Ideas about English from Middlesex University in London

‘Haringey Unchained’ hot off the press

We had our final editorial meeting on May 3rd, 2018 for this year’s issue of Haringey Unchained. We finalised the flat plan, decided on the amazing cover design, and are really excited about the upcoming publication.

To visit the updated blog, where all submissions have been posted in full, go to: www.haringeyunchained.com  

The magazine will be launched in a series of events in late June, culminating in the official launch at July 5th, 2018 at Haringey Sixth Form Centre. We will announce more details soon.Haringey Unchained LogoThis is the part of the introductory section of the magazine:

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to showcase the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. Our community has had a challenging academic year, but amidst the setbacks, our students and staff have continued to produce art and creative writing that shows a want to be heard. In this magazine, we aim to bring out the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant college. This creative gives space to those whose work might otherwise not be seen or read.

Since the cuffs are off, we are able to express ourselves through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, to express what is really on our minds. We are free.

This year, we were privileged to work alongside Middlesex University in London, whose editorial team brought together an exciting range of submissions. We had editorial meetings together during which the students collaborated on the concepts for the magazine and blog.

Submissions were produced by Haringey Unchained’s current members, Haringey Unchained alumni, Middlesex University English and Creative Writing students and Haringey Sixth Form College students and staff.

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The Haringey Unchained Editorial Team comprises ten Haringey College students and is headed by Angie Smith, English Teacher at Haringey Sixth Form Centre and Founder of Haringey Unchained. It also includes five Middlesex members (for 2017-18); our four Middlesex BA English students: Yvonne Alexander-Taylor, Majeda Reema Begum, Sarah Haque, Teodora Matković and myself (Anna Charalambidou).

 

 

A-level English reform and English at University

In the 2018 University English meeting, Billy Clark and Andrea Macrae discussed academics’ perceptions and awareness of A-level English reform. The survey, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme, was conducted  by the ‘Integrating English‘ dream team: Andrea, Billy, and Marcello Giovanelli. You can find a visualisation of their findings here.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, English subject leaders feel that they and their teaching staff are little informed about changes to A-levels. In fact, the overwhelming majority of English degrees in the UK are making no (55%) or minor (33%)  changes changes to the curriculum to support the transition of students who are taking the reformed A-Levels.

Professor Billy Clark at the Heads of Department & Subject Leaders’ Networking Day (13th April), University of Lancaster

On a more positive note, the Lang/Lit A-level is more positively viewed in Higher Education than in schools. 95% of university English subject leaders perceive it as useful in preparing students for English degree programmes. In fact, this is tallies with our own anecdotal evidence. A couple of days ago, at a local college visit, the Lang/Lit teacher was telling how the English Literature A-Level still carries much more prestige and is more popular with staff and pupils than the Lang/Lit A-Level.

And finally, a third of English degrees do not require any of the three English A-Levels (English Language, English Literature and English Lang/Lit). It looks like we are not that unique at Middlesex!

So what can we do in higher education to help the transition of our students from secondary to tertiary education?

Billy explained the importance of connecting with secondary teachers and students, awarding bodies, even our PGCE colleagues. He also showed the importance of helping first-year undergraduate students understand how university work differs from school-level work.

Jenny Stevens (Teacher of English and freelance writer and editor) presenting the post-16 perspective on English teaching and learning suggested that HE sector can help by:

  • Getting  involved in GCSE & A Level qualification;
  • Communicating with A-level student, parents and teachers via university website (podcasts/screencasts);
  • Cross sector collaborations on social media (e.g. linking with Centre for English & Media);
  • Joining the English Association Secondary Education Committee.

A good life: citizenship, skills and employability in English studies

‘How can English Studies overcome instrumentalism when it comes to the employability agenda? Is it possible to move beyond having to prove that our degrees are good value because they lead to good careers? Can we work together with students to consider how to live ‘good lives’ through education?’

On the 13th and 14th of April, I attended my first ever University English  Annual General Meeting & Heads of English networking event at the University of Lancaster. The two-day meeting had everything: innovative practices in learning, teaching and assessment of English at University level, discussion of hiring and promotion practices in the sector, surviving your first year as Head of Department, recent A Level reforms, and of course TEF and REF 2021.

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I found the panel on Employability really interesting, as it showcased some exciting and innovative ways of connecting students with the wider world.

Dr Fiona Douglas (Leeds) talked about the great (but also tricky to organise) module on Heritage & Dialect that takes students outside the classroom and into local museums and blends teaching, research and public engagement.

Dr Clare Egan (Lancaster) emphasised the importance of treating degrees not as tools to get a job but as central to developing skills for everything we are doing. She showed the importance of problem-solving learning, moving from ‘careers talks’ to ‘career-focused problem solving’, helping students develop critical reflection and self awareness, and discussed modules that fully integrate work in the field: local schools, arts organisations etc.

Yvonne  Battle-Felton, co-founder of  Stories at The Storey (true story open mic night) and North West Lit Salon and Creative Writing PhD spoke about the PhD creative writing student as entrepreneur.  

