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Cultural Studies & Humanities Good News

The latest good news from the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities.

Are you doing something cool?

York Festival of Ideas 
On 8 June, Dr Katherine Harrison ran a public workshop as part of York Festival of Ideas on Saturday 8th June 2019 with research colleagues, Dr Cassie Ogden (Liverpool John Moores) