3 Poems by Sara Kärpänen – The Power of Poetry Series

Sara Kärpänen is a London based writer, poet and multidisciplinary artist (MA) exploring the experiences of belonging and displacement in her work.

She is also founder of Women of the Wick platform and community space. 


This is a Radical Request to Love Yourself

I am a tree

I am the roots
I am the soil
I am the soil where New 

will flourish.

I am what I am
I will protect it
I will build a garden around it

I will water the soil with my teardrops
I will let the light in, I am not afraid of its brightness
I will let love find its space and pace, I will not push it away.

I stand on firm ground
I smell the blossoming of life,
I dip myself to take baths in it,
I let butterflies land on my shoulder blades and teach me
how to stay still.

I am here to listen
I am here for the river and the wind to navigate through me
I am here for life
the life I create, the life I belong to.

Petals

I looked inside my heart; it was full of flowers
soft pink yellow white petals
stacked on top of one another

How haven’t I dared to see them before?

My Flamboyant Heart 

Stopped and dropped the shackles of disbelief

now pounding hard, 

my Flamboyant Heart. 

Forcing me to watch what’s underneath 

perfectly shaped 

stonewashed over a thousand waves 

Yearning

to be heard

in her mother tongue,

rolling r’s

to be seen 

in the way her body forms into a new shape

sturdy and gently

tomboy and a lady

no translation nor identity-check

flattened to please

not adjusted nor erased

My Flamboyant Heart

Holding her space.

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)

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)

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!

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.

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.

Mad Hearts – Arts and Mental Health – 2020 Conference – Key Takeaways

by Magali Kelly Frea Scholtis, MSc Creative Arts and Mental Health

Mad Hearts 2021 is in planning now so please follow us on Twitter to find out when booking opens.

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.

Plastic Bag by Harris Nageswaran
Plastic Bag by Harris Nageswaran

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!

Mad Hearts 2021 is in planning now so please follow us on Twitter to find out when booking opens.

5 Things to look forward to for 2020 students – in London and online

Welcome to 2020 at Queen Mary. We want to get you excited about studying and exploring London and culture online as part of your university experience.

Here’s some suggestions:

1. Epic Exhibitions

IRL

Go to a blockbuster or tiny exhibition in London:

Online

2. Unusual London

IRL

Uncover unusual sights and experience:

Online

3. See Performance

IRL

Online

4. Give Something Back / Self Care

IRL

Online

5. Explore Industries and Careers in London

IRL

  • Get help from QMUL Careers team to secure internships, work experience and learning opportunities while you are at university
  • Sign up to the creative version of Linkedin, The Dots and follow cool companies that have free events you can attend
  • Find somewhere unusual to work here – the article is by our English graduate Lara Mills

Online

Add your suggestions in a comment below…

Taking a Stand: Letter from QMTC’s Abi Adebayo on George Floyd, #BlackLivesMatter and QMUL’s need to stand in solidarity

We have published the letter from Abi Adebayo from Queen Mary Theatre Company which we received on 1 June 2020 because we think she makes important points. Particularly around how the university can support black students and create the anti-racist university which stands up for social justice. Everyone has a responsibility to make sure our university stands up for these values.

Abi would like to recognise the following people who have helped with the creation of the posters, protests and spoken word pieces:


Good afternoon, 

I am writing to you as the Vice president of Queen Mary Theatre Society and as a black student within your university. 

As I am sure you are aware of the countless protests, wide-spread media coverage, and news headlines around the subject of institutional, systematic, and general racism around the world, there has been a nationwide call for the end of injustice towards black people in all capacities. The murder – through means of suffocation – of George Floyd in the United States by the hands of the Minneapolis police was not only barbaric it was symbolic of how black people are stifled in every aspect of our lives due to continued active and passive racism. George Floyd’s name is now on the ever-growing list (that were caught on camera and so are aware of) of black people mercilessly killed for committing the crime of nothing more than simply being black in this month alone. We have called for Justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man shot while he was jogging around his neighborhood, we have called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who was shot up to six times by police officers who had broken into her home without knocking or announcing themselves under the claim that they were executing a search warrant for a suspected drug dealer, who not only had already been arrested but in fact, did not live at that address – Breonna lost her life and instead of charging the police officers for manslaughter, her boyfriend who was sleeping next to her fired back a single shot at what he thought were intruders, and so was charged and arrested despite the fact none of the police officers were harmed, as well as the fact he legally was allowed to put up arms of his registered gun in the state they were situated in. Black people are constantly being killed due to pre-consisting racist and prejudice bias without their murders being reprimanded further than (at most) a slap on the wrist and paid leave. 

