Digital Future: the New Underclass

Our colleague at BA English at Middlesex Dr Josie Barnard presented a BBC Radio 4 programme on 3rd Sept at 11am. It investigates the deep social divides created by the digital world.

Hear it here.

barnard_josie

Whether booking a flight to go on holiday or ordering a takeaway, digital technology is so embedded in everyday life that it’s easy to assume everyone is on a level playing field. Or that those who aren’t are part of an older generation who didn’t grow up with computers. But that’s a dangerous assumption.

22% of the British population lack the digital skills they need to get by day-to-day. That’s more than one in five people who struggle with signing their child up to school, filling in a tax return, or even using a smartphone to make a call. And as more and more essential services move online, falling behind the pace of change carries severe consequences.

For young people, the risks of being left behind are buried under the assumption that they are digital natives – that they have supposedly grown up with an innate ability to use digital technology. But as the number of smartphone-only households grows, millions of children are in danger of their digital world shrinking around a tiny touchscreen.

Dr Barnard asks if this is simply a question of affordability and motivation, or whether more complicated factors are at play. She speaks to people struggling to find space at public computer banks to complete their Universal Credit forms, and a group who are jumping hurdles to get online because of their severe dyslexia, and gets behind the screens of smartphone-only teenagers to find out how the kind of device and the way we use it can be just as detrimental as not having it at all.

Presenter: Dr Josie Barnard

Producer: Emma Barnaby

Executive Producer: Deborah Dudgeon

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio

ALICE IN CANNING TOWN Comes To Arc In The Park Adventure Playground This August

Book your tickets now, to see ‘Alice in Canning Town’, the contemporary urban re-interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, by our colleagues James Kenworth and James Charlton, in collaboration with Middlesex students, local pupils and professionals. Performances 12th – 18th of August.

Eventrbrite link

ALICE IN CANNING TOWN Comes To Arc In The Park Adventure Playground This AugustFollowing their production of Animal Farm on a real-life farmyard in 2014, James Kenworth and James Charlton bring a brand new, contemporary urban adaptation of much-loved fantasy adventure Alice in Wonderland to an adventure playground in the East End featuring tree houses, swings, trampolines, rope bridges and giant slides and a cast of professional actors and local Newham primary and secondary school pupils.

This is Alice in Wonderland as you’ve never seen before. All the favourite characters are still there, but in new, modern guises. A cockney rabbit, a rave-mad Mad Hatter, a hookah-smoking ex-Bollywood actor, Tweedledee and Tweedledum as hipsters, and a would-be grime artist called MC Turtle. From Cockney to Bangra, from the Krays to Stormzy, Alice in Canning Town is a celebration of not only one of the best loved fantasies of all time, but a kaleidoscopic and action-packed journey through an East End that survived Hitler’s blitz and reinvented itself as a leading light in multicultural Britain.

 

Alice in Canning Town has been reconfigured specially for the East End, and performed site-responsively in Canning Town’s Arc in the Park, an inclusive adventure playground in Canning Town. Arc in the Park is a vibrant Adventure Playground, featuring tree houses, swings, trampolines, rope bridges, giant slides, teepees, and as such, is a perfect fit for the playful and surreal world of Alice. The play will involve local Newham primary and secondary school pupils acting alongside professional actors.

Following the critical acclaim of James Kenworth’s When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm, and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham, three plays which were a unique collaboration between professional theatre artists and young people in Newham, Alice in Canning Town is the fourth in a quadtrilogy that explores the borough’s rich heritage and shows off the talent of its young people. It continues the collaboration between Kenworth and director James Charlton.

James Kenworth’s previous plays include the award winning Dementia’s Journey (London tour), and Newham-based, site-specific plays, When Chaplin Met Gandhi (Kingsley Hall), Revolution Farm (Newham City Farm) and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham (Newham Libraries/Community Links).

James Martin Charlton is an award-winning playwright as well as director and academic. His previous plays include the critically acclaimed Fat Souls and Coming Up (Warehouse, Croydon), the sell-out hit I Really Must be Getting Off (White Bear), and Coward (Just Some Theatre Co.).

