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:
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.
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.
DR CATHERINE SILVERSTONE: Head of the School of English and Drama and a longstanding colleague in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University of London, tragically passed away on Sunday 4th October 2020 at King’s College Hospital. Our thoughts are with her partner Julia, her family in New Zealand and her friends. We all loved and will miss Catherine more than we can ever say. Read more and leave a message of remembrance
LOCKDOWN SUPPORT: We would like to remind students and staff that there is emotional support for you at the college from Mental Health First Aiders to counselling services.
English Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) 11 Nov, Online, 3pm BST – Free The next virtual English PASS drop-in session for First Year students takes place on Wednesday at 3pm (Week 8) via Blackboard Collaborate. Follow this link to access the module page and join the webinars: https://qmplus.qmul.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=13405. Week 8’s webinar is an open session – feel free to drop-in at any point to ask for any advice relating to your assignments or modules.
Artists had been referred to by corporations as the ‘perfect worker’, finding enjoyment and drive in their work despite the often-long hours and low pay. Now we are moving to a world where we are being encouraged to retrain, up-skill and evolve. TAF have invited independent performance maker and curator Xavier de Sousa and Professor Gerard Hanlon from the Centre for Labour and Global Production at Queen Mary University of London to discuss, from their own viewpoints, the idea of WORK & UTOPIA. They will be working through ‘what matters’. To them, to you, and what we should be thinking about in building strategies for change in a post-COVID world.
Five Bodies 12 Nov, Online, 6.30-8.30pm BST – Free Inspired by moments of unknowingness, invention and imagination, Five Bodies brings together some of the most outstanding British and international poets including our very own Nisha Ramayya to share experiences of contemporary poetry. Poetry vs Colonialism Series – Being Human Festival 14-22 Nov, Online – Free
Explore the histories of gold, sugar, cotton and tobacco with poets, artists, academics & museums. Join the online workshops to discover how poets can help decolonise the world.
Last Gasp WFH, looks for ways we might catch our breath in these times of global uncertainty, considering our ‘last acts’, whether personal, political or environmental.
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.
Genna Gardini (Drama PhD)has received the 2020 CASA award to finish my play, Many Scars.
She says: ‘I’ve been working on this thing for the past two years &it’s one of the biggest endeavours of my life – to write a play about MS that is just as strange as this disease is. Thank you, CASA! ‘
We are dedicated to supporting students with services like counselling, writing support, Mental Health First Aid and more.
12. Our diversity – and how you can make friends with people from around the world and from different socio-economic backgrounds.
e) Why choose to study in 2021?
13. Learn in lockdown and its aftermath.
Make the most of lockdown and beyond and learn something interesting with us. You can always choose to add a year abroad in your third year when hopefully travel will be less restricted.
14. Time to reflect.
University gives you time to reflect on the wider world, develop your values and try to change the world.
15. The experience of blended learning is benefiting students.
We work with students to improve our online and in-person teaching as much as we can. Lots of students have told us that some experiences work better online. Activities like meeting an advisor or participating in a text-based English class work really well online, so we will act on this feedback for 2021.
f) Why choose to go to university rather than other options?
16. Transferable skills.
You’ll have time to perfect your transferable skills, including writing, teamwork and creating your own projects.
17. Time for self-development.
You will have time outside of paid-work and time for internships and other opportunities that may be difficult to fit in around full time work or apprenticeships.
18. Meet curious people and make friends for life.
Lots of our students make friends for life on our courses. We are a friendly department and encourage students to talk and socialise outside of the workshop room.
g) Why do a humanities degree at all?
19. Humanities make us human – we need stories, critique and communication to challenge and celebrate the world we live in.
20. Humanities are relevant to so many careers and make you adaptable for jobs that don’t even exist yet.
21. You’ll find it easier to commit to, read and study about something you are passionate about.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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’.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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).
Possession & Subjectivity 31 July, 6-8 pm (BST), Online – Free Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity. Register here
Online Porch Sitting – Split Britches 28 July, Online – Free via Barbican Join queer-feminist theatre icon, Lois Weaver (Drama), in this re-imagined online version of her Porch Sitting. Sit, think, dream, wonder and take part in conversation around our collective future. Photo by Alex Legge (Drama alumna). Find out more
Bloomsbury has at times in its history been much associated with visionary, utopian thinking and writing. This walk with Dr Matthew Ingleby will explore that history. From socialists and anarchists to feminists and queer artists, the neighbourhood has inspired a distinctly futural imagination, which has allowed readers to see how things might be, not only what they empirically, provably are.
