What We’re Reading #1 – Book Recommendations from SED

Welcome to our new monthly column sharing great reads from students, staff and friends of the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

This month:

  1. If You Should Fail: A Book of Solace by Joe Moran
  2. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
  3. Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M.Danforth

If you’d like to contribute please read our guidance and contact us


If You Should Fail: A Book of Solace by Joe Moran

nonfiction | society | memoir    

If You Should Fail is a perfect read in our disastrous times.

If Adam and Eve had been around today, they would be encouraged to regard their Fall from grace as a learning curve. For failure, as motivational lectures and podcasts tell us, is just another opportunity to get it right. 

Joe Moran’s very persuasive and personal book tells a different story about failure.  While modern capitalism, with its unceasing demands to be productive, would have us think of failure as a series of setbacks that individuals must learn to overcome, even in a system that ensures most of us will always struggle, Moran consoles us that failing is a constant and inevitable aspect of our experience.    

Learning to live with failure is not, Moran says, about learning to succeed, but about coming to terms with our vulnerability and appreciating that the sometimes messy, largely improvised lives we lead are good enough.

A welcome message for our times.  

Review by Charlie Pullen – PhD English

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

subtle | sensitive | alive

Charming Billy is a gentle, intimate masterpiece.

Intricate family relationships reveal the beauty and complexity of Irish-American experiences in 1950s America. But at the heart of this tale there lies a painful untruth, which casts long shadows.

McDermott’s novel is definitely a page-turner, with a wide cast of rich and endearing characters who linger long in the memory. McDermott weaves past histories seamlessly into the narrative, capturing themes such as alcoholism, enduring love, and crises of faith, as she explores the central relationship between Dennis and his cousin Billy. The power of the writing comes through in what is left unsaid…

Charming Billy is a remarkable and sensitive novel worth savouring and luxuriating over every word.

Review by: Christine Hawkins – English Teaching Associate

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M.Danforth

lgbtqia+ | queer | supernatural

Plain Bad Heroines is sapphic, macabre and delicious.

Complex female characters emerge and twist all expectations in the wonderfully layered narrative. lf you like your queer ghost stories with lashings of jet black humour and saucy surprises you’ll love it! 

Initially the 600 pages was daunting when it arrived but Emily M. Danforth’s tale is a dark queer thrill ride from the spooky setting of Rhode Island’s Brookhants windswept school to the glossy magic hours of LA.

The book is being republished in Feb 2021 but you can get the original version via Amazon sellers or US stores and who knew Emily M. Danforth is the writer of The Miseducation of Cameron Post too. 

Plain Bad Heroines is an eery triumph to the power of multidimensional queer storytelling across centuries.  

Review by Rupert Dannreuther – Marketing Manager at SED


If you’d like to contribute please read our guidance and contact us

SED Opportunity Digest – 22 January 2021

In an effort to help students focus by not sending too many emails we’ve stored up all the great opportunities into one short digest. Don’t worry if you want to get them first it’s still best to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for next week via sed-web@qmul.ac.uk

From QMUL

CONTRIBUTE: We’re launching 2 new series on our blog and other channels:

  1. What We’re Reading: Succinct book recommendations from our students, staff and friends. See our contribute guide for help
  2. The POWER of POETRY: Inspired by Amanda Gorman’s poem, we are launching a series celebrating poets of SED and beyond.

If you’d like to get involved please see our contribute page for guidance and contact details.

Master’s Open Events: We have 2 events coming up for current students if you think you might want to continue your study:

  1. MA English Literature Open Evening 3 February 2021 – 5-6pm UK time Join Director of admissions for the MA English Literature, Dr Charlotta Salmi to discuss the course. Sign up
  2. MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health Open Evening 3 February 2021 | 6.30pm – 8pm UK Time The event will include presentations by Dr Maria Turri and Prof Bridget Escolme and a Q&A with current students. Sign up

Queen Mary Student Newsletter: Important opportunities like the three below come through to you via email with lots more opportunities at QMUL. We hope you get these but please email qmul-student@qmul.ac.uk if you can’t find them in your QMUL email account.

Solitudes Seminar – Anne Vila on ‘Solitudes/Multitudes in Eighteenth-Century France: The Curious Case of the Jansenist Convulsionnaires’ on 26 Jan

Outside QMUL

Important note: We are the messenger for these opportunities please contact the organisers themselves if you have questions.

Aziz Foundation Master’s Scholarship Programme: Supporting British Muslims with career aspirations in:

  • Law
  • Media & Journalism
  • Policy 
woman in green long sleeve shirt sitting on couch
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

BBC Academy: How to Start a Podcast

Free workshop on 26 Jan with award-winning radio journalist and podcast coach Clare Freeman on how to get started with your podcast.

The Coast is Queer: Free LGBTQ+ Literature Festival returning 5 – 7 Feb includes Booker Prize winners Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain) and Alan Hollinghurst (The Swimming-Pool Library, The Line Of Beauty, The Stranger’s Child) PLUS SO MANY MORE! Book tickets for individual events here

Diaspora Reads – Book Club on 28 Jan: The book for January is Booker Winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo📚 Find out more here

FEAR NAUT ISSUE TWO

Employable Me (Pictured above): our Degree doesn’t have to Define your Career’ event on 28 Jan. Sign up here

Fear Naut magazine by our Drama alumna is looking for submissions. You can also support the magazine and read an interview with Tilly Bungard about its creation here.

Freelancing workshop on 25 Jan with drama alumna Elliott Daley talking on how to navigate freelancing, starting out, and resilience in the face of adversity. Sign up here.