Celebrating the determination and successes of our 2019 graduates

Students with caring responsibilities, young families and recent learners of English among First Class Honours awards

Middlesex University held its summer graduation ceremonies from 8-12 July, with 9265 students awarded degrees at 14 ceremonies.

The very first cohort of students graduated from MDX’s innovative BA English course. The programme is distinctive for offering all three disciplines of English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing, and some modules where students study all three together. While the classics are covered there’s an emphasis on highly contemporary material: the second year Literature course, for example, focuses on works published in just the last 18 months, so students can’t rely on secondary literature.

Our very first cohort of BA English students

There are opportunities to get involved in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, which have included biweekly language community and research seminars and a project mentoring sixth form students producing a magazine.

Azize Peraj

Azize Peraj, the first member of her family to graduate from university, enjoyed the opportunity to apply linguistic theory and critical discourse analysis to her chosen subjects of veganism and Instagram in the Language part of her course, the one-to-one tutorials that the programme offers, and the skills development and work opportunities available through the MDXWorks Employment Hub. The diversity of her coursemates, from many different backgrounds and from London and beyond also appealed to her.

BA English students working with Haringey Sixth Form College creative writers

Her tutors were highly attentive to students’ needs, “how they develop as people as well as academically” Azize says. Senior Lecturer Dr Anna Charalambidou in particular was “fantastic in terms of lining up students with different networking experiences”.

Azize landed an internship that gave her the opportunity to meet and work alongside high profile politicians. She loves public speaking and having done some presenting while a student, she hopes to pursue a career in this field.

Reformation, a new play by James Martin Charlton, June/July in London

The new play, Reformation, of our colleague James Martin Charlton  opens at the White Bear Theatre on 25 June and runs until 13 July, Tuesdays-Saturdays 7.30pm; Sundays 4pm.

refThis nifty trailer, made by our talented BA Film soon-to-be graduates Dariush Asadi and Patrycja Lisowska will whet your appetites…

https://vimeo.com/342067897

You can learn more about the play, and book tickets, via the production website at www.reformationtheplay.com

 

“…one look in her eyes tells us how she has been wronged…”

Reformation is funny, gripping and challenging new play inspired by the life and art of the Renaissance artist Lucas Cranach.

Berlin. Eva learns that the celebrity artist Cranach is visiting her city. A chance meeting in the market place leads to romance with an artist’s son. Eva gets the chance to model for Cranach’s new painting, ‘The Rape of Lucrece’.

When the all-powerful Elector of Brandenburg sees the sketches of Eva, he wants the model. Is Cranach willing to sell the woman his son loves?

Upsetting the powerful means obscurity or death. What’s a poor girl to do?

Reformation is a play about those who don’t make the history books. This premier production, in contemporary dress, suggests many striking contemporary resonances between Eva’s situation and Time’s Up & #metoo

James Martin Charlton is an award-winning playwright. His previous plays include the critically acclaimed Fat Souls and Coming Up (Warehouse, Croydon), the sell-out hit I Really Must be Getting Off (White Bear), and Coward (Just Some Theatre Co.).

Janice Dunn is an experienced theatre director, who has worked extensively in the UK and Europe throughout her career. She is the former Artistic Director of the Mercury. Colchester, where she directed the premier of Howard Barker’s The Europeans.

VISITING LECTURERS IN ENGLISH AND LITERATURE

The Media department at Middlesex University wishes to make appointments to our pool of hourly paid visiting lecturers to support the delivery of teaching in the following areas of BA English:

 

Literature modules:

–              Literary Analysis (UG, year 1)

–              Reality, Fantasy and Metafiction (UG, year 2)

–              Identities and Global Literature (UG, year 3)

 

Modules integrating language, literature and creative writing:

–              Language, Literature and Writing (UG, year 1)

–              Research, Practice and Professional Communication (UG, year 2)

 

Requirements:

  1. Appropriate academic qualifications at postgraduate level or equivalent professional experience;
  2. Ability to deliver high quality teaching at HE level;
  3. Ability to supervise student-led projects;
  4. Understanding of good professional practice in learning and teaching.

