Senior Lecturer has book review published

Helen Dampier has had a review of Elizabeth Thornberry's book Colonizing Consent: Rape and Governance in South Africa's Eastern Cape published in The English Historical Review: Colonizing Consent: Rape and Governance in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, by Elizabeth Thornberry | The English Historical Review | Oxford Academic (

History Course Director featured on Sky Sports

Dr Dan Kilvington featured on Sky Sports 1, Friday 5 March, in a segment focusing on British South Asians in football. The piece included several other interviewees including Danny Batth, Jimmy Carter, Dinesh Gillela and Manisha Tailor MBE. It covered barriers to inclusion and highlighted ways to challenge racialised injustice in the game. Click here to watch. 

Dan was also appointed to an Expert Steering Group by Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) for a Google funded project investigating football, extremism and social media. The project involves experts from 10 European countries with Dan joining as the UK expert on the two-year project.

Senior Lecturer has produced a science fiction short story

Out of this intense reading period and inspired by recent events, Melanie Chan has produced a science fiction short story, The Enchantment of Speech, which is part of an online research project called Terra Two. The short story is set in a near future in which digital communication threatens to diminish speech. The story was written at a time when our opportunities for face-to-face conversation was drastically reduced. Yet at the same time our screen-based interactions dramatically increased,  providing vital social connection. The Enchantment of Speech invites us to imagine what would happen if we stopped talking to one another. On the other hand, it also offers an optimistic vision as the main character, Sono comes across archive footage of speech. Through this archive footage, Sono learns to talk and starts to relish the physical experience of speaking. 

Burrowing into science fiction stories, during the 2020-21 lockdown has offered insight into the covid19 pandemic. Station Eleven (2014) by Emily St. John Mandel is a post-apocalyptic novel, set in the wake of year zero (also called the collapse) after a flu epidemic has killed most of the world’s population. Yet there are moments of joy in the novel, as a band of travelling performers musicians bring song and dance to the places they visit as they travel across North America. Another science fiction story which seems to illuminate the growth of digital communications, especially Zoom (video conferencing) is The Machine Stops by E.M Forster (1909). At the same time as reading these science fiction stories, Mel studied non-fictional books about conversation such as Stephen Miller’s Conversation: A History of a Declining Art (2006) and Sherry Turkle’s Reclaiming Conversation (2015).

Research conducted during the pandemic and lockdown of 2020 reveals that voice calls increased in the United States because people wanted to hear the voice of family and friends because this provided comfort and reassurance. Indeed, an article in the New York Times by Cecilia Kang states that AT & T found that ‘…the number of cellular calls had risen 35 per cent and that Wi-Fi based calls had nearly doubled.’ Therefore, speech has not been overtaken by texting or social media posts which suggests that we are still enchanted by speech. 

To read The Enchantment of Speech follow the link below

Academics work on an interdisciplinary project

Jayne Raisborough, Susan Watkins and Rachel Connor have been working on an interdisciplinary project of women's ageing and the cultural industries. Their first peer reviewed journal article is now about to be published in the American Journal of Women and Aging,  Working with Natalie Pitimson from the University of Brighton, the team interviewed 4 established women actors as they rehearsed for a play exploring the impacts of ageing on women's lives. The article's contribution rests in thinking more critically about how representations of aging are tied to practices within the cultural industries themselves. They found that commercial ideas about what an audience want to see combined with how roles are imagined by producers and directors. This blocks older women actors' careers - sometimes as early as their 40th year -reducing them to one dimensional roles such as the 'curtain twitcher'. Their argument is that not only do we need older women actors to breathe life into roles, but we also need to attend to the loss of the skills and talent honed over a career.

Student's thesis passed

Lucie Wade's thesis '"Beyond the Control of his parents’: Juvenile Crimea, Reform and punishment in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 1856-1914' was passed with no revisions at her Viva.  Lucie has done all of her degrees with us.

Many thanks to the examiners, Helen Rogers and Shane Ewen, and to the chair Beccy Watson.  The words 'model thesis' were used, which should be framed along with the certificate. Special thanks to Jessica and Kelly for taking Lucie through her mock viva a couple of weeks ago.

