Online Events

OPEN DAY RELOADED

Virtual Open Day – for 2021+ Applicants
Friday 17 July 2020, 1-4pm BST, Online

We’re offering another opportunity for prospective undergraduate students to explore our courses and get their questions answered.

Register here

LISTINGS

Performance, Possession & Automation

Performance, Possession & Automation Series
Read more about the series

Automation & Cultural Production
17 July, 6-8pm (BST), Online
– Free
Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout (Drama) for a conversation about automation and cultural production.
Register here

Possession & Performance
24 July, 6-8pm (BST), Online
– Free
Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance. 
Register here

Possession & Subjectivity
31 July, 6-8 pm (BST), Online – Free
Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.
Register here

Porch Sitting

Online Porch Sitting – Split Britches
28 July, Online – Free via Barbican
Join queer-feminist theatre icon, Lois Weaver (Drama), in this re-imagined online version of her Porch Sitting. Sit, think, dream, wonder and take part in conversation around our collective future. Photo by Alex Legge (Drama alumna).
Find out more

BOOK AHEAD

Utopian Bloomsbury
Sunday 18 October 2020, Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury has at times in its history been much associated with visionary, utopian thinking and writing. This walk with Dr Matthew Ingleby will explore that history.
From socialists and anarchists to feminists and queer artists, the neighbourhood has inspired a distinctly futural imagination, which has allowed readers to see how things might be, not only what they empirically, provably are.

FREE – but pre-booking is essential.

Register here

News & Links

Bim Adeyemi and Dee Ndumiso (Drama Master’s Students) have made a powerful video about Black Lives Matter and the Why We Kneel campaign.

Watch here

Arts & Culture at QMUL have a range of support for artists throught the Queen Mary Arts & Culture Support Centre.

Find out more

Nadia Atia (English) and Malachi McIntosh (Wasafiri Magazine based at QMUL) presented on Iraq and Teaching Migration and Empire respectively at British Empire in English Studies event at University of Kent.

Read more here

Julie Rose Bower

Julie Rose Bower has had her second ASMR video published by Victoria and Albert Museum and it features work using our Drama department’s very one ambisonic microphone. This video has costumes worn by Vivien Leigh, Sandie Shaw, PJ Harvey, Belinda Wright and Adzogbo dancers. JRB was also  named as one of the artists you need to know for ‘carving out space to reflect on the world today’ in Elephant magazine.

Watch here

Jerry Brotton

Jerry Brotton (English)’s Mapping the Future programme is on BBC iPlayer now. In the programme he navigates the transformation from paper to digital mapping, from print to pixels, asks what is being gained and lost and in whose interests the evolution serves.

Listen here

Dr Duckie

Dr Duckie aka Ben Walters (Drama PhD)’s Dr Duckie website is full of useful information about the project focused on the concept of ‘Homemade Mutant Hope Machines’ – a way of describing how people without much clout can start to build better worlds on their own terms.

See more here

Seoul Searching

Feather Pen (Blog by English student Aysel Kasap) are pleased to announce their new travel column, Seoul Searching by Ruby Punt, a QMUL student about her year abroad in South Korea! New entries are coming every month starting from July 15 on featherpenblog.com.

Georgia Haseldine (English) has written a piece called Pandemic Objects: Cash for Victoria and Albert Museum and The virtues and vices of virtual museum tours for Apollo Magazine.

Olga Kravchenko (Drama alumna) is interviewed by our alumni team on her about being CEO of Musemio, a virtual reality app that connects children with content from museums around the world and seeks to turn them into museumgoers of the future.

Read the interview

Peach July

PEACH Magazine has officially opened up for applications for their 2020/21 committee. If you are interested in being part of the only Queen Mary Student Medium that is solely dedicated to publishing students’ creative expressions, then click here to learn more about the different roles and how to apply. The deadline to apply is 31 July 2020, 11.59 pm. You can also follow PEACH on: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook.

Charlie Pullen (English PhD) shared a touching tribute by Lynsey Hanley in the 90s about English at Queen Mary in this tweet.

Nisha Ramayya

Nisha Ramayya (Creative Writing) has a short essay in Frieze Magazine: Rethinking Community in the Wake of the Pandemic and has wrote a review in Map.

Sh!t Theatre (Drama graduates)’s award-winning show Letters to Windsor House is streaming until 27 July. It costs just £4 to stream on demand and £1 from every rental goes to Shelter!

Stream now

Stage 3 Theatre Company:Stage3 Extended is a platform which continues to encourage activism through creative responses for an extended week after a commemorating event has occurred.
We believe that we should keep the activist momentum alive.
Their first project was ‘Refugee Week Extended’ and this Saturday (11 July) they are launching the next one –  ‘Remembering Srebrenica Extended’. Stage 3 Company is a performance-based activist group, tackling a vast range of political, social and humanitarian issues from immigration and discrimination to identity, belonging and empathy. Established in April 2018, as part of STAGES (PPP, QMUL), the group has since then performed at numerous venues around the UK. 

For more info follow on Facebook and Instagram

Barbara Taylor (English/History) had her Solitary Citizens: The Politics of Loneliness piece is published in the Guardian. The Solitudes blog has all new content here and for those interested in the poetry of Denise Riley, Barbara has published an open access piece here.