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Middlesex and Haringey Sixth Form College students shortlisting submissions for ‘Haringey Unchained’ magazine

We are already incorporating many of these ideas in the BA English at Middlesex. To name just a few examples:

  • First-year modules, such as Global Englishes, include problem-solving based learning. Students have to work in groups to design and carry out an experiment testing a hypothesis. Through their empirical projects, they develop high level research skills but, perhaps more crucially, really valuable interpersonal, negotiation, leadership and teamworking skills.
  • Our students develop employability skills by mentoring local 6th form college students in producing a literary magazine, Haringey Unchained.
  • Also, from 2018-19 we will extend students’ opportunities to volunteer at local schools, act as ambassadors for English and make a positive impact to their communities through the two third-year modules ‘Work Placement’ and ‘Teaching Englishes’.
  • Students get to work with acclaimed writers and practitioners of a range of genres. These include their own tutors but also guest speakers. For example this year, second year BA English students invited and interviewed Ian McGuire, author of the celebrated novel and soon-to-be BBC series The North Water.
  • From 2018, BA English students will be involved in the organisation of the 2019 North London Story Festival.

Sneak peak on this year’s ‘Haringey Unchained’ magazine

We are very happy to report that all content (poems, short fiction, illustrations, photographs etc.) that we have submitted this year has  been added to the Haringey Unchained blog.

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Please visit here: https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com.

 

At the top of the page, there is the following link, which reflects the partnership between students and staff of English from Middlesex University and Haringey Sixth Form Centre:

https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com/university-partnerships/

Submission on the blog are anonymised. Anything submitted by Middlesex is demarcated by a * in the title.

Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be updating the blog so that it is a premium account so the URL will eventually change to: www.haringeyunchained.com.

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Our next and final editorial session together will be Thursday 3rd May at 4:30 pm. We are going to have to be merciless about the items we cut in order to get it to fit 52 pages.  We will spent the time placing pieces along the flat plan together.

Really looking forward to seeing the finalised version of the print magazine!

Studying Instagram Beyond Selfies: Instagram Conference 2018, 01 June 2018, Middlesex University

With as many “users as Twitter (310 million), Snapchat (100-million-plus) and Pinterest (100 million) combined” (Forbes 2016), Instagram has become one of the most important social networking sites globally and in the process has transformed the role of photographs and photography in visual culture. Designed to exploit the affordances of mobile media (Carah 2015) and the immediate and intuitive logic of visual communication, Instagram is notably popular among young people (18-29 years old) (WordStream 2017).

instaThe phenomenal success of Instagram has not gone unnoticed by brands and micro-celebrities that increased their investments and activities on the platform – (according to Forbes the current financial value of Instagram stays somewhere between $25 billion and $50 billion (Forbers 2016)).

Despite all these, there is a scarcity of empirical research conducted through Instagram, especially beyond the use of selfies.

Call for papers:

You are invited to submit proposals for a single paper or a pre-constituted panel around a particular theme. Individual abstracts should be 350 words or 500 for a full panel proposal. Please also include a short bio of no more than 100 words per participant. Please submit to Alessandro Caliandro, email A.Caliandro@mdx.ac.uk  by 30 April 2018.

Registration will open soon after the 30th of April. Registration fee: £30 (for undergraduate students), £50 (for academics/practitioners).

For more information, including possible questions to address, and keynote speakers, see: http://instagramconf.mdx.me.uk/

Keynote Speakers:

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Richard Rogers, Professor of New Media & Digital Culture, Media Studies, University of Amsterdam.

Keynote Address: Otherwise engaged: Social Media from vanity metrics to critical analytics

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Dr Crystal Abidin, socio-cultural anthropologist of vernacular internet cultures

Keynote Address: Tap that, Hack that, Map that: Economies, Cultures, and Materialites of Instagram

Footage of conversation with Ian McGuire

Last month, Ian McGuire, author of the celebrated novel, The North Water, visited Middlesex to answer questions from BA English students. The event was sold out and a great success. If you missed it, or would like to watch it again, here’s the footage of the discussion.

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All English events at Middlesex this week

This is the busiest and most exciting week of the year in our English events calendar. We are hosting the final Language & Communication research seminar of this series, we are welcoming two Erasmus teaching visits in English, and Creative Writing & Journalism students are running this year’s Story Festival. Here’s a reminder of all events on campus this week. We hope you’ll join us in as many as you can:

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Tuesday, 13th March

  • 12.00-14.00 Metafiction in Postmodern American Literature and Popular Culture by Dr Aleksandra Vukotić (University of Belgrade), BG09B (Building 9)
  • 14.00-16.00: Trauma, Cultural Memory, and Identity in Sebastian Barry’s ‘A Long Long Way’ by Professor Ksenija Kondali (University of Sarajevo), C136 (College Building) – Open lecture

11.00-20.00 North London Story Festival (various rooms)

 

 

Wednesday, 14th March

12.00-14.00 Intertextuality in Jeanette Winterson’s ‘The Gap of Time’. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG48 (College Building)

16.00-17.30 The Embodied Nature of Narrative: Moving with purpose with others, and its disruption in autism. By Dr Jonathan Delafield-Butt (University of Strathclyde),  New room: BG02 (Building 9) Final Language & Communication Research Seminar for this year!

 

Thursday, 15th March

15.00 -17.00 Negotiating the Technological Sublime: DeLillo’s and Antonioni’s

Murder Mysteries. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG43 (College building) – Open lecture

 

ksenFriday, 16th  March

10.00-12.00 Whoever controls your eyeballs runs the world : A “Paranoid” Reading of Media. By Dr Aleksandra Vukotić, CG09 (College building)

15.00-17.00 Fictionalizing Transatlantic Slavery: A Comparative Study. By Professor Ksenija Kondali (University of Sarajevo), PAG02 (Portacabin)

 

All welcome!

For directions to Middlesex University Hendon campus, click here.