English and Drama Newsletter – March 2023 Edition

Welcome to your March newsletter from the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

3 Wonderful Things to Do in March 2023:

  1. Win a £10 book token: Tell us the book that changed your life and you could win on #WorldBookDay See our Instagram Reel to enter (Closes 17:00 GMT on Friday 3 March 2023)
  2. Come to our Master’s Open Event on 22 March to discuss: 
  3. Book a private campus tour or 1-2-1: Talk to a human about your course interests. Register here

“To this day, when speaking to my students I use Lois Weaver’s slogan, “if they don’t get it, that’s ok”, which is an absolute cornerstone of the way I approach work – and I’m very thankful for that.”

Simon Nader shares his experience of studying a
BA in English and Drama.

Photo by Lorna Fitzsimons

Read Simon’s profile

March Events

Brian Dillon ‘Affinities’ Book Launch

2 March – Burley Fisher Books

Please join us for the launch of Affinities by Brian Dillon at Burley Fisher.

What do we mean when we claim affinity with an object or picture, or say affinities exist between such things? Affinities is a critical and personal study of a sensation that is not exactly taste, desire, or allyship, but has aspects of all. Approaching this subject via discrete examples, this book is first of all about images that have stayed with the author over many years, or grown in significance during months of pandemic isolation, when the visual field had shrunk. Some are historical works by artists such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Dora Maar, Claude Cahun, Samuel Beckett and Andy Warhol. Others are scientific or vernacular images: sea creatures, migraine auras, astronomical illustrations derived from dreams. Also family photographs, film stills, records of atomic ruin. And contemporary art by Rinko Kawauchi, Susan Hiller and John Stezaker. Written as a series of linked essays, interwoven with a reflection on affinity itself, Affinities is an extraordinary book about the intimate and abstract pleasures of reading and looking.

Brian Dillon’s books include Suppose a Sentence, Essayism, The Great Explosion (shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize), Objects in This Mirror: Essays, I Am Sitting in a Room, Sanctuary, Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (shortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize) and In the Dark Room, which won the Irish Book Award for non-fiction. His writing has appeared in the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books, the New Yorker, New York Review of Books, frieze and Artforum.

Collaborative Historical Research in the Age of Big Data: Lessons from an interdisciplinary project
Living with Machines

Tue 7 Feb, 5pm
Launch of the book, ‘Collaborative Historical Research in the Age of Big Data: Lessons from an interdisciplinary project’ (available open access by Cambridge University Press as part of the Elements Series). The event will be an online roundtable discussion, led by hosts Professor Jane Winters and Professor James Smithies, with the authors, Ruth Ahnert, Emma Griffin, Mia Ridge and Giorgia Tolfo.

Living with Machines is one of the largest digital humanities projects ever funded in the United Kingdom. The project brings together a large interdisciplinary team (39 members over its lifetime to) to leverage more than twenty-years’ worth of digitisation projects in order to deepen our understanding of the impact of mechanisation on nineteenth-century Britain. In contrast to many previous digital humanities projects which have sought to create resources, the project is concerned to work with what was already there, which whilst straightforward in theory is complex in practice. This Element describes the efforts to do so. It outlines the challenges of establishing and managing a truly multidisciplinary digital humanities project in the complex landscape of cultural data in the United Kingdom and shares what other projects seeking to undertake digital history quests can learn from the experience.

This event is part of AI UK 2023. The Alan Turing Institute’s national showcase of data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence research and innovation.  

Sign up

Cutting East Film Festival 2023
Thursday 23 March, 14:30

Cutting East Film Festival 2023 takes place 10th and 11th March at Genesis Cinema in East London. Participants have programmed, designed and curated this film and arts festival with a great line-up of free activities including films, spoken word, Q&A, and exhibitions for all the family to enjoy. Come along and enjoy the launch in the evening on 10th March and the festival day on 11th March – the programme will be listed here shortly. For further details, head to Cutting East to find out more and please do follow on socials to be kept up to date with all things Cutting East! @cuttingeast

Messy Archives: a Raphael Samuel History Centre Workshop
Thursday 23 March, 14:30

In person only
Room 307, Birkbeck Central Building (formerly Students Union Central) Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY.

Book your place here (messyarchives.eventbrite.co.uk)

Archives are often central to historical production, but what counts as an archive? How have scholars and theorists of history understood the material bases of historical sources? Have these concepts changed with political, social, and environmental transformations? Can our everyday landscapes be read as historical archives? What are the archives of the future and what role do archives play in future-making? This workshop explores these questions, and others, by interrogating the experiences of working with/in various archives and by considering problematics raised in archivisation practices and theories.

kitt price (English) is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen Mary. They are the author of Loving Faster than Light: Romance and Readers in Einstein’s Universe (2012). They have also collaborated with Aleksander Kolkowski on sound installations, performances and broadcasts that reanimate archival sources using sound technologies of the past. Recent work includes ‘Mental Radio’, a radiophonic montage based on broadcast telepathy experiments of the 1920s and 30s. Listen here .

Book here

The Time of Care: Concluding Conference
The waiting is over (?)
Tuesday 28March – Wednesday 29March 2023 at Friends House, London

The Wellcome-Trust funded Waiting Times project would like to invite you to register for our end-of-grant, hybrid conference: The Time of Care: Conclusions from the Waiting Times Project

Waiting Times has explored what it means to wait in and for healthcare by examining lived experiences, representations, and histories of impeded and delayed time and has included work by our very own Martin O’Brien. Martin is the winner of the Philip Leverhulme Prize for Visual and Performing Arts 2022. He will be on research leave August 2022-August 2024. He is currently Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence 2023

You can register for online attendance here and in-person attendance here.   

