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.”

Goodbye Billy

DRH6279W0AAx2s4We were sad to say goodbye at the end of 2017 to our wonderful colleague Billy Clark after 24 years of exceptional work at Middlesex University.

Billy has now taken a chair in English Language and Linguistics at Northumbria University and we wish him the very best. We will continue to work with him in a number of ways, including our project on accent diversity in the curriculum.

We had a great time at his leaving do in December, though!

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And although Billy is no longer a member of Middlesex staff, his legacy still lives on:

… His vision of ‘Integrating English’ in at the heart of our BA English programme;

… His work on embedding PDP & employability into the curriculum has inspired many degree programmes in the university;

… His insight that research/practice and teaching are sides of the same coin is reflected in university-wide priority of research into pedagogy;

… The spirit of egalitarianism, collegiality, incurable optimism will (hopefully) stay.

 

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1st Haringey Unchained – Middlesex Meeting

unchained_05We were really excited to welcome at Middlesex the twelve enthusiastic and motivated Haringey Sixth Form College students, with their inspirational teacher, Angie Smith.

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Doing some creative writing critique

Four of our BA English students will work with the Haringey students to edit a literary magazine, ‘Haringey Unchained’: a platform for high-quality original creative work in various forms: prose, poetry, illustration and photography.

In addition to the magazine, a larger collection of submissions can be found online at https://haringeyunchained.wordpress.com/.

So, if you are into writing, illustration, photography and would like your work to be considered for the ‘Haringey Unchained’ magazine and blog and reach a wide audience, please contact our four Middlesex students coordinating the project for more information:

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Our first Middlesex – Haringey group photo

 

Visit to the British Library

Last week many of our first year BA English students and tutors had a great study visit at the wonderful British Library.

group pic

Firstly we wandered through the ‘Treasures of The British Library’ exhibition and our students had to find answers to the following questions:

  1. Which author from Humpshire has some teenage writings on display in the library?
  2. Who received a letter from Charles Darwin that’s on display in the library?
  3. Why might that letter have been difficult to receive and read?
  4. Which work on display in the library contains the line ‘I’m not half the man I used to be’?

As our amazing students were equally good; the group that submitted the best photo of themselves in the library were declared winners.

So, this is the winning entry:

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And these are the runners up:

British Library photo 011117_2   British Library photo 011117_3

 

We ended our visit in a magical way, at the enchantedly busy Harry Potter: A History of Magic’ exhibition.BL-Harry-Potter-624x351-roundel

Rhyme and Reason: “creative criticism” and thinking in verse: video recording

If you’ve missed the a talk and poetry reading by poet, philosopher and literary critic Christopher Norris, that took place on October 18th, fear not!

Chris discussed his shift from a philosopher and literary critic to a poet. He introduced and read a number of his philosophical villanelles and also (my favourite) a satirical one about George Osborne.

We have videorecorded this very well-attended and fascinating session.

Here is a teaser:

 

 

And here’s the full session:

 

(next time I’ll try not to sit right in front of the camera)