Queen Mary student and Tower Hamlets citizen journalist Seren Morris was awarded Third Prize in the 2017 London Voices journalist competition sponsored by The Media Society and London Learning Consortium at a high profile event at the London Reform Club last week.
Seren’s written entry considers the problems of London students trying to earn a living wage, and was part of a competition designed to encourage new talent into journalism.
Dubbed London Voices, the competition aims to promote emerging journalism talent across the capital and to generate a range of new perspectives and ideas about London. Aspiring citizen journalists submitted articles, videos or photos which debated and challenged the ways people think about their communities. The competition was launched against a background of discussion about the proliferation of ‘fake news’, and is part of an attempt to fight back by encouraging citizens to become part of reporting ‘real’ news about their communities and issues.
Seren has just completed her second year at Queen Mary, University of London, where she studies English Lit. She interviewed six London students about the vexed issue of trying to earn a living wage for work and internships, and the problems they face surviving economically while needing to take low (or no) paying work relevant to their studies and future work prospects. Her magazine-style entry can be watched on the London Voices website at http://www.londonlc.org.uk/london-voices/.
Media Society judges Patrick Barrow and Barney Jones loved Seren’s “beautifully presented” article and felt it was, “detailed, thoughtful and clear, with some great photos and graphics”. She was presented with her award by President of The Media Society, Richard Peel.
Seren credits her interest in journalism to both the Welsh tradition of celebrating arts and literature, and her mum and grandmother’s talent for creative writing and poetry. She also values the encouragement her father gave her around photography, which has impacted on her love of media in general. She hopes one day to work in print journalism and independent magazines, concentrating on women in the arts.
MAY/HEM Festival: a curation of installation and performance works by the Final Year BA Drama students as part of their performance dissertation module.
The festival will take place at Oxford House in Bethnal Green (Tuesday, Wednesday) and at Queen Mary (Thursday).
The Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to announce their third event, a public lecture by Sara Ahmed entitled ‘Queer Use’:
‘The lecture draws from my current research into “the uses of use.” In this lecture I reflect on the gap between the intended function of an object and how an object is used as a gap with a queer potential. I do not simply affirm that potential, but offer instead an account of how institutional and sexual cultures are built to enable some uses more than others. Small acts of use are the building block of habit: use can build walls as well as worlds. To bring out the queerness of use requires a world-dismantling effort; to queer use is to make usage into a crisis.’
Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, scholar, and activist. She is the author of Living a Feminist Life, Willful Subjects, On Being Included, The Promise of Happiness, and Queer Phenomenology.
You are warmly invited to the final English Postgraduate Research Seminar of 2016/17 with Nick Freeman, of Loughborough University. He will present ‘‘A middle-class and mediocre book’: Posing, Parody and the Wilde Style, 1894-1904′.
Nick Freeman is Reader in Late-Victorian Literature at Loughborough University. He has published widely on the literature and culture of the fin de siècle, and is the author of 1895: Drama, Disaster and Disgrace in Late Victorian Britain and a recent edition of Arthur Symons’ Spiritual Adventures.
“I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive”
“The Thought-Fox” encapsulates Alice Oswald’s view that Ted Hughes did not perform the poem as he read, but that “the poem performed him.” Hughes, she thought, was being played by his own music.
This event, organised by Peter Howarth of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University, London, was devised by Bernard Schwartz, director of the Poetry Center at 92Y in New York, which has been known for its recordings of poets for the past seventy years. Schwartz, a visiting fellow at Queen Mary, had wondered if it would work to have a live evening with a current poet listening and commenting on the recording of a past poet, and hence Alice Oswald was asked to speak about Hughes’ recordings from 1971 and 1986.
The first recording was from 1971 with Hughes introducing and reading “The Thought-Fox” as the first poem he felt was worth keeping. He tells us that he wrote it about two years after his infamous “departure from studies in academic English” when he dreamt that a “burnt fox” warned him that his studies were “killing us.” Two other foxes were also described – one from his childhood and another from a Swedish film. Oswald then talked about how she came to Hughes; as an undergraduate she felt she was, “narrow minded about poetry” but like Hughes she stopped her academic studies and looked for a looser style, but one which still meant that, “every brick” would count. Finding this in Hughes she called it his “compulsory inner music.” He was not a Nature poet in her opinion; rather, by fusing the different foxes, from one of which, who had human hands, the poet created a mythic fox, a metaphorical fox, Hughes was a “preternatural poet.”