Penguin Lit in Colour: Get involved with this new initiative by Penguin to support inclusive reading in schools if you’re a teacher or tutor to young people or simply make your old English teachers aware of this scheme. Sign up here

Poplarism! Submissions Open A digital arts festival celebrating the centenary of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921 happening in May 2021. Find out more

Further sources of interesting events, opportunities and jobs are…

Apples & Snakes Artists Newsletter | Arts Admin E-Digest | ArtsJobs | JournoResources | MediaBeans (media jobs) | Tower Hamlets Arts | Write at Home (freelance writing opps)

Interview: Tilly Bungard on her magazine FEAR NAUT made by women on boats

We are excited to catch up with Tilly Bungard about her magazine project Fear Naught, her work in diversity & inclusion and her time at Queen Mary studying Drama.

What are your best memories of your time at QMUL?

Like most Drama alumni, my fondest memories take place in the Pinter Studio, where most of our performances happened.

These vary hugely from the absolute terror (and then elation) of exam pieces to the hilarity of watching my housemates perform ridiculous sketches at the student run variety evening “Slappin’ da Bass”. It’s mad to think of what’s taken place over the years in that studio for so many students. There was a tradition for doing a slightly tipsy last run-through of QMTC plays the night before public performances opened to attempt to shed any nervousness of messing it all up on the night (to varying degrees of success).

   My absolute favourite night of the whole three years was during the “Performance Composition” module (if you’re a current Drama student, this is one you absolutely must sign up for). Run at the time by the wonderful Stacey Makishi, whose practice combines radical mutual openness with the bizarre and surreal.

During this module students performed 5-10 minutes solo shows every week to the public, providing a constant state of terror and adrenaline for everyone enrolled on it. On the last week, after the graded performances had been completed, we each performed “in the style of” one of our class mates, treading the fine line between caring for and honouring our peers’ creativity whilst performing some of the most bizarre pieces I’ve ever seen, to hilarious effect.

Tell us about Fear Naut. How did it come about and how can people get involved?

Fear Naut is a magazine conceived and created from start to finish by women who live on boats.

One year after graduating from QMUL I moved onto a narrow boat on in London, something many students will have considered living and studying right next to the Regents! It wasn’t exactly new to me, I was born on a barge in Bristol and have always worked on boats, but I loved it immediately. What I loved most were the people I met. The boating community is so supportive, caring and full of huge personalities. I found quickly that so many of us were creative in some way, but living on a boat is like a part time job, and so many of my friends rarely had the time to give their creativity the attention it deserved.

We stand for the empowerment of women and non-binary folk, strong community, DIY, and the freedom to live as you please. Boat women are creative, brave and independent. We have a wealth of creativity and experience with a unique and special view of the world and we want to share that with you. This is a magazine for people living on the water, for those interested in alternative ways of living – from creatives and dreamers, to activists and environmentalists and many more.”

   Boat Women had such a unique view of the world, and the creativity to translate that to something that a much wider audience would find interesting and inspiring.

   Once I’d had the idea the rest happened so organically, I posted on the London Boat Women Facebook group (best FB group in the world!) and 15 women came to the initial meeting wanting to be involved. This was slightly terrifying, but the numbers quickly shrunk to three, Asha, Estelle (who luckily owns a Risograph printing studio in Hackney Wick!), and me.

   We’ve just published Issue 2 and already can see how much the magazine will grow and develop with each Issue. We’re both learning as we go along. Issue three is on “Growth” and will come out in early summer. If you’re a boating lady or non-binary person you can email us your ideas for contributions at fearnautmag@gmail.com.

Who or what are your inspirations?

   My friends and community inspire me more than anything, those people who have an idea and make it happen. It’s those people that have turned me from someone who would read a book and think “How does anyone have the time and tenacity to put so much work into something?” to someone who thinks that if you want to do something, you can, and that’s the only way it will happen.

You work as a Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator. How can arts and culture be genuinely more inclusive?

   It has to start from the top down. I don’t think an organisation run by straight white men can ever be truly inclusive, we need people in power within the arts who are black, trans, non-binary and neurodivergent to be making the big decisions, and only then will we get to the place we need to be. 

What advice would you give to Drama students about making their own projects and life after QM?

   You’ll all go through that period of time when you’re applying for every job on ArtsJobs that comes through (and definitely do this!) but you don’t have to wait for someone to employ you to do something worthwhile. Whether it’s a community project, creative project, or skill you’d like to learn more about, do it! Say yes to as many things as you can, you never know where they’ll lead.

SED Opportunity Digest – 15 January 2021

In an effort to help students focus by not sending too many emails we’ve stored up all the great opportunities into one short digest. Don’t worry if you want to get them first it’s still best to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

From QMUL

POETRY OPEN MIC NIGHT – Sign up: http://bit.ly/poetryopenmic1002.

Message from Jasmine Rothon:⁠

“On February 10th at 7pm I’m hosting a poetry open mic night on zoom, which is partly through my role as one of the editors of CUB. It’s open to all abilities, and might be something that any English, Creative Writing, or Drama students in particular would be interested in – whether they’re taking part or watching!”⁠

Student Support at QMUL: We published this new guide for you to discover the best contacts for getting the support you may need. Read it here

Thinking about your future: SED career workshops starting 3 Feb: Whether you know what you would like to do after university; you aren’t sure and don’t know where to start; or the thought of career planning in the midst of coronavirus is making you anxious, the careers service is here to help. From February 3rd, a short series of careers workshops are running to help you consider your options, and what steps you might need to take to get where you want. 

03/02/21, 2-3.30pm: Making choices This session will help you think about your interests and options, including information on further study, job hunting during a pandemic, and how to build an action plan. Book yourself a place here! https://qmul.targetconnect.net/leap/event.html?id=7837&service=Careers+Service

Outside QMUL

Important note: We are the messenger please contact the organisers themselves if you have questions.