The UK is far from innocent and although shootings are less common, the mistreatment of black people from police officers to the general public is as prevalent as ever today, as it was before. Black people being harassed, beaten, and killed for their existence did not stop or even slow down in pace after the horrific murder of Stephen Lawrence, it has continued and, in some ways, even manifested in more covert ways. Rashad Charles, Mark Duggan, Darren Cumberbatch, Edson da Costa, Adrian McDonald, Sarah Reed, Mark Duggan and more recently Belly Mujinga – who was spat at on duty by a member of the public claiming to have COVID-19 and later fell ill and died herself from the contracted virus – are just a few of the documented black people within the United kingdom that have failed to be protected by the government and society in a whole, due to the colour of their skin. We as a people are tired, we are angry, we are devastated, and we are scared.

What kept me hopeful in this time, is seeing how much as a black community we have gathered together and how our Non-Black allies have stood with us. As the committee of Queen Mary theatre society, we have dedicated all of our social media accounts to #BlackLivesMatter initiatives and in using our platform to show our unwavering support as well as educating posts surrounding institutional, systematic, and general racism for our members. SED alumni such as Ndumiso Peter Ndlovu has taken the time to gather both past and current students of QMUL (like myself) to organise a peaceful protest in LONDON, BRISTOL and MANCHESTER both physically and through Zoom to honour George Floyd and Belly Mujinga, and demand for the further investigation, arrest, and charge of their killers. Efe Uwadiae is another alumnus of QMUL who has dedicated her platform to establishing the right discourse around the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 

I was not only shocked, disheartened, and concerned to see how silent not only the Queen Mary student union has been about the racial injustice that not only affects the black members of their faculty but the black student body within QMUL. It seems as if we have no support from the university, which I find particularly interesting considering the statement made by Colin bailey and the SU surrounding the university being reprimanded for racism, to the point where students felt compelled to spray-paint their views on campus – they felt they weren’t being listened to, and it seems evidently we still aren’t being listened to. I am appalled at the lack of support given to students during this time, especially as QMUL claims to care profusely about our mental health and wellbeing. I am appalled at how despite being sent newsletters on various other subjects, none of them have been addressing the current global pandemic of racism. I have been waiting for QMSU and QMUL to use their platform to not only show solidarity instead of complacency, and still, I have yet to hear a single thing which has in turn led me to write this email. 

If the university claims to be proud of how diverse their student body is, why is it that when we need you to use your platform to not only help us but protect and encourage us to stand for what is right the voice of Queen Mary University of London is nowhere to be found? The slight change of flag creates the idea that QMUL is happy to passively support their students along as they don’t have to make a physical, undeniable stance.

Until our voices, influence and platforms as those against racism are as active as the killing and constant injustice of black people within society, we will never see change. 

In no way do I want to endorse the #alllivesmatter stance and advise the university to stay away from this rhetoric as not only does it demean and belittle the experience of black people globally it also stems as a retaliation of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It is no secret that all lives matter, the point is there have been too many situations that reinforce the idea that black lives are discounted in the “All”. 

What next…

To conclude, I expect from both QMSU, QMUL, and Colin Bailey to not only educate their students and faculty on the #BlackLivesMatter – why it is important and what it represents. To email all students and/or release a statement on the current climate that both comforts and reassures black students that the university is a safe space for them, and their voices are heard. To boost and encourage students to stand for what is right and carefully sculpt a message that re-lays sensitively the situation of George Floyd and Belly Mujinga in unity with the #saytheirnames movement.

I expect the university and the Student union to use their LARGE platform to show their solidarity with us as black students within the university. Here is the link to the protest led by your students and alumni as well as posts I feel could be reposted by the university and student union. 