The Common Room

Rosie Vincent (Drama Alumna) and her organisation Roman Road Trust’s Transform The Common Room campaign successfully reached target to provide a new community space. After receiving the maximum pledge of £50,000 from the Mayor of London, they then received an amazing pledge of £10,000 from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund and then a brilliant pledge of £5,000 from the Centre for Public Engagement at QMUL!

Read more

Jeremy Weller (Drama Master’s Student)’s work for Beyond Walls around art and mental health including an NHS Residency and Edinburgh Festival 2018 Production: Where it hurts is available to explore online here. Find out more about his work on his website and Instagram.

Performance, Possession & Automation Conversations

Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Joe KelleherFiona Templeton and Simon Vincenzi – invites you to three online conversations.

Automation & Cultural Production

17 July, 6-8pm (BST)

Online

Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout for a conversation about automation and cultural production.


Instead of imagining a future in which our lives are managed for us by robots or AI, it may be time to think instead about how automation is already deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Automation is not replacing human beings, but it may be changing how we work and act, and how we think and feel about ourselves and other people. 


Click
 here, to book your place and for further information.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/automation-cultural-production-tickets-111014990826

Possession & Performance

24 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance. 


What if possession is a totally modern idea? Could it be a way for people who live modern lives in a supposedly secular culture to describe modes of being that don’t fit with their ideas of what it is to be yourself? How does performance help us think about possession? Are performance and possession both ways of becoming an automated or programmed self? 

Click here, to book your place and for further information.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/possession-performance-tickets-111141593498

Possession & Subjectivity

31 July, 6-8 pm (BST)

Online

Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.

Might possession and other experiences in which people seem to lose control of themselves – like intoxication or narcosis – expand our understanding of what it means to be a subject, beyond the bounded subjectivity assumed and promoted in so-called ‘Enlightenment’ thought? Do subjects always and everywhere have to fit neatly into bodies?

Click here to book your place and for further information.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/possession-subjectivity-tickets-112942568262

Performance, Possession & Automation is a research project exploring automation and possession as two ways of thinking about what happens to human subjects who act in ways that they do not themselves fully control. How can making and thinking about performance contribute to thinking about these ideas?

This project is supported through the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and The Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of London in partnership with Fierce Festival and Hampstead Theatre.

Drama Alumna led project: Transform The Common Room exceeds fundraising target after receiving backing from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council and 250 local people

Roman Road Trust (Director is Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent) & Public Works’ Crowdfund London campaign to Transform The Common Room reached beyond target and finished with £81,721 after receiving pledges from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council, Queen Mary University of London, and over 250 pledges from local people.

The campaign was launched in January 2020 to turn The Common Room from a deteriorating space into a fully-functional cultural learning facility for local people. The vision is for local people to access high quality community learning in partnership with cultural and educational organisations. The original target was £74,000.

The Common Room is a grassroots project that was initiated by the community of Roman Road in 2014. The space has been managed and led by local people for the past six years. The Common Room is a valuable resource for many groups, individuals, and surrounding organisations.

Transform The Common Room is part of Crowdfund London – the programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Spacehive aimed at backing Londoner’s ideas for improving their local area with funding and support.

After receiving over 150 pledges from local people in the first two months, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £50,000 from Mayor of London in March 2020.

Following this, Transform The Common Room continued to gain momentum leading to a further 100 pledges. 15 of which were from local businesses who collectively raised £4,095 towards the campaign despite the current challenges facing businesses due to Covid-19.

During the final days of the campaign, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £10k from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund. This was then followed by a £5,000 pledge from the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London on the very last day.

Rosie Vincent, Managing Director of Roman Road Trust and QMUL drama alumna said:

“We have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by local people and neighbouring organisations.

“Receiving the maximum pledge of £50k from the Mayor of London as well as the maximum pledge of £10k from Tower Hamlets Council proves how vital this project is for our community and Roman Road high street.

“The Common Room is a project that has been trying to happen for over six years. We are very proud to know our 253 backers also agree it is time for this space to become what it truly deserves to be.”

The Common Room is scheduled to be ready in Summer 2021. Roman Road Trust is now developing the first wave of Learning Programmes to be delivered in The Common Room. If you would like to be involved or help the project please email: hello@romanroadtrust.co.uk

Student of the month: Eve Bolton – BA English

A scouser in London, with impeccable music taste and fashion sense.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

Presenting and creating social media content for QM’s radio station, Quest. Making lots of lovely friends.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I hope to have a career in broadcast journalism, particularly radio.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

My friends.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I work in the Wetherspoons on Mile End Road and I have an internship with the BBC.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Improved information on what we should be reading over the summer for the next semester.

Find out more about our BA English

Courses still open in English and Drama for 2020 Entry

We currently have availability on the following courses and would love to hear from you if you’re thinking about starting this September.

To find out more call our Clearing hotline +44 (0)207 882 5511, apply online or contact us


Undergraduate (Clearing via UCAS)


Postgraduate (Direct Application)


Contact us online or by phone

As well as phoning us, you can SMS and even use live chat to speak with us online.  

Phone

Call: 020 7882 5511

SMS

Text: 07860 097 366

Apply direct if you have results

Go to apply.qmul.ac.uk

Drama ‘Ask an Academic’ Webinar for Offer Holders inc. Inspiring Resources

On 10 June 2020 we hosted an event for 2020 Drama offer holders with Dr Shane Boyle our Director of Admissions for Drama, Thyrza a Drama student, Faisal Abul from Admissions, Lara Fothergill School Manager and Rupert Dannreuther from Marketing.