Nadia Atia (English) and Malachi McIntosh (Wasafiri Magazine based at QMUL) presented on Iraq and Teaching Migration and Empire respectively at British Empire in English Studies event at University of Kent.
Julie Rose Bower has had her second ASMR video published by Victoria and Albert Museum and it features work using our Drama department’s very one ambisonic microphone. This video has costumes worn by Vivien Leigh, Sandie Shaw, PJ Harvey, Belinda Wright and Adzogbo dancers. JRB was also named as one of the artists you need to know for ‘carving out space to reflect on the world today’ in Elephant magazine.
Jerry Brotton (English)’s Mapping the Future programme is on BBC iPlayer now. In the programme he navigates the transformation from paper to digital mapping, from print to pixels, asks what is being gained and lost and in whose interests the evolution serves.
Dr Duckie aka Ben Walters (Drama PhD)’s Dr Duckie website is full of useful information about the project focused on the concept of ‘Homemade Mutant Hope Machines’ – a way of describing how people without much clout can start to build better worlds on their own terms.
Feather Pen (Blog by English student Aysel Kasap) are pleased to announce their new travel column, Seoul Searching by Ruby Punt, a QMUL student about her year abroad in South Korea! New entries are coming every month starting from July 15 on featherpenblog.com.
Olga Kravchenko (Drama alumna) is interviewed by our alumni team on her about being CEO of Musemio, a virtual reality app that connects children with content from museums around the world and seeks to turn them into museumgoers of the future.
PEACH Magazine has officially opened up for applications for their 2020/21 committee. If you are interested in being part of the only Queen Mary Student Medium that is solely dedicated to publishing students’ creative expressions, then click here to learn more about the different roles and how to apply. The deadline to apply is 31 July 2020, 11.59 pm. You can also follow PEACH on: Instagram / Twitter / Facebook.
Charlie Pullen (English PhD) shared a touching tribute by Lynsey Hanley in the 90s about English at Queen Mary in this tweet.
Stage 3 Theatre Company:Stage3 Extended is a platform which continues to encourage activism through creative responses for an extended week after a commemorating event has occurred. We believe that we should keep the activist momentum alive. Their first project was ‘Refugee Week Extended’ and this Saturday (11 July) they are launching the next one – ‘Remembering Srebrenica Extended’. Stage 3 Company is a performance-based activist group, tackling a vast range of political, social and humanitarian issues from immigration and discrimination to identity, belonging and empathy. Established in April 2018, as part of STAGES (PPP, QMUL), the group has since then performed at numerous venues around the UK.
Rosie Vincent (Drama Alumna) and her organisation Roman Road Trust’s Transform The Common Roomcampaign successfully reached target to provide a new community space. After receiving the maximum pledge of £50,000 from the Mayor of London, they then received an amazing pledge of £10,000 from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund and then a brilliant pledge of £5,000 from the Centre for Public Engagement at QMUL!
Jeremy Weller (Drama Master’s Student)’s work for Beyond Walls around art and mental health including an NHS Residency and Edinburgh Festival 2018 Production: Where it hurts is available to explore online here. Find out more about his work on his website and Instagram.
Performance, Possession & Automation – a collaborative research project led by Nick Ridout and Orlagh Woods, in collaboration with Joe Kelleher, Fiona Templeton and Simon Vincenzi – invites you to three online conversations.
Automation & Cultural Production
17 July, 6-8pm (BST)
Seb Franklin and Annie McClanahan join Nick Ridout for a conversation about automation and cultural production.
Instead of imagining a future in which our lives are managed for us by robots or AI, it may be time to think instead about how automation is already deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Automation is not replacing human beings, but it may be changing how we work and act, and how we think and feel about ourselves and other people.
Clickhere, to book your place and for further information.
Paul C. Johnson and Rebecca Schneider join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and performance.
What if possession is a totally modern idea? Could it be a way for people who live modern lives in a supposedly secular culture to describe modes of being that don’t fit with their ideas of what it is to be yourself? How does performance help us think about possession? Are performance and possession both ways of becoming an automated or programmed self?
Clickhere, to book your place and for further information.
Kyla Wazana Tompkins and Roberto Strongman join Nick Ridout for a conversation about possession and subjectivity.
Might possession and other experiences in which people seem to lose control of themselves – like intoxication or narcosis – expand our understanding of what it means to be a subject, beyond the bounded subjectivity assumed and promoted in so-called ‘Enlightenment’ thought? Do subjects always and everywhere have to fit neatly into bodies?
