How to Get Into PR: 5 Top Tips for Students by English Graduate Tierney Cowap

2015 English graduate Tierney Cowap is working in PR with fashion and gifts retailer Oliver Bonas gives us her top tips for getting into the industry.

1. Decide what you’re aiming for

There are many different sectors of PR, so do some research and get an idea of what area you’d like to work in. Would you prefer the security and in-depth approach of working for an in-house PR team, or a more broad and varied role in an agency? Do you want to PR for a food and drinks brand, or work in fashion PR? By setting your preferences and aims, you can be more specific when applying for roles or placements.

2. Build on your own experience

I got my initial placement in a PR role by emailing the relevant team in the brand I was already working for, and asking if I could do some work experience. Because I already had knowledge of the product range, of the brand ethos, and of the customer we were selling to, PR-specific skills were something I built up along the way. Your job as a PR is to make other people passionate about your product – if you can demonstrate to a recruiter that you genuinely love and know about their products, it puts you in a strong position!

3. Diversify your skills

As a PR you may be called upon to support a brand across a range of projects – from editing campaign imagery in Photoshop, to arranging catering and prop deliveries for press events, to dealing with customer inquiries on social media! The more areas in which you have prior experience, the better. Keep up to date with developments in tech and social media, read up on the relevant publications and key journalists in your field, and work on your confidence when speaking to new people. Above all, be willing to get stuck in, and show your eagerness to learn.

4. Be proactive

All brands will hold product launches or media-facing events throughout the year, but within certain areas of PR – particularly consumer, fashion or food brands – the peak season is from May through to July. The industry tradition of holding Christmas in July events (where brands showcase their Christmas ranges in summer, so that long-lead publications can plan their features) means that the summer season is especially busy. You never know what will come from a speculative email in the run-up, asking if the PR team for your favourite brand could do with an extra pair of hands over this key period!

5. Have your own ideas

PR roles are based on communication, and deciding on the best way to communicate an idea is naturally subjective. From your language choice, to the media contacts you target with certain product releases and when, it can often take discussion with your colleagues to make strategy decisions. In interview, you may well be asked to put together a presentation suggesting how the brand or agency could do better (to give an example, ‘how could our brand better target a millennial audience on social media?’) Don’t be afraid to put forward your honest ideas and thoughts, but be sure to do your research – you don’t want to make suggestions, only to find that they’ve been operating that way for months.

Follow Tierney on Twitter here

Verbatim Formula Report by Josh Gardner

“I go to Idenham high school. I am fourteen years old. I live in Croydon. I try to be good at everything but when I leave school I want to study business and history. I will need to study hard and do my best to achieve the highest grades possible. I am at Queen Mary school because I want the day off school.. A university is a place where you can study and socialise with people.. I think it will be a great experience to visit the university for a day and see.. meet with other people.”                                                          

Idenham student, March 2017

A group of ambassadors and myself wait nervously for the secondary school students to arrive. We’re here to support Maggie Inchley and Sylvan Baker run a Verbatim Formula  session on the Achievement For All visit to Queen Mary University of London, organised by the Widening Participation department. Verbatim is a technique often used in theatre. Performances are constructed from recorded material that is repeated word for word by an actor on stage. Maggie and Sylvan have been using this formula to work with young people in London and I am curious to see how it translates into an educational context. As the students enter the room, I ask a few awkward questions about their journey – ‘How’d you get here? By bus? Oh right.. Cool.’ The students are friendly but the conversation is strained and it’s clear that they, like me, are feeling a bit apprehensive about the coming session. Suddenly, Sylvan springs into action. A circle is quickly constructed and before I’ve had time to think – urrr, drama games!  – we’re in the midst of a rapid round of ‘pass the clap’. Everyone is howling with laughter. The tension dissipates and the focus in the room starts to settle. Maggie hands out scripts. We break into small groups and begin to interview each other.

I go to…. school…

I am… years old..

I am visiting Queen Mary because…

A University is a place where…

These short prompts get the interviews going and, with a little encouragement, the students start to record each other, excited by the prospect of being ‘performed’ by someone else. Looking around the room, I notice the buzz of conversation about me as ambassadors, lecturers, and pupils fire questions, perform each other’s voices and listen back to the recordings they’ve made. The initial awkwardness lifts and the interview process enables a series of discussions about the University to emerge.  After interviewing some students about what they’ve had for breakfast for example, the group are much more relaxed and talk openly about the visit – ‘I am at Queen Mary school because I want the day off school…’ one student says into the recording device, before adding… ‘I think it will be a great experience to visit the University for a day and see.. meet with other people’.

Another girl asks me inquisitively; ‘Can you really leave lectures whenever you want?’ I try to explain that you can, at the risk of upsetting the lectu.. but it’s too late.. her eyes are wide with amazement, ‘WOW’ she exclaims, ‘that’s crazy!’ Her classmate is less impressed; ‘That would be stupid’, she says to her friend disdainfully, ‘you have to pay to be here’. Exchanges like this continue for the next half an hour. During the discussion, I am fascinated by how little the students know about university life. This is especially perplexing when it becomes apparent that the idea of getting into university is already embedded in their understanding of the purpose and value of education. As they file out of the studio, I wonder why visits like this don’t happen more often.