I hope to hear from you within the next few days before the protest on the 5th JUNE, with a retort, questions and further information on what can be done, what you plan to do and why the university has been silent thus far. As a university you have a duty of care, as QMTC a society within QMUL we are happy to keep the lines of communication open to ensure that duty is fulfilled. 

Kind regards, 

Abi Adebayo, VP 

Queen Mary Theatre Company

www.qmtc.co.uk


Links and resources

SED Final Years: Dissertation Hall of Fame – Win £25 Love2Shop Voucher with your Selfie or MEME #SEDHallofFame

To celebrate 🎉 our final year students handing in their final projects/dissertations we’re looking for your dissertation selfies 🤳 and memes 🤣.

You could win a £25 Love2Shop voucher for sharing your dissertation selfie or meme.

Give us the a pic with the story of your disso or make a gag-worthy MEME to win!

How to enter…

  1. Email us your picture or MEME, full name and caption to: sed-web@qmul.ac.uk
  2. Tag us @QMULSED on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #SEDHallofFame
  3. Message or post to our Facebook Page here

Entry closes on 3 July 2020 at 5pm. Our team will pick the winners on or shortly after 3 July so please get your entry in before then! There will be 2 winners one for selfie and one for meme. We will contact winners via email so keep an eye out on your inbox after 15 June.


Fahima Begum – BA English

Samiha Begum – BA English

Aysel Dilara Kasap- BA English with Creative Writing

Chloe Hocking – BA English

“I have had the most amazing time at QM over the last three years. I’ve met some soulmates. Had a few breakdowns. Hit my limit of daily replacement library cards. Spent £49000 on coffee. And had most of the happiest moments of my life. I know that this dissertation doesn’t sum up everything I’ve learnt and everything that I can do now (notably, go to the shop without having a panic attack). But it was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I’m proud of myself for doing it. A huge thank you to every lecturer, advisor, member of staff, and student for helping me through. From helping me choose a dissertation topic to making me a coffee with a smile. Also- to everyone who is still working on their dissertations- you can do this and you will do this. Remember not to compare your own academic achievements to other people’s because yours are just as brilliant and just as important. Okay I’m done now. Gonna go drink, eat, and watch Netflix… Until I have to start the next one.”

Hana Hussein – BA English with Creative Writing

“1 word down 9,999 to go”

Kirsten Murray – BA English

“Standing in the North Sea was not the original dissertation hand in photo I had in mind. Although I am currently some 300 miles from the bustling city of London, my time at Queen Mary has enhanced my passion for literature and developed my personal and academic confidence. The supportive SED staff have even inspired me to continue my studies at the University of Cambridge in a genre, Romanticism, I initially loathed when I arrived in London three years ago.”

Christian Richardson – BA English with Creative Writing

Christopher Smith – BA English

Eleni Sophia – BA English

View this post on Instagram

Yay! Three years & many matcha lattes later, I became a CEO, an author of three poetry collections and completed my dissertation 🙌🏼🥂 I’m so grateful for my time at Queen Mary; both, the @qmulsed & the enterprise department have helped me expand Perspective Press Global and I’m so thankful 🙌🏼 Anyone who’s starting university, please take each opportunity as it comes: go to events, make use of your careers departments — it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anybody, go alone! It can be scary but you never know what opportunities may rise ✨ I’ve also just hired my first employee & I’m super excited to see where my journey takes me 🌺 Thank you to everyone who’s purchased a copy of either book — I appreciate you all so much 💫 Lots of love, Eleni Sophia 🥂

A post shared by Perspective Press Global Ltd (@perspectivepressglobal) on

Demi Whitnell – BA English

Announcing: ‘Diaspora Speaks’ – new student publication – Interview with co-founder Sawdah Bhaimiya

We caught up with English student Sawdah Bhaimiya to talk about the new publication Diaspora Speaks which aims to showcase the journeys, opinions and experiences of students of colour.

Tell us about Diaspora Speaks. How did the idea come about and who are the key team?

