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.

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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

Dismantling the expectations of women, with Lorna Gibb and Gina Rippon

On a daily basis we face deeply ingrained beliefs that your gender determines your skills and preferences, from toys and colours to career choice and salaries.

On Tuesday 19th March 18:30 our colleague Lorna Gibb participates in a sold-out event at Waterstones London – Gower Street.

In her new book The Gendered BrainGina Rippon draws on her work in cognitive neuroimaging to unpack the stereotypes that bombard us from our earliest moments. Lorna Gibb‘s masterful Childless Voices paints a global portrait of people without children, from the playgrounds of Glasgow to the villages of Bangladesh, a first-of-its-kind, global investigation into an issue that affects millions of people.

Chaired by literary critic Lucy Scholes, Gina and Lorna discussed the expectations put upon women by society and science alike, and unpacked deeply ingrained beliefs about gender, motherhood and sexism from their differing perspectives.

Out now: ‘Childless Voices’ by Lorna Gibb

Our colleague’s Lorna Gibb new book ‘Childless Voices: Stories of Longing Loss, Resistance and Choice’ will be published on 7 February 2019.

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From the playgrounds of Glasgow to the villages of Bangladesh; from religious rites to ancient superstitions; from the world’s richest people to its powerless and enslaved, Lorna Gibb’s masterful Childless Voices paints a global portrait of people without children. Brilliantly grouped by thematic commonality (Those who long, Those who were denied, Those who Choose, etc) the book is a testament to the power of listening, and the power of sharing stories. It is an essential, moving and surprising book on a subject which touches everyone.

To get the book, click here.

Biography

Lorna was born in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire and used to work as a professional dancer. She is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Middlesex University. In the past she’s lived in four different countries but is now back in London with her husband, two rescue cats from Qatar and a rescue snow Bengal from Chichester. Her debut novel A Ghost’s Story is published by Granta in Nov 2015. Prior to this she wrote two biographies, West’s World, on the fabulous Dame Rebecca West (Pan MacMillan) and Lady Hester on the wondrous Lady Hester Stanhope (Faber).

 

Launch show of Haringey Unchained magazine

We are very excited to announce the launch show of ‘Haringey Unchained‘ the creative magazine that was co-produced this year through the intense collaboration of students (and staff) at Haringey Sixth Form College and Middlesex University.
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The launch show for this year’s issue of the magazine will be on Thursday 5th July, in the evening, at Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham in London. This will be a celebration of London’s creative talent; writers will read out their work and dancers from the WeMove Dance Leadership project will provide interpretative dances of the magazine’s prose and poetry pieces.

There will also be an Art Exhibition at the iconic North London venue, Alexandra Palace, on the 6th July, also in the evening – and there will be additional opportunities to attend readings of the Haringey Unchained collection.

‘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).

 

 

Q&A with Ian McGuire on his celebrated novel, The North Water

ian-mcguire-author-photoIan McGuire, author of the celebrated novel, The North Water, visits Middlesex to answer questions from BA English students.

The Language and Communication research cluster invites you to the conversation.

When? Tuesday 27 February 2018, 17.00 – 18.30

Where? Room C110 (College), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

51AhoORZVXL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_The North Water is causing a literary sensation: it’s currently one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2016, and was longlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize. You can read more about the novel here:

http://thenorthwater.net/

A visceral and emotional piece of literary art, The North Water has been described by Andrew Haigh, the director of the forthcoming BBC adaptation of the novel, as “a darkly brilliant piece of work, propelled by a vision of the world that is both beautiful and brutal. It feels bracingly modern and is piercingly perceptive about the nature of what drives us all”.

This event offers the opportunity to hear McGuire respond to a number of searching questions about creative writing method and literary composition – all from Middlesex students.

Time will also be allotted for questions from the audience.

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)