In the afternoon, we meet the students in a different room to finish the day with a short performance and some more interviews. Maggie, Sylvan and I have met for a brief run through of the material and are now going to perform the student’s ‘voices’ back to them. This turns out to be more amusing than we had anticipated, with Maggie’s attempt to keep up with an extremely fast speaking student prompting bouts of laughter from the class. After this short introduction, we pick up where we’d left off, with more interviews and discussions about the student’s visit. Again, the Verbatim Formula enables a quick transition into conversations about the University. The students are enthusiastic, asking more questions about the campus and how university life is different from school. In my own group, an extremely quiet student reluctantly agrees to interview me about my day before giving the following response to his class mate;

“My name is Adrian, on the 17th March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met.. I met a group of people that worked at the University of London. I saw different places where you can learn and the cemetery. I thought it was a good experience. I found out a lot looking at this University. When I leave school I want to be a interior designer. In the future I will study hard and work hard to make sure that my dream comes true. I will need to work hard in lessons, not get distracted and just focus.. the main thing I learnt today was keep d..discussingARGHHHHH! Can I try again!?”

Idenham student, March 2017


This is an example of the value of the Verbatim Formula. As a structure, it enables various ways of engaging with students as either performers, interviewers, interviewees and/or audience members. In this instance, the student’s reluctance to be interviewed by me is overcome by enabling him to take control of the research process. What’s more, being interviewed by his friend also interrupts the discomfort of talking to a stranger and turns the experience into a kind of game. This sense of play is then built on as the students are encouraged to perform the speech of others. Positioning the students as ‘audience’ and ‘performer’ seems to encourage critical reflection and further engagement –  it is difficult to ignore someone performing your own words back to you! Watching the teachers attempt to imitate the language and intonation of the students also inverts the usual power dynamic and increases their involvement in the session. In such a short space of time, an astonishing amount has been covered. To finish off, the students are invited to perform some interviews in front of the class;

“My name is Jenifar, on the 17th March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met a group of teachers that worked at the University. I saw quite..very interesting things. Such as the cemetery er, erm.. people that used to be founders of this University. And I also I met some the Uni.. the erm, students that are studying at this University.  I found out that you was able to leave lectures whenever you want and you was able to live in your own flats. When I leave school I would like to study.. in.. in the future I would like to study in Queen Mary University of London because I believe that it will help me a lot and it’s very interesting. In the future I would like to study law at this University. I will need to focus more in lessons and study my hardest. The main thing I learnt today is that if you want to do something you will need to work hard for it.”

Idenham student, March 2017


“My name is Sarah, on the 17th March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met students that study in Queen Mary University of London. I saw ambassadors of Queen Mary University of London.  I thought it was a great experience and I learnt a lot from it. I found out that there’s a lecture room and a seminar room and they’re two different types of room.  When I leave school I want to be a lawyer and.. in the future I will… like to come back and visit Queen Mary University and see whether it’s improved. I will need to do very well in school and come out with a great University and have a lot of money to pursue my goals in life. The main thing I learnt today was growth mindset and there’s two different parts of growth mindset – There’s growth and… theres growth and there’s fixed mindset. And that’s what I learnt today. THANK YOU!”

Idenham student, March 2017


My name is Fariha, on the 17th March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met Catherine, I saw the cemetery.. I thought it was friggin’ huge! I found out that um, there’s an Italian restaurant that isn’t that…[LAUGHING. IN TAKE OF BREATH]…when I leave school I want to study med..medicine.. In the future I will become a doctor yeah, and I will need to study medicine . The main thing I learnt today is that University is cool and…YeAH!

Idenham student, March 2017


“Right…My name is John on the 17th of March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met some new people around. I saw some new buildings as I walked around the University. I thought it was kind of boring but was fun in the end. I found out as I was learning… Uh, I’m going to restart… My name is John.  On the 17th of March 2017 I visited Queen Mary University of London. I met some new people as I walked around. I saw some new buildings and some new places that I’ve never seen before. I thought it was boring but in the end it was even better. I found out that University is not as bad as I thought. When I leave school I want to be a mechanic. In the future..In the future I will practice and practice and do some more design technology to do that. And I will need to practice, to focus more…”

Idenham student, March 2017


Call for Papers: Queer Fun at Royal Vauxhall Tavern on 10 June 2017

Queer Fun: an ivory-tower vaudeville from Duckie and QMUL

Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Saturday 10 June 2017, 3-7pm

Fun is a wide-ranging experience that has rarely been taken seriously by the academy or society. This is changing, with the publication of monographs on fun in the fields of sociology (Ben Fincham) and cultural studies (Alan McKee), and the realisation of projects such as Fun Palaces and the British Library’s There Will Be Fun exhibition.

Fun can be a powerful engine for feelings, thoughts and actions with many political and ethical implications. But where does fun sit in relation to queerness? Does queer experience entail exclusion from some kinds of fun and access to others? What might queer fun look or feel like?

This half-day conference aims to explore queer fun at a historic site of queer fun, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Eight-minute presentations by academic researchers, contemporary queer performers and others will be showcased in a format inspired by the Olivier Award-winning C’est Duckie! show. Conference attendees are also welcome at Duckie’s club night at the RVT later that evening.

The event emerges from doctoral research being carried out by Ben Walters under a Collaborative Doctoral Award granted to Queen Mary University of London’s Department of Drama and queer performance collective Duckie. The subject bears directly but far from exclusively on performance studies (particularly socially-turned performance) and queer theory (particularly affect, relationality and futurity).

