Letters from Myanmar

The Language and Communication Research Cluster is delighted to announce a book reading and discussion by our colleague and Professor of Leadership in the Business School at Middlesex University, Prof Chris Mabey, on his forthcoming book Letters from Myanmar.

When? Friday 11th January 2019, 15.30 – 16.30 (note new time and room)

Where? Room WG48, Williams building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

chris

As a western teenager in the 1960s I found myself embraced by a Burmese family. Since then my curiosity has gradually deepened about the mysterious conundrum that is Myanmar.

  • How can an assertive and glittering empire, ruling over much of South East Asia from the bejewelled palace at Ava be reduced to a secretive and isolated pariah state?
  • How is it that a prosperous economic and educational hub on the Asian subcontinent can emerge, in the second millennium as a repressive military regime?
  • How can a people renowned for their gentle hospitality and steeped in the benign pacifism of Buddhism stand by as students are gunned down in the popular uprising of 1988 or the barbaric ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya since 2017?

Chris will read and discuss some extracts from his forthcoming book. It is a first-hand glimpse from those who have lived through the unfolding history of this beguiling land. Through these ethnographic accounts we sample the distinctive flavours and smells, hear the wit and weariness and touch the fragile fabric of modern day Burma.

Professor Chris Mabey has held a career-long interest in leadership development, first as a student counsellor for a Christian charity, then as an occupational psychologist with British Telecom and in Leadership Training with Rank Xerox (UK) plc. He has worked in a variety of sectors as a management consultant, with a focus on executive coaching, team-based development and leadership development of top teams.  More recently he has combined this experience with researching, teaching and writing about leadership development, with posts at the Open University, Birkbeck (London University) and Birmingham University. Chris, who is a Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society). He recently led an ESRC-funded Seminar Series on Ethical Leadership: Philosophical and Spiritual Approaches.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

New book by Middlesex colleague: In Defence of Political Correctness

Are we really free to say what we want in a liberal democracy? Or has being Politically Correct now been replaced by anti-political correctness? In this book, Middlesex Professor, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, argues that PC made public discourse more civilized. And that when people say what they damn well want, you end up with trolls, Trump and Farage and a nasty, toxic environment.

cover_9781785904141
Journalist of the Year, Yasmin Alibhai Brown is a broadcaster and author of several books. A columnist for the i and the Mirror, she is a well-known commentator on diversity, immigration and multiculturalism. She is the author of Refusing the Veil and her most recent book is Exotic England. She was awarded Broadsheet Columnist of the Year at the 2017 Press Awards.
Yasmin says: – “Libel laws, editorial judgements, broadcasting restrictions, the political atmosphere all impose limits on free speech. And yet when women, minorities, young, LGBT and disabled people object to demeaning language or, indeed, demand equality, traditionalists shout out ‘It’s PC gone mad’.  There are leading voices in this country- people like Boris Johnson, Julie Burchill. Ken Livingstone- who stoke up ugly passions in the name of freedom. Without self-moderation, our streets, schoolyards, public transport, waiting rooms and restaurants would turn into bear pits. Most citizens understand that. Some, however, seem determined to cause disorder in the name of free speech. Powerful, Machiavellian and wealthy individuals are leading this disruption and breaking the old consensus.
Thus, anti-political correctness has taken over the UK and US, spearheaded by some of the most influential voices in media and politics. Invective, lies, hate speech, bullying, intemperance and prejudice have become the new norms. Intolerance is justified through invocations of liberty. Restraint is oppression. A new order has been established in which racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are proudly expressed.” In this powerful new book, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown puts forth a spirited defence of political correctness, forcefully arguing that, despite many failures, this movement has led to a more civilised, equal and tolerant world. By tracing the history and definition of the term, Alibhai-Brown looks to clarify the very nature of PC, which is ultimately grounded in human decency, understanding and compassion – all of which are essential for a safer and kinder world.

https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/in-defence-of-political-correctness

 

Special Effects and animatronics designer Adam Wright  is visiting Middlesex for a talk and workshop

Adam Wright – SFX and animatronics designer.

adam

Special Effects and animatronics designer Adam Wright  is visiting Middlesex for a talk and workshop during ’experience week’ on:

Monday 5th November

At 2pm in H116 lecture theatre

Workshop following this will be based in Grove GB13

As well as numerous advertising and theatre works, Adam’s film film credits include ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as well as making the horrifying bear creature for Alex Garland’s ‘Annihilation.

