School of English news - November 2013
MLitt student Joanna Fry addresses gathering at Scottish Parliament
Postgraduate English student Joanna Fry travelled to the Scottish Parliament on 29 October to tell Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell of the benefits of supporting mature learners through university. As Joanna explained: “I was there to give a real life example, if you like, of how through the good work of projects being undertaken by universities, students like myself have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. I spoke about my journey from evening degree and part-time study through to full-time undergraduate study and now into Postgraduate study. I also spoke about the new mature student mentoring project I am currently undertaking on behalf of the access team which hopes to help and guide other mature students as they make the sometimes difficult transition to university life.”
Currently benefiting from a package of postgraduate support, which involves Joanna mentoring mature undergraduate students entering St Andrews from local colleges, Joanna stressed the need for personal as well as financial support for mature students entering higher education, adding: “My role as mentor for the undergraduates has shown me that I would like to go on to work in Adult Education and help others to take advantage of the amazing opportunities that are out there, no matter what your age or background.”
Joanna was speaking at the launch of a new report, Access All Areas, which demonstrates the range of widening access initiatives delivered by Scotland's higher education institutions.
Dr Sarah Dillon at BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival
Dr Sarah Dillon, in her role as an AHRC new generation thinker, appeared at the BBC Radio 3 ‘Free Thinking’ festival, which was held at The Sage Gateshead, on 25–7 October.
This year’s festival had the theme of ‘Who’s In Control? and Sarah Dillon took part in two events. On the Saturday she read her essay, ‘Wombs on Legs? Science Fiction and the Control of Reproduction’, taking a tour of speculative fiction from H. G. Wells to Battlestar Galactica – an event which was broadcast on Radio 3 on 4 November and is currently available as a podcast. And on the Sunday, Sarah joined poet Sean O’Brien and journalist David Aaronovitch for a discussion of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian novel, We. This event was broadcast on Radio 3 on 29 October and is also currently available as a podcast.
Lectures, radio broadcasts, readings
Conferences, seminars, public events and broadcasts featuring Professor John Burnside, Professor Robert Crawford, Professor Lorna Hutson, Professor Don Paterson, Professor Gill Plain and Professor Susan Sellers.
Professor John Burnside and Professor Robert Crawford took part in the recent T S Eliot Prize reading tour organised by the Poetry Book Society. John read in Halifax and Robert in Glasgow. A film company has produced a 25 minute film as a permanent record of the tour. It focuses on the readings in Halifax, Glasgow and Sheffield, and can be viewed here.
On 1–2 November, Professor Lorna Hutson is leading, with Professor Victoria Kahn, a Fall Faculty Weekend Seminar on ‘Political Theologies in Early Modern Literature’ at the Folger Institute in Washington DC. The seminar will take up the problem of political theology in the early modern period, focusing on both literary and political texts, and on recent secondary work in the field of early modern studies. The discussion will also focus on the relationship between political theology and what the Florentine Neoplatonists called poetic theology as derived from Boccaccio and Ficino, Machiavelli and Hobbes, Marlowe and Milton. Further details here.
On 16 November, Professor Don Paterson will be taking part in an all-day event at the Bristol Poetry Institute: ’Translating poetry: the impossible art?’ In the afternoon, Don will be in discussion with Professor Robert Vilain (Bristol) about translating Rilke, and in the evening he will be taking part in a public debate, alongside David Harsent and Sean O’Brien. Full details of the programme can be found here.
On 11 October, Professor Susan Sellers was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Cabaret of the Word’, The Verb, appearing alongside Philip Pullman, Hannah Silva, Beverley Nambozo, and Graham Mort. The programme archive can be found here. On the 18 October Susan was interviewed by Cambridge Evening News, and on 2 November was the guest on Radio Cambridge 105’s Book Mark (a podcast of the programme will be available shortly). On 14 November, Susan will be hosting the Scottish launch of her new novel Given the Choice at Waterstones Bookstore in St Andrews. On 16 November she will be a speaker at a one-day conference at Anglia Ruskin University on ‘Myth, Fantasy and Fairy Tales in Literature and the Arts’
Professor Robert Crawford’s poetry to feature in new exhibition in Edinburgh; and ‘Simonides’ returns from Chicago.
Professor Robert Crawford has collaborated with the artist Leena Nammari on two works, ‘Thread’ and ‘Hanging Balconies, Jerusalem’, which will be exhibited at ‘The Written Image’, a joint exhibition organised by Edinburgh Printmakers and the Scottish Poetry Library. The exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers, 23 Union Street, Edinburgh EH1 3LR, opens on 16 November and runs until 21 December.
Image: ‘Hanging Balconies, Jerusalem’, screenprint by Leena Nammari
‘Thread’ – a poem about faith hanging by a thread – inspired Leena (who comes from a Palestinian Muslim background), resonating with images she had been collecting of mashrabiy-yat (Arabic for ‘hanging balconies’), and a discussion with Professor Crawford prompted ‘Hanging Balconies, Jerusalem’. As Leena explains, she settled on the idea of a triptych in response to this new poem. "The images were screenprinted with three different coloured skies, with two different, yet echoing images: same place, different angles. One image clearly defined; the other less detailed. Invoking hanging balconies, walls, passage, blockage, shoring up and looking out, the images themselves are suspended from the wall, with no protection from glass, directly staring at the viewer, nailed to the wall."
Details of the exhibition (which also features work by Kathleen Jamie and Norman McBeath) can be found at the Edinburgh Printmakers web site.
Robert Crawford's and Norman McBeath's Simonides exhibition is now on its way back to St Andrews University Library, following its run at the Poetry Foundation, Chicago, during September/October. The two images on the right are from the Chigaco exhibition, and details of the Simonides book can be found at:
Congratulations to Toria Johnson, who has been awarded her PhD for a thesis entitled: "Piteous Overthrows": Pity and Identity in Early Modern Literature.
PhD student Gail Toms will be part of the organising committee for the up-coming SNoMS (Scottish Network of Modernist Studies) and BAMS (British Association of Modernist Studies) collaborative conference, to be held in Edinburgh on 7th December 2014. A Call for Papers is already in circulation (copies of which can be viewed both here and here), and the keynote speaker has been confirmed as Professor Randall Stevenson. For further information or queries please feel free to contact Gail on gt68.