Tag Archives: AHRC

Summer-Autumn round-up

Last year, I wrote a post about What academics do over the summer ‘holidays’

Although the Undergraduate students leave around July and return in late September, everything else – research and administration – carries on as usual in their absence and is ramped up a notch!

beach towards diamant 01

This summer, alongside my usual PhD and M.Res student supervisions, my main task was to finalise my book on Joseph Zobel, which is forthcoming with Liverpool University Press.

Finishing a book is a long, painstaking process and involves many emails between the academic author, and the book series editor, proofreader, copyeditor and other members of the team who are typesetting the book.

As academics, we send off our revised book manuscript (after we’ve taken account of the anonymous reviewer feedback our publishers have organised) as a text document using a program such as Word. We then receive careful feedback from an in-house proofreader.

Once we’ve made necessary changes and returned the file, the next stage is always the most exciting: when the new file pings into the inbox as a PDF which has been ‘typeset’ – i.e. it now looks like a book rather than a very long double-spaced student essay!

At that stage, a few gremlins inevitably creep into the PDF, so it’s necessary to read through every page with care and send lists of corrections back to the editors for revisions to the typeset copy.

When that’s done, it’s time to index (which can take a week, involves an awful lot of pressing CTRL+F)!

I’m delighted that the book is now print-ready and should be out in early 2018.

The book is the outcome of several years of intense work – the project began back in 2012, when I began drafting my proposal for funding to the AHRC. The project has taken me to Martinique, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Atlanta (Georgia) and Austin (Texas). I have also worked with partners and collaborators around Birmingham, the wider Midlands area and in London.

I’ll now be focusing on other projects, so there won’t be any more updates to the blog until my book is published…

If you’ve just found this website, thank you for dropping by, and please take a look at the extensive archives from the past three years, to see how the Zobel Project developed!

Merci!

 

 

 

 

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Schools Collaboration: Teaching Zobel & Le monde francophone

In the last few months, Zobel Project has been focusing on a new phase of collaboration with local schools. It has been wonderful to work with local teachers to develop and trial  resources on “Zobel & le monde francophone”.

Here’s a write up of recent activites – you can also read this report on the University of Birmingham webpage.

Collaboration with University of Birmingham: the Zobel Project

Local French teachers are collaborating with researchers at the University of Birmingham to develop new teaching materials to inspire pupils to learn French, at school and beyond.  Modern Languages study is an exciting and strategic choice, as graduates enjoy excellent employment prospects, with 90% entering work or further study within 6 months of graduation.

The new teaching materials reposition French as an internationally significant language, offering pupils the chance to learn about French in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. To challenge pupils’ perceptions of French as a European language, the teaching materials develop a case study of a renowned French Caribbean author, Joseph Zobel.  1 teacher workshop Jun 17

Throughout 2017, French teachers throughout Birmingham have been providing feedback on Zobel Project teaching materials at meetings, workshops and networking events on campus. A group of local teachers have taken on leadership roles as Project Advisors: Clare Haley (University of Birmingham School, Selly Oak), Dennis Preware (George Salter Academy, West Bromwich), Amy Whetstone (King Edwards VI, Aston) and Raheem Zafar (Holte School, Lozells).

The teaching materials have been developed as part of a research project on Joseph Zobel led by Dr Louise Hardwick, Reader in Francophone Postcolonial Studies in the Department of Modern Languages. The research is UK Government funded through the Arts & Humanities Research Council, as part of the priority area ‘Translating Cultures’. To date, Zobel Project has involved communities in the Caribbean, France and UK, and activities are recorded on the project blog: www.josephzobel.wordpress.com

A CPD workshop held at the University of Birmingham campus in June 2017 (pictured) offered the Project Advisor teachers a guided demonstration of the materials from the research team. The teachers provided detailed, invaluable feedback, drawing on their own extensive experience of teaching French in Birmingham schools.2 teacher workshop Jun 17

The workshop led to lively discussions, with excellent feedback and practical suggestions about maximising the compatibility of the resources with the National Curriculum.

As part of this flagship collaboration with University of Birmingham French researchers, in the academic year 2017–2018, Zobel Project resources will be trialled in schools. The Project Advisor teachers will continue to play a leading role in trialling resources and gathering data. This important collaboration strengthens the connections between the University of Birmingham, the University of Birmingham School, and wider schools in the local community.

Find out more about the excellent employability prospects enjoyed by Modern Languages graduates in this University of Birmingham ‘Why Study Languages?’ video: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/languages/news/2016/excellent-employability.aspx

Find out more about Postgraduate study at UoB in Modern Languages

As Easter approaches, many people are considering undertaking postgraduate studies in the future, whether they are moving straight from Undergraduate studies or have had some time away from the University environment and are considering a return.

My PhD student Antonia Wimbush runs an online PG Open Day page, where she answers your questions about graduate study in the Modern Languages Department, and I wanted to make that fantastic initiative the main focus of today’s post.