This is a fantastic opportunity to meet a creative industry professional and find out more about what lies behind these magical cinematic marvels!

All welcome to the talk at 2pm.

Adam will also do a workshop following on from this and MA Film have priority here, but others are very welcome to join in. As numbers are limited, we would like people to sign up by emailing a.robinson@mdx.ac.uk.  If you would like to join the workshop, we will send you some further details – materials provided, but we would like you to keep your eyes peeled over the next week or so for any strange creatures lurking in charity shops, at home, etc which you would like to bring to life..

http://adam-wright.com

Experience weeks 2018-19

This year we are changing Reading Weeks to Experience Weeks!

Students and guests will have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities (workshops, guest lectures, masterclasses, festivals) that will enhance their learning, personal and professional development. These activities can be specific for BA English, or in collaboration with students and staff in other programme areas in the Media department (e.g. North London Story Festival).

This is our schedule so far (check back for updates and added events).

Week 12: 7th -11th January 2019

Core activities:

  • Friday, 11th January 2019, 12.00-13.00, Room: CG76, A screening of the documentary ‘A Cambodian Spring’, and then a Q&A with the director Chris Kelly. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/acambodiansprin
  • Professor Chris Mabey (Middlesex), Letters from Myanmar. Friday, 11th January 2019, 15.30 – 16.30, Room WG48 (Williams building). – PLEASE NOTE TIME AND ROOM CHANGE

 

Optional:

  • Faculty-wide collaboration activities (details to be announced nearer the time).

***

 Week 18: 18th-22nd February 2019

  • Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 12.30-31.30, Room W147. A Journalism Conversation panel on Media and (In)Equality. Guests TBC.

***

Week 24: 1st-5th April 2019

  • One-to-one and group tutorials on coursework
  • Personal development planning

 

These events are open to students, staff and the public. Email me for more information.


PAST Experience Weeks

Week 6: 5th-9th November 2018gothic_cinderella_by_rltsweetie

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 16.00-17.00, Room PAG02: Gothicising the Fairy Tale: Monstrous Cinderellas in Angela Carter and Ali Shaw. Presentation by Dr Carina Hart (Language & Communication Research Seminar series).

Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 19.00 OUT-SPOKEN performance, London’s premier night for poetry and live music. It celebrates diversity of voice and gives a platform to artists whose work is innovative, authentic and plural. At London 100 Club (100 Oxford Street, London W1D 1LL). We have secured some tickets for English students, free of charge, on a first-come-first served basis. We will give priority to third year students.

Wednesday, 7th November, 12.30-13.30, Room W147. A Journalism Conversation panel on Media and Moral Panic in an Age of Algorithms. From rising hate crimes which have been associated with Islamophobia, to the role played by big social media companies and elections in the form of Cambridge Analytics, Facebook and the US elections, to the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World which led to its closure and a review of press ethics! We’re joined by some key journalists and religious leaders to debate these issues:

  • Jonathan Heawood, CEO of press regulator, IMPRESS. Journalist, campaigner for freedom of expression, and featured in the Guardian’s top 100 most influential people in publishing.
  • Rabbi Rebecca Birk. Rabbi at Finchley Progressive Synagogue promoting inclusivity, social justice and liberal values.
  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. Journalist, author and academic and winner of numerous awards, including columnist of the year 2017.
  • James Patrick. Prolific journalist, Film-maker, and author of numerous books including Alternative War and Chemical Sausage.

 

Optional Events (registration might be required):

Monday, 5th November, 14.00, H116 (Hatchcroft) lecture theatre. Talk and workshop by Special Effects and animatronics designer Adam Wright .

Wednesday, 7th November 15.00-17.00, Room TBC Writing workshop/Alice in Canning Town by James Kenworth.

Friday, 9th November, 14.30, Television Studio, ground floor, Grove. Television Production students will be producing a Magazine Show for the Movember Foundation, broadcasting live on Friday 9th November across Facebook and Youtube.  There will be live music acts and insight into what the foundation does and how we can all help.  You are invited to be in the live audience and witness how a Studio TV show is created.

North London Story Festival 2019 Presents: My Generation

If The Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) invented free love, Generation X (born 1965-1981) came of age watching MTV, and Millennials (born 1982-1995) sent selfies and Frappuccinos into the stratosphere, what about the current young generation, Generation Z, (born 1996-2016)? What defines or shapes this generation today? Brexit? Trump? The housing crisis? Student debt? Grime? Kim Kardashian? Are today’s young generation going take the world by storm or are they going to feel overwhelmed by the challenges ahead? North London Story Festival’s My Generation is dedicated to stories and narratives about what it means to be young and living in the UK today.