The main purpose of Diaspora Speaks Magazine is to highlight the journeys, opinions and experiences of students of colour. The idea started forming in my head around November last year, and at the time I was very involved with student media as I was working with Cub Magazine, The Print News, Quest Radio, as well as QMTV. I started to become more aware of the lack of diversity in journalism as a whole and I wanted to fill that gap by creating something that ethnic minority students at the university could get involved with whether they have experience with writing or not. As 69% of Queen Mary students are BAME it seemed right to create a platform where they can be heard. 

I voiced my opinions to a fellow CUB writer, Sara Omar who loved the idea from the start. We watched it grow from an idea to a real outlet and we’re excited to see how far it will go in the next year. The team is currently just Sara and myself, but we are looking to expand and we have open applications to become a part of our 2020/2021 team. 

What or who are your inspirations for working in journalism and starting the publication?

My inspirations for working in journalism are probably Stacey Dooley, Iman Amrani, Liv Little and Anila Dhami. I think real journalism is about being open-minded, exploring different perspectives, and telling the stories that matter. I’ve always been quite an inquisitive and curious person and I enjoy telling stories so I found myself gravitating towards journalism because I feel as if I can have a real impact with it.

Furthermore, a publication that I really admire is gal-dem as they carved a space for ethnic minority women and non-binary people of colour, and really established themselves as serious contenders in a journalistic landscape that can often be hostile to POC.

Diaspora Speaks Magazine is modelled after gal-dem, and we really do hope that ethnic minority students get to tell the stories that matter to them.  

How can students get involved with the magazine? What kind of submissions are you looking for?

We have currently opened applications to become a part of our regular team for 2020/2021. The link to the application is https://diasporaspeaksqmul.typeform.com/to/YQQkDL.

We are looking for regular writers, artists, photographers, section editors, graphic designers, and a treasurer. Submissions can include articles, interviews, poetry, artwork, photography, etc. We have various different sections that can be found on our social media and we will be opening submissions soon so to keep updated follow our social media:

Are there any areas you’ve studied on the English course that have influenced your work on Diaspora Speaks?

I studied Postcolonial and Global Literature as a module this year and it has really enlightened me to the extent of the discrimination faced by POC. I was very unaware of the impact of colonialism before I studied it in English this year, but I am now aware that even though colonialism has ended, its impact is still felt today.

I understand and support the efforts of students and teachers who are working towards decolonising the curriculum, the university and more. Diaspora Speaks Magazine I hope will play a part in that effort. 

English and Drama Newsletter – October 2019

Welcome to October. We have some incredible events and news to share with you so please read on…

Picture: Meet our student of the month Şenay Camgöz from MA Live Art

Read Şenay’s post

Events

OCTOBER OPEN DAY

Undergraduate Open Day
Saturday 5 October 2019, 10am-3.30pm

From Werewolves to live art, taster sessions at our open day are a great chance to explore English and Drama at QMUL.

Book online

FEATURED

A Season of Bangla Drama
November 2019, Various venues in Tower Hamlets including QMUL

A Season of Bangla Drama is back in Tower Hamlets for another month-long festival of British-Bengali theatre. It is now in its 17th year and firmly established in the area’s cultural calendar and includes a magnificent performance of East Side Story in our very own Great Hall in The People’s Palace.

Download the Season brochure

LISTINGS

New Suns: A Feminist Literary Festival
Saturday 5 October 2019, Barbican

Nisha Ramayya is reading and speaking at New Suns which explores new and continuing debates in feminist approaches to technology. She will also be reading and speaking at: Exploring Poetry as Disruption (Sat 19 Oct – Southbank Centre)  States of the Body Produced by Love (Fri 25 Oct – ICA)

Solitude, Sociability and Insanity in the Nineteenth Century
Tuesday 8 October 2019, ArtsTwo 3.20, QMUL

In the first paper in our 2019/20 seminar series, Mark Lee from the University of Oxford explores devotional solitude through the lens of ‘religious insanity’ in the nineteenth century.

Philosophy as Therapy
Wednesday 9 October 2019, LSE

Our very own Molly Macdonald is on the panel for to discuss whether thinking philosophically can be a form of self-help.