“Pibroch” came next, Oswald placing it in a Beckettian world, where there were stones and wind and “A tree [that] struggles to make leaves” reminding us of Waiting for Godot. Redeeming us from this nihilism, Hughes’ “upbeat sound”, the colours of red and black and the “nobility of humans” speak of “the gift of life.” We then heard “Littleblood”, one of the Crow poems, given to Crow by an eskimo. Hughes seems to have brought together disturbing images, but finishes with hope, so after, “Sucking death’s mouldy tits”, comes, “Sit on my finger, sing in my ear, O littleblood.” It felt strange therefore that Oswald did not read at all; it would have been uplifting to hear the voice of the dead, speaking in the living. Hughes’ legacy to us is surely, not only what we have from the past, but what it stirs within us for our lives and literature now and in the future.
“How Water Began to Play” followed where water is mineral, a universal element and not a geographical feature. In a fascinating break from Hughes, there came a reading from the actress Irene Worth, who Schwartz told us appealed to Hughes not to read her any more Crow poems as she found them terrifying. Worth played Phèdre speaking to Theseus in a 1999 recording made in memory of Hughes. Other testimonies followed, first from Peter Brook who said that Hughes had the “ability to reach the active language” and then Derek Walcott who remembered that he had been in Lorca’s house when he had heard that Hughes had died.
Finally we reached the 1986 recording of “October Salmon”. Hughes had explained that when his father was dying, he stayed with him and they would walk in and around the village. The customary walk revealed the fish and through this introduction, the poem becomes yet more powerful in its observation of the great laid low; of the closeness of death, even at birth. One cannot but remember, as you listen, Hughes’ own life, the “Aurora Borealis/Of his April power” comes finally back to his October death and that “epic poise.”
Di Beddow is speaking at the Huddersfield University Ted Hughes Network Symposium in June; she is presenting on the Cambridge of Ted Hughes. Anyone interested in either the Ted Hughes Network, or joining the Ted Hughes Society should contact these links:
2015 English graduate Tierney Cowap is working in PR with fashion and gifts retailer Oliver Bonas gives us her top tips for getting into the industry.
1. Decide what you’re aiming for
There are many different sectors of PR, so do some research and get an idea of what area you’d like to work in. Would you prefer the security and in-depth approach of working for an in-house PR team, or a more broad and varied role in an agency? Do you want to PR for a food and drinks brand, or work in fashion PR? By setting your preferences and aims, you can be more specific when applying for roles or placements.
2. Build on your own experience
I got my initial placement in a PR role by emailing the relevant team in the brand I was already working for, and asking if I could do some work experience. Because I already had knowledge of the product range, of the brand ethos, and of the customer we were selling to, PR-specific skills were something I built up along the way. Your job as a PR is to make other people passionate about your product – if you can demonstrate to a recruiter that you genuinely love and know about their products, it puts you in a strong position!
3. Diversify your skills
As a PR you may be called upon to support a brand across a range of projects – from editing campaign imagery in Photoshop, to arranging catering and prop deliveries for press events, to dealing with customer inquiries on social media! The more areas in which you have prior experience, the better. Keep up to date with developments in tech and social media, read up on the relevant publications and key journalists in your field, and work on your confidence when speaking to new people. Above all, be willing to get stuck in, and show your eagerness to learn.
4. Be proactive
All brands will hold product launches or media-facing events throughout the year, but within certain areas of PR – particularly consumer, fashion or food brands – the peak season is from May through to July. The industry tradition of holding Christmas in July events (where brands showcase their Christmas ranges in summer, so that long-lead publications can plan their features) means that the summer season is especially busy. You never know what will come from a speculative email in the run-up, asking if the PR team for your favourite brand could do with an extra pair of hands over this key period!