Thursday 21st February 2019, 11.00 – 8.00pm

About the Festival

cropped-logo-nlsfThe North London Story Festival is an annual event held at Middlesex University and the surrounding areas of North London.  The event is student-led in order for them to gain key experience, and the festival is free to access for students and the public.

Running annually since 1996, the festival aims to celebrate storytelling through pop-up readings by students around North London, as well as guest speakers and workshops at the Hendon campus of Middlesex University.

Previous speakers include Justin Cartwright, Philip Hensher, AL Kennedy, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Andrea Levy, Andrew Motion, Jan Pienkowski, Lord Puttnam and Fay Weldon.

Notable speakers include: David Nicholls, author of One Day and Galaxy Book of the Year winner, in 2014, and Dame Professor Carol Ann Duffy in 2015.

The Festival is held in late March or early April each year. Aside from a number of notable speakers, the festival typically includes fiction and screen writing workshops, book signings and competitions. This year the Festival will be broadening out from its base in the College Building’s Boardroom and will include student-led interactive/participatory events in the Quad and Atrium.

Last year’s North London Story Festival (formerly North London Literary Festival) took place on Tuesday 13th March 2018 and the theme of the Festival was Secret London.

Secret London was dedicated to alternate London and the stories you won’t read about in an Official London City Guide. Secret London delves deep into the metropolis and uncovers an invisible and unfamiliar city, where the narrative of the outsider is given full voice and the unorthodox and unconventional is embraced.

http://northlondonstoryfestival.co.uk/

Alice in Canning Town: an urban adaptation of Alice in Wonderland

Our Middlesex colleagues, playwright James Kenworth and director James Martin Charlton, have been awarded the prestigious Royal Docks Trust Grant to write and stage an innovative, site-specific play, Alice in Canning Town.

Alice in Canning Town is a brand new contemporary, urban adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, reconfigured for the East End, and performed site-specific in Arc in the Park, an inclusive adventure playground in Canning Town.

The play will reflect the ever-changing face of the East End over the years, from Cockney to Bangra, Krays to Stormzy, and will be 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.

The performance will feature a combination of professional actors, young performers from the local area, and a live youth orchestra. James’s previous plays have all given opportunities and experience to local young performers, and explored the Borough’s rich political history. The show will be performed at Arc in the Park in the Summer of 2019.

Middlesex English & Creative Writing students may be involved in the creative process which will chiefly benefit young people from Newham.

James Kenworth and James Martin Charlton

The show will build on the pioneering work the playwright (James Kenworth, Lecturer in Media Narrative) and director (James Martin Charlton, Head of Media) have done in the field of education, community and site-specific theatre. James Kenworth’s most recent play, A Splotch of Red, was the third in a loose trilogy of East End-based plays, all dealing with revolution and social change, and all performed in appropriate locations in the London Borough of Newham. It follows When Chaplin met Gandhi, staged in 2012 at Kingsley Hall, where the Indian leader stayed during his 1931 visit to Britain, and Revolution Farm, a ‘hoodie version’ of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, performed in 2014 at Newham City Farm, in the shadows of Canary Wharf.

Arc in the Park

Arc-pic1Arc in the Park is a vibrant and dynamic 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 Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Its unusual and imaginative play resources make it an exciting and unique performance space for an Alice in Wonderland reimagined for the East End.

The Arc provides a Newham-wide delivery and resource base for young people with disabilities and/or additional needs and their families. We will work closely with Arc in the Park’s management body, Newham charity, Ambition, Aspire, Achieve, to provide opportunities for local young people to be involved in the making of a professional theatre show. Kevin Jenkins OBE founded AAA because of a longstanding desire to provide opportunities for the youth of Newham and East London. AAA have an exemplary track record in providing activities and experiences for young people in the Newham and East London area that build confidence and expand minds.

The park’s unique array of adventure play resources and building structures make it a perfect fit for Alice’s adventures in Canning Town. We envisage a promenade-style performance for Alice, with the audience following the play’s story around the environs of the Park. This kind of staging was achieved very successfully with the production of Revolution Farm at Newham City Farm, with critics singling out the promenade staging for praise. The Independent’s Theatre Critic Paul Taylor wrote: “The unique selling points of this version are not just the in-yer-face modernity of the language and attitudes, but the fact that it unfolds as a promenade performance in the precincts of a genuine inner-city farm.”