Writing Our Way Home
Tuesday 15 October 2019, Free Word EC1

What role can literature play in combatting hostile environments? In a new and exciting collaboration between Wasafiri and London’s Free Word Centre, Roger Robinson, Winsome Pinnock, Inua Ellams and Bridget Minamore join forces for readings and debate on writing and resistance. 

Find out more

QUORUM Drama Research Seminar: Molly McPhee
Wednesday 16 October 2019, QMUL

Be sure to go to the next QUORUM entitled ‘Miasmatic Performance: Carceral Atmospherics in the Theatre of Clean Break’. Photo: Pests by Vivienne Franzmann. Photo by Jonathan Keenan.

English Postgraduate Research Seminar
17 and 31 October, QMUL

Join us for the next English Postgraduate research events from Patrick Flanery and Kirsty Rolfe.

Follow @QMEnglishPGRS on Twitter for booking links

Doing Dr Duckie’s Homemade Mutant Hope Machines
Tuesday 22 October 2019, Attenborough Centre, University of Sussex

Drama PhD Ben Walters unpacks the world-making approaches to performance, cabaret, culture and care for so-called ‘marginalised’ communities.

Book here

Children Behind Bars

Thursday 24 October 2019, 2.07, Bancroft Building, QMUL

Matthew Ingleby will be giving a paper entitled ‘The Child through the Railings’ at this event.

Matthew will also be hosting a free Children’s Bloomsbury Walking Tour as part of Bloomsbury Festival on 20 October.

The Occult
Wednesday 30 October 2019, LSE, WC2A

How does philosophy contend with the mysterious and the inexplicable? Can it really be logic all the way down, or might rationality stand on something a little spookier? Our very own Nisha Ramayya is on hand to discuss at the Forum for Philosophy.

WEAVE IT! – Exhibition
30 October – 6 November 2019, Stour Space

Decorating Dissidence, run by our very own Jade French and alumni Dr. Lottie Whalen, invite you to ‘WEAVE IT!’ an exhibition celebrating and challenging 100 years of the Bauhaus women’s weaving workshop.   This exhibition considers the legacies of crafting and weaving from modernism to the contemporary, exhibiting textile practitioners who respond in different ways to the Bauhaus and beyond.

The launch night on 1st November will see performances by Rasia Kabir and SED’s Julie Rose Bower, with DJs and drinks. 
ONGOING


Read the Room – Contemporary Poetry Reading Group
Every Wednesday (12-1pm) in the Yurt, St Benet’s Chaplaincy, QMUL

Join Read the Room every Wednesday (beginning 9 October) to gather together and fill the room with poetry. Each week we will read aloud work by a different poet or on a different theme, appreciating the culture of contemporary poetry and a collaborative environment.

Meet other poetry enthusiasts or casual readers, stay on top of poetry events, or just enjoy reading something new. Drop in or just come when you can, Read the Room aims to be an accessible space to have fun with poetry.

Sign up for updates

BOOK AHEAD

Frauke Requardt & Daniel Oliver
Dadderrs

5-6 November 2019, The Place

Daniel is dyspraxic and is too slow.
Frauke has ADHD and is too quick.
They are married and have kids.

Join the couple in the Meadowdrome, their fantastical escapist world. Together you will encounter awkwardly intimate interactive actions, strange dances, sweet and surreal songs, and other off-kilter “grown-up” activities.

This interactive show invites you to explore, converse and play within the neurodivergent realm Daniel and Frauke have created.

Find out more

Turning the Page
Saturday 30 November 2019, QMUL

Launching an anthology of writings, Turning the Page, by the SBS Survivors’ Group: A literary conversation between two groups of BAME women – published writers responding creatively to the stories of the SBS support group.

Email us your event

News

Mojisola Adebayo will be presenting The Interrogation of Sandra Bland at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, in October, culminating in a performance by a huge chorus of black / women-of-colour on stage.