Questions for consideration might include:

  • Why take fun seriously?
  • What kind of fun is queer fun?
  • How your fun (un)like my fun?
  • What are the politics of fun?
  • Queer fun vs gay fun
  • Is there a time and place for fun?
  • Fun? 😉
  • What happens when the fun ends? (And what if it doesn’t start?)

Relevant subjects might include abjection, affect and relationality; high and low status; temporality and futurity; normativity; care; pleasure; happiness; socially-turned performance; relief, resistance and rehearsal.

We invite proposals for presentations of eight minutes incorporating the first-hand exhibition of an object (or image, sound, gesture, taste or smell) that illustrates the point you would like to make about queer fun. Presentations can be academic in nature, or performance-based, or in other formats. Proposals in formats other than eight-minute presentations will also be considered, particularly ambient or installation-based ideas. PowerPoint presentations (or equivalent) are discouraged.

Proposals of up to 150 words (or audio/video files of up to one minute), along with a brief biography and a picture of your selected object, should be sent to by Aprila 14 2017. Please specify any particular technical requirements. Applicants will be informed of decisions by April 21 2017. Please feel free to contact the organiser, Ben Walters, at if you have any questions.

Tickets for the event cost £10, which includes entry into that night’s Duckie club night, and are available at Successful applicants who aren’t salaried to produce such work or are not in receipt of academic funding will receive a fee of £200. We regret that there is no funding to support travel or accommodation.

#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 29 March 2017

Here’s our latest events and opportunities we’ve sourced that are coming up in the next week. This is the last edition for Semester two and we’ll be back with in exam term.

Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.



English PGR Seminar: Ruth Abbott | Thu 30 Mar | 17:15 in Lock-keeper’s Cottage | QMUL Mile End

Join our special guest Ruth Abbott (University of Virginia) for her seminar ‘George Eliot in the Biblioteca Magliabechiana: Romola, the Florentine Renaissance, and the history of historical scholarship’.

For more SED events see our calendar here

Jobs & Paid Internships

Programming & Development Assistant at Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust | Deadline: Mon 10 Apr

Masterclass is looking for a motivated and enthusiastic Programming & Development Assistant to join the team.


PostDoctoral Opportunity on ‘Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies’ three-year project | Deadlines vary per post

The Universities of Leeds, Birmingham and Reading are looking for Postdoctoral researchers to join the team on the AHRC-funded ‘Harold Pinter: Histories and Legacies’ three-year project.

Opportunities & Volunteering

Call out for Submissions: Eborakon | Deadline: Wed 2 Apr

Eborakon is an annual poetry magazine based at the University of York, publishing new writers alongside established poets.

Download the call out



Calls for Papers

‘Organic Systems:  Environments, Bodies and Cultures in Science Fiction’ Sat 16 Sept hosted at Birkbeck | Deadline: Wed 31 May

Download the CfP


To add a listing to next week’s digest please email us by Monday 24 April 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

Scholarships announced for 2017-18 Entry

We are excited to announce our Scholarships available for undergraduate and postgraduate study in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London.

Choose your level:




School of English and Drama Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship 2017-18

We will be awarding one Excellence Scholarship in 2017-18 for students pursuing our BA in English, BA in Drama or BA in English and Drama.

The Scholarship will cover 50% of the course fees (for the standard duration of the course) and will go to an International student (paying overseas fees)

Eligibility requirement:

You will be eligible if you are an international student who firmly accepts our offer to study on one of the three participating degree programmes (BA in English, BA in Drama, BA in English and Drama). If you’re eligible you’ll be invited to submit a short piece of writing. You would be expected to maintain an average of 68% or above to retain the scholarship.

How to apply:

When you firmly accept our offer of a place we’ll write to you with details of the writing task.

Deadline: Essays must be submitted by 17:00 BST on Monday 10 July 2017.



School of English and Drama Postgraduate Excellence Scholarships 2017-18


We will be awarding two School of English and Drama Excellence Scholarships in 2017-18 for students pursuing our MA in Theatre and Performance or our MA in English Studies (any of the seven pathways) or our MA in Poetry.

The Scholarships cover 50% of the course fees – one scholarship will go to a Home/EU student, the other scholarship will go to an International student.

Eligibility for the scholarship

In order to be selected by our panel to receive the award:

  • You should have an excellent academic track-record. We would usually expect you to achieve, or be expected to achieve, the equivalent of a British 1st Class Honours Degree.
  • You must meet the conditions of your offer.
  • You must not be in receipt of any other QMUL scholarship or full-fee scholarship from any other source.  If you are in receipt of another QMUL Scholarship, e.g. the Alumni Loyalty Award, you will be awarded only one Scholarship, whichever has the greater value.

Please note that:

  • Scholarships are not payable directly to you, but are off set against your student fee invoice.
  • Awards cannot be deferred to subsequent years.

How to apply for the scholarships

Simply apply to study full-time on our MA in Theatre and Performance or our MA in English Studies (any of the seven pathways) or our MA in Poetry before programme through our online portal before Thursday 1 June 2017. Scholarships are not available for part-time study.

Deadline: We must have received an MA application by 09:00 BST on Thursday 1 June 2017.


If you have any questions please email: or call +44 (0)20 7882 8571.

Posters in Parliament 2017 by Angelica Hill

Posters in Parliament 2017: Part of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research.

Hosted by University College London.

