On Friday 19 June 2020, the MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health organised the Second Edition of the Mad Hearts Conference, with the theme ‘Solitude and the Encounter’.
This one-day webinar included a conversation with Professor Femi Oyebode, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Birmingham, about the inner self and the function of imagination, drawing insights from Fernando Pessoa’s ‘The Book of Disquiet’. This was followed by Laura E. Fischer, an artist, mental health activist, and survivor-researcher who specialises in trauma. She spoke of reclaiming authorship of the trauma narrative through creative expression and she discussed how healing through art depends on three components: survivor leadership, embodiment and creativity.
The final speaker was John Richardson, a filmmaker (see Simon Says: Psychosis) and podcast presenter (Coffee and Psychosis), who sheds light on the mental health system through his documentary work. He spoke of his encounters with the mental health system, what was helpful and unhelpful to his recovery, and how he strives to be true to his values and remain authentic despite the pressure to conform to corporate views both in mental health and in film-making.
After the talks, three artists were nominated to discuss their creative work, which were submitted to the Creative Enquiry stream of the conference, together with a reflection on the theme ‘Solitude and the Encounter’. The painting ‘Shades of Solitude’ by Grace Catchpole, uses colour to capture the nuances of the experience of loneliness, from a peaceful place to rest to a darker experience of grief. The short film ‘Sound’ by Lorna V. represents the funny side of a missed online encounter, that between a client and her therapist, when the client can’t be heard because of a technological glitch and ends up talking to herself. Finally, the short animation ‘Plastic Bag’ by Harris Nageswaran reveals the power of a plastic bag to carry goods but especially love and care to those isolated in hospitals during the lockdown. The artwork ‘Isolation, a familiar issue disguised differently’, by Muhammad Umer, was chosen as the image for Mad Hearts 2020 for its portrayal of a person seen and not seen by the viewers, through the partly deceptive reflection of a mirror. You can view all submissions on the following website: https://sites.google.com/view/mad-hearts-2020/home.
The Mad Hearts Conference ended with a group discussion that included both participants and speakers. During these conversations, we heard from people from all different backgrounds, such as specialists in mental health, users of mental health services, medical students and students of the MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health. Together we delved into contemporary encounters concerning the arts and mental health, uniting clinical, artistic and research perspectives.
During said discussions, we reflected on the contribution of the arts to mental health practice, the agency in one’s own healing, equality in mental health services and the power of isolation. These conversations are important to encourage re-interpretations of contemporary mental health science and practice. It is thus crucial that we continue these discussions!
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: We are hosting an exclusive event with Helen Thomas and Professor Susheila Nasta. Follow us on Twitter to get alerts when booking is live. See below for an exclusive event by Peach x Diaspora Speaks student-led media.
Watch the first Postgraduate Research Series Dr Yann Ryan talk below and follow on Twitter for details of the next events with Dr Jason Allen Paisant (Leeds) on 29 October.
Quorum is back! Autumn Virtual Quorum is excited to invite you to Dr @Kirsty Sedgman’s talk ‘How to Make the World Give a Sh*t About Theatre (Studies)’ See you on 22 October at 7:30pm, on Zoom. All welcome, request the link to our email.
In this session, Nisha Ramayya will introduce and read from her poetic sequence ‘Now Let’s Take a Listening Walk’, part of the ongoing project Crossing the Rackety Bridge Between Tantric Poetics and Black Study. These poems began during a residency at John Hansard Gallery, at the exhibition Many voices, all of them loved, curated by poet and academic Sarah Hayden.
Also check out Deep Deep Dream: Transmissions by Ignota Books is an experiment in the techniques of awakening and an invitation to touch the dreamworld, which features Nisha’s work from 14 Oct.
Peach × Diaspora Speaks Presents: On Black Voices 22 Oct, Online, 6-8pm BST – Free
Peach Magazine and Diaspora Speaks Magazine have collaborated on designing this the event: “On Black Voices”. It will be an open-mic night dedicated to Black History Month and showcasing the voices of Black artists!
We’re currently looking for speakers for the event. If you want to join Diaspora Speaks and Peach Magazine on this night to share something powerful then sign up using the link: https://forms.gle/yjhMSqxy4VpRU8ju9.
Our Head of Drama Dominic Johnson is in conversation with James Campbell at Intellect Books for its extended “Intellect Live Art” virtual conference.