The Leeds Blitz student project

Students from Cultural Studies and Humanities have contributed to the very successful project on the ‘Leeds Blitz’. This saw the creation of a website and an updated map showing the location of the bombs that fell during Leeds worst air raid in March 1941. The website and map were produced as part of the Public History Project module overseen by Dr Henry Irving and were a collaboration with Leeds Museums and Galleries, the Leeds Libraries and the West Yorkshire Archives Service. To read more click here.

Leeds Literature Festival 2021

Emily Zobel Marshall interviewed British-Trinidadian author and Costa Book Award Winner Monique Roffey in a headline event for the first digital Leeds Literature Festival and read her poetry for the David Oluwale Fundraising Event and the launch of the Peepal Tree Press anthology Weighted Words. Emily has had her poetry published in this collection of poems by the Inscribe Creative Writers Group. You can read the full article here.

Ilkley Literature Festival 

Emily also interviewed Dr. Corrine Fowler about her ground-breaking new book Green Unpleasant Land which explores the relationship between the British countryside and its colonial legacies for Ilkley Literature Festival. You can watch the full interview here.

V&A Caribbean History Course 
Emily was invited to deliver a lecture for the Victoria and Albert museum on the V&A Caribbean History course. The course is entitled ‘A History of the Caribbean 1673 – 1974’ and examines the relationship between Britain and the Caribbean through the V&A’s collections over a 301-year period.
Emily’s lecture was entitled ‘Whose Art Is It Anyway?’ and responded to a carnival costume held at the V&A designed by the famous carnival artist Peter Minshall. The costume was used as a means through which to discuss the history of carnival, cultural resistance and social justice.     
Hosting ‘From Where We Stand’ Podcast Episode. 
Emily also hosted the podcast episode ‘From Where We Stand’ for the Centre for Cultural Value. The episode was a conversation with the ‘Leeds 5’: Kully Thiarai, Amanda Huxtable, Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, Sharon Watson and Kathy Williams, five Leeds-based Black and Asian cultural leaders. Together they explore the health and wellbeing of the cultural sector workforce, and intersections with ethnicity and gender.
You can hear the full podcast episode here.
History's Subject Head has been tasked with undertaking latest review of the History subject benchmark statement

Dr Simon Morgan has been appointed to the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s Subject Benchmark Advisory Group for History, tasked with undertaking the latest review of the History subject benchmark statement.

Student's thesis success

Final year PhD student Fern Pullan submitted her thesis titled “Women’s Writing in Popular Genres, 1790-1879: Gothic, Silver Fork, and Sensation” at the end of March, and has been invited to contribute an article on silver fork novels to The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Victorian Women’s Writing by editor Lesa Scholl, due in the summer.

Lecturer has co-edited and published the first issue of a new literary magazine. 

Steve Nash has co-edited and published the first issue of a brand-new literary magazine. Alongside Poetry Business Book Award Winner Wendy Pratt, Steve launched Spelt Magazine to an online audience of over 100 attendees on Friday 2nd April (Good Friday), with guest readings from contributors including Carole Bromley, Penny Blackburn, James McDermott, John Foggin, and Award-winning Bloodaxe Poet, Aoife Lyall.

Spelt Magazine celebrates the rural experience through poetry and creative non-fiction, and aims to provide a platform for rural writers and to those creatives exploring nature, landscape, the interconnected nature of creative writing and the natural world and the liminality of natural areas within the urban landscape. 

There will be quarterly full-colour print issues, with Steve, as technical artist, handling the digital design. In addition to submissions being open for Issue 2, Spelt has launched its first competition with very special guest judge, Maggie Harris. 

You can follow Spelt on Twitter @magazinespelt
or on Instagram @spelt_magazine

Time Radio interview

Rachel Rich, together with Lisa Smith from University of Essex, was interview by Matt Chorley on Time Radio. 
If you missed it, you can hear it on The Red Box Podcast, starting at 15:28.

Funding awarded through the Teaching and Excellence Project

Jess van Horssen is part of a cross-School team that has been awarded funding through the Teaching Excellence Project to work with colleagues and students across Leeds Beckett on ways to decolonise the curriculum. The project will begin over the next few months, and all thoughts and suggestions on the process are welcome.


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By School of Cultural Studies and Humanities
02 Aug 2021
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