Click here to book your place and for further information.
Performance, Possession & Automation is a research project exploring automation and possession as two ways of thinking about what happens to human subjects who act in ways that they do not themselves fully control. How can making and thinking about performance contribute to thinking about these ideas?
This project is supported through the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and The Centre for Public Engagement, Queen Mary University of Londonin partnership with Fierce Festival and Hampstead Theatre.
Roman Road Trust (Director is Drama Alumna Rosie Vincent) & Public Works’ Crowdfund London campaign to Transform The Common Room reached beyond target and finished with £81,721 after receiving pledges from Mayor of London, Tower Hamlets Council, Queen Mary University of London, and over 250 pledges from local people.
The campaign was launched in January 2020 to turn The Common Room from a deteriorating space into a fully-functional cultural learning facility for local people. The vision is for local people to access high quality community learning in partnership with cultural and educational organisations. The original target was £74,000.
The Common Room is a grassroots project that was initiated by the community of Roman Road in 2014. The space has been managed and led by local people for the past six years. The Common Room is a valuable resource for many groups, individuals, and surrounding organisations.
Transform The Common Room is part of Crowdfund London – the programme delivered by the Mayor of London and Spacehive aimed at backing Londoner’s ideas for improving their local area with funding and support.
After receiving over 150 pledges from local people in the first two months, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £50,000 from Mayor of London in March 2020.
Following this, Transform The Common Room continued to gain momentum leading to a further 100 pledges. 15 of which were from local businesses who collectively raised £4,095 towards the campaign despite the current challenges facing businesses due to Covid-19.
During the final days of the campaign, Transform The Common Room was awarded the maximum pledge of £10k from the Tower Hamlets Innovation Fund. This was then followed by a £5,000 pledge from the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London on the very last day.
Rosie Vincent, Managing Director of Roman Road Trust and QMUL drama alumna said:
“We have been truly overwhelmed by the support shown by local people and neighbouring organisations.
“Receiving the maximum pledge of £50k from the Mayor of London as well as the maximum pledge of £10k from Tower Hamlets Council proves how vital this project is for our community and Roman Road high street.
“The Common Room is a project that has been trying to happen for over six years. We are very proud to know our 253 backers also agree it is time for this space to become what it truly deserves to be.”
The Common Room is scheduled to be ready in Summer 2021. Roman Road Trust is now developing the first wave of Learning Programmes to be delivered in The Common Room. If you would like to be involved or help the project please email: email@example.com
Even after choosing a degree, deciding which university to do it at might seem daunting. It’s worth researching the nature of a particular degree at various universities to compare them. English at one university is not the same as English at another.
To start off your research, read on for answers to commonly asked questions about English and Drama at Queen Mary, first hand from two students; myself (an English student) and Chris Dhanjal, a joint honours English and Drama student.
Applying to Queen Mary
1. What are the entry requirements?
For English The entry requirements are typically ABB at A Level (or an equivalent qualification), with an A in English Literature / English Language and Literature. Non-standard qualifications are also sometimes accepted from well-motivated candidates who demonstrate achievement in literary study.
For Drama we typically look for BBB at A-level or equivalent in other qualifications such as BTEC Performing Arts.
See our course pages in English or Drama for more details of our entry requirements.
2. Can you combine English or Drama with another subject?
Yes! Students are able to take joint courses, and are able to take English alongside another subject such as Drama, Linguistics, Creative Writing, Film Studies and History.
Our degrees are all about giving you social capital, through work experience, modules from other schools and extra activities, so you have the skills to succeed in life in and outside of university. The QMUL Principal, Professor Colin Bailey talks about this new approach we are taking in this article in The Guardian.
1. What modules are offered in an English and/or Drama degree?
English: In first year you’ll explore six compulsory modules; Reading, Theory and Interpretation, Poetry, London Global, Shakespeare, Literatures in Time. These modules gave us a foundation in English Literature across the spectrum which becomes more specific in second year. In second year, there are three categories, ‘Medieval and Early-Modern Studies’, ‘Eighteenth-Century, Romanticism, Nineteenth-Century Studies’ and ‘Modern, Contemporary, And Postcolonial Studies’.
We picked one module from each category and a fourth module either from one of these categories or from a “special list”, which offers a range of options. In our third year, we are given plenty more options, not bound by any categories, allowing us to pursue any field enabling us to take whatever piques our interest. Third year modules include Postcolonial, American and Children’s literature to name a few.