Pragya Dhital joined the English department in September as a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, with a project on proscribed political pamphlets in colonial India. During the summer she had two articles published: “From ‘Imam ul-Hind’ to Azizul Hind: The ‘One Man Media House’ in Modern India”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, 42:3, 452-468, DOI: 10.1080/00856401.2019.1596778 “Media satyagraha in the broadcast age: underground literature and populist politics during the Indian internal emergency of 1975–1977”, Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 21: 7, 942-958, DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2019.1585908

Michael Hughes (Creative Writing Lecturer)’s book is reviewed by The New York Times: ‘Hughes’s story proceeds at a breakneck cinematic pace, full of booby traps, double agents and arias promising gruesome revenge.’ Read the full review here

Eleni Sophia (aka English student Sophia Hussain) has published her third book ‘This One’s For You’. The poetry collection is about encouraging young women about the importance of self-love and provides words of encouragement for those going through a tough time.

In July, both Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian shared her poem ‘Her Mindset’ from my first poetry book, ‘Good Morning to Goodnight’ on their Snapchat and Instagram stories.

Hari Marini (Research Student Support) has published her poetry collection 28 ΔΙΑΔΡΟΜΕΣ ΤΗΣ | 28 PATHS OF HER. It has been reviewed here.

Susheila Nasta (English Professor) is has edited a collection called Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Now (Out 7 November) an anthology of essays by 15 world writers to celebrate 35 years of Wasafiri but also channels the hot political topics of today. It features work from Bernardine Evaristo, Tabish Khair, Blake Morrison, Mukoma wa Ngugi, Marina Warner and many more.

Pathologies of Solitude project has been awarded a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ grant by the Wellcome Trust (£21,192) for a project addressing solitude and loneliness as aspects of migrant and refugee experience.

The 18-month project is led by Akshi Singh, postdoctoral fellow on the ‘Pathologies of Solitude’ project, and Nisha Ramayya ( Creative Writing Lecturer at QMUL), and is partnered by Akwaaba, an anti-racist migrant befriending centre in East London.

The project will support six creative arts workshops to be held at
Akwaaba, facilitated by BME writers and other diverse artists. Its
results will be disseminated through zines made with workshop
participants, an exhibition and a public story-telling event.

People Palace Projects’Xingu Encounter has been nominated for a Times Higher Education award for ‘International Collaboration of the Year’. The project explores new ways to work with indigenous people in Brazil to preserve & protect their knowledge & culture.

Mahima Tyagi (English with Creative Writing student) has taken over the School of English and Drama Instagram.

Follow us for news and views from Mahima and our students

Ellen Wiles (English Teaching Fellow) curated and spoke at Asylum Stories: Fact, Fiction, Truth event at British Library.

Follow us on Instagram

Whilst we try our hardest to make sure listings are accurate we recommend contacting the event organiser or registering before attending as mistakes can be made and we apologise for these.

And the Winner of our Tote Bag competition 2019 is…

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED THEIR QUOTATIONS AND DESIGNS. THE WINNER OF OUR TOTE BAG COMPETITION CHOSEN IN A VOTE BY SED STAFF 2019 IS…

NAJIYAH BEGUM (SECOND YEAR ENGLISH STUDENT)

Here’s some of the amazing entries we received and have turned into postcards and bookmarks! Quotes are on postcards too so keep an eye out in goodie bags and our reception area in welcome week.

Ali Campbell launches his new book: The Theatre of the Oppressed in Practice Today (Bloomsbury)

Ali Campbell launching his new book:

The Theatre of the Oppressed in Practice Today (Bloomsbury), which is an introduction to the work of his own teacher and mentor, the legendary Brazilian Director and founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed movement, Augusto Boal.

Seen here with one of Boal’s original Theatre Company Barbara Santos (holding Ali’s book). Ali in turn is holding her own which they are launching in parallel: Theatre of the Oppressed:  Roots and Wings (Kuringa).  The launch took the form of seminars and workshops in Rio de Janeiro at the headquarters of CTO Rio, Boal’s original company, alongside the devising of street theatre pieces and other interventions across the City protesting the draconian measures currently being proposed by the Bolsanaro Administration and impacting heavily on access to State funded Higher Education.

A similar event will happen as part of this year’s Season of Bangla Drama Festival, of which Ali is a co-Director with responsibility for CPD across the Festival’s 17 theatre companies and 6 venues, of which QMUL is one. The Festival begins on Friday 1st November.