Antonia’s page can be found here: http://pg.bham.ac.uk/mentor/antonia-wimbush/

She is currently in her third year, and is fully funded through the AHRC Midlands 3 Cities consortium, a doctoral training programme. Antonia is co-supervised between the University of Birmingham (where she is based for 80% of her time) and the University of Nottingham (20% of her time).

Last but not least, a photo which is a throwback to my fieldwork in Martinique over Easter 2015. Antonia accompanied me on my work with schools, libraries, local interest groups and in the archives. The image is of Sainte-Luce – however, our trip there was not in our itinerary at all…

At the end of our fieldwork, when we arrived at the airport to leave, as I checked in, I looked across to the next desk and saw Antonia was being told the flight was full and she had been bumped off it! Luckily, I was able to persuade them to take me off the flight, and to put us both on the next flight home, the following afternoon! So we had a few extra hours in the beautiful town of Sainte-Luce, which after the frenetic pace of the fieldwork offered a welcome chance to relax and appreciate Martinique’s natural beauty.

beach kids 01

 

What academics do over the summer ‘holidays’

Le temps passe vite…!

Well, this post is a round-up of recent June-July activities, and another opportunity to set the record straight about what academics do during the summer ‘holiday’. Although the Undergraduate students have mostly left campus, the Postgraduates are still around and we continue to supervise them… and I have been so busy that I realise now that this blog is long due an update! So here goes:

I’ve been juggling a number of projects these last few weeks. Firstly, we brought our series of Francophone Postcolonial film screenings to a close with a public workshop reflecting on what we’d done. It was a chance to unpick the terms ‘francophone’ and ‘postcolonial’ with members of the general public, and we were delighted to have teachers and A Level students present, as well as others who are interested in some or all of the terms Francophone / Postcolonial / Film. This rounded off our film series with some very positive feedback and ideas for future developments!

Then it was off to York, to present at the inaugural AHRC Commons event, which brought together academics and organisations including charities, businesses and educational bodies to showcase and discuss how Arts & Humanities research contributes to bring about real world impact and societal change. My talk was a co-presentation called ‘When Mockingbird met French Studies…’ delivered with my collaborator at Mockingbird, an SME at Birmingham’s Custard Factory. We discussed our work together screening Francophone Postcolonial films to date, and in future, and shared advice and best practice on our experiences. We were thrilled to see that our fantastic image of the Mockingbird was chosen to head up the Collaborate section of the programme for the AHRC Commons: (see p.3).

Since then, I’ve been sequestered away and writing my book about Zobel, as well as supervising dissertation students, mentoring a postdoctoral researcher, supervising a postdoctoral Research Assistant, attending meetings and training courses, making preparations for a conference in the US in the autumn, advising potential future PhD students, preparing module paperwork, preparing bids for more work with non-academic partners… the list goes on…!

So all in all, it has been a very busy end to the academic year, and certainly not a ‘holiday’! The summer is the time when we push forward with lots of projects that are either in progress or in the pipeline! And it continues… but more about that next time!

 

Francophone Postcolonial Films & Free Workshop

Another busy few weeks – last week, my colleague Dr Claire Peters and I organised a free Francophone Postcolonial film screening of Sissako’s Heremakono, as part of Claire’s AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund activities.

Claire has blogged about it for the UoB website, and you can read more here:

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/languages/sections/french/news/2016/waiting-for-happiness.aspx

mockingbird all 3.jpg

We’re now gearing up for our final event, a workshop on Francophone Postcolonial Film to be held this Saturday at Mockingbird Theatre in the Custard Factory, Digbeth. Here are more details:

BOOK FREE TICKETS for Workshop on FRANCOPHONE POSTCOLONIAL FILM

Held: Sat 11th June between 10am – 12 noon Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, Digbeth

Participants are welcome to leave after 12 noon, or to enjoy a free post-workshop lunch in the Mockingbird’s informal bistro (meat or veg. option available)

Structure:

This morning workshop offers an insight into cinema from other cultures. Together, we will explore some key terms and briefly discuss three important films that two Modern Languages researchers have recently shown to the Birmingham public: Sugar Cane Alley, Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask, and Waiting for Happiness.

No prior knowledge of the films is necessary!

Come and think about what these films and cultural questions mean to you, and share these thoughts in an informal and friendly setting, guided by researchers who work in these fields.

The workshop will be relevant to anyone with interests in ONE or MORE of these topics: Film, Postcolonial cultures (particularly Africa and the Caribbean), French & Francophone cultures.

The event has been generously funded by an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fellowship award.

*Places are limited, so please reserve you place now to avoid disappointment*

Book your free place here: http://www.designmynight.com/birmingham/bars/digbeth/the-mockingbird-theatre-and-bar/free-workshop-francophone-postcolonial-film

French Film Screenings…

It has been a busy end to the term! Once Easter is over, we’ll be straight into our examining and strategic planning phase. The post-Easter meetings are already stacking up, as are the research deadlines… but before then, there’s time to reflect on last week’s AHRC-supported free film screenings which took place as part of the University of Birmingham Arts and Science Festival.

These events were free and arose from partnerships between the Modern Languages Department at the University of Birmingham and local arts and cultural organisations.

