‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’ – booking open and line-up confirmed

ooking to our one-day symposium on ‘Close reading, codes and interpretation’, hosted by the Language & Communication is now open.

book message cloud shape Book here.

When? 9 am-7 pm, Tuesday 13th June 2017
Room H116, Middlesex University, Hendon Campus, London, NW4 4BT

In some reckonings, ‘close reading’ is now around 90 years old, having been inaugurated in I. A. Richards’ Principles of Literary Criticism (1926) and Practical Criticism (1929). The close reading of texts has become arguably the central activity of the humanities and close reading is carried out across different levels of education and through a number of disciplines. As its practitioners recognize, procedures of close reading can become ossified into routine practices of code identification rather than active interpretation.

This day symposium seeks to ask what ‘close reading’ is like now, how it is exercised in education in different contexts and how it might differ from or resemble ‘codes’ of reading. It features papers by teachers in Higher Education, Further Education and Secondary Education, including:

  • BARBARA BLEIMAN (English and Media Centre): ‘Close reading in Secondary English –  practices, problems and solutions’
  • BILLY CLARK (Middlesex University): ‘Pragmatic inference and reading processes’
  • PAUL COBLEY (Middlesex University): ‘The magic of codes: semiotics and close reading’
  • LOUISA ENSTONE (Darrickwood School): ‘Is it time to stop pee-ing? A grassroots study into teaching reading and essay writing at Secondary’
  • MARCELLO GIOVANELLI (Aston University) and JESS MASON (Sheffield Hallam University): ‘Whose close reading?: emphasis, attention and cognition in the literature classroom’
  • ANDREA MACRAE (Oxford Brookes University): ‘Close reading as process and product’
  • JON ORMAN (University of Hong Kong): ‘Thick description and/as close reading: some language-philosophical reflections’
  • ADRIAN PABLÉ (University of Hong Kong): ‘Interpretation, radical indeterminacy and close reading’
  • STEFAN PETO (Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys): ‘Close reading at the chalk-face: strategies and observations in Key Stage 3’
  • JOHAN SIEBERS (Middlesex University): ‘Only the furthest distance would be closeness – semantic anarchism, close reading and academic practice’what-reading

Cost: £10 flat fee (includes lunch and refreshments)

For the full day schedule, click here.

For any questions, please email Billy Clark b.clark@mdx.ac.uk or Paul Cobley p.cobley@mdx.ac.uk

Have you missed any of our Language and Communication Research Seminars?

This year’s hugely successful series of Language and Communication Research Seminars is coming to an end.

We have uploaded some of our seminars on youtube, so that you can catch up on the ones you’ve missed or re-watch your favourite ones!

You can find Dr Matt Hayler (University of Birmingham) full talk on “Wandering Bodies – Ambient Literature and Thinking with Place”.

Check also Dr Federico Farini’s (University of Suffolk) talk about “SHARMED: promoting migrant-background children’s inclusion and learning in 3 European countries” given on 9th March 2017.

Finally, you can see the highlights from the “Images of Tradition“, a talk by Professor Robert Eaglestone (Royal Holloway).

More coming soon at MDX BA English youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9yz85YMykcx5jFHhq313pw

What our first-year think about BA English

The first year ever of BA English is coming to an end and today I’ve asked a handful of our students to write down a sentence or two about their experiences so far.

I was so, so pleased to hear what our students had to say about their first year at uni.

  • “Amazing first year packed with new experiences and exciting seminars! Loved my first year at Middlesex!” 
brit lib 2
Billy explaining the connection between King George and Middlesex University: From our Study Trip to the British Library 13th February 2017
  • “This course has encouraged creativity, sophisticated discussions and tapped into our personal writing ‘voice’ – letting us explore who we are as writers and what we want to say to the world.” 
  • “BA English is a very broad subject and I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in English language. This year we studied English Literature and English Language too. They both interlink really well and made me realise that English is more than just a subject to study but it is also a fascinating part of life.” 
  • “Studying English at Middlesex has given me the opportunity to discuss and explore prevalent themes and ideas within a range of literary and spoken texts.” 
  • “Initially I found the course to be intimidating due to many modules. However, this intimidation was quickly replaced by curiosity and being more open to new information. One of my favourite modules would be ‘Writing and the Contemporary World’ due to teaching me new styles of writing such as ‘free writing’. It also introduced me to writing from various cultures. All four modules made me more comfortable when presenting (which we have done quite often).” 

Happy Easter, everyone!


SHARMED: promoting migrant-background children’s inclusion and learning in three European countries

Federico Farini (University of Suffolk) talks about promoting migrant-background children’s inclusion and learning in three European countries.

Date: Thursday 9th March 2017

Time: 15.00-16.00

Location: Room C126, College Building, Middlesex University, London, NW4 4BT

Federico will introduce the Erasmus+ supported SHARMED project. SHARMED promotes migrant-background children’s inclusion and learning in three European countries (Italy, Germany, UK) by encouraging children’s work on their personal and cultural memories, and children’s participation in dialogue in classroom, telling and negotiating stories of themselves and their sociocultural background.

The project implements children’s collection and production of visual materials on their own memories; involvement of children’s families in this action; facilitation of description, comparison and sharing of materials and memories in classroom; a web platform including an archive with these materials.

These actions can (1) give a voice to migrant-background children, (2) foster their motivation, (3) provide personalised support for their learning, (4) develop their participative approach to learning, (5) strengthen collaboration between children’s families and schools. In this way, the project promotes social inclusion of migrant-background children and combats their segregation and discrimination.


federico-farini_1Federico has a PhD in Sociology of Education from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where he worked as a researcher and Lecturer in Sociology of Education, Childhood Studies, Youth Studies and Intercultural communication (2005-2013). Previously he worked as a research fellow at the University of Urbino (Sociology) and University of Bologna (Early Modern History, where he got his MA in History in 2002). From 2013 to 2015 Federico has worked as Research Fellow and Lecturer in Education at Middlesex University in London, where he was a founding member of the Centre for Educational Research and Leadership. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

He is currently the UK principal investigator for the project Shared Memories for Dialogues (selected for funding under Erasmus+ Key Action 3, Support for policy reform,  Forward-Looking Cooperation Projects).

He has published  books, chapters, articles and edited books in Italian, English and Slovenian language and he has presented research papers at numerous international conference.