Image

⁦‪BBC Asian Network have announced a brand new talent search for presenters, who will host their own shows on the station from March 2021. More info and application: bbc.in/3qc5cRV

The BFI Future Film Festival 202118-21 FEB: The BFI Future Film Festival is back and, for the first time ever, this year’s Festival will be all digital and completely free.   The largest festival for young aspiring filmmakers, the programme will feature online talks and masterclasses, alongside a film programme of 45 shorts made by young filmmakers from all over the world, hosted on BFI Player and available to view free for the 4 days of the festival.   The full programme and free booking opens on Fri 29 Jan.

ALUMNI ONLY: Create Jobs Future Now as you can’t be in full time education to qualify. Across creative content, software development, and the world of startups, these courses will give you an understanding of the careers available, the mindsets and skills to start that career, and the connections to employers to make it happen. You’ll also take part in workshops and inspirational talks from industry leaders and get wrap-around career support. Be quick applications close on 10am on 18 Jan 2021. Apply here

Creative Industries Federation recruiting young members too: The Creative Industries Federation, the membership body which champions and supports the UK’s creative industries, is looking for a 18-25 year-olds with knowledge and expertise within the creative sector to join their board.
Deadline to apply 18 January 2021.

G-SHOCK SESSIONS: Ashley Walters and Nagajan Modhwadia, in conversation on ActingHosted by Shortee Blitz Friday 29th January, 2021. To apply, visit g-shock.co.uk/sessions and sign up. Places are very limited and will be chosen by ballot.

It’s a Sin Q&A on Youtube: Join BFI for this panel discussion on the much anticipated new drama from Russell T Davies. On the panel will be Writer Russell T Davies, Exec Producer Nicola Shindler, Director Peter Hoar, Channel 4 Head of Drama Caroline Hollick, and cast Olly Alexander, Keeley Hawes, Omari Douglas, Callum Scott Howells, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis.

Reading room

London Library Emerging Writers Programme Applications Now Open: Now in its third year, The London Library Emerging Writers Programme offers unpublished writers, in all genres, one year’s membership of The London Library, alongside writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. Apply here

Netflix Documentary Talent Fund: Netflix gives creative freedom to writers and directors to tell the stories they want to tell, unrestricted by time and form. We believe that great stories can come from anyone, anywhere – and that viewers want to see their lives reflected on screen. That’s why Netflix is excited to announce this Documentary Talent Fund to find the next generation of filmmakers. Applications close 31 Jan. Apply here

WANTED: young cultural leaders and curators for London’s communities
Fusion Prize winner Play Nice is recruiting its first cohort of Londoners aged 18-25 for the Pattern, a curriculum in cultural production for future community leaders and curators. 20 young people will be granted a curatorial fee of £20,000 to create work for their communities and pitch them to Foundation for Future London and Culture Mile’s partners including Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall.

YouTube One-Day Course on 27 Feb Learn the skills you need to manage your YouTube channel in this affordable one-day class. You’ll learn how to optimise your videos, grow your audience, boost exposure and create strategies to develop your channel.

Further sources of interesting events, opportunities and jobs are…

Arts Admin E-Digest | ArtsJobs | JournoResources | MediaBeans (media jobs) | Tower Hamlets Arts | Write at Home (freelance writing opps)

English and Drama Newsletter – January 2021 Edition

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Happy New Year 2021


We wish you a safe and supported 2021. We’re here to help if you need us this year and would love to hear from you.

Quick updates from us:

UCAS DEADLINE EXTENSION: Undergraduate applicants for September 2021 entry now have until 29 January to apply. Watch our IG Live or ask a question.

7 DAY GRACE PERIOD: The School has agreed a 7-day grace period for all SED assignments due in January 2021. Details here

HOW TO CONTACT US:  Our physical office is currently closed but we are available to contact via these methods including live chat.

WASAFIRI MAGAZINE: Psst. exciting events are coming very soon so please do sign up to their newsletter via the link in the top right corner of the website.

STAY CONNECTED: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Youtube

Pictured: Wonderer Literary Journal, Romeo & Juliet featuring student Emily Redpath, Decolonising Sloane’s herbarium and our latest Instagram Live.

Online Events

OFFER HOLDER INTERVIEW DAY
Wednesday 20 January 2021

We have our next opportunity in January for our 2021 entry offer holders to hear an overview of their course, meet a member of staff for an interview and do a taster session.

Email us for information


POSTGRADUATE OPEN EVENTS

We have two online open events planned for the following courses:

MA English Literature – 3 Feb – 5-6pm UK Time
MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health – 3 Feb – 6.30-8pm UK Time

Sign up here to get invited

LISTINGS

Welcome to The Last Breath Society: Mortality, Care, and Solidarity in Zombie Time
Thursday 14 January 2021 6.30pm-8.15pm on Zoom

Our very own Martin O’Brien will talk about his practice and research in relation to ideas of care, community, and solidarity in times of illness. He will discuss his notion of Zombie Time, or the temporal experience of living on longer than expected, as a way of understanding mortality and chronic illness.

Get tickets

Power to the People – a digital festival by Phakama
Sunday 17 January 2021

Join Project Phakama (arts organisation based at QMUL) on Sunday 17th January 2021 for Project Phakama’s very first Digital Festival! To kick off Phakama’s 25th birthday celebrations they’ll be hosting a day’s festival called Power to the people, exploring the theme of ‘resistance‘.

Over the course of a day participants will come together to explore the things we are resisting. You’ll be able to choose from a range of workshops exploring movement, art therapy, creative writing and photography, sharing your ideas and building a small piece of performance to showcase to the group.Come along to revel in Phakama’s brilliant philosophy and people, feel inspired and explore something new.