5. Have your own ideas
PR roles are based on communication, and deciding on the best way to communicate an idea is naturally subjective. From your language choice, to the media contacts you target with certain product releases and when, it can often take discussion with your colleagues to make strategy decisions. In interview, you may well be asked to put together a presentation suggesting how the brand or agency could do better (to give an example, ‘how could our brand better target a millennial audience on social media?’) Don’t be afraid to put forward your honest ideas and thoughts, but be sure to do your research – you don’t want to make suggestions, only to find that they’ve been operating that way for months.
Join our special guest Ruth Abbott (University of Virginia) for her seminar ‘George Eliot in the Biblioteca Magliabechiana: Romola, the Florentine Renaissance, and the history of historical scholarship’.
School of English and Drama Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship 2017-18
We will be awarding one Excellence Scholarship in 2017-18 for students pursuing our BA in English, BA in Drama or BA in English and Drama.
The Scholarship will cover 50% of the course fees (for the standard duration of the course) and will go to an International student (paying overseas fees)
You will be eligible if you are an international student who firmly accepts our offer to study on one of the three participating degree programmes (BA in English, BA in Drama, BA in English and Drama). If you’re eligible you’ll be invited to submit a short piece of writing. You would be expected to maintain an average of 68% or above to retain the scholarship.
How to apply:
When you firmly accept our offer of a place we’ll write to you with details of the writing task.
Deadline: Essays must be submitted by 17:00 BST on Monday 10 July 2017.
School of English and Drama Postgraduate Excellence Scholarships 2017-18
THIS SCHOLARSHIP IS NOW CLOSED FOR APPLICATIONS.
We will be awarding two School of English and Drama Excellence Scholarships in 2017-18 for students pursuing our MA in Theatre and Performance or our MA in English Studies (any of the seven pathways) or our MA in Poetry.
The Scholarships cover 50% of the course fees – one scholarship will go to a Home/EU student, the other scholarship will go to an International student.
Eligibility for the scholarship
In order to be selected by our panel to receive the award:
You should have an excellent academic track-record. We would usually expect you to achieve, or be expected to achieve, the equivalent of a British 1st Class Honours Degree.
You must meet the conditions of your offer.
You must not be in receipt of any other QMUL scholarship or full-fee scholarship from any other source. If you are in receipt of another QMUL Scholarship, e.g. the Alumni Loyalty Award, you will be awarded only one Scholarship, whichever has the greater value.
Please note that:
Scholarships are not payable directly to you, but are off set against your student fee invoice.
Awards cannot be deferred to subsequent years.
How to apply for the scholarships
Simply apply to study full-time on our MA in Theatre and Performance or our MA in English Studies (any of the seven pathways) or our MA in Poetry before programme through our online portal before Thursday 1 June 2017. Scholarships are not available for part-time study.
Deadline: We must have received an MA application by 09:00 BST on Thursday 1 June 2017.
Posters in Parliament 2017: Part of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research.
Hosted by University College London.
Angelica Hill, 3rd Year English and Drama Student
On Tuesday 14th March Queen Mary’s University took two students to the fifth annual “Posters in Parliament” event at the Houses of Parliament. Sam represented undergraduate work in Physics, and I was there for the School of English and Drama. Fifty-two undergraduate students from twenty-seven Universities across the country presented and discussed their research with fellow undergraduates, lecturers, academics, and a few MPs, including Hilary Benn, Ben Bradshaw and Caroline Lucas. Students had a rare opportunity to look around the House of Commons and sit in on some of the sessions being held; whilst MPs, legislators and policy makers got to see first-hand some of the innovative research taking place around the country. It give us a platform to present our work to those who could potentially be making decision around the research in the future.
It was a wonderful day of intellectual stimulation, in an environment palpably buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement. It was great to find out what my fellow undergraduates in this country are working on, as well as allowing me to learn more about areas that I might otherwise have never got the opportunity to engage with, such as nanotechnology, macroeconomics, 17th Century female medical practitioners, and other interesting and obscure areas of research.