Angelica Hill, 3rd Year English and Drama Student

On Tuesday 14th March Queen Mary’s University took two students to the fifth annual “Posters in Parliament” event at the Houses of Parliament. Sam represented undergraduate work in Physics, and I was there for the School of English and Drama. Fifty-two undergraduate students from twenty-seven Universities across the country presented and discussed their research with fellow undergraduates, lecturers, academics, and a few MPs, including Hilary Benn, Ben Bradshaw and Caroline Lucas. Students had a rare opportunity to look around the House of Commons and sit in on some of the sessions being held; whilst MPs, legislators and policy makers got to see first-hand some of the innovative research taking place around the country. It give us a platform to present our work to those who could potentially be making decision around the research in the future.


It was a wonderful day of intellectual stimulation, in an environment palpably buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement. It was great to find out what my fellow undergraduates in this country are working on, as well as allowing me to learn more about areas that I might otherwise have never got the opportunity to engage with, such as nanotechnology, macroeconomics, 17th Century female medical practitioners, and other interesting and obscure areas of research.


We began the day in Parliament Square, meeting by the statue of Mahatma Gandhi (2015), before going through security and entering the beautiful House of Commons. Surrounded by fellow students, school parties, tourists, a few recognizable BBC reporters, and a UKIP MP, we wandered around the building taking in the history and grandeur. My presentation was partly on King Henry VI, who held 23 parliaments in this building six hundred years ago, which gave a sense of moment to the occasion for me. Sam and I got to sit in on a parliamentary hearing about the state of buses in England and whether there should be a reduction, or increase in funding towards the expansion of the bus networks across England before lunch


Sam presented his research on how gravitational dynamical processes, including the effect of the moon Prometheus, as well as, impacts from nearby objects, can determine the structure and behaviour of the F ring of Saturn, in the first presentation session. The poster included beautiful imagery of Saturn’s rings.


This section lasted about an hour before there was a change over to the second presentation session, in which I was presenting my research. I had never presented in this format before, standing beside a poster outlining my work, and did not get much guidance as to how best to present the work, however it seemed the best thing to do was to create a poster which drew people towards you, outline the key points of your arguments, and then once they had looked over the poster to speak to them about your work and outline the key arguments and facts in more depth verbally, as opposed to through a text-heavy poster.

Samuel Matthews, Physics student

My research is drawn from my third year dissertation work on the denigration of “others” in comparison to the image of the English male and “Englishness” in Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, exploring concepts of the Self and the Other and relating the world of Henry VI to the world in which we currently live. It was nice to bring Henry VI back to Westminster today. This poster presentation format gave me quite a nice relaxed format in which to discuss my work. Although, I think I prefer verbal, paper presentations to an audience as then everyone gets a chance to hear everyone else’s ideas.


Following this section there was a short break, in which we chatted amongst ourselves, whilst the judging panel conferred. This was comprised of Naomi Saint, the Univesrities Programme Manager at Parliament, Diana Beech from the Higher Education Policy Institute, and Professors Dilly Fung and Stuart Hampton-Reeves from UCL and UCLan. Prizes went to research into: the ‘informal economy and migrant communities’ (Nottingham Trent University), ‘the role of art in mental health recovery’ (Hull College Group),’aortic stiffness due to increased pulsatility in cerebral arteries’ (University of Exeter) and ‘the stakeholder experiences of pharmacists in GP clinics’ (University of Reading). Unfortunately, Queen Mary’s did not come away with any prizes, however the experience of being able to present my work was invaluable and great practice for the British Undergraduate Conference both myself and Sam, as well as about 38 other QM students who will be there in Brighton for this event at the end of April.


Attending Posters in Parliament was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research, and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to meet with fellow scholars and hear about other sections of research which I would otherwise not have had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is was a great opportunity to meet policy-makers and see the every-day running of the Houses of Parliament, and get some sense that our undergraduate work is noticed by and matters to people who are running the country.


It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama at this event, which has an open application policy. My thanks to Julian Ingle in the Learning Development Team, Jerry Brotton in English and Pen Woods in Drama for their help with this work. I would strongly encourage all students to look into and apply to this event next year as you meet some wonderful people, learn new things, as well as developing the skill of communicating your research to an array of different people, from varying backgrounds, and experiencing the joy of sharing your research with others – as well as the free food.


#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 22 March 2017

Here’s our latest events and opportunities we’ve sourced that are coming up in the next week.

Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.



Drama QUORUM Seminar: Sita Balani | Thu 22 March | 18:00 in Lock-keeper’s Cottage | QMUL Mile End

Join our special guest Sita Balani for her seminar ‘Staging identity-talk: “Albion” and “Men in the Cities”’.


English PGR Seminar: Herbert Tucker | Thu 23 March | 17:15 in Lock-keeper’s Cottage | QMUL Mile End

You are warmly invited to the English Postgraduate Research Seminar with Professor Herbert Tucker (University of Virginia) and his seminar entitled: ‘After Magic: Modern Charm in History, Theory, and Practice’.


For more SED events see our calendar here


Jobs & Paid Internships

3 job opportunities at Faber & Faber Books | Various Deadlines in March

  • Children’s Marketing Executive
  • Senior Marketing Executive
  • Editorial Assistant

Find out more about the roles

Opportunities & Volunteering

Call out for Performances at Sex and Puppets Cabaret from Drama Graduate Edie Edmundson 

Sexy, fun, scary, rebellious or just plain weird cabaret performances – anyone who wants to let their pure genius and
talent hang out for a generous crowd.