News & Links
Brian Dillon (Creative Writing)’s Suppose a Sentence is out now from Fitzcarraldo Editions (and NYRB in the US). He’ll be doing some online events in the coming weeks: with Olivia Laing at the LRB Bookshop on 6 October; with Vinson Cunningham of The New Yorker for Community Bookstore in Brooklyn on 8 October; and with Stuart Kelly at Blackwells, Edinburgh on 15 October.
Jen Harvie (Drama) Catch TWO new episodes of Professor Jen Harvie’s podcast Stage Left, where she interviews performance makers on what they make and how they make it. New episodes are with FK Alexander who works with noise, pop culture, and delicate care in performances including VIOLENCE and (I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow, and with Krishna Istha, discussing their stand-up comedy on trans identity, Beast.
The Stage Left back catalogue includes interviews with Split Britches (including SED’s own Professor Lois Weaver), Breach Theatre (including SED MA alumnus, director Billy Barrett), and SED alumni Sh!t Theatre (Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit).
Places of Solitude The ‘Pathologies of Solitude’ project launches its first podcast series on 19 October, looking at places and experiences of solitude and how these have changed over the centuries. Topics range from gardens, cities and sanctums, to potentially perilous places like prison cells and even the human mind. The series also includes extended pop-out interviews with Shokoufeh Sakhi, a former political prisoner held in solitary confinement in Iran, and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Matt Rubery (English) has been given a small British Academy grant for a project titled ‘Projected Books for Veterans with Disabilities’. This will be the first history of Projected Books, Inc., a manufacturer of vertical projectors and microfilmed books for the use of disabled veterans in hospital beds. By displaying a book’s pages on the ceiling, projected books made it possible for thousands of people with disabilities in the United States and other parts of the world to read during the 1940s-1970s.
Liza Vallance (Drama graduate) CEO/Artistic Director at Studio 3 Arts Barking has raised £1.2 million for a makeover of the community centre which includes glitter ball, flagpole and theatre made of straw.
Live chat is available between 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
3) Book a drop in session with our Student Support Officer
You can book a drop in session via QMplus with our Student Support Officer Suzi Lewis. These sessions will be held via MS Teams.
5) Pre-booked appointment
Because of current social distancing restrictions in the Arts One Building, it is not possible at present to receive visitors to our Reception without a pre-booked appointment. If you arrive in person and you have not booked an appointment, we may not be able to see you.
We will have a small team available at the School Reception on the third floor of the Arts One building (room 3.40: follow the signs at the top of the stairs) to take brief queries from students who are unable to find the answer to their query elsewhere or via the online options available.
The team will :
Answer your queries, where possible, or direct you to the most appropriate source of advice (including the online options listed above)
Recommend other University support services that can help
In order to ensure you are seen quickly and safely please book a timed slot to see a member of the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The reception will be open from 11:00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, closed Wednesdays.
QUEEN MARY VACATIONS AND THE SCHOOL OFFICE
The School Office (where all the Administrative Staff are based) is open and staffed throughout the year, including student vacations but not including Bank Holidays and QM Closure Days.
If you need to see someone in the School urgently and your Advisor is unavailable, you should ask one of the administrative staff to see whether it is possible for you to see the appropriate Director of Student Support.
To launch and celebrate the publication of On Seamus Heaney (Princeton University Press, 2020), leading historian and biographer, Roy Foster, will appear, via Zoom, in conversation with award-winning British poet, Ruth Padel. With opening words from Miri Rubin, Professor of Medieval and Early Modern History, and Susan Rudy, Director, Centre for Poetry.
A Season of Bangla Drama (Drama) secured a £15k emergency Arts Council England funding for A Season of Bangla Drama – an online version to be called Home Seasoning. Our technical team in Drama will be applying the pedagogical strategies developed over lockdown to this exciting new challenge: migrating all 15 companies online in blended programming, configuring prerecorded shorts (based on what would have been live pieces) with online interaction and debate.
Hari Marini (Drama) is participating in Tear in the Fence Festival in September. She will be reading some of my texts from 28 Paths of her in the session Migration, Exile and Place on Saturday 12 September.
PLUS: We can’t wait to welcome our new students on A-level results day next Thursday 13 August. We have our fingers crossed for students getting results. If you’re thinking of joining one of our inspiring programmes through clearing please do join one of our catch ups and we can help. We are on UCAS embargo so can’t send batch email from tomorrow until results day but you can contact us.