We began the day in Parliament Square, meeting by the statue of Mahatma Gandhi (2015), before going through security and entering the beautiful House of Commons. Surrounded by fellow students, school parties, tourists, a few recognizable BBC reporters, and a UKIP MP, we wandered around the building taking in the history and grandeur. My presentation was partly on King Henry VI, who held 23 parliaments in this building six hundred years ago, which gave a sense of moment to the occasion for me. Sam and I got to sit in on a parliamentary hearing about the state of buses in England and whether there should be a reduction, or increase in funding towards the expansion of the bus networks across England before lunch
Sam presented his research on how gravitational dynamical processes, including the effect of the moon Prometheus, as well as, impacts from nearby objects, can determine the structure and behaviour of the F ring of Saturn, in the first presentation session. The poster included beautiful imagery of Saturn’s rings.
This section lasted about an hour before there was a change over to the second presentation session, in which I was presenting my research. I had never presented in this format before, standing beside a poster outlining my work, and did not get much guidance as to how best to present the work, however it seemed the best thing to do was to create a poster which drew people towards you, outline the key points of your arguments, and then once they had looked over the poster to speak to them about your work and outline the key arguments and facts in more depth verbally, as opposed to through a text-heavy poster.
My research is drawn from my third year dissertation work on the denigration of “others” in comparison to the image of the English male and “Englishness” in Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, exploring concepts of the Self and the Other and relating the world of Henry VI to the world in which we currently live. It was nice to bring Henry VI back to Westminster today. This poster presentation format gave me quite a nice relaxed format in which to discuss my work. Although, I think I prefer verbal, paper presentations to an audience as then everyone gets a chance to hear everyone else’s ideas.
Following this section there was a short break, in which we chatted amongst ourselves, whilst the judging panel conferred. This was comprised of Naomi Saint, the Univesrities Programme Manager at Parliament, Diana Beech from the Higher Education Policy Institute, and Professors Dilly Fung and Stuart Hampton-Reeves from UCL and UCLan. Prizes went to research into: the ‘informal economy and migrant communities’ (Nottingham Trent University), ‘the role of art in mental health recovery’ (Hull College Group),’aortic stiffness due to increased pulsatility in cerebral arteries’ (University of Exeter) and ‘the stakeholder experiences of pharmacists in GP clinics’ (University of Reading). Unfortunately, Queen Mary’s did not come away with any prizes, however the experience of being able to present my work was invaluable and great practice for the British Undergraduate Conference both myself and Sam, as well as about 38 other QM students who will be there in Brighton for this event at the end of April.
Attending Posters in Parliament was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research, and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to meet with fellow scholars and hear about other sections of research which I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is was a great opportunity to meet policy-makers and see the every-day running of the Houses of Parliament, and get some sense that our undergraduate work is noticed by and matters to people who are running the country.
It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama at this event, which has an open application policy. My thanks to Julian Ingle in the Learning Development Team, Jerry Brotton in English and Pen Woods in Drama for their help with this work. I would strongly encourage all students to look into and apply to this event next year as you meet some wonderful people, learn new things, as well as developing the skill of communicating your research to an array of different people, from varying backgrounds, and experiencing the joy of sharing your research with others – as well as the free food.
You are warmly invited to the English Postgraduate Research Seminar with Professor Herbert Tucker (University of Virginia) and his seminar entitled: ‘After Magic: Modern Charm in History, Theory, and Practice’.
Call out for Performances at Sex and Puppets Cabaret from Drama Graduate Edie Edmundson
Sexy, fun, scary, rebellious or just plain weird cabaret performances – anyone who wants to let their pure genius and
talent hang out for a generous crowd.
Sculpture, Circus, Walkabout, Clowning, Spoken Word, Improv, Object Manipulation, Puppetry, Comedy, Drag, Burlesque,
Performance Art, Music, DJs and Dance, Edibles, Sword Swallowing (of any kind)….we’re open to all wondrous things!
In progress and experimental work welcome, slots under 10 minutes. All ages, races, genders and identities encouraged. Get in touch with your ideas, we’d love to make it happen!
Date: Thursday 20th of April Location: New Rivers Studios, N4 1DN
We are delighted to announce that Dr Hetta Howes has been selected as one of the AHRC/ BBC Radio 3/ BBC 4 New Generation Thinkers for 2017.
This is a highly prestigious national competition for early career researchers whose work is of the highest quality and greatest public interest.