Sculpture, Circus, Walkabout, Clowning, Spoken Word, Improv, Object Manipulation, Puppetry, Comedy, Drag, Burlesque,
Performance Art, Music, DJs and Dance, Edibles, Sword Swallowing (of any kind)….we’re open to all wondrous things!

In progress and experimental work welcome, slots under 10 minutes. All ages, races, genders and identities encouraged. Get in touch with your ideas, we’d love to make it happen!

Date: Thursday 20th of April
Location: New Rivers Studios, N4 1DN

Drop us a line before 27th March at with your name, a description of your act and any photos.

All proceeds go towards the production of Wondering Hands’ ‘Sex and Puppets’ Show, on next at Camden People Theatre 7 May 2017 during Hotbed Festival.

Download the Call Out


Calls for Papers

“Movement and/in/of the City” 16th June 2017 hosted at the University of Kent | Deadline: Sat 1 Apr

Download the CfP


Popular Performance : Localisation, commercialism and globalisation at V&A | Deadline: Thu 13 Apr

Download the CfP


Something Other invites submissions of text-based work and other somethings for The Second Chapter: On Migration | Deadline: Mon 27 Mar

Download the CfP


The Legacy of Mata Hari: Women and Transgression | Deadline Tue 30 May

Download the CfP


To add a listing to next week’s digest please email us by Monday 27 March 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

Hetta Howes chosen as BBC New Generation Thinker 2017

We are delighted to announce that  Dr Hetta Howes has been selected as one of the AHRC/ BBC Radio 3/ BBC 4 New Generation Thinkers for 2017.

This is a highly prestigious national competition for early career researchers whose work is of the highest quality and greatest public interest.

The high standard of Hetta’s public engagement work has been recognised and now she will have opportunities to make programmes with the BBC.

Hetta Howes’s research has explored the relationship between women and water, tracing misogynist rhetoric back to the Middle Ages. Her new project will examine the part that fluids play in medieval life and how this might connect to today.

Hetta is interested in how women are treated or portrayed in medieval literature, and how women’s writing challenges or subverts various medieval female stereotypes as well as challenging our own modern preconceptions of women in that time.

Read more in the announcement here


SED welcomes Professors Patrick Flanery and David Schalkwyk

I am delighted to announce that we shall have two new professors in the English Department from September 2017.

Patrick Flanery’s first novel was the internationally acclaimed Absolution (2012) and his most recent novel is I Am No One (2106). He is currently writing a fourth novel on the lives of those affected by the Hollywood Blacklist. After his early education in the US he left to do a PhD at Oxford on the publishing history of Evelyn Waugh’s work. He has been Professor of Creative Writing at Reading since 2014 and joins us with that same title, to lead our new programme; English with Creative Writing.

David Schalkwyk is an internationally renowned Shakespeare scholar who left South Africa in 2008 to become Director of Research at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.. Since 2014 he has been Academic Director of Global Shakespeare, a Warwick-QMUL collaboration which is coming to an end this August. He brings two research strands which dovetail very well with existing areas of strength in teaching and research in both English and Drama: Shakespeare, philosophy, and theory; South African prison writing.


Photos from left to right:

Professor Patrick Flanery

Professor David Schalkwyk – Photo by Julie Ainsworth. Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library.


#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 15 March 2017

Here’s our latest events and opportunities we’ve sourced that are coming up in the next week from tomorrow Thursday 16-Wednesday 22 March.

Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.



English PGR Seminar: Dr Adam Kelly, University of York | Thu 16 Mar | 18:15 in Room GC203 | QMUL Mile End

We’re delighted to invite you to the next English Postgraduate Research Seminar, with Dr Adam Kelly from the University of York, who will be presenting a seminar entitled ‘The Novel at the End of History: Donald Trump and Infinite Jest’.


Inaugural Lecture: Warren Boutcher: Beyond English: Going back into (literary) Europe | Thu 16 Mar | 18:30 – 21:30 | QMUL Mile End

Join Warren Boutcher, Professor of Renaissance Studies and Head of School of English and Drama, for his Inaugural Lecture.

Register online here


Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions presents: Emotions, Identity and the Supernatural: The Concealed Revealed Project | Tue 21 March | The Horse Hospital, Covent Garden | Free

Owen Davies (University of Hertfordshire) and Ceri Houlbrook (University of Hertfordshire) will talk about their work on the Concealed Revealed project.


Widening the Net: Collaborating between Digital and Performance | Tue 21 Mar | 16:00-18:00 | QMUL – Mile End

Both MAT and the QMUL School of Drama have a disciplinary investment in digital technologies as a means for producing performance, and as a theoretical mode of engagement. From digital archival practices to motion-capture, quantitative approaches to stage blocking, to cyborg and automated performance, MAT and SED scholars use radically different theoretical frameworks and material practices, but are driven by
a shared investigation of how people perform and behave, and how digital technology influences this.

How can our knowledges support and inform each other? Such cross-over and conversation is common and essential to the growth and development of humanities and technology research.

As a way to fill in the gaps in our departmentalknowledge of each other, and our methodologies, ideologies and practical resources, PhD candidates Amy Borsuk of SED and Vanessa Pope of MAT are widening the net as part of Intersections, a series of MAT interdisciplinary events.