Drama: In first year, all students take London/Culture/ Performance, and Practices, which help negotiate Drama at university level. Joint honours students take six compulsory modules consisting of four Drama modules which are a combination of seminar and practical based ones and two English. For second year we were given more options, but again had to take one compulsory Drama module and at least two English modules from two separate areas.
In total we were allowed five modules but had to have an equal balance of credits across English and Drama. For final year, the options become a lot more flexible, with the choice of taking seventy-five credits in Drama and forty-five credits in English. Examples of second and third year Drama modules include Choreographic Performance, Shakespeare after Shakespeare and Race and Racism in Performance .
English: We have 8-10 contact hours per week, depending on whether we take 4 or 5 modules per semester. Each module has 2 contact hours; typically a 1 hour lecture followed by a 1 hour seminar. Some modules in second year may not have a lecture and only a 2 hour seminar. In third year, most modules have a 2 hour seminar. Though 8 may seem a little, we’re expected to prepare for each module with 4 hours of work, through reading, research and assignment preparation.
Drama: We typically have 10 hours a week. In third year there may be 14 hour weeks, depending on the modules taken, as Drama practical modules can be 7 hours per day.
3. What are class sizes like?
First year lectures have around 250 students in them, but seminars are smaller groups of 15-20. Lecture sizes get smaller in second and third year as there are more modules available for students to choose from.
Drama: Most seminars and practical workshops range between 10-20 people which creates a good atmosphere for independent and group work.
4. How many books do you have to read a week?
English: We usually have to read one novel per module per week, occasionally alongside some theoretical extracts, making it 4-5 texts a week. Some texts are studied over two weeks so students (particularly in first year) may sometimes only need to read a novel/play every other week.
Drama: Roughly around 2-3 primary books a week, excluding secondary reading, in first and second year. In third year we have 3-5 primary books a week, as well as secondary reading.
5. Do you have field trips?
English: We have occasional field trips, depending on the module. In first year we went to the V&A as a part of Literatures in Time as well as to The Globe to see a play and for a day of workshops for our Shakespeare module. During third year, we attended The Foundling Museum for the Children’s Literature module. Most trips are subsidised by the department so we are able to attend at reduced costs. We are also encouraged to attend museums and exhibitions in our own time.
Drama: Within Drama we had a few field trips in first year to theatres and museums, but second and third year trips vary depending on the module. London Performance Now is a second year module which consists of weekly theatre/museum visits.
1. How many assignments do you have a year?
English and Drama: Each module has about 4-5 assignments spread throughout the academic year. So in total there’s approximately 20 assignments. For English, most of them are essays, however there are also a couple of assessed presentations and class contributions. For drama it’s a mix of written and practical work.
2.Do you have exams?
English: In first year there is a final exam for Shakespeare and Literatures in Time. Other modules in all three years are generally assessed by coursework.
Drama: We have no written exams, however, we have assessed performances which can be timed assessments within a controlled environment.
3. Do you have to write a dissertation?
English: Yes, in third year, all single honours students must undertake a dissertation, which is a 10,000 word research project on anything of our choice so long as it falls under English Literature.
Drama: Instead of a dissertation there is a practical research module. Joint honours students have the option between the English dissertation and a Drama written project.
1. What resources does the department have access to?
Students in the School of English and Drama we have access to a wide amount of literature and criticism through the Mile End campus library, as well as through the University of London inter-library loan system and Senate House Library. The university is also subscribed to many journals and periodicals, giving us access to a huge amount of material. The department has 5 Drama studio spaces including rehearsal rooms, which students have 24/7 access to. Other resources for Drama include a wide range of drama and theatre professionals lecturing on the course who have influential and current experience.
2. Is there any guidance or support for assignments?
English and Drama: As well as useful workshops, advisers/seminar leaders/lecturers have weekly drop-in hours which are immensely helpful for advice and guidance on academic work. There are also beneficial student organisations, such as PASS (Peer Assissted Study Support), where second and third year students offer help to first year students and a Buddy Mentoring Scheme. We also have professional Literary Fellows available to review essays before students submit them. For practical work in Drama, consistent feedback is given by seminar leaders and peers as our work is shared with each other.
3. What’s a personal advisor?
English and Drama: A personal advisor is a teaching member of staff assigned to you in order to help and assist you with any queries you may have. Whether it’s something academic or personal they are there to support and help you!