We are hosting some English and Drama drop-in sessions for incoming students who are either offer holders, in clearing or want to make a new application. We’d love to see you there: Results Day & Clearing Drop In #1 – 13 Aug – 11am Results Day & Clearing Drop In #2 – 13 Aug – 4pm
The discussion will reflect on the transformations of Japanese identity in literature, exploring themes of time, memory and diversity. We are fortunate to be joined by Mimi Hachikai in Japan who will be reading her poetry alongside her translator Kyoko Yoshida.
Hari Marini (Drama) is featured in a special issue of Journal of Greek Media and Culture 3.2 (Oct 2017) ‘Dramaturgies of change: Greek theatre now‘ edited by Marissia Fragkou & Philip Hager and it is now free-to-download for a month.
Daniel Oliver (Drama) has released online lockdown TV show Dadderrs with Frauke Requardt via The Place. They maintain social distancing by reimagining their 2019 stage show ‘Dadderrs’ within their own home as a digital boxset. The show has a 4 star review in the Guardian here.
Lois Weaver (Drama) will be talking about her history of queer performance culture and current work for one Manchester International Festival‘s online support sessions.
Lydia Wilcox (Live Art Master’s Student) has been announced as runner up on the Association of Art History Dissertation Prize for the essay ‘ ‘Messy Bitches: The Use of Mess in Contemporary Feminist Performance’.
We can’t wait to welcome new undergraduate students from 14 September 2020 for welcome week!
Please see below for key info for undergraduate students and do get in touch if you have any questions.
For September 2020, all student enrolments will be completed online in absentia and you will not have to attend campus in order to become fully enrolled. Once you have enrolled be sure to join Senate House Library too!
Your IT account will usually be set up within 14 days so please do keep an eye out for activation emails on and after results day.
Welcome Week from Monday 14 September 2020 is a time to get to know your course, personal advisor and discover all the things you can be part of at Queen Mary.
We will be publishing details of welcome week here soon.
First Week of Teaching / Your Timetable
Your timetable will begin on week commencing Monday 21 September 2020 and you should get this shortly before then along with your IT login. Be sure to check your junk mail for the email you registered with UCAS so you don’t miss anything important.
All online classes on your timetable are compulsory unless they say optional just as they would be in person.
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 16 September 2020
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 words maximum)
(3) details of your planned research outputs, e.g. monograph, journal article(s), book chapter(s), digital resources, events, 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 Manager, email@example.com, by no later than midday on Wednesday 16 September 2020. 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 in mid-October 2020 (precise date tbc by the British Academy).
Bad English investigates the impact of increasing language diversity, precipitated by migration, globalisation, and new forms of communication, in transforming contemporary literature in Britain. Considering writers whose work engages experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power, while exploring what it means to move between forms of language, it makes the case for literature as the pre-eminent medium to probe the terms of linguistic belonging, and for a diverse and growing field of writing in Britain defined by its inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms.
Bad English offers innovative readings of writers including James Kelman, Tom Leonard, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, it will appeal to students and academics across these disciplines.
The Comic Turn in Contemporary English Fiction explores the importance of comedy in contemporary literature and culture. In an era largely defined by a mood of crisis, bleakness, cruelty, melancholia, environmental catastrophe and collapse, Huw Marsh argues that contemporary fiction is as likely to treat these subjects comically as it is to treat them gravely, and that the recognition and proper analysis of this humour opens up new ways to think about literature. Structured around readings of authors including Martin Amis, Nicola Barker, Julian Barnes, Jonathan Coe, Howard Jacobson, Magnus Mills and Zadie Smith, this book suggests not only that much of the most interesting contemporary writing is funny and that there is a comic tendency in contemporary fiction, but also that this humour, this comic licence, allows writers of contemporary fiction to do peculiar and interesting things – things that are funny in the sense of odd or strange and that may in turn inspire a funny turn in readers. Marsh offers a series of original critical and theoretical frameworks for discussing questions of literary genre, style, affect and politics, demonstrating that comedy is an often neglected mode that plays a generative role in much of the most interesting contemporary writing, creating sites of rich political, stylistic, cognitive and ethical contestation whose analysis offers a new perspective on the present.
The School of English and Drama at QMUL is delighted and proud that our alumnus Gabriel Krauze has been nominated for the 2020 Booker Prize longlist.