Book a free ticket here

News & Links

Sloane Herbarium in the Natural History Museum, London
Portrait of Sir Hans Sloane in the Museum’s Historical Collections Room which holds Sloane’s herbarium (along the wall) and his Vegetable Substances (in the drawers). The latter are mostly botanical objects, numbered and sealed in decorative glass boxes. Sloane carefully catalogued where they came from, who had sent them to him and what they were used for.

AHRC LAHP Collaborative Doctoral Award: ‘Decolonising the Sloane Herbarium’

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the Natural History Museum (NHM) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded doctoral grant from October 2021.

This studentship is funded for 3.5 years full time (or part-time equivalent). The project will investigate provenance information for the botanical specimens in the Sloane Herbarium, a foundation collection of NHM, to re-imagine our understanding of its global and imperial dimensions.

Julie Rose Bower (Drama) has been commissioned by Victoria & Albert Museum to make ASMR videos. These will be released throughout this first quarter of 2021 and she hopes they will provide some stress relief deep in the cloister of the archive.

The last films were featured in Elephant magazine and described Julie Rose as one of the artists you need to know ‘carving out space to reflect on the world today’: https://elephant.art/these-are-the-artists-you-need-to-know-05042020/

Submissions are open

Feather Pen Submissions Open

Feather Pen Blog is a creative writing platform managed by SED student Aysel Dilara Kasap that welcomes any type of writing and writers from all backgrounds. Our mission is to offer a creative space for all writers and aspiring writers to unleash their creativity. We want to help fellow writers to share their work, in this age in which rejections are more common than acceptance.

We’re open for submissions for all of our categories which include fiction (short stories and scripts), poetry and lifestyle (includes most kinds of non-fiction from articles, book reviews, film reviews, personal blog entries to travel accounts to anything you want to share). We especially encourage submissions for the fiction section. We’re also open to discuss any column ideas. Send your submissions or pitches to featherpen-blog@hotmail.com.

Vanessa Damilola Macaulay (Drama) Photography and memory, ritual and writing come together in Vanessa Damilola Macaulay’s inquiry into racialised experiences of breath and breathlessness, from violent anti-blackness to Fanon’s revolution.

Read it here

Elliot Morsia (English Alumnus) has published a ground-breaking new study of D. H. Lawrence with Bloomsbury Academic  Exploring draft manuscripts, alternative texts and publishers’ typescripts, The Many Drafts of D. H. Lawrence reveals new insights into the writings and writing practices of one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Focusing on the most productive years of Lawrence’s writing life, between 1909 and 1926 – a time that saw the writing of major novels such as Women in Love and the controversial The Plumed Serpent, as well as his first major short story collection – this book is the first to apply analytical methods from the field of genetic criticism to the archives of this canonical modernist author.

The book unearths and re-evaluates a variety of themes including the body, selfhood, the sublime, trauma, death, depression, and endings, and includes original transcriptions as well as reproductions from the manuscripts themselves. By charting Lawrence’s writing processes, the book also highlights how the very distinction between ‘process’ and ‘product’ became a central theme in his work. 

Read more and order here
Follow Elliott on Twitter: @EMorsia

Nineteenth

Nineteenth-Century Religion, Literature and Society: Disbelief and New Beliefs, edited by Clare Stainthorp (a new Leverhulme ECF in the School of English and Drama) and Naomi Hetherington was published in December as part of a four-volume Routledge resource. The volume explores the transformation of the religious landscape of Britain and its imperial territories during the 1800s as shaped by Bible criticism, science, esotericism, comparative religion, and freethought. It introduces and makes accessible diverse primary sources, from novels and poetry to sermons and pamphlets.

Emily Redpath (Drama alumna) is starring in a socially distanced and cleverly filmed version Romeo & Juliet and highlighted by the Guardian’s Chris Wiegand.⁠

Read the article in the Guardian

Tudor Networks of Power Led by Ruth Ahnert (English).

Tudor Networks works in a similar way to platforms such as Google Maps. It offers to possibility for users to view almost 100 years of history from a macro perspective. Just like Google Maps might reveal streets that had never been mapped before, this platform reveals hidden histories and network connections that were previously unknown.

Read more

Martin Welton (Drama) writes the intro and edits the publication of the first of a two-part special issue of Ambianceson Staging Atmospheres co-edited with Chloé Déchery.

Read here

Wonderer

WONDERER (SED Student Run Literary Journal) has launched it’s first issue and includes incredible examples of our students’ workincluding work on consciousness and race, South African fiction, gender displacement and much more fascinating lockdown reading.

Read it online here

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Life as a Language Assistant in Valencia by Haleema Ali

In September 2019, I found myself doing something highly unusual. Instead of enrolling in a degree or frantically looking at graduate schemes and the like, I was boarding a plane that would whisk me away from the dreary throes of English weather, to those of sun-kissed Valencia.

Although I would miss the familiarity of rain and grey skies, of family and friends – I was unbearably excited.

The reason for my departure, though seemingly impulsive, was planned. I would be starting my placement as a Language Assistant with the British Council in a Valencian primary school. Like many other English students, I was exceedingly worried about those dreaded ‘next steps’ after graduation. Would I be lost in the sea of thousands of graduates, hoping to stay afloat in a competitive and constrictive climate?

I never imagined I would be one of those people that took a gap year or went abroad. I had loved studying Spanish at secondary school and decided to be spontaneous and throw myself into an environment that was unknown and exciting. It would turn out to be one of the best decisions I had ever made.

My primary school was located in a sleepy suburban town, by the name of La Cañada. Surrounded by luscious orange trees (a much-loved Valencian fruit), it was a train ride away from the city centre, where I was staying. My daily tasks consisted of organising and managing students from all year groups, and I would plan (what I hoped were) interesting speaking activities for pupils to get stuck into. The school were particularly invested in contemporary UK culture, and this led to eventful lessons on Christmas and Halloween, with games like ‘search for Santa’ and ‘pin the nose, eyes and mouth on the pumpkin’.