 

For more information please contact James Graham, Director of Programmes. Email: J.Graham@mdx.ac.uk

 

To apply, send CVs plus a covering letter that outlines which of the areas named above you can teach to Anna Charalambidou (A.Charalambidou@mdx.ac.uk), by 5pm Monday 24 June 2019.

 

Applicants can expect a response by 2nd of July. Interviews will be held at Middlesex University (Hendon, London) on Tuesday 9th July 2019.

 

Note that we will require a ‘Right to Work’ check at the interview stage, so candidates will need either their passport or visa with them on the day.

Two trailblazing BA English students recognised for their contribution to student life at the 2019 MDXSU Awards

MDXSU Awards celebrate the trailblazing students at Middlesex University and this year BA English students won the double! The entire English subject area couldn’t be prouder.

The annual MDXSU awards – in their fifth year – are Middlesex Students’ Union’s way of celebrating the work and achievements of Middlesex University students over the past year, and recognising the contribution they have made to the university, the community and the lives of their fellow students.

 

Student Voice Leader of the Year

The shortlist…

  • Fazila Shaikh
  • Florentina-Daniela Bonghene
  • Kristian Karvay
  • Melissa Nabre

The winner…

Melissa Nabre (BA English)

“Melissa has been really engaged with the role is year – chairing the Programme Voice Group, which meant students are really at the heart of decisions made about the programme. Melissa ensured lots of changes are made at a programme level but also have been involved in other activities throughout MDXSU. She has successfully passed policy through the Student Leaders’ Conference which means self-defence classes will be available for all genders, supported some of the full-time officer campaigns and even had time be on the POW! Committee.”

 

Super POW!er of the Year

The shortlist…

  • Ahmad Jolghazi
  • Gytis Kezys
  • Katya Turikova 
  • Natalie Rose

The winner…

Natalie Rose (BA English)

“Natalie Rose has shown incredible passion, motivation and commitment this year, volunteering her time over several Freshers’ events and being active in committee meetings throughout the year. Natalie has shown great vision for her area of POW!, and her enthusiasm in turning this idea into reality. The panel felt that the POW! News platform would be nowhere without Natalie’s efforts.”

Huge congratulations to those shortlisted or won an award this year!🏆

 

Read the full results at .

Reading and distributed perspectives workshop: 8-9 May 2019

This workshop, run by the Language and Communication Research Cluster, is designed to foster further development of the interface of current research into reading, textual analysis, distributed language and associated perspectives.

PROGRAMME

Wednesday, 8 May 2019, in Room CG06

1230 to 1315 Arrival and lunch

1315 to 1330 Introduction – PAUL COBLEY and JOHAN SIEBERS (both Middlesex University)

1330 to 1415 ‘Rereading Whorf: The Aufhebung of linguistic relativity and its implications for textual analysis’ – JOHAN SIEBERS

1415 to 1500 ‘Reading, reality and distributed perspectives’ – PAUL COBLEY

1500 to 1545 ‘Deflating symbols’ – STEPHEN COWLEY (University of Southern Denmark)

1545 to 1615 Tea/Coffee

1615 to 1700 “Reading close in class” – ALAN DURANT (Middlesex University)

1700 to 1745 ‘Shared acts of reading across digital platforms’ – BRONWEN THOMAS (Bournemouth University)
Thursday, 9 May 2019, in Room CG11

1000 to 1045 ‘Wikipedia and the social construction of neutrality’ – STEFAN LUTSCHINGER (Middlesex University)

1045 to 1130 ‘Reading beyond the reader: a multiscale view on reading’ – SARAH BRO TRASMUNDI (University of Southern Denmark)

1130 to 1215 ‘Hearing narratives’ – ADAM LIVELY and TANSY SPINKS (both Middlesex University)

1215 to 1245 Lunch

1245 to 1500 Project discussion

1500 Close

 

For more details, feel free to email Professor Paul Cobley at p.cobley@mdx.ac.uk.