Main picture from a performance by Francis Dubem Udemezue

Scroll down for the recording and our collaborative reading/watch lists.

Webinar Recording


Inspiring Resources

Please remember these are just informal suggestions and any preparation for your modules will be communicated later on.

Bechdel Theatre
  1. BLOG: Exeunt Magazine – A critical look at theatre and performance.
  2. BOOK: Theatre & Book Series are great introductions to key themes including titles by our very own Jen Harvie’s Theatre & the City, our current Head of Drama Caoimhe McAvinchey’s Theatre & Prison and Theatre & the Visual by our incoming head of Drama Dominic Johnson.
  3. FESTIVAL: BBC Culture in Quarantine – talks, performances and videos all online.
  4. FESTIVAL/INTERACTIVE: Paper Stages by Forest Fringe – an interactive downloadable PDF to make something during lockdown.
  5. PERFORMANCES ONLINE: National Theatre at Home – inspiring performances from the National Theatre.
  6. PODCAST: Stage Left with Jen Harvie – A podcast by our very own Jen Harvie with inspiring theatre and performance makers about their work.
  7. PODCAST: Bechdel Theatre – Beth Watson and Pippa Sa (QMUL alumna) talk gender representation on stage with a different special guest on each episode
Stage Left with Jen Harvie

This list is not exhaustive by any means there’s also a great list by London Drama here of good resources so do check it out!

Need more information?

English and Drama Newsletter – June 2020 Edition

Welcome to June 2020 from English and Drama at Queen Mary.

Black Lives Matter: Our Head of School Catherine Silverstone has written this statement on our School’s commitment to fight racism.

We want to celebrate the work of all of our students including a special mention to our finalists, (pictured above on their first day in 2017) in these very challenging times.

Demi Whitnell

Our student of the month for May is Demi Whitnell, one of our BA English finalists, who also entered our Dissertation Hall of Fame.

Read our interview with Demi

Online Events

OPEN DAY

Webinar

Virtual Open Day – for 2021+ Applicants
Thursday 25 June 2020, 4-6.30pm BST, Online

Booking is now open for our online June open day session, which is a great chance to explore our unique English and Drama programmes, discover the QMUL campus and to meet our students.Register here
LISTINGS


‘You couldn’t make it up’ with authors Ellen Wiles & Michael Hughes
Wednesday 10 June 2020, 7pm BST, Youtube

Our very own Michael Hughes and Ellen Wiles (Creative Writing) will talk about what fiction can say and do in turbulent political times reading from their work.

Mad Hearts

Mad Hearts: The Arts and Mental Health
SOLITUDE AND THE ENCOUNTER

Friday 19 June 2020, Online

This one-day webinar hosted by our MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health explores productive, radical, contemporary encounters between the arts and mental health, bringing together clinical, artistic and research perspectives that offer a re-interpretation of contemporary mental health science and practice.

Register here


News & Links

Ruth Ahnert (English) is giving a virtual keynote lecture Networking the Early Modern Archive at the 6th Historical Network Research conference.

Julie Rose Bower (Drama PhD Researcher) has created a series of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) videos for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s YouTube channel. ASMR is a relaxing sound design technique which gives some people a ‘tingles’ response and could provide a moment of calm for people in these times. ASMR has emerged over the last 12 years and is a digital native performance medium in which performers touch objects and whisper in close proximity to microphones.

Watch the first video here

James Petiver

Richard Coulton (English) has edited a collection of essays on James Petiver, an eighteenth-century apothecary, collector and natural historian. You can read a recent interview with Richard about his research on the Royal Society blog. Image: Angola Dragonfly – James Petiver

Brian Dillon (Creative Writing) talks about Roland Barthes, obtuse meanings, descriptions of food, and the “sanatorium society” in this video for Beyond Words Festival.


Dissenting Academies
(English Research Project) recently supported BBC research for David Olusoga’s A House Through Time which explores the history of a house in Bristol which involves a Baptist minister called James Poulson found in the Dissenting Academies archive.

Dr Duckie aka Ben Walters (Drama)’s website is live showcasing the research project on Duckie’s community-centric performance projects like The Posh Club, The Slaughterhouse Club, D.H.S.S, Duckie Family and the Vintage Clubbing Sessions.

Read Ben’s introduction to the project here

Cat Fallow (Drama) took part in a discussion for the new vlog series A Bit Lit exploring contemporary theatre-making and repertory in Shakespearean theatres.
Watch the video


Matthew Ingleby (English) has released a Youtube video called Dickens in a Crisis for #Dickens150 about how Charles Dickens’ work might help us in times of crisis.

Read more about the project

Dominic Johnson (Drama) interviews Berlin-based visual artist AA Bronson in Art Monthly. It’s titled Going Viral and is in the current issue (May 2020).

Group Practical Project

Group Practical Project students Robyn Bedford, Billy Bray, Cristina Covaci and Elliot Douglas (Drama) explore gender identity using Instagram to host their enquiries.