We invite staff and postgraduates from SED and MAT to meet and share their research on Tuesday, 21 March from 4–6 pm in Rehearsal Room One in ArtsOne Building.

For this pilot event, we invite guests to give a 1 minute presentation on your research as formally or informally
as you like, highlighting what you are researching and what you would like to know about the other department, other practices, or other disciplines.

Register to attend


For more SED events see our calendar here


Jobs & Paid Internships

No listings this week.

Opportunities & Volunteering

Flare Festival Call Out for Performances | Deadline 17 March

The Flare International Festival of New Theatre, taking place in Manchester 4-8 July this summer alongside the Manchester International Festival, is still looking for challenging and original new theatre pieces by existing and recent students for its Future Flares strand (the main call for artists is also still open). Full details at


Calls for Papers


Queer Localities: a two-day international queer history conference at Birkbeck, University of London | 30 November – 1 December 2017 | Deadline for Proposals: Mon 20 Mar

Download the CfP

Popular Performance : Localisation, commercialism and globalisation at V&A | Deadline: Thu 13 Apr

Download the CfP


To add a listing to next week’s digest please email us by Monday 20 March 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

See new works in development by artists Seth Kriebel and Hari Marini on Wednesday 15 March 2017

Staff and students are invited to participate in two short performances of new works in development by artists Seth Kriebel and Hari Marini.

4pm-6pm Wednesday 15 March at 16:00 in FADS (Film and Drama Studio), Arts Two Building, QMUL

SED staff and students with interests in adaptation, literature in performance, performance process and development, dramaturgy, and audience studies, are invited to attend and offer feedback on two new projects in development by artists Seth Kriebel and Hari Marini.

If you are interested in the creative process, or the adaptation of texts by contemporary theatre makers, this is a timely opportunity to see two short pieces and hear from professional artists about the development process – where ideas have emerged from and how they have been developed. If you are currently in the middle of developing your own performance projects, it is an opportunity to get some insight into the working methods of two professional artists currently undertaking their own processes of research and development – both of whom are interested in gaining feedback about the work, and how they might develop it further.

These performance presentations are also contributing to a wider research project within the Department of Drama concerning audience engagement and response, and to cross-disciplinary work carried out by colleagues working on Human and Computer Interaction in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. As part of this, some audience members will be asked to volunteer wear motion-capture devices that will monitor response. These technologies for, and the possibilities and pitfalls of, measuring audience response and engagement will be highlighted as part of the discussion. What knowledge of audience response could do for the development of a performance or for the evaluation of it will be discussed.

As well as Seth and Hari’s own post-show discussion with the audience, Dr Pen Woods and Dr Martin Welton will introduce their audience work and invite students’ response and commentary.



Seth Kriebel will be experimenting with the interactive performance-game format he pioneered in his shows The Unbuilt Room and A House Repeated in a new work loosely based on Beowulf (Old English epic poem). Seth’s interactive performance games combine the simplicity of bare-bones storytelling with the limitless possibilities of contemporary open-world computer games. Audiences work together to navigate a described space or narrative, overcoming obstacles and exploring this other world without leaving their seats.


Seth’s previous works have been described as follows:

“Turns the concept of immersive theatre on its head… Stunning in both its simplicity and its power.  ★★★★★” – Londonist

“A gently fascinating interactive world… it’s funny, too.”  – Time Out



Hari Marini is a performance maker based in London and one of SED’s teaching and school staff members. Her performance collection PartSuspended creates performances starting from personal experiences, everyday life, social space and architecture. Every space is potentially a performance space. They draw on contemporary life for performance material: questions, pleasure, anger, fractures, contradictions; these are explored with the audience. Their process is open to participants in a variety of forms, they have performed in theatre spaces and galleries but also in tents, on staircases, trains, underground spaces and pavements. Their performances look for fragments, chance, intuition, randomness, facts and poetry; for words that have been unsaid, bodily expressions that have remained disclosed, communication that is yet to be achieved.

“Work that pushes the audience’s imagination and their senses .. these are subtle and intelligent performers” – Fringe Review



Drama ranked 30th and English 32nd in the world in QS World University Rankings by Subject (2017)

In a prestigious survey of 4,438 universities, Drama at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) has risen, remarkably, from the 51-100 range last year to 30th in the world this year in the Performing Arts subject category. English has continued its steady ascendance since 2013, climbing this time from 35th to 32nd in the world in the English Language and Literature subject category.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject is considered to be among the most trusted of league tables. Rankings are based on academic and employer reputations and research citations per faculty (the number of times the research is credited in the work of other academics).


Professor Warren Boutcher (Head of School of English and Drama) said:

“I am delighted to see our world-class English and Drama departments continue to ascend the QS World University Rankings by Subject, now heading towards the top 30. This reflects our upward curve in terms of the excellence we are achieving in both disciplines, and promises a very bright future.”


 Professor Matthew Hilton, Vice-Principal (Humanities and Social Sciences) said:

“I am especially pleased for colleagues in the Drama Department, now ranked 30th in the world.”


Find out more about our English Department

Find out more about our Drama Department

#SEDweekly – Events and Opportunities Digest – Wednesday 8 March 2017

Here’s our latest events and opportunities we’ve sourced that are coming up in the next week.

Please do get in touch if you have any listings for our next edition.