Gabriel studied English at Queen Mary University of London graduating in 2009 and Who They Was is his debut novel. He grew up in London in a Polish family and was drawn to a life of crime and gangs from an early age. Now in his thirties he has left that world behind and is recapturing his life through writing. He has published short stories in Vice and recently took part in our Show & Tell – inspiring mini talks series. Listen to his talk below…
The blurb describes the book best:
This life is like being in an ocean. Some people keep swimming towards the bottom. Some people touch the bottom with one foot, or even both, and then push themselves off it to get back up to the top, where you can breathe. Others get to the bottom and decide they want to stay there. I don’t want to get to the bottom because I’m already drowning.
This is a story of a London you won’t find in any guidebooks.
This is a story about what it’s like to exist in the moment, about boys too eager to become men, growing up in the hidden war zones of big cities – and the girls trying to make it their own way.
This is a story of reputations made and lost, of violence and vengeance – and never counting the cost.
This is a story of concrete towers and blank eyed windows, of endless nights in police stations and prison cells, of brotherhood and betrayal.
This is about the boredom, the rush, the despair, the fear and the hope.
This is about what’s left behind.’
Gabriel Krauze came of age among the high rises and back streets of South Kilburn. He was not an observer on the periphery of violence. He was – personally – heavily involved in gangs, drugs, guns, stabbing and robbery – all while completing an English degree at Queen Mary University of London in 2009.
Who They Wascomes directly from that experience and as such it is confronting, exhilarating, morally complex, and utterly unique.
Quotes about the novel include:
‘An astonishingly powerful book. Krauze is an immense new talent’ Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of The Last Act of Love
‘A timely and vital exploration into London’s violence crisis by someone who experienced the sharp end of it. I cannot conjure another work which captures this culture in such depth – or with such brutal honesty – as only lived experience can tell. ’ Graeme Armstrong, author of The Young Team
‘Gabriel Krauze is an unbelievably talented writer. No one manages to blend “literary beauty” and “an uncomfortable feeling that he’s actually quite scary” like him’ Joel Golby
Mancharisqa is an ambitious and formally inventive literary epic about haunting and counterhistories, adopting the traditional Andean concept of cyclical time in a manner reminiscent of One Hundred Years of Solitude, and the novels of Bolaño, suffused with the surreal atmosphere of Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.
Mancharisqa formed part of Karina’ PhD thesis, which she completed at School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London under the supervision of Director of Creative Writing, Professor Patrick Flanery and Head of English, Dr Rachael Gilmour.
Anaïs Echeverría Gest flies to Lima to oversee the sale of her childhood home, La Casa Echeverría. It is a house full of ghosts, literal and otherwise, of her ancestors and of the maid who fell to her death from its balcony, around whom myths circulate and from whom miracles are sought. Everything that happens – in Anaïs’s childhood, her return to the house in the present day, and in all the stories in between – begins to overlap until the stories are all inextricably entwined. The novel ends with a birth, an earthquake, and the discovery of something disturbing beneath that cursed yellow house on the hill – the past will not remain silent and the ancestors demand to be reckoned with.
Juliet Mabey, the acquiring editor at Oneworld, comments, ‘I fell completely and utterly in love with this mesmerising, intense, multi-layered novel as soon as I started reading. The tone is wonderfully mystical and haunting, with echoes of other great Latin American writers without feeling remotely derivative. A stunningly original saga of an expansive, complex, troubled family in Peru, it is conveyed with a lightness of touch that belies its debut status, and I could not be more thrilled to feature Karina’s astonishing writing on my literary fiction list. There is really nothing else like it.’
“I’m thrilled to be joining Oneworld and their list of remarkable, talented authors. I have long admired Juliet Mabey and Oneworld for their commitment to introducing readers to a range of cultures and voices from across the world. And thank you to my wonderful agent, Seren Adams, for believing in me and my work. Mancharisqa could not have found a better home.”
Karina is a bilingual, Peruvian-British writer. She has a BA from Oxford University, an MA from UCL, and recently completed her PhD in Creative Writing here at Queen Mary University of London. Her short fiction is featured in Un Nuevo Sol, the first major anthology of British-Latinx writers, published by Flipped Eye Publishing. Her work has also appeared in Longitūdinēs,The Offing, Asymptote, The Journal of Latina Critical Feminism, and Palabritas. In 2016 she was shortlisted for The White Review’s short story prize.