Some more memorable moments included seeing the pupils in heaps of laughter whilst playing charades or ‘mímica’. Day-to-day teaching was consistently different, which was challenging but also enjoyable, and I always returned home having learnt something new. The staff were unwaveringly kind – helping me secure accommodation and answering my unending questions. They never failed to put me at ease. I also became accustomed to eating lunch several hours later than I would normally and was introduced to scrumptious Valencian dishes, like paella and calabaza.

In my spare time, which fortunately I had a great deal of, I explored my surroundings and tried to cram in as many galleries, gardens, and other sights as I possibly could. Valencia truly had the best of everything – the city, the beach, and the countryside. My favourite discovery was the University of Valencia’s Botanical Garden, a lush and inviting place with plants both beautiful and brain-like. To my inner bookworm’s delight, I would catch glimpses of literary things everywhere. I saw Petrarch and Dante in museums I visited; the most exciting experience was happening upon Gulliver Park – a huge playground structure entirely modelled on Gulliver’s Travels! It might have been for children – but I had an amazing time!

I also learnt about the annual Falles festival that spectacularly ‘combines tradition, satire and art,’ and which Valencia is famous for. Though the cruel arrival of Coronavirus halted any formal festivities, including the celebratory bonfire, I was thankful for what I had learned from the teachers and from museum visits. I was lucky enough to be shown around the city by a very kind teacher, which led to enjoyable ventures such as visiting the Tasquita de la Estrecha (the narrowest building in Europe), scenic hikes in mountainous villages and the sampling of delicious turrón (nougat). My language skills also improved during these outings. The locals were friendly and accommodating, which allowed me to practise my Spanish freely. I found that my speaking skills developed significantly after several months.

I wholeheartedly recommend the assistantship – it has changed my life in so many unforgettable ways. I am reminded of acclaimed South Asian novelist Anita Desai’s thoughts on travelling: ‘wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow’. The remarkable experience I had as a Language Assistant will always be a part of me. I had an outstanding time teaching, and I will treasure my memories with the staff and students.

The experience has provided me with a fascinating window into Valencia’s enriched culture through visits to renowned sites and the knowledge of important festivals. It has also helped me hone an abundance of skills – resilience, communication, and adaptability. My journey has made me the person I am today and is something I will cherish forever.

¡Hasta luego!

Support for SED students: General, In-Crisis and Well-being

a) General QMUL Support

  1. Your Advisor: first point of contact for help with your university life. Book an appointment by email or via the scheduler on QMPlus (during the semester). If you don’t know who your advisor is find out here.
  2. SED Student Support & Admin Team: If you have a general question please email us, live chat with us or reach out in the following ways.
  3. Directors of Student Support: If you need an extra person to help outside of your advisor contact Bridget Escolme (Drama) and Alfred Hiatt(English).
  4. More Sources:

b) In-Crisis & Emergency Support

  1. Emergency numbers: 999 for life or death emergencies and 111 on your phone for urgent health advice. 020 7882 3333 if you need campus emergency team.
  2. Helplines: Samaritans (crisis phone/chat support), Student Minds (tailored mental health support for students) and search for your local council’s mental health support provision. Tower Hamlets for example has a 24 hours crisis line.
  3. Mental Health First Aiders: A full list is available here or call Rupert Dannreuther to talk directly or he can put you in touch with others.
  4. Talk it out: Reach out to friends, siblings, loved ones and your course mates.

c) Well Being Tips

  1. Sleep: Read the NHS How to get good sleep guide and the Sleep Council‘s resources.
  2. Connection: Be the one who reaches out and use real talk to discuss real things going on not just. You’d be surprised how many people respond well to this. There’s still time to join societies, contact old friends and meet new ones.
  3. Exercise: Use the Couch to 5k or other similar apps to get into a routine of exercise that can improve your mood. Move around when studying to different places at home and at university if you need study space.
  4. More Wellbeing Resouces:
    • Advice and Counselling: There’s an amazing section on the Emotional Wellbeing here.
    • Local NHS services including your GP can do social prescribing including arts, mindfulness and many other well-being activities.
    • Togetherall is the student mental health platform QMUL subscribes to. Use it to do a course or connect anonymously.

If you have any tips we should add please leave a comment below…

7-day grace period for all SED assignments due in January

Dear students, 

This is a message for all School of English and Drama UG and PGT students with coursework deadlines falling in January 2021. Yesterday senior staff in the School met with a large group of students who made representations about the distressing and difficult circumstances in which you are all studying, exacerbated by the recently announced national lockdown. I fully appreciate that we cannot expect students to ‘carry on as usual’ in such circumstances and the measures set out below, which we have worked as quickly as possible to put in place, are one recognition of the impact of Covid-19 and this latest lockdown. The student group raised other matters and we are working to see how we can best respond to those.

In making these arrangements, please note that I have also needed to take into account the consequences for the School’s academic and administrative staff, many of whom are also dealing with the changed circumstances that the lockdown brings. Since yesterday I have been working with Christina Perry, the Faculty Dean for Education, Trudy Mason in the Registry, our own Admin team, our Chairs of Examinations and Heads of Department, and others, to see if these measures could be implemented. I am very grateful to all of them for working with me, quickly, at such a difficult time, to make this possible. 

With immediate effect, students who submit assignments due in January within 7 days (including Saturday and Sunday) of the original deadline will not be subject to any penalties and will not need to submit an Extenuating Circumstances application.  

Students who have already submitted an assignment with a January 2021 deadline but are within the 7-day grace period may resubmit their assignment provided they do so before the grace period ends. 

A list of assignments due in January that now have a 7-day grace period can be found here indicating the end of the grace period in each case. 

