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.
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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.
“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
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 January 2021.
This studentship is funded for 4 years 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.
Please note that an earlier recruitment process for this studentship (in February / March 2020) did not conclude due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent UK lockdown. Previous applicants are eligible to re-apply without fear or favour.
A 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 4 years (or part-time equivalent), of which 3 years 6 months are to be focused on the project and the remaining 6 months on career development activity. (There is an option to commute up to 3 months of the funded period for career development in order to finance approved training costs, in which case the duration of the studentship is reduced from 48 to 45 months). 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.
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 January 2021. 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.
Application deadline: 5pm on Friday 4 September, 2020
Interview date: TBC (late September / early October)
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.
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.
Nadia Valman (English) continues her Leverhulme Research fellowship to produce the first literary history of east London – the site where key national questions such as social mobility, immigration, and urban regeneration are repeatedly contested.
We caught up with Thiago Jesus to talk about a new project discovering the Sacred Cave of Kamulkuwaká as part of an ongoing project with the Xingu tribe.
Background info: In September 2018, as part of PPP’s The Challenge of the Xingu project, an expedition to the sacred cave of Kamukuwaká organised with members of the Wauja community, specialists from Factum Foundation and an independent team of Brazilian anthropologists, found its ancient petroglyphs had been systematically destroyed (https://peoplespalaceprojects.org.uk/en/kamukuwaka/). Chisel marks, a chipped surface and scattered fragments on the ground were all that was left.
The sacred cave of Kamukuwaká, an archaeological site sacred to the Wauja and to the 15 other communities living in the Xingu Indigenous Territory (Brazilian Amazon), was listed as a heritage site in 2010 by IPHAN (Brazil’s National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage). The destruction is likely to be a result of the ongoing tensions between indigenous and farming communities in the state of Mato Grosso.
Digitalisation and rematerialisation: In defiance of this tragedy, Factum Foundation’s team (http://www.factumfoundation.org/), employed high-resolution photogrammetry and LiDAR scanning to record the cave. Then, using cutting-edge 3D printing technologies and with reference to previous photographic documentation as well as the collective memory of the Wauja, a forensically accurate digital restoration of the rock carvings was carried out, resulting in a 1:1 facsimile of the entrance to the cave with all the petroglyphs, measuring 8x4x4m (http://www.factumfoundation.org/pag/1289/The-Sacred-Cave-of-Kamukuwak%C3%83)
The event: On the 18-19 October 2019, one year after the vandalism was discovered, Factum hosted a two-day event in their Madrid’s workshop to inaugurate the facsimile of the restored cave. It was unveiled by a leader of the Wauja community, Akari Waurá, oral historian and song carrier, and his son Yanamakakuma Waurá, alongside Takumã Kuikuro, filmmaker from the Kuikuro people, and Shirley Djukuma Krenak, leader of the Krenak people.
During the event, they explained the importance of the cave and its meaning for the preservation of indigenous cultures, and discussed ways in which the facsimile of the cave can best serve the indigenous communities in Brazil. The two-day event was co-produced in partnership with People’s Palace Projects and funded by Factum Foundation, Queen Mary University of London and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
Politician David Lammy MP will learn about the Black African soldiers who gave their lives for Britain during the First World War.
To mark Remembrance Day 2019, Lammy will travel to Africa and see the mass burial sites for the untold heroes.
The hard-hitting documentary will also question the war graves commission for their decision to not individually memorialise countless Black African soldiers and porters.
Seeing the mass burials first-hand, Lammy considers the measures needed to be taken to give these soldiers the same dignity as the soldiers who were given gravestones regardless of background, rank or creed.
Politics and Desire in a Decadent Age: 1860 to the Present — a one-day symposium —Call for Proposals
Hosted by the Department of English
and the Sexual Cultures Research Group
Queen Mary University of London
Friday 15 May 2020
Keynote Speaker: Dennis Denisoff
(McFarlin Chair of English, University of Tulsa,
author of Aestheticism and Sexual
Parody and Sexual Visuality from Literature to Film)
symposium committee invites papers from a diverse range of disciplinary
backgrounds, including literature, sexuality and gender studies, history,
visual art, film, and environmental studies, that interpret any aspect of the
symposium theme of ‘Politics and Desire in a Decadent Age’.
may include (but are not limited to):
Urban sexual communities or conflicts
The sexual imagination and colonial decadence
Sexual identity in mass consumerism
Desires and the environmental humanities
Desires and the decadent movement
Science and medicine of decadence
Gendered and erotic ecologies
Intersections of race, indigeneity, and gender
Ignored, invisible, and secreted desires
Proposals of up to 250 words for 15-minutes papers (along with a 100-word biographical note) should be submitted by 1 February 2020 to Catherine Maxwell: email@example.com.
