Monthly Archives: May 2015

This Academic Life: May 2015

I was in Martinique all of April, so haven’t updated “this academic life” entries for two months. Time to rectify that!

The past two months have been exceptionally rewarding. It is hard to believe that my fieldwork for the 2015 Zobel centenary is over, as I had been planning it for two years. That’s a lot of emails between the UK and Martinique!  Events ran really well and talking about my work on Zobel with people from his native region was a fantastic experience which has helped me to gain new perspectives about my research project. These kinds of events are increasingly important for researchers based in the UK, as new government guidelines are encouraging us to incorporate “impact” into our research projects – i.e. working with other people outside academia. It was all the more challenging to run these events in French, and in the Caribbean to boot, but I really enjoyed both the intellectual and linguistic activities. Speaking on French TV was a daunting first media experience, although it all went well. I think that I will try to attend one of the University’s media training courses in future, for more tips and advice.

In other news, the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham are strategic partners, and I co-supervise a PhD student with a colleague at Nottingham through the Midlands Three Cities AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership. Strengthening the ties between our institutions, I gave a seminar paper at Nottingham in early May on my research on Zobel, and it was excellent to meet more colleagues over at Nottingham, and to gather feedback on my work to date.

I’m also working hard on my partnership activities with the British Library in London. I’ll be giving a talk on Zobel in July, and will post more about that nearer the time.

Summary of activities in Martinique

Since I returned from Martinique, I haven’t had much free time to update the blog! I have given an invited seminar paper on Joseph Zobel at the University of Nottingham, and then last week was in London to discuss my project with colleagues at the British Library, where I’ll be giving a talk on Zobel in July (more on that in a future blog post…).

I’ve also begun reflecting on the activities I undertook in Martinique in April for the launch of the ‘Year of Zobel’ marking Zobel’s centenary, and have produced this summary of my fieldwork:

Dr Louise Hardwick has just returned from AHRC fieldwork in Martinique in the French Caribbean, where she undertook archival research and was an invited speaker at the festivities marking the centenary of author Joseph Zobel’s birth.

For the past two years, Louise has been preparing the centenary in collaboration with colleagues in Martinique, thinking about how her contribution can help to change the way that people in Martinique understand Zobel’s works. One of the key aims of the centenary visit was to discuss Zobel’s international reputation with Martinicans. Many Martinicans are unaware that he is a literary ambassador for the island and its rich culture.

In Rivière-Salée, where Zobel was born, there was keen public interest in Louise’s work. With the help of her University students, Louise contributed to an exhibition on Zobel at the Médiathèque de Rivière-Salée, a high-tech public library. Louise asked her students for their opinions of studying Zobel, and used the information in the exhibition to show young Martinicans that their literature is influencing young people at the throughout the world.

Louise was welcomed to Rivière-Salée by the Mayor, Andre Lesueur, and was invited to give a public talk to launch the town’s celebrations, which led to a lively debate and some great audience feedback.

At her school presentations, what better way to introduce pupils to Birmingham than by letting them know that the University welcomed the 2012 Jamaican Track and Field team.

Louise gave a presentation to 100 school pupils at the Lycée Joseph Zobel in Rivière-Salée, a school named after Zobel which holds an annual “Joseph Zobel Week”. She also spoke to 700 pupils at the middle school Collège George-Elisabeth during their whole-school celebrations of Joseph Zobel’s centenary.

The launch of the
The launch of the “Year of Zobel” at la villa Laguerre in Petit-Bourg
M. le Maire Andre Lesueur launches
The Mayor of Rivière-Salée, André Lesueur, launches “Joseph Zobel week” at Joseph Zobel High School
The Mediatheque - a high-tech public library - in Riviere-Salee
The Mediatheque – a high-tech public library – in Riviere-Salee (for some reason, WordPress won’t accept accents in my captions any more, although it did above!?!)
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create

This report can also be viewed at: 

3 QUESTIONS A… TV interview

Here’s the link to my TV interview (in French) for the channel ATV in Martinique about my activities during the Zobel Centenary!

The programme is called “3 QUESTIONS A”, although the presenter Jean-Marc Pulvar definitely asked more than 3 questions…

This was my first TV interview and everything happened very quickly. I had no idea what line of enquiry Jean-Marc would take – after a quick sound check, the cameras began to roll and the questions started to flow!

I had watched the programme before – it runs as a segment during the evening news and is one of the best-known daily programmes on Martinican TV. The strapline is “les hommes et les femmes qui font l’actualité de la Martinique” – the men and women who are making the news in Martinique – so I am honoured to be counted as someone who is shaping the Martinican news!

p.s. J’ai réussi à dire un petit bonjour aux lycéens du Lycée Joseph Zobel 🙂

Permanent link:

The original link (the show was up online on ATV’s website for a week):