Students who submit assignments due in January more than 7 days late will still need to submit an EC Late Submission claim in order for any late penalties to be removed. 

Students who are not able to submit assignments by the final deadline will need to submit an EC Non Submission claim by 24 January 2021. 

During the Semester A Examination Period, which starts today, SED will accept any self-certified Extenuating Circumstances application that cites the various social and personal pressures generated by the national lockdown and the context of the pandemic more broadly.  Each individual claim can relate to multiple assessments/modules. Further details will follow regarding self-certification. 

The deadline to submit any Semester A Extenuating Circumstances claims via MySIS remains 11.30pm on Sunday 24 January 2021. 

Please contact your advisor or sed-information@qmul.ac.uk for further support.  

All best wishes, 

Warren (Boutcher) 

Acting Head of School 

AHRC LAHP Collaborative Doctoral Award: ‘Decolonising the Sloane Herbarium’

Decolonising the Sloane Herbarium

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and the Natural History Museum (NHM) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded doctoral grant from October 2021.

This studentship is funded for 3.5 years full time (or part-time equivalent). The project will investigate provenance information for the botanical specimens in the Sloane Herbarium, a foundation collection of NHM, to re-imagine our understanding of its global and imperial dimensions.

The successful candidate will combine archival research and special collections handling with digital methods for structuring humanities data in order to surface hidden histories within the Sloane Herbarium, not least by building a resource that supports future generations of scholars.

A full description of the project objectives and application process is available in the Further Particulars.

This studentship is funded through the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) scheme via the London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) of which QMUL is a member. The studentship includes a stipend at the Research Council UK Home / EU rate (£17,609 per annum in 2021/22) plus fees for 3.5 years. The awarded candidate will also be entitled to a £550 per annum stipend top-up. Studentships can be either full or part-time. As a LAHP student, the successful candidate will have full access to the LAHP Doctoral Training Partnership development activities and networking opportunities, joining a cohort of about 90 students per year.

CDA grants provide funding for doctoral students to work on a project in collaboration with an organisation outside higher education. They are intended to encourage and develop collaboration and partnerships and to provide opportunities for doctoral students to gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment. They enhance the employment-related skills and training available to the research student during the course of the award. Collaborative Doctoral Awards are not only a route into academia but also provide hands-on work experience in the cultural sector and transferrable skills.

This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Richard Coulton (QMUL) and Dr Mark Carine (NHM), with further supervisory input from Professor Markman Ellis (QMUL) and Miranda Lowe (NHM). The student will be expected to spend time at both QMUL and NHM, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of LAHP funded students across the capital.

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for this Collaborative Doctoral Award and are committed to welcoming applicants from different backgrounds. Candidates may come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. archaeology, anthropology, literary or cultural studies, history, heritage studies, natural history, history and philosophy of science, museum studies, archive and information studies). Some experience of historical collections handling and/or digital humanities will be of benefit.

Potential candidates are welcome to contact Dr Richard Coulton (r.x.coulton@qmul.ac.uk) and Dr Mark Carine (m.carine@nhm.ac.uk) before preparing an application.

The successful candidate will commence their PhD in October 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 the Natural History Museum.

Applications must be made in two phases:
Firstly to QMUL by 5pm on Friday 29 January 2021
Secondly to LAHP by 5pm on Friday 5 February 2021

You must complete the QMUL process first in order to include your QMUL application ID reference number on the LAHP CDA application form.

Interview date: TBC (late March / early April)

English and Drama Newsletter – December 2020 Edition

Happy Holidays and Good Riddance to 2020

A few quick-fire updates from us:

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES – 3 DECEMBER: We are delighted to hear thatAccessibility Consultant, Journalist and Speaker, Emily Rose Yates (English BA, 2013), was recently listed among the Shaw Trust’s Power 100, an annual publication containing the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK. 

COLLEGE CLOSURE DAYS: Queen Mary is closed from 18 December 2020-4 January 2021. If you need support please get in touch before this starts.

SEMESTER 2 DATES: 25 January -16 April 2021 / Bank holidays: 2 and 5 April 2021.

STAY CONNECTED
: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Youtube

LEVERHULME & PhD DEADLINES: 2021 Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship scheme and PhD Studentships information on our website.

Online Events

STUDENT-RUN OPEN EVENING FOR 2021 APPLICANTS

campus

Friday 11 December 2020, 3.30 – 6.30pm (GMT)

You will also get the chance to take part in live subject panel sessions with current students, which will include a Q&A where you can ask questions about your subject of interest. The event will close with our semi-live digital tour, where you will be able to explore our Mile End campus and take part in a text Q&A session to find out more about living and studying at Queen Mary.

Book online


TASTER EVENT FOR YEAR 12/13 STUDENTS

Creative Writing Taster

Creative Writing Taster Session for Year 12-13 Students
9 Dec, 4-5pm – Free Online

RESEARCH SEMINAR

ENGLISH – POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH SEMINAR ‘Hear the sledges with the bells- Silver bells! What a world of merriment their melody foretells!’- Santa Poe Join the PGRS team on 10/12 for their PhD panel & ap-POE-priately festive Christmas Quiz! Sign up in teams of up to 4 now and watch here for more soon https://forms.gle/AtYYg3LJByYr1N


LISTINGS


‘Sh!t Actually’ is Backtually3-5 Dec – Rose Theatre and 12-23 at Home Manchester
QMUL Drama graduates Sh*t Theatre present their provocative and hilarious festive rework of Love Actually to prove ‘Love Actually is All Around’.

‘Best Alternative Christmas shows’ (Evening Standard).
‘No other alternative Christmas shows’ (Global Apocalypse)

Lived Religion and the Visual Arts: A Virtual Study Day4 Dec, Online, 2-4.30pm on ZoomA study day jointly hosted by the Centre for Religion and Literature in English (QMCRLE) and LERMA at Aix-Marseille Universitié.