Follow and explore the project

Live Art Development Agency (Drama) have curated Boxed-In, an online exhibition of artists who have used performance in confined spaces, often over long and painful (seemingly unendurable) durations – in self-imposed lockdown on cargo shops, freight crates, boxes, cells, or cages. The conditions of the performances – and the ways the artists survive in isolation – feel uncannily prescient in our current situation.  Dominic Johnson’s work: ‘Rudimentary Things: Becoming an Object in the Performances of Skip Arnold’ features in the exhibition.

Daniel Oliver (Drama)’s book inspires this video discussion: Why Daniel Oliver is an important artist. Neurodiversity & Arts around his book Awkwoods.

PEACH Magazine

PEACH Magazine Congratulations to Lara Jakobsen (a 2nd Year English with Creative Writing student) who has been elected as Managing Editor and Ameerah Ali (a 2nd Year English student) as Deputy Managing Editor at PEACH magazine. PEACH was also awarded the Most Improved Outlet at the Student Media Awards this year. The magazine is dedicated to showcasing the creative work of students. Students can still send in creative work (creative writing, art, etc.) throughout the summer to published on their blog.

Follow PEACH on Instagram

Eavan Boland

Peggy Reynolds (English)’s 1992 BBC Radio 4 discussion around poetry, gender and naturehood featuring the late Eavan Boland is being repeated oniPlayer to commemorate poet’s work after she passed away recently.

Listen here


Nisha Ramayya
(Creative Writing) is taking part in Ignota’s Break into the Forbidden event to mourn, witness, dream, nourish and celebrate black life.

Moj Taylor (Drama alumnus) speaks to our alumni team about his career as a Comedian, Actor, Public Speaker and Executive of Push.

Read the interview

Call for papers

Wonderer Journal Queen Mary’s new literary journal, Wonderer is now open for submissions. Don’t miss your chance to be considered for the first ever issue.

Find out more

English ‘Ask an Academic’ Webinar for Offer Holders inc. Collaborative Reading List

On 10 June 2020 we hosted an event for English offer holders with Dr Peter Howarth, Christian from our English with Creative Writing course, Faisal Abul from Admissions, Lara Fothergill School Manager and Rupert Dannreuther from Marketing.

Scroll down for the recording and our collaborative reading/watch lists.

Webinar Recording


Suggested Reading List

Our links are to publisher websites not stores and many books will be cheaper as e-books or could even be free via Project Gutenberg so please do search online or use your local library’s e-books too. Consider buying second hand or via sources other than Amazon such as Abe Books which Christian mentioned.

Please remember these are just informal suggestions and any required reading will be communicated later on.

Peter Recommends

Rupert recommends…

See Christian’s forum post here for more reading tips


Collaborative Reading/Watch List

We asked our offer holders in the session what they’re reading and watching and they didn’t disappoint…

Books

Netflix/Shows

  • A Very Secret Service (Sanika – ‘a French series on Netflix’)
  • Carmilla (Isabel)
  • Killing Eve (Aimee – ‘Everyone should watch Killing Eve hands down, freaking brilliant show’)
  • Leila (Ruby – ‘The series is amazing its based on a dystopian book’)

How you’ll study in the School of English and Drama this year

Dear Offer Holders in English and Drama

You should have received recently an email from Queen Mary explaining some of our plans for September. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that we have been thinking carefully about how best to support you and your education.

Your safety is our first concern. With safety in mind, from September to January we will be offering an inclusive blended learning approach, drawing on insights and feedback from our current students. 

If travel restrictions mean that you can’t be here with us in London this September, you will be able to start your course online. If you are able to join us, we will ensure that our premises and activities follow government guidance and that we are Covid-19 secure.

What a blended approach to learning and teaching in English and Drama means for you:

Teaching & Student Support: In the School of English and Drama, a blended approach means that you’ll be able to access online your Semester 1 lectures, seminars and, for those studying Drama, practice-based workshops, as well as meetings with your teachers, advisor, and our student support staff. Our online teaching and student support will be supplemented with one-to-one meetings and small-group campus-based activities if it’s safe and possible to do so for staff and students. These opportunities will also be available online so that everyone can participate wherever you’re based.

Learning Resources: To support your learning, you’ll have access to online learning resources (e.g. presentations, e-books, journal articles, videos). The School has strong connections with writers, artists, and other arts professionals and we aim to programme guests as part of your online teaching and in extracurricular activities.

Assessment: You’ll be supported to complete a range of assessments that will be submitted online, including essays, presentations, creative writing portfolios and practice-based assessments, depending on your course. Practical assessments in Drama are also supported by our dedicated Technical Team. The work our students have submitted online this year has been inspiring!

Meeting Staff & Students, Study Skills & Careers Support: To help you settle in to studying in the School, we’ll be running a programme of online welcome events so you can meet other students and members of staff. Our courses build in opportunities for you to meet and work with other students and we also facilitate the Peer Assisted Study Support and Buddy schemes. We embed study skills in all our courses to help you with the transition to university-level study with its increased levels of independent work, and you’ll also have a timetable of activities for each week of the semester to help you plan your time. We also offer dedicated careers support in the School in collaboration with our colleagues in Careers and Enterprise. To help you prepare for your course, we’ll send you further guidance and advice over the summer.

Clubs & Societies: Beyond your studies, you’ll have opportunities to join sports clubs and societies through Queen Mary Students’ Union. The School is proud to support the dynamic Queen Mary Theatre Society, the English Society and Wonderer, an undergraduate literary journal, and to publish our students on our blog, All Things SED, and read their work in the arts and culture magazines, Cub, Peach and the new publication Diaspora Speaks, which gives space to work from students of colour.