James Vigus (QMUL, English): ‘A Victorian Friendship: The Correspondence of Sara Coleridge with Henry Crabb Robinson’ | Wed 8 Mar | 12:45-13:45 | QMUL – Mile End

The Lunchtime Seminar is a friendly place for established and emerging scholars with interests in religion and literature including sacred texts and objects, theoretical writing about religion, the practices of domestic devotion, and religious writing, publishing, and reading to meet and discuss ideas. Researchers from QMUL and beyond are welcome. Please feel free to bring your lunch.



English PGR Seminar Series: Bernard Schwartz (Wed 8 Mar) and Charlotte Ribeyrol (Thu 9 Mar) | 17:15 | QMUL, Mile End

This week we welcome 2 distinguished scholars to our postgraduate seminar. Bernard Schwartz is on Wednesday with a seminar entitled “Efforts of Commemoration: Dylan Thomas and the Legacy of Literary Afterlives” and Charlotte Ribeyrol on Thursday with a seminar entitled: “The Golden Stain of Time’: Remembering the colours of Amiens cathedral”.


Launch of Stuart Hall’s Selected Political Writings | Thu 9 Mar | 18:00 | UEL Stratford 

A line up of top speakers including our very own Prof. Bill Schwarz  (Queen Mary University) and a drinks reception to celebrate the book and the establishment of a Stuart Hall Fellowship at the University of East London.

Admission is free, but tickets should be booked in advance.


Quorum Drama Seminar Series: Lynette Goddard | Wed 8 Mar | 18:00-20:00 | QMUL – Mile End

‘Back in Time For Trinidad: Errol John’s Moon on a Rainbow Shawl on the Contemporary British Stage’ by (Lynette Goddard – Royal Holloway).


Sexual Cultures Research Group present: Juliet Jacques author of ‘Trans: A Memoir’ | Mon 13 Mar | QMUL, Mile End

Please join us for the first public event from Sexual Cultures Research Group: we are pleased to be hosting the writer Juliet Jacques.

Juliet Jacques has published two books: Rayner Heppenstall: A Critical Study (Dalkey Archive Press, 2007) and Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015). As well as contributing to several anthologies, her short fiction has appeared in Five Dials, Berfrois, 3:AM and elsewhere; her essays and journalism have featured in Granta, Sight & Sound, Wire, The Guardian and many other publications and websites. She lives in London.

Juliet will read from Trans: A Memoir and then be in conversation with Sam McBean. The event will conclude with an audience Q&A. Drinks reception to follow. The event takes place on 13 March 2017, at 6pm, in the Arts Lecture Theatre in ArtsOne Building.

It is FREE to attend and we’re not taking bookings. All welcome.

The Sexual Cultures Research Group has a new website:

We also have a Facebook page:

The event has a Facebook page too:


Literature and the History of International Law Workshop | Wed 15 Mar | QMUL – Mile End

On 15 March the Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context will be hosting leading literary & legal theorists  & historians to discuss the role of literature in the history of international law.


For more SED events see our calendar here


Jobs & Paid Internships

QMUL Palgrave McMillan Internship | Deadline: Tue 14 Mar

Palgrave Macmillan is seeking an enthusiastic and ambitious student with a keen interest in academic publishing, to join us in our London offices for a week-long internship.


Marketing Manager | The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick | Deadline 13:00 on Mon 27 Mar

We are looking for a person with a keen interest in The Yard to lead on our marketing and communications, ensuring they embody our values and inspire audiences to see our work. The Marketing and Communications Manager will play a vital role in the delivery of The Yard’s mission and brand. Principally this involves having responsibility for growing our profile, driving audience development and box office growth and managing press relationships, print, advertising and digital communications.

Opportunities & Volunteering

Help Luke Conolly write an article about insecurity

Add your thoughts on insecurity here to help inform an article by Luke Connolly.


Symposium: Drama Department, Queen Mary University, London (Thursday 27 April, 2017)Live Art Event: Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London (Saturday 29 April 2017)CUNTemporary is now accepting proposals for a new episode of “Deep Trash”, the unique multi-disciplinary exhibition and performance club night in London.Calling for performances, videos and artworks to be shown on Saturday 29 April 2017. We accept proposals by artists of any artistic background and nationality. We are also keen to hear from writers and academics responding to the call either in written form (theory and cross-genre) or through a performative lecture. 

Calls for Papers & Contributions


No listings this week.

To add a listing to next week’s digest please email us by Monday 13 March 2017 at 5pm

We try and keep these listings as accurate as possible but errors can occur. Please check with the relevant party before going to an event or taking up an opportunity.

Speaking at The Third Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference by Angelica Hill

On Sunday 19th February I headed off to King’s Cross Train Station to catch an 11 o’clock train up to Edinburgh for the Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference. The theme of this conference was “Diversion and Connection”, and Queen Mary’s School of English and Drama had generously sponsored my travel and accommodation for the event. I had four long hours alone on the train to go over, and over, and over, my presentation, getting progressively more nervous and apprehensive. Since I wasn’t presenting until the following morning I tried to take my mind off my nerves by working on other things too.

I got into Edinburgh at about 4 o’clock in the evening, dropped my things at the cheap hotel I had found 5 minutes from the station, and spent the evening walking around the city. I hadn’t been to Edinburgh before. It is beautiful! If I were to give you one piece of advice when attending conferences outside of London, aside from making the most of the intellectual and academic opportunities, it would be to be a tourist. I really enjoyed taking the time to explore the city, the university and to learn a little about the area. It was great to see where fellow students are making their work. Edinburgh has such a rich literary, artistic, and cultural landscape that it was exciting to have the chance to be there for a little bit.