Last Gasp WFH – Encore
6 Dec, Online – La Mama Experimental Theatre Club

Split Britches

Photo by Jingyu Lin for The New York Times

Written and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver of Split Britches, it is a series of verbal and physical essays that playfully dances through the dangerous intersections of permanence and impermanence, interdependence and care, knowledge and experience, narcissism and echoes.

Book here

“not just one of the 40-year-old company’s best pieces, but among the most evocative art to emerge from the Covid era” –
Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times

Rethinking Darkness Book Launch
10 Dec, Online, 3-5pm BST – Free
Our very own Martin Welton presents his work on Theatrical uses of darkness as part of this book launch.

WHAT MATTERS TO ME
10 Dec, Online, 5pm BST – Free Centring care and wellbeing in building online spaces.Prof. Pat Healy and Zoe Gumbs

Daniel Oliver

Daniel Oliver: Weird Séance
16 Dec, 7 & 9pm Cambridge Junction

A special IRL socially distanced performance of Weird Séance by our very own Daniel Oliver.

QMUL Seminar Series 2020-2021: Crowds, Affects, Cities
Dr Ben Gook (History, University of Melbourne):
Collectivity and Affect in Crisis Times: Dancing in Berlin, 1989-2020

16 Dec, Online, 8pm BST – Free

Join via Zoom: Meeting ID: 813 2218 1471 / Passcode: 203341

“The Fall of the Berlin Wall launched a wave of ecstatic raving and clubbing across Berlin. That wave’s force has carried the city’s clubbing scene right through to today—although it has met an unforeseen break in this year of Covid restrictions. For thirty years, the thump of bass has never gone so silent. In this paper, I’ll put my previous work on ecstasy and melancholy in Berlin around 1989 in dialogue with recent developments, as clubbers, DJs and producers contend with a moment in which collectives and crowds have become sites of anxiety. I’ll consider the attempts to replicate the clubbing experience online, as well as the irrepressible raving energies that have seen illegal parties take place against stringent public health measures.”

News & Links
Alumni Profiles this month: Emily Rose Yates
(English BA, 2013), Accessibility Consultant, Journalist & Speaker. Nathan Benitez (English BA), founder of afoodible.Creative Skills Academy: Rupert Dannreuther has run 3 online creative skills workshops and 2 in-person drop-ins for students, staff and friends. These will continue in semester 2 on Wednesday afternoons. Thanks to all who have attended so far.


Decolonise QMUL hosted an event for Black and Muslim students which featured Mohamed Mohamed from Black and Muslim in Britain (must-watch Youtube series), QMUL graduate Sawda On a Screen and poet Rakaya Esime Fetuga.

Diaspora Speaks

Diaspora Speaks has launched it’s first print issue showcasing work by students of colour. Co-founder Sawdah Bhaimiya (English BA) is interviewed here.

Pick it up from the Student Union Reception
Read the issue online

Hari Marini (Admin/Drama)’s performance company PartSuspended is in this #WIP online exhibition, curated by Queer Arts Projects which is on between 15 Oct 2020-15 Jan 2021.

See the exhibition

Michael McKinnie teaching drama in the Great Hall

Michael McKinnie (Drama) gave a helpful session for first year drama students in the grand surroundings of the Great Hall in the People’s Palace.

Women / Theatre / Justice Project Launches with Website, Twitter + Events

Our very own Caoimhe McAvinchey is part of the research team on this innovative AHRC project around Clean Break Theatre company and working with women in the criminal justice system.

Events as part of the series include Working with Incarcerated Women in the Context of COVID 19.

The aim

The Women/Theatre/Justice project aims to:

  • Examine Clean Break’s impact on contemporary British theatre and the lives of the women it works with.
  • Examine Clean Break as an organisation, run by women for women, with distinctive organisational practices characterised by learning through listening to the voices of those involved in its work. It considers the implications of these practices for management and leadership more widely. 
  • Create opportunities for artists, academics, women with experience of the criminal justice system and those who work with them, to share their expertise through seminars, training, podcasts and teaching resources. 

The research is supported by the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and Women in Prison.

About the project

Women/Theatre/Justice is the umbrella title for research and public engagement activities that are part of Clean Break: Women, Theatre, Organisation and the Criminal Justice System (2019-2021). This interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project is led by academics in theatre and performance studies and work and employment relations, in partnership with Clean Break theatre company.

Clean Break was initiated by women in HMP Askham Grange (UK) in 1977 and has since become an internationally recognised theatre, education and advocacy organisation that places stories of women, crime and punishment centre stage. 

Through seminars, conferences, training, exhibitions, podcasts and publications, the project examines wider issues including: the criminalisation of women; theatre practices with incarcerated women in different cultural contexts; gender, organisation and leadership; worker voice; the role of higher education in partnerships within the criminal justice system; implications of COVID-19 for incarcerated women and the response of arts organisations.

The Importance of Trans Rights in the Fight Against Fascism – Trans Day of Remembrance

In honour of Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November James Queay exposes the history of the term ‘trans’ and the importance of protecting trans rights.

In the mass consciousness one may be forgiven for seeing the battle for trans rights being a modern one, or even one that only goes back as Stonewall in 1969. However, the term ‘trans’ was first coined in Berlin in 1910 (though the fight of course can be traced back even further if one looks).

Magnus Hirschfeld was a Physician and Academic who championed queer rights seeking to assert the views of it being a natural occurrence through case studies from every culture he could reach. It should be noted that the ethics of this were in no way up to modern standard, but for the period in time we will let that rest. While his vocabulary was limited compared to today’s vast lexicon of queer terms, his work to identify that trans people were separate from gay people was key in further works.