We’ll confirm the School’s arrangements for Semester 2 as soon as we’re able, but our working assumption is that if the situation allows for it, we will return to teaching on campus.

We look forward to welcoming you to Queen Mary in September. 

Speak to us: If you have any questions, please complete this form, join our ‘Ask an Academic’ webinars on 10 June or book a call with an admissions tutor for English or Drama.

Kind regards,

Catherine

Dr Catherine Silverstone
Head of the School of English and Drama
School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London

sed-web@qmul.ac.uk

Student of the month: Demi Whitnell – BA English

Always got her head in a book, a pen in her hand and her eye behind a camera.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

My hightlights of QMUL has certainly been running CUB magazine on campus as editor-in-chief. I have learnt so many amazing skills through my position as well as having so many amazing opportunities, meeting the brilliant writers behind CUB and the students I would have have come across in my own degree. I found a little family in CUB and it will be so upsetting yo say goodbye in May.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

My course reinforced my love of writing, I was not an avid poet until second year and now I am published on Amazon as well as online publications. I also found my love of article writing through CUB which led me to my two summer internships with the Daily Telegraph Newspaper. My course showed me how diverse literature can be and I know how silly that sounds but A-levels and GCSE only gives you a small scope of literature and after university I know I will continue to explore the different pathways within literature and continue my studies.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I cannot give CUB anymore of a shout out but without joining it in my second year as a writer, I would not be this confident or have this many amazing friends around me. I also would not have run for VP Welfare in the 2020 elections or be able to be this confident at public speaking, it gave me skills I could never have learnt without it. I also discovered how diverse peoples values and viewed can be, I met people from so many amazing backgrounds and faiths that it opened my eyes to new experiences and beliefs of my own!

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

I’ve had several part time jobs throughout university such as bar work or retail. Bar work gave me a boost of confidence which allowed me to stand up for myself in difficult situations and to respect myself ad a woman in a male oriented environment.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Bridging the gap between SU and the students, making a less corporate relationship and more student led.

To give more opportunities to students who (like myself) travel to campus daily meaning we miss out on nights out or parties etc.

Find out more about our BA English

SED Head of School Response: police killings and Black Lives Matter

Dear students studying in the School of English and Drama,

I’m writing to you in response to the recent police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the USA and the assault on Belly Mujinga in London, and the feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and distress, among many others, across the USA, and here in the UK, including in our student and staff bodies.

On behalf of the School of English and Drama, I condemn these acts of violence and the structural and institutional racism that underpins them. I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement in challenging all forms of racism and committing to ensuring dignity, safety, liberty, and self-determination for Black, Asian, and other minority ethnic and global majority communities.

Structural and institutional racism is not confined to the USA but is very much present in the UK, and globally, and is a powerful force in preventing equal life opportunities for people of colour. The Covid-19 pandemic, for example, has both exposed and exacerbated the structural inequalities faced by many minorities, most significantly Black, Asian, and disabled people.

Universities have a key role to play in combatting racism and all forms of discrimination. I am committed to this work in the School of English and Drama. This involves continued acknowledgment and work to redress disadvantages experienced variously by our students and colleagues of colour. These manifest, for example, in differences in degree outcomes between our Black, Asian, and minority ethnic/global-majority students and white students, and significantly fewer colleagues of colour in senior leadership roles than white colleagues. It’s important, here, to acknowledge that we also have a majority white staff base in the School, and that many of us, myself included, have benefited from advantages and privileges accorded structurally, socially and culturally to white people, especially with respect to our educational and career development opportunities.

Affirming a commitment to equalities and anti-racist work is vital and action is more crucial still. We have been working to address inequalities in the School, especially in relation to race and ethnicity, through our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, co-chaired by Zara Dinnen and myself; revisions to our curriculum; more extensive student support; a dedicated EDI student representative on our Staff Student Liaison Committees; and a commitment to equality in our research, for example. This is not the time, though, to be individually or collectively self-congratulatory or complacent. Through our work we know there is much more to be done, especially as we address the impact of Covid-19 and the decisions that we’re making for 2020-21 (and beyond) on staff and students.

We stand in solidarity with our students of colour. With my colleagues in the School Management Group, I affirm the School’s ongoing commitment to listening to students and working together across our School community, to address structural racism. This work is carried out though our department, School, Faculty and University governance structures, alongside informal conversations with, and between, staff and students. It is not the responsibility of our Black, Asian, and minority ethnic/global majority colleagues and students to bear the burden of this work. It is, rather, a collective endeavour, led by those of us entrusted with leadership positions.

For links to a wide range of excellent resources and donation funds, please visit QMSU’s Black Lives Matter webpage.

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please be in touch at sed-information@qmul.ac.uk, or if you’d prefer to write to me directly, please email sed-hos@qmul.ac.uk.

In solidarity,

Catherine

Catherine Silverstone

Head of the School of English and Drama

Related blog posts

Taking a Stand: Letter from QMTC’s Abi Adebayo on George Floyd, #BlackLivesMatter and QMUL’s need to stand in solidarity

We have published the letter from Abi Adebayo from Queen Mary Theatre Company which we received on 1 June 2020 because we think she makes important points. Particularly around how the university can support black students and create the anti-racist university which stands up for social justice. Everyone has a responsibility to make sure our university stands up for these values.