A Season of Bangla Drama is back in Tower Hamlets for another
month-long festival of British-Bengali theatre. It is now in its 17th
year and firmly established in the area’s cultural calendar and
includes a magnificent performance of East Side Story in our very own
Great Hall in The People’s Palace.
What role can literature play in combatting hostile environments? In a
new and exciting collaboration between Wasafiri and London’s Free Word
Centre, Roger Robinson, Winsome Pinnock, Inua Ellams and Bridget
Minamore join forces for readings and debate on writing and
QUORUM Drama Research Seminar: Molly McPhee Wednesday 16 October 2019, QMUL Be sure to go to the next QUORUM entitled ‘Miasmatic Performance: Carceral Atmospherics in the Theatre of Clean Break’. Photo: Pests by Vivienne Franzmann. Photo by Jonathan Keenan.
How does philosophy contend with the mysterious and the inexplicable? Can it really be logic all the way down, or might rationality stand on something a little spookier? Our very own Nisha Ramayya is on hand to discuss at the Forum for Philosophy.
Decorating Dissidence, run by our very own Jade French and alumni Dr. Lottie Whalen, invite you to ‘WEAVE IT!’ an exhibition celebrating and challenging 100 years of the Bauhaus women’s weaving workshop. This exhibition considers the legacies of crafting and weaving from modernism to the contemporary, exhibiting textile practitioners who respond in different ways to the Bauhaus and beyond.
The launch night on 1st November will see performances by Rasia Kabir and SED’s Julie Rose Bower, with DJs and drinks. ONGOING
Join Read the Room every Wednesday (beginning 9 October) to gather together and fill the room with poetry. Each week we will read aloud work by a different poet or on a different theme, appreciating the culture of contemporary poetry and a collaborative environment.
Meet other poetry enthusiasts or casual readers, stay on top of poetry events, or just enjoy reading something new. Drop in or just come when you can, Read the Room aims to be an accessible space to have fun with poetry.
Daniel is dyspraxic and is too slow. Frauke has ADHD and is too quick. They are married and have kids.
Join the couple in the Meadowdrome, their fantastical escapist world. Together you will encounter awkwardly intimate interactive actions, strange dances, sweet and surreal songs, and other off-kilter “grown-up” activities.
This interactive show invites you to explore, converse and play within the neurodivergent realm Daniel and Frauke have created.
Launching an anthology of writings, Turning the Page, by the SBS Survivors’ Group: A literary conversation between two groups of BAME women – published writers responding creatively to the stories of the SBS support group.
Mojisola Adebayo will be presenting The Interrogation of Sandra Bland at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, in October, culminating in a performance by a huge chorus of black / women-of-colour on stage.
Pragya Dhital joined the English department in September as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, with a project on proscribed political pamphlets in colonial India. During the summer she had two articles published: “From ‘Imam ul-Hind’ to Azizul Hind: The ‘One Man Media House’ in Modern India”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42:3, 452-468, DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2019.1596778 “Media satyagraha in the broadcast age: underground literature and populist politics during the Indian internal emergency of 1975–1977”, Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 21: 7, 942-958, DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2019.1585908
Michael Hughes (Creative Writing Lecturer)’s book is reviewed by The New York Times: ‘Hughes’s story proceeds at a breakneck cinematic pace, full of booby traps, double agents and arias promising gruesome revenge.’ Read the full review here
Eleni Sophia (aka English student Sophia Hussain) has published her third book ‘This One’s For You’. The poetry collection is about encouraging young women about the importance of self-love and provides words of encouragement for those going through a tough time.
In July, both Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian shared her poem ‘Her Mindset’ from my first poetry book, ‘Good Morning to Goodnight’ on their Snapchat and Instagram stories.
