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Cultural Studies & Humanities Good News

The latest good news from the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities.

David Alcorn reading book in library

Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and British Identity, 1800-2000
Dr Shane Ewen and Dr Aaron Andrews have recently been into Bradford primary and secondary schools, with partners from the University of Birmingham and Saltaire Collection, to run workshops with year five, six and seven pupils on the unsung heroes of the Bradford City football stadium fire of 1985. A variety of activities have been used with the pupils to engage them in their community’s history and to learn about some of the lesser-known instances of heroism on that day (including first-aid provision by Bangladeshi neighbours, supporters acting as first responders, and the medical response). They have been accompanied by a make-up artist, Julia Hyland, who offers brilliant burns injury make-up on the pupils’ hands and faces (see pictures), which prompts an enthusiastic discussion about the nature of burns injuries, how they affect people’s appearances, and how we can empathise with those with such injuries. 

Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar
On the 19 June, Professor Heather Shore hosted the fourth Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar event at Leeds Beckett University, along with her co-organisers from the University of Leeds, Dr. David Churchill and Dr. Henry Yeomans. The event, Rethinking the Death Penalty: Mitigation, Abolition and After, included three main speakers, Frances Crook, the CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform, Dr. Vivien Miller (University of Nottingham) and Dr. Lizzie Seal (University of Sussex). A roundtable was held at the end of the day, with contributions was Professor Helen Johnston (University of Hull) and Dr. Maryse Tennant (Canterbury Christchurch University). The event was attended by a range of academics from criminology, history and law, postgraduate students, and practitioners in criminal justice.

Photo: Frances Crook addresses participants at the Leeds Historical Criminology Seminar

Bigger and Better in Leeds Festival

On 25 June, Dr James McGrath gave a well-received talk on autism and employment at the ‘Bigger and Better in Leeds Festival’ at Leeds Civic Hall, opened by the city’s Lord Mayor Eileen Taylor.

British Academy Summer Showcase 2019
Professor Heather Shore was interviewed by the television historian Dan Snow, at the British Academy Summer Showcase 2019 Schools Day on the 21 June. Heather was interviewed by Dan in a session titled Street Crime in History. Over 240 school children from schools from all over London and the south-east attended.

Herman Diederiks Prize
Rhiannon Pickin, a History PhD student who is completing her Heritage Consortium doctorate, has been awarded the Herman Diederiks Prize for her article, co-written with Dan Johnston (University of York), to be published in the journal, Crime, History & Societies. The prize is given by the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice (IAHCCJ). To pay tribute to its founding president, in 1997 the Association established a prize to reward a novel article relating to the field of crime history and penal justice. Rhiannon and Dan’s article is titled, "An argument for historical nuance in British prison museums" and will be published later this year. This is a particularly impressive achievement given that both Rhiannon and Dan are postgraduate students.

Caribbean Culture
Dr Emily Zobel Marshall has been involved with three events recently relating to her research interest, Caribbean Cultures:

  • Emily delivered her paper on traditional Caribbean carnival masquerade entitled ‘I Stole the Torturers Tongue: Caribbean Carnival Speaks Back to the Canon’ at the annual Memory Studies conference in Madrid. Memory Studies is an emerging and exciting research field, and the objective of the Memory Studies Association (MSA) is to promote exchange between professionals who are active in this interdisciplinary field throughout the world.
  • She presented at the annual Society for Caribbean studies conference hosted by the Institute for Black Atlantic Research (IBAR) at the University of Central Lancashire. The conference brings together scholars from all over the world to present their latest research on the Caribbean and its diasporas from a range of disciplines and across all the linguistic areas of the region.
  • Her new book launched on 13 July at an event at the Leeds Library. The event was an evening of words, music, shape-shifting and storytelling by leading artists who each responded to the cultural history of the trickster through their artforms. The event included Emily launching her new book American Trickster: Trauma, Tradition and Brer Rabbit (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), prize-winning poet John Agard reading his work, narratives by Trinidadian poet Shivanee Ramlochan, Professor Andrew Warnes interviewing Emily and a West African drumming and storytelling performance and choreography by Nii Kwartey Owoo and Ella Mesma. Student volunteers from the MA contemporary literature Victoria Colewood and Aku Owaka Haigh and Creative Writing student Karson Brown helped support the event.

Emily Hobhouse Letters Project
Dr Helen Dampier, with Dr Rebecca Gill, University of Huddersfield and Cornelis Muller, Sol Plaatje University) 
UK and South African Exhibition Launches

Exhibition War Without Glamour: Emily Hobhouse's Peace Activism 1899-1926 was successfully launched at the University of Huddersfield on 27 June. The exhibition uncovers Hobhouse’s less well-known contribution to international peace, humanitarianism, and South African politics in the post-war period, including her work in Germany following the First World War. Through her remarkable writings – most vividly her book War Without Glamour  – it  tells the story of her lifelong commitment to revealing the devastating impact of war on civilians. Newly-donated papers at the Bodleian Library in Oxford are showcased alongside letters, paintings and artefacts from international collections. As part of the publicity for the exhibition, the project team published an article reflecting on their research in the South African national newspaper Business Day on 18 June as part their 'big read' essay series.

To accompany the UK launch the project team hosted a two-day workshop on 'Humanitarian Handicrafts', supported by the Centre for Culture and the Arts. This took place at the University of Huddersfield on 27 and 28 June. The workshop explored how and why humanitarians and humanitarian organisations have generated the production of artisanal products and ‘folk’ artwork in a range of different contexts over the past 120 years.  It drew together scholars working on cognate topics in this emergent, though underdeveloped academic area. 

In South Africa War Without Glamour: The Life and Legacy of Emily Hobhouse launched as part of the Free State Arts Festival in Bloemfontein on 1 July.  The launch was tied in with an 'In Conversation' roundtable event in which members of the project team - Helen Dampier, Rebecca Gill and Cornelis Mulller - joined Borrie LaGrange (director of communication for MSF Southern Africa) and Savo Heleta (author of Not My Turn to Die: Memoirs of a Broken Childhood in Bosnia and researcher at Nelson Mandela University) to discuss the ethics of humanitarian photography and the contemporary relevance of Hobhouse's activism. The roundtable event formed part of the Literature Festival in Bloemfontein.  On 5 July, an article about the Hobhouse exhibition appeared in the Afrikaans-language newspaper, Die Volksblad. 

Graduation 2019

The Graduation ceremony at the Arena on 16 July was a marvellous occasion, and a memorable celebration of student achievement at bachelor, master, and doctoral level. This was followed by the Vice-Chancellor’s Graduation Dinner on 18 July, where we were joined by partners from the Leeds Library and PWC, Arthur France (Honorary Doctorate), Aukje Huijts (co-winner of the Matthew Caygill Prize) and their guests. Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Slee led the tributes to all graduates, heartily endorsed by those we have been working with to provide students of Cultural Studies & Humanities with unique opportunities to demonstrate their blend of academic knowledge and highly-valued skills.

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