Subversion and survival: navigations through performance and media cultures

Tue 28 March 2023 – Online

Swati Arora (Drama) will talk at this event on: 

Under Cover: Insurgent Methods of Border Crossing I draw on my forthcoming co-edited book on pluriversal conversations on transnational feminisms to assemble a few thoughts on border-crossing – disciplinary, epistemic, and linguistic. What does border-crossing in performance studies look like? The presentation offers a few insurgent methods of subterfuge and survival as we secure justice for our communities while acknowledging the colonial histories of our institutions.

Swati Arora is Lecturer in Performance and Global South Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Her work exists at the convergence of performance and visual culture, feminist theory, Black Studies, and dramaturgies of urban space in the global South. Most recently, she published ‘Performing Refusal’ (Injury and Intimacy, MUP) and ‘A manifesto to decentre theatre and performance studies’ (STP).   Book hereNews

New Writing Prize

The Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize is now open for submissions until 5pm BST on 30 June. This year’s multi-award-winning judges are Leila Aboulela (Fiction), Diana Evans (Chair), Caleb Femi (Poetry), and Aanchal Malhotra (Life Writing).    

Since 2009 the prize has awarded some of the most exciting new voices in fiction, life writing, and poetry from around the world. Previous winners and shortlistees include Caleb Femi and @azemezi. 

The prize includes publication in Wasafiri, mentoring from The Good Agency and The Literary Consultancy and £1000. 

Find out more

Mojisola Adebayo’s Family Tree starts it’s tour in Coventry this month
“Beautifully poetic … Adebayo’s deft writing and the layered, nuanced performances allowed us to take solace in community and to look forward to a better future.”
To Do List

FAMILY TREE is a beautifully poetic drama about race, health, the environment, and the incredible legacy of one of the most influential Black women of modern times. Fearlessly honest, hilarious, and ultimately transformative, this award-winning play is both a remembrance and a celebration. 
Read more in this news piece

Find out about Mojisola’s next show STARS in April at ICA

Sign up for the Black British Queer Plays and Practitioners: An Anthology of Afriquia Theatre (Methuen Drama 2022) Free Book Launch at ICA

Call outs for Participation

Festival of Communities 10-11 June – Confirmed

The call for activities is now open and I encourage all schools, institutes and and teams to take part. It’s a fantastic opportunity to engage thousands of local residents with everything that makes Queen Mary unique: our teaching, research, and a wealth of wider initiatives – everything from environmental sustainability through to arts and culture.  

Staff and students involved in previous years have built new connections with residents and community organisations, gained new perspectives, and learned new skills – all of which can benefit their work. 

The Centre for Public Engagement team will support you in developing activity ideas. Please make use of their information webinars, 1:1 advice sessions, dedicated training, and funding of up to £500 per project. 

Please visit the Festival of Communities website for details on how you can get involved. The deadline for applications is Thursday 30 March

Peopling the Palace(s) Festival – 3-11 June TBC

Call out for performance makers, helpers, researchers and events for this innovative socially-engaged performance festival in Mile End. 

Email Ru to take part: r.dannreuther@qmul.ac.uk

Being Human

This year’s national festival of the humanities will take place 9–18 November, with the theme Rhyme or Reason

Small Awards: apply for funding of up to £3,000 to enable activities (deadline: 5pm, Friday 28 April) 

Hub Awards: apply for a larger institutional grant of £3,000–£8,000 to coordinate multiple activities as a Festival Hub (deadline: 5pm, Friday 28 April) 

Open Call: organise an activity that does not require funding from Being Human (deadline: 5pm, Friday 23 June) 

Being Human Cafés: a simple ‘off-the-shelf’ format for an activity that does not require funding from Being Human (deadline: 5pm, Friday 25 August) 

Further details, and answers to some frequently asked questions are available on the website.  

Applying to Being Human 2023: You can find out more about applying to the festival at our online information session ‘Applying to Being Human 2023’ taking place on Wednesday 15 March, 11:00-12:00. Find out more and sign up


Katherine Angel signs deal for new book: Poor Freud
Poor Freud will be an examination of the turbulent history of feminism’s feud with psychoanalysis. It will take stock, anew, of Freud and his fraught legacy in a much-changed world. And it will explore why and how we need to engage with Freud and psychoanalysis today — an engagement that is crucial if we are committed to taking sexual violence and abuses of power seriously. The book will be published by Verso in the UK and Pantheon in the USA.

See Katherine’s staff profile

News Digest

ENGLISH GRAD & ARTIST POLLY MORGAN: The Telegraph feature Polly Morgan (pictured above), who studied English at QM and is now a super successful artist.

Read the piece

Catch episode 10 of Steven Fry’s ‘Secrets of the Roaring 20s’ on Audible to hear kitt price discussing socialist time travel and queer warping of time and space as the British public attempted to get to grips with Einstein’s new theory of the universe. 

Watch here

PEN: Isabel Waidner is interviewed on PEN America. 

Read more here

AUDIOBOOK PIONEER MARIANNE MANTELL: Matt Rubery is featured in New York Times and Washington Post celebrating the life of record label founder Cadrmon Records who released spoken-word. 

NOW FESTIVAL: Daniel Oliver (Drama) shares new work at this ground-breaking festival in Hackney Wick’s The Yard Theatre.

Find out more

Rosie heads to Tokyo on a writing /research grant from the Society of Authors for a work in progress: a short hybrid memoir around a grid of IG photos I took when I was stranded in Japan during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.  

Follow Rosie on Instagram   

Apologies if we missed any listings, do let us know and we can post on social media.

Also if you have any news for our next newsletter please do reply or get in touch.

Best wishes,


Rupert Dannreuther

Marketing Manager

Queen Mary University of London

Published by

All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website (www.sed.qmul.ac.uk) and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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