Abi would like to recognise the following people who have helped with the creation of the posters, protests and spoken word pieces:


Good afternoon, 

I am writing to you as the Vice president of Queen Mary Theatre Society and as a black student within your university. 

As I am sure you are aware of the countless protests, wide-spread media coverage, and news headlines around the subject of institutional, systematic, and general racism around the world, there has been a nationwide call for the end of injustice towards black people in all capacities. The murder – through means of suffocation – of George Floyd in the United States by the hands of the Minneapolis police was not only barbaric it was symbolic of how black people are stifled in every aspect of our lives due to continued active and passive racism. George Floyd’s name is now on the ever-growing list (that were caught on camera and so are aware of) of black people mercilessly killed for committing the crime of nothing more than simply being black in this month alone. We have called for Justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man shot while he was jogging around his neighborhood, we have called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was shot up to six times by police officers who had broken into her home without knocking or announcing themselves under the claim that they were executing a search warrant for a suspected drug dealer, who not only had already been arrested but in fact, did not live at that address – Breonna lost her life and instead of charging the police officers for manslaughter, her boyfriend who was sleeping next to her fired back a single shot at what he thought were intruders, and so was charged and arrested despite the fact none of the police officers were harmed, as well as the fact he legally was allowed to put up arms of his registered gun in the state they were situated in. Black people are constantly being killed due to pre-consisting racist and prejudice bias without their murders being reprimanded further than (at most) a slap on the wrist and paid leave. 

The UK is far from innocent and although shootings are less common, the mistreatment of black people from police officers to the general public is as prevalent as ever today, as it was before. Black people being harassed, beaten, and killed for their existence did not stop or even slow down in pace after the horrific murder of Stephen Lawrence, it has continued and, in some ways, even manifested in more covert ways. Rashad Charles, Mark Duggan, Darren Cumberbatch, Edson da Costa, Adrian McDonald, Sarah Reed, Mark Duggan and more recently Belly Mujinga – who was spat at on duty by a member of the public claiming to have COVID-19 and later fell ill and died herself from the contracted virus – are just a few of the documented black people within the United kingdom that have failed to be protected by the government and society in a whole, due to the colour of their skin. We as a people are tired, we are angry, we are devastated, and we are scared.

What kept me hopeful in this time, is seeing how much as a black community we have gathered together and how our Non-Black allies have stood with us. As the committee of Queen Mary theatre society, we have dedicated all of our social media accounts to #BlackLivesMatter initiatives and in using our platform to show our unwavering support as well as educating posts surrounding institutional, systematic, and general racism for our members. SED alumni such as Ndumiso Peter Ndlovu has taken the time to gather both past and current students of QMUL (like myself) to organise a peaceful protest in LONDON, BRISTOL and MANCHESTER both physically and through Zoom to honour George Floyd and Belly Mujinga, and demand for the further investigation, arrest, and charge of their killers. Efe Uwadiae is another alumnus of QMUL who has dedicated her platform to establishing the right discourse around the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

I was not only shocked, disheartened, and concerned to see how silent not only the Queen Mary student union has been about the racial injustice that not only affects the black members of their faculty but the black student body within QMUL. It seems as if we have no support from the university, which I find particularly interesting considering the statement made by Colin bailey and the SU surrounding the university being reprimanded for racism, to the point where students felt compelled to spray-paint their views on campus – they felt they weren’t being listened to, and it seems evidently we still aren’t being listened to. I am appalled at the lack of support given to students during this time, especially as QMUL claims to care profusely about our mental health and wellbeing. I am appalled at how despite being sent newsletters on various other subjects, none of them have been addressing the current global pandemic of racism. I have been waiting for QMSU and QMUL to use their platform to not only show solidarity instead of complacency, and still, I have yet to hear a single thing which has in turn led me to write this email. 

If the university claims to be proud of how diverse their student body is, why is it that when we need you to use your platform to not only help us but protect and encourage us to stand for what is right the voice of Queen Mary University of London is nowhere to be found? The slight change of flag creates the idea that QMUL is happy to passively support their students along as they don’t have to make a physical, undeniable stance.

Until our voices, influence and platforms as those against racism are as active as the killing and constant injustice of black people within society, we will never see change. 

In no way do I want to endorse the #alllivesmatter stance and advise the university to stay away from this rhetoric as not only does it demean and belittle the experience of black people globally it also stems as a retaliation of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It is no secret that all lives matter, the point is there have been too many situations that reinforce the idea that black lives are discounted in the “All”. 

What next…

To conclude, I expect from both QMSU, QMUL, and Colin Bailey to not only educate their students and faculty on the #BlackLivesMatter – why it is important and what it represents. To email all students and/or release a statement on the current climate that both comforts and reassures black students that the university is a safe space for them, and their voices are heard. To boost and encourage students to stand for what is right and carefully sculpt a message that re-lays sensitively the situation of George Floyd and Belly Mujinga in unity with the #saytheirnames movement.

I expect the university and the Student union to use their LARGE platform to show their solidarity with us as black students within the university. Here is the link to the protest led by your students and alumni as well as posts I feel could be reposted by the university and student union. 