Hirschfeld led the Scientific-humanitarian committee to gather 5000 prominent signatures to overturn paragraph 175 of the section of the German penal code that, since 1871, had criminalized homosexuality. Despite his works being rejected a number of times he championed this cause making headway until the takeover of the Nazi party. Hirschfeld in his efforts to bring about change and promote queer rights additionally opened the Institute for sexual research under the Weimar Republic (A governing force far more tolerant and liberal than previously experienced). This institution not only educated in queer and heterosexual matters but also offered medical consultations to the People of Germany. Hirschfeld himself lived with his partner Karl Giese in the institute, offering himself up as an openly gay man in a world he wished to better, even when that world was not necessarily ready to hear what he had to say.

When Von Papen launched a Coup in 1932 which instated him as the Reich Commissioner the institute stayed open. Papen actively enforced paragraph 175; and in the face of this nigh on further criminalisation of Homosexuality Hirschfeld kept his doors open. However, in 1933 Hindenburg instated Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor. On the 6th May the same year a group of university students belonging to the national socialist student league stormed the institute. They began to smash what they could before the SA (Nazi Storm Troopers) arrived to systematically burn the books. Book burnings had got into full swing months earlier with April featuring the Wartburg festival one of the most prolific book burnings that would occur. Thus, the importance of Nazi suppression of Queer media cannot be overstated. Some reports suggest that the first book burned specifically was Magnus Hirschfeld’s research on Transgender Individuals, and this signifies their importance in the fight against Fascism.

Transgender rights in many ways typify everything that is wrong with Fascism. They promote self-expression, of individuality and the freedom to change and evolve into the best version of one’s self. For fascist ideologies these ideas are dangerous because they draw on how weak Fascism is, it is rigid and restraining, it cares not for its people and incites hatred.

Thus, championing trans rights and queer rights as an extension of that is inexplicably linked with fighting against right extremism. There was no strategic benefit to the Nazi’s for burning Hirschfeld’s work, and he himself was abroad public speaking at the time so he was not silenced. Rather it is that the Nazis and by extension fascists fear acceptance and tolerance as it is only through suppression and manipulation that they are able to maintain control. This evidenced by the extreme lengths in all cases fascists go to, to manipulate their members; whether that is through misinformation, propaganda, or violence.

The furtherment of trans rights is key to queer people without question, but through this link I believe that simply to be on any ethical standing everyone must also believe in its messages.

Therefore, when we remember the long standing fight for queer rights so too must we remember the responsibility we have to those who have upheld that fight before us; the opposition they faced; and most importantly that we carry those opponents with us.

Memorial bench for Catherine Silverstone

A memorial bench for Catherine Silverstone was installed this morning in the First Floor garden/atrium in ArtsOne. It was organised and paid for by undergraduate students in Drama through a Crowdfunder.

Billy Bray (Drama), Leda Maiello (English) and Gwyn Lawrence (Drama graduate) organised the crowdfunder and carried out the practical work.

The following helped Billy, Leda and Gwyn spread the word and advertise for fundraising:

  • Rebecca Barton
  • Niall Loftus
  • Naz Simsek
  • Elliot Douglas
  • Sofia Renzi
  • Anca-Teodora Stoian

I’m so moved by – and proud of – the students who organised it, and those who crowdfunded it.

Dominic Johnson, Head of Drama

The quote on the plaque is from Catherine’s beautiful article on Derek Jarman. Leda (one of the students) chose it. 

Do please visit the bench and think of Catherine when you’re next on campus.

Applications for Leverhulme Trust’s Early Career Fellowship Scheme Open [Deadline 12 pm 6 January 2021]

Early career researchers seeking support for their application to the Leverhulme Trust’s Early Career Fellowship scheme are invited to get in contact with us from now [deadline 12 noon, 6 January 2021].

The School of English and Drama invites early career researchers seeking support for their application to the Leverhulme Trust’s Early Career Fellowship Scheme to submit to us:

  • An outline research proposal including title, abstract (100 words), details of past and current research (250 words), a 2-page (A4) project outline, and a statement detailing relevant research being carried out in the School of English and Drama and your reasons for choosing Queen Mary (200 words).
  • An academic CV of not more than 2 pages to demonstrate your research stature.

Please send the above to Dr Huw Marsh, Research Manager, at: sed-research@qmul.ac.uk by no later than 12 pm on 6 January 2021.

Full scheme details including eligibility criteria can be found on the Leverhulme Trust’s website: https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/funding/grant-schemes/early-career-fellowships

All outline proposals will be considered by a School committee and applicants will be notified of the shortlisting outcome in the week of Monday 25 January 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be put forward for approval by the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Executive, who will report their decisions by 28 January. Decisions will then be communicated to candidates, and the School will work with successful applicants to finalise their applications. The final deadline for submission of approved applications is 4pm on 25 February 2021.

The School recommends that applicants make clear the following in applications (CVs and proposals):

  • the strength of your academic record (e.g. classifications, awards, time taken to complete your PhD, etc.)
  • the strength of your research record (e.g. publications (including their length; and if forthcoming, where they are at in the process); presentations; research leadership; if you make practice as research, indicate how it is research; etc.)
  • what research you will publish/disseminate through the fellowship
  • the importance of doing your fellowship in the School of English and Drama at QMUL (e.g. synergies with staff and research centres)
  • your proposal’s importance, originality, methods, critical contexts, resources, structure and outputs.

A Season of Bangla Drama 2020 – An Unmissable British-Bengali Lockdown Treat

A Season of Bangla Drama

12-21 November – Online

Join a festival of free online events including coming of age poetry by local young people, a cook-a-long, community panels and eye-opening plays that explore the British-Bengali perspective. QMUL is a key partner and sponsor.