I had submitted a proposal in January this year to speak about my 3rd year dissertation research into Shakespeare’s glorification of the 17th Century concept of “Englishness” in his trilogy of Henry VI plays. These plays were produced in the 1590s but stage the struggles and bloodshed of the 1420s-1470s amongst the English and between the English and French. Shakespeare emphasizes the differences and divisions between the English/ foreigners (the French); men/ women and Church of England/ Catholics.  With only 15 minutes to speak, I focused on the presentation of gender and, in particular, on the characterisations of Joan of Arc and Margaret of Anjou in the plays. I considered both the Elizabethan context and the modern-day resonance of the gender and xenophobia issues. In today’s post-Brexit Trumpian world this work contributes to wider urgent conversations around cultural appropriation, nationalism, and the portrayal of other ethnicities, sexes, and religions.

The conference divided into three sections. The first section of the day consisted of two groups of undergraduates (including myself) presenting literature papers ranging from The Medieval and Shakespeare to 18th and 19th Century writers. Speakers spoke about Virginia Woolf and the progression of feminist theory; the contrast between the representation of male and female desire in Troubadour poetry; the way Merlin and King Arthur are presented in Medieval literature; as well as an exploration of the boom in children’s literature during the Victorian era. My presentation went well which was a relief. Everyone reacted viscerally to the photo montage of Trump, Farage, Wilders, May, and others, with which I concluded my presentation. I was delighted that this resonance of the ideas with current issues provoked lots of conversation and I had some really stimulating questions about crossover work and ideas from other peers presenting.

After the tea break (where I am unashamed to say I stuffed my face on all the cakes, cookies, and free coffee ), another two panels of undergraduates spoke firstly about 20th Century Literature, and then International Literature. The speakers in this section spoke about the relation between the genocide of Australian aboriginal people and Jewish people in the Holocaust through literature (with this speaker having flown in from Canada); the dichotomy between the East and West as expressed through Arab literature, with a specific focus on the work of Rabih Alameddine, Chinese language internet literature, and the struggles of national identity and sexuality in Mexican literature.

The day concluded after lunch (again free and plentiful) with a Postgraduate Panel talking about their research in Universities including Edinburgh, York, Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Canada and Spain, the benefits of postgraduate study. We also heard from the conference Keynote Speaker, Dr Richard Walsh from the University of York, about narrative structure and wonder.

Attending this conference was beneficial in three key ways: firstly, it was great practice presenting and discussing my research with fellow literary scholars who could identify and question gaps in my research and suggest theorists and texts I could explore to broaden and deepen my research; secondly, it was a great opportunity to hear about other sections of literary research which I would have otherwise not had the opportunity to hear about; and thirdly, it is extremely enjoyable to meet with fellow literature lovers and hear about other university courses, and experiences as I go on to consider the possibility of Masters degrees and further academic study in the future. There was a lot of free food, coffee, tea, and wine to drown our nerves with, and everyone was really friendly and constructive. I have set up an online group for participants where we have already shared our written papers and exchanged messages since the conference. I hope to keep in touch with them.

It was an honour to represent Queen Mary’s English Department at the conference, which has an open application policy.  I would recommend other students to make an application to attend next year.

In the meantime, The Centre for Early Modern Studies at King’s College London is holding a Bodies in Motion in the Early Modern World Conference this June. Worth trying to go to it, or there is also the opportunity to submitting a poster, linked to a paper of yours, for presentation at the conference. If you’re interested email

Win tickets to a special event at Shakespeare’s Globe with Jerry Brotton #SEDbookforlife

We were reading this rather excellent article for World Book Day (2 March) on Huck Magazine’s website about books that have the power to transform our lives.

So we decided to launch a competition on World Book Day 2017 to celebrate the books that transform us.

We’ve got 3 prizes to give away to celebrate the launch of our very own Jerry Brotton’s :

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).


Which book has transformed your life?

Tweet with the hashtag #SEDbookforlife:


Or email us: with your name and answer.

Information about the event

For generations race has defined interpretations of Othello. Important though this tradition has been in addressing issues like civil rights and apartheid, Jerry Brotton will argue in this talk that current preoccupations with race obscure how Elizabethan England’s religious and imperial relations with the Islamic world shaped the dramatic action of plays like Othello.

In close readings of key passages (Othello’s ‘travel’s history’, the ‘Willow song’ scene and Othello’s last speech), Professor Brotton offers a new interpretation of the play that resonates with our current anxieties about religious extremism, immigration and cosmopolitanism.

To learn more, read Jerry Brotton’s blog ‘On Othello, Elizabeth and Islam’.

“Where better to speak about Othello and its reflection of our current global predicament than at a place called the Globe? Such predicaments are now understood as much through debates about faith and belonging as race…”

Terms and conditions: Competition closes on Tuesday 7 March at 5pm GMT. The competition is open to anyone based in the UK. 3 winners will be selected to win a prize. There are 3 prizes available of:

  • 1 x This Orient Isle paperback + 2 x tickets to A Wheeling and Extravagant Stranger: Othello, Elizabeth and Islam event with Jerry Brotton on Thursday 9 March.
  • 2 runners up prizes of 2 x tickets to Jerry Brotton’s event (detailed above).