Susheila Nasta (English Professor) is has edited a collection called Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Now (Out 7 November) an anthology of essays by 15 world writers to celebrate 35 years of Wasafiri but also channels the hot political topics of today. It features work from Bernardine Evaristo, Tabish Khair, Blake Morrison, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Marina Warner and many more.
Pathologies of Solitude project has been awarded a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ grant by the Wellcome Trust (£21,192) for a project addressing solitude and loneliness as aspects of migrant and refugee experience.
The 18-month project is led by Akshi Singh, postdoctoral fellow on the ‘Pathologies of Solitude’ project, and Nisha Ramayya ( Creative Writing Lecturer at QMUL), and is partnered by Akwaaba, an anti-racist migrant befriending centre in East London.
The project will support six creative arts workshops to be held at Akwaaba, facilitated by BME writers and other diverse artists. Its results will be disseminated through zines made with workshop participants, an exhibition and a public story-telling event.
People Palace Projects’Xingu Encounter has been nominated for a Times Higher Education award for ‘International Collaboration of the Year’. The project explores new ways to work with indigenous people in Brazil to preserve & protect their knowledge & culture.
Mahima Tyagi (English with Creative Writing student) has taken over the School of English and Drama Instagram.
Seen here with one of Boal’s original Theatre Company Barbara Santos (holding Ali’s book). Ali in turn is holding her own which they are launching in parallel: Theatre of the Oppressed: Roots and Wings (Kuringa). The launch took the form of seminars and workshops in Rio de Janeiro at the headquarters of CTO Rio, Boal’s original company, alongside the devising of street theatre pieces and other interventions across the City protesting the draconian measures currently being proposed by the Bolsanaro Administration and impacting heavily on access to State funded Higher Education.
A similar event will happen as part of this year’s Season of Bangla Drama Festival, of which Ali is a co-Director with responsibility for CPD across the Festival’s 17 theatre companies and 6 venues, of which QMUL is one. The Festival begins on Friday 1st November.
On the verge of a natural disaster, a prison guard is called into work and discovers a newcomer to the team – an Artificial Intelligence named Sally. When the city is evacuated, what happens to the prisoners?
The final 24 candidates for The Mars Mission Programme have been observed for a month by the public in a reality TV show designed to choose the final four. The public have voted and the candidates are about to be sent off to Mars with no hope of return… as soon as the final confirmation is granted.
Lola, Eleanor Rigby, Brown Sugar, Roxanne, and Monica – you may know their names, you may even remember singing them in the shower or at a party. What you probably don’t know is their stories. Neither do they, but they’re trying to figure it out.
‘Celebrating their final year as Europeans, island monkeys Becca and Louise got invited to the 2018 European Capital of Culture in Malta. Lads on tour…Sh!t Theatre went to drink rum with Brits abroad but found mystery and murder in the fight to be European. Here it is, another excuse for the multi award-winning Sh!t Theatre to get drunk on stage. ‘
‘From an Essex-based, sad, weird kid to a less sad, trans, lesbian loudmouth. She’s grown up, gotten hurt and she’s still here and ready to share in her debut hour. Winner of the Best Comedy Show Award at the Brewery Fringe Festival.’
Criticism and Insight
Bechdel Theatre: BT talk gender and representation on stage and list shows that pass the Bechdel Test.
Early career researchers seeking support for their
application to the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme are invited
to get in contact with us as soon as possible
Deadline for applications: midday on Wednesday 11
The School of English and Drama invites early career
researchers seeking support for their application to the British Academy
Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme to get in touch by submitting:
(1) an explanation of the reason(s) for your choice of Queen
Mary as the host institution (150 words maximum)
(2) an outline of your proposed programme of research (1,500
(3) details of your planned research outputs, e.g. monograph,
journal article(s), book chapter(s), digital resources, other (please specify)
(300 words maximum)
(4) a list of existing publications (1 page maximum)
(5) a CV (2 pages maximum)
Please submit the above documents to Dr Huw Marsh, Research
by no later than midday on Wednesday 11 September 2019. Please state
‘British Academy PDRF’ in the subject line.
All outline proposals will be considered by our Directors of
Research and those that we give institutional support to will have
approximately one month to finalise their online application, due on 16 October
PhD candidate Ben Walters has recently hosted an event called Dr. Duckie at Royal Vauxhall Tavern to explain his work around the legendary performance company and his theory around the power of queer fun.