I hope to hear from you within the next few days before the protest on the 5th JUNE, with a retort, questions and further information on what can be done, what you plan to do and why the university has been silent thus far. As a university you have a duty of care, as QMTC a society within QMUL we are happy to keep the lines of communication open to ensure that duty is fulfilled. 

Kind regards, 

Abi Adebayo, VP 

Queen Mary Theatre Company

www.qmtc.co.uk


Links and resources

SED Final Years: Dissertation Hall of Fame – Win £25 Love2Shop Voucher with your Selfie or MEME #SEDHallofFame

To celebrate 🎉 our final year students handing in their final projects/dissertations we’re looking for your dissertation selfies 🤳 and memes 🤣.

You could win a £25 Love2Shop voucher for sharing your dissertation selfie or meme.

Give us the a pic with the story of your disso or make a gag-worthy MEME to win!

How to enter…

  1. Email us your picture or MEME, full name and caption to: sed-web@qmul.ac.uk
  2. Tag us @QMULSED on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SEDHallofFame
  3. Message or post to our Facebook Page here

Entry closes on 3 July 2020 at 5pm. Our team will pick the winners on or shortly after 3 July so please get your entry in before then! There will be 2 winners one for selfie and one for meme. We will contact winners via email so keep an eye out on your inbox after 15 June.


Fahima Begum – BA English

Samiha Begum – BA English

Aysel Dilara Kasap- BA English with Creative Writing

Chloe Hocking – BA English

“I have had the most amazing time at QM over the last three years. I’ve met some soulmates. Had a few breakdowns. Hit my limit of daily replacement library cards. Spent £49000 on coffee. And had most of the happiest moments of my life. I know that this dissertation doesn’t sum up everything I’ve learnt and everything that I can do now (notably, go to the shop without having a panic attack). But it was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I’m proud of myself for doing it. A huge thank you to every lecturer, advisor, member of staff, and student for helping me through. From helping me choose a dissertation topic to making me a coffee with a smile. Also- to everyone who is still working on their dissertations- you can do this and you will do this. Remember not to compare your own academic achievements to other people’s because yours are just as brilliant and just as important. Okay I’m done now. Gonna go drink, eat, and watch Netflix… Until I have to start the next one.”

Hana Hussein – BA English with Creative Writing

“1 word down 9,999 to go”

Kirsten Murray – BA English

“Standing in the North Sea was not the original dissertation hand in photo I had in mind. Although I am currently some 300 miles from the bustling city of London, my time at Queen Mary has enhanced my passion for literature and developed my personal and academic confidence. The supportive SED staff have even inspired me to continue my studies at the University of Cambridge in a genre, Romanticism, I initially loathed when I arrived in London three years ago.”

Christian Richardson – BA English with Creative Writing

Christopher Smith – BA English

Eleni Sophia – BA English

View this post on Instagram

Yay! Three years & many matcha lattes later, I became a CEO, an author of three poetry collections and completed my dissertation 🙌🏼🥂 I’m so grateful for my time at Queen Mary; both, the @qmulsed & the enterprise department have helped me expand Perspective Press Global and I’m so thankful 🙌🏼 Anyone who’s starting university, please take each opportunity as it comes: go to events, make use of your careers departments — it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anybody, go alone! It can be scary but you never know what opportunities may rise ✨ I’ve also just hired my first employee & I’m super excited to see where my journey takes me 🌺 Thank you to everyone who’s purchased a copy of either book — I appreciate you all so much 💫 Lots of love, Eleni Sophia 🥂

A post shared by Perspective Press Global Ltd (@perspectivepressglobal) on

Demi Whitnell – BA English

English and Drama Newsletter – May 2020 Edition

Welcome to May 2020 from English and Drama at Queen Mary. We hope you are keeping well and staying safe in these strange times. We hope this newsletter can help provide some comfort and distraction this month.

Our student of the month for May is Yue Wang (pictured above middle, pre-lockdown), one of our English PhD students.

Read on for news on events such as the new journal Diaspora SpeaksShow and Tell podcast relaunch and projects from our students and staff.

Online Events

OPEN DAY

Virtual Open Day – for 2021+ Applicants
Friday 26 June 2020, 2-5pm BST, Online

Booking is now open for our June open day – Open Day’s are a great chance to explore the subject, discover the QMUL campus and to meet our students.

Register here

LISTINGS

What Now My Love? Care Café
Thursday 7 May 2020, 7pm BST, Online

Our very own Lois Weaver (Drama) hosts Care Café, a place for people to gather their wits, thoughts and comrades in action.

‘We are all trying to figure out how to breathe through this present moment, how to take care of ourselves and others, and find ways to keep connected to each other.’

Register here

News & Links

Sawdah Bhaimiya (Second year English Student)has co-founded a new publication, Diaspora Speaks,which strives to project the voices of students of colour.

Get involved here

Jerry Brotton 
(English) discusses English Touring Theatre’s staging of Othello in this videofrom an online event.

Charlotte Byrne (PhD English)has just published a Young Adult fantasy adventure novel called Folked Up.

Eve Bolton and Jasmine Rothon (2nd Year English Students) have become part of the Quest Radio management team. Eve will be the Station Manager next year, and Jasmine will be Head of Production. 

Joshua Fraser (2nd Year English Student) has become co-editor of CUB Magazine.