The high standard of Hetta’s public engagement work has been recognised and now she will have opportunities to make programmes with the BBC.
Hetta Howes’s research has explored the relationship between women and water, tracing misogynist rhetoric back to the Middle Ages. Her new project will examine the part that fluids play in medieval life and how this might connect to today.
Hetta is interested in how women are treated or portrayed in medieval literature, and how women’s writing challenges or subverts various medieval female stereotypes as well as challenging our own modern preconceptions of women in that time.
I am delighted to announce that we shall have two new professors in the English Department from September 2017.
Patrick Flanery’s first novel was the internationally acclaimed Absolution (2012) and his most recent novel is I Am No One (2106). He is currently writing a fourth novel on the lives of those affected by the Hollywood Blacklist. After his early education in the US he left to do a PhD at Oxford on the publishing history of Evelyn Waugh’s work. He has been Professor of Creative Writing at Reading since 2014 and joins us with that same title, to lead our new programme; English with Creative Writing.
David Schalkwyk is an internationally renowned Shakespeare scholar who left South Africa in 2008 to become Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.. Since 2014 he has been Academic Director of Global Shakespeare, a Warwick-QMUL collaboration which is coming to an end this August. He brings two research strands which dovetail very well with existing areas of strength in teaching and research in both English and Drama: Shakespeare, philosophy, and theory; South African prison writing.
Photos from left to right:
Professor Patrick Flanery
Professor David Schalkwyk – Photo by Julie Ainsworth. Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library.
We’re delighted to invite you to the next English Postgraduate Research Seminar, with Dr Adam Kelly from the University of York, who will be presenting a seminar entitled ‘The Novel at the End of History: Donald Trump and Infinite Jest’.
Both MAT and the QMUL School of Drama have a disciplinary investment in digital technologies as a means for producing performance, and as a theoretical mode of engagement. From digital archival practices to motion-capture, quantitative approaches to stage blocking, to cyborg and automated performance, MAT and SED scholars use radically different theoretical frameworks and material practices, but are driven by
a shared investigation of how people perform and behave, and how digital technology influences this.
How can our knowledges support and inform each other? Such cross-over and conversation is common and essential to the growth and development of humanities and technology research.
As a way to fill in the gaps in our departmentalknowledge of each other, and our methodologies, ideologies and practical resources, PhD candidates Amy Borsuk of SED and Vanessa Pope of MAT are widening the net as part of Intersections, a series of MAT interdisciplinary events.
We invite staff and postgraduates from SED and MAT to meet and share their research on Tuesday, 21 March from 4–6 pm in Rehearsal Room One in ArtsOne Building.
For this pilot event, we invite guests to give a 1 minute presentation on your research as formally or informally
as you like, highlighting what you are researching and what you would like to know about the other department, other practices, or other disciplines.
The Flare International Festival of New Theatre, taking place in Manchester 4-8 July this summer alongside the Manchester International Festival, is still looking for challenging and original new theatre pieces by existing and recent students for its Future Flares strand (the main call for artists is also still open). Full details at http://www.flarefestival.com/future-flares/
Calls for Papers
Queer Localities: a two-day international queer history conference at Birkbeck, University of London | 30 November – 1 December 2017 | Deadline for Proposals: Mon 20 Mar
In a prestigious survey of 4,438 universities, Drama at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has risen, remarkably, from the 51-100 range last year to 30th in the world this year in the Performing Arts subject category. English has continued its steady ascendance since 2013, climbing this time from 35th to 32nd in the world in the English Language and Literature subject category.
The QS World University Rankings by Subject is considered to be among the most trusted of league tables. Rankings are based on academic and employer reputations and research citations per faculty (the number of times the research is credited in the work of other academics).
Professor Warren Boutcher (Head of School of English and Drama) said:
“I am delighted to see our world-class English and Drama departments continue to ascend the QS World University Rankings by Subject, now heading towards the top 30. This reflects our upward curve in terms of the excellence we are achieving in both disciplines, and promises a very bright future.”
Professor Matthew Hilton, Vice-Principal (Humanities and Social Sciences) said:
“I am especially pleased for colleagues in the Drama Department, now ranked 30th in the world.”