2019-20 Language & Communication Research Seminars

The Language & Communication research cluster is excited to announce the fantastic line-up of presenters for our 2019-20 research seminars, at our HENDON CAMPUS. The seminars feature world-leading authorities and acclaimed practitioners who discuss their work on language, discourse and communication, literature, creative writing, media and cultural studies. Hope to see you all there!

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  • Dr Johan Siebers: I Interpret You. Thursday 12th December 2019, 15.00-16.00, Room G230 (Grove building).
  • Dr Josie Barnard: The Multimodal Writer. Thursday, 12th March 2020, 15.00-16.00, Room CG09 (College building).

 

Check back here for additional listings.

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.

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

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.