The events are led by my colleague Dr Claire Peters, a Teaching Fellow in French and Francophone Studies, who was awarded funding from the AHRC Cultural Engagement fund to carry them out. Claire recently completed an AHRC thesis on Francophone Postcolonial culture.

I’m her mentor, which is a very worthwhile experience for me and allows me to share lessons learned from my own public engagement events in the UK, metropolitan France and Martinique.

My AHRC Midlands3Cities PhD student Antonia Wimbush is also part of the team as an assistant at the events, as part of her own training in public engagement.

The screening of Sugar Cane Alley / Rue Cases-Nègres [dir. Euzhan Palcy, 1983] took place on Wednesday 16th March 2016 at 4-6.30pm MAC Birmingham. We knew that the afternoon timeslot might be tough, but as this event is part of a wider University of Birmingham Arts and Science Festival, we had limited choice over the timing. That said, being part of the Festival was a wonderful opportunity, and ensured that the event was widely publicised.

01 Antonia intro Sugar Cane Alley

Antonia did a great job of introducing the film (see photo above!), and afterwards Claire hosted a Q&A session with me on my own research into Zobel. I was delighted to have so many brilliant questions from the public, which included questions on adapting the novel into a film, Palcy’s career, Zobel’s wider works (and whether there were other film adaptations… not yet…!), the influence of Fanon and wider influences such as Negritude and the Harlem Renaissance. Our colleagues at the MAC had to politely but firmly eject us from the room at the end, as the next screening was due to begin!

The following night, Thursday 17th March 2016 from 7pm-9.30pm,  Claire gave a fantastic introduction to the film Black Skin, White Mask [dir. Isaac Julien, 1996] at The Drum. The film was followed by a lively comments session with the public audience, which gave rise to some excellent reflections on issues such as race, gender, identity, intersectionality and Negritude.03 drum audience

 

The overall feedback tells us that for many people in Birmingham, this was their first encounter with the French Caribbean, and that there is a real appetite for more Francophone events like this… so (shameless plug!) watch this space for the third screening in the series, which will take place in the cinema at The Mockingbird Theatre and Bar… more details to follow after Easter!

Free Francophone film screenings in Bham

This is a guest post by Dr Claire Peters, one of my colleagues at the University of Birmingham
Two FREE AHRC Francophone film events in Birmingham next week!

I would like to draw your attention to two forthcoming AHRC-supported film screenings which directly relate to French and Francophone Studies, and which will take place as part of the University of Birmingham Arts and Science Festival.

These events are free and arise from partnerships between the Modern Languages Department at the University of Birmingham and local arts and cultural organisations.

Wednesday 16th March 2016 4.30pm-6.30pm, MAC Birmingham: screening of Sugar Cane Alley / Rue Cases-Nègres [dir. Euzhan Palcy, 1983].

This screening will be introduced by PhD student Antonia Wimbush and followed by a Q&A session with Dr Louise Hardwick about her AHRC Fellowship work on Joseph Zobel. For more details and for booking: https://macbirmingham.co.uk/event/sugar-cane-alley-q-a/

 

Thursday 17th March 2016 7pm-9.30pm, The Drum, in partnership the University of Birmingham and the NCCCS, will host a screening of Black Skin, White Mask [dir. Isaac Julien, 1996]. For more details and booking information: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/events/arts-and-science/arts-and-science-2016/Screenings/frantz-fanon.aspx

All are welcome! These two events have been organised by Dr Claire Peters as part of the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund. 

Dr Claire Peters, Teaching Fellow and AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund Awardee,

Department of Modern Languages,

University of Birmingham.

Transnationalizing Modern Languages

Last week, I attended an event held at the British Academy in London which addressed many of the challenges facing Modern Languages as a discipline, and which proposed innovative responses to these challenges.

The event was structured around the following questions:

  • How do Modern Languages promote cultural as well as linguistic competences that are vital in an increasingly globalized world?
  • How do University curricula articulate with the range of subjects that students study in schools?
  • How do they encourage a nuanced and inclusive understanding of notions of translation within multicultural spaces and societies?
  • How do they enable students to compete and meet the demands of a changing workplace?

Put simply, to quote Prof. Charles Burdett (Bristol), how do Modern Linguists – researchers and students – articulate what Modern Languages study is?

This blog is one small part of responding to that challenge, as it aims to present the various strands that go into ML research activities – from queuing for hours to get into a Parisian library with a one-in, one-out policy (see Jan 2015 posts) to being interviewed on the Martinican evening news (see this post).

006 me on atv

The large project, ‘Transnationalizing Modern Languages’ (TML), on which Prof. Burdett is a PI, is part of the AHRC’s ‘Translating Cultures’ initiative, and aims “to provide a model that allows Modern Languages to be construed and practised not as the inquiry into separate national traditions, but as the study of cultures and their interactions.”

This prompted me to reflect on my own research practice, and how it has evolved during my current AHRC Fellowship to integrate processes of consultation and the co-production of knowledge with wider communities in Martinique, Paris and the UK… As I’ve said before on this blog, no researcher is an island, and the photo memories below certainly reflect this!