Genna Gardini (PhD Drama) took part in Keep on Writing 2020, presenting a new play via Twitter called Dress for Success. Watch it here

Jen Harvie (Drama) recommends Sally Rooney’s Normal People, adapted by Rooney and playwright Alice Birch, on the BBC iPlayer. Jen says it’s: ‘A very faithful and powerful adaptation of the novel, its really thoughtful direction (by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald) and nuanced acting (especially, for me, by Paul Mescal as Connell) get at the excruciating difficulties of communicating and holding self-belief.’.

Michael Hughes (Creative Writing) recommends watching this new video piece by theatre company Forced Entertainment. Recorded via a 6-way Zoom call, he says it’s: ‘The best piece of work I’ve seen in any form responding to the current crisis, and the first time in a few weeks I’ve properly laughed out loud watching something.’.

Michael is also taking part in regular literary ‘shindig’ ‘A Leap In The Dark’, hosted on Zoom by writer and critic David Collard every Friday and Saturday evening. He says: ‘It’s an eclectic mix of readings, interviews and performances, and I’m there every Friday, reading the latest instalment of the poem Spring Journal, a living record of the current crisis by writer Jonathan Gibbs, inspired by Louis McNeice’s poem ‘Autumn Journal’. Places are limited to 75 each week, so for an invitation, contact David on Twitter @DavidCollard1, or via his blog https://davidjcollard.blogspot.com/. The poem so far can be read on Jonathan’s blog here.

Maggie Inchley (Drama)’s essay ‘sticking in the throat/keyword bitch: aesthetic discharge in debbie tucker green’s stoning mary and hang’ has just been published in debbie tucker green: Critical Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan).

Hari Marini (Drama/Admin team)’s poetry book has been reviewed here. She has also launched a new video of her Spirals project, online here. Hari’s company Partsuspended is part of Live Art Development Agency’s Something Other Live online series, which is ‘searching for queer ways of occupying the present and its differences’.

Daniel Oliver (Drama) has been running Queen Mary Arts and Culture Writing Retreatson Wednesdays. To sign up, or for more information, please contact us at qmul-arts@qmul.ac.uk.

People’s Palace Projects has been awarded £2.7 million in funding from Barts Charity to establish a Youth Resilience Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, starting in March 2021.

Read more here

Claire Preston (English) highly recommends this FEEL GOOD DANCE video saying ‘if this doesn’t make you smile, don’t call the doctor because you’re already dead!’.

Nisha Ramayya (Creative Writing) has published a poem for May Day as part of the TENANCY project edited by poet and academic Helen Charman. Read the poem here

Matt Rubery (English) has written a blog post Audiobook highlights, which explores what goes on behind the scenes when producing an audiobook.

Show & Tell podcast is relaunched on the Anchor.fm platform, with fresh new talks from inspiring speakers in the creative industries – including a BAFTA winning TV writer and our very own Jen Harvie (in an episode is introduced by Lois Weaver).

Listen to episode #4 now

Solitude and COVID-19 Barbara Taylor (English/History)’s Solitudes project is posting a series of blogs under the heading ‘Solitude and Covid 19’. It includes pieces on self-isolation and loneliness, the treatment of the over-70s (‘Killing Off Older People), Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, Donne’s hellish sickroom solitude and more. Next to come is a blog by a former Iranian political prisoner, who spent two years in solitary confinement, on self-isolation as imprisonment.

Read the blog posts

Split Britches’ (aka Lois Weaver – Drama and Peggy Shaw – Drama Fellow) Lesbians Who Kill is available to watch online here.

Wasafiri Magazine partnered with the online Bookbound Festival 2020. Guest speakers and participants included our very own Susan Rudy and Malachi McIntosh.

Watch the recorded videos here

Whilst we try our hardest to make sure listings are accurate, we recommend contacting the event organiser or registering before attending as mistakes can be made and we apologise for these.

If you have any news or events for our June newsletter please  email us.

Student of the month: Yue Wang – PhD in English

I am a PhD student and poet.

Tell us about your time at QMUL. What have been your highlights?

It’s fantastic! I love the people, the natural beauty and the adademic events in QMUL. I am so excited to learn from many excellent scholars, which makes me feel so good.

How has your course at Queen Mary helped you to progress into the world outside? What’s next?

I am so grateful to my supervisor Matthew Ingleby who invited me to study here and brought to meet many excellent scholars in 19th century studies seminar held by IES.

I am so lucky to listen to Mark Currie’s lectures in person, whose book I have read before in China. I am so grateful to Professor Scott McCracken and Professor Julia Boffey, whose classes inspire me a lot.

Thanks also to Howard and Hari in the research teamwho helped me a lot during my study. Because of the excellect scholars in English department, my mind was open and my academic net was enlarged. Hopefully I can contribute my academic studies in future and I am willing to be a good bridge between UK and China.

Aside from course content what have been your favourite elements of the experience of studying here as a whole?

I think the academic atmosphere attracts me deeply and the independent thinking spirit and the friendly classmates all make me feel so encouraging and enjoyable.

Tell us about your life outside Queen Mary including any projects, ambitions or jobs you’ve had.

Usually, I take part in some lectures held by Senate House or KCL. And also I join some poetry recital events or watch a drama performance or visit a cultural site. I hope I can travel all the literary sites related my study project in the next 6 months.

What could be improved to enhance future students’ experience at Queen Mary?

Hopefully, there will be more PhD communities, which can encourage exchange and build more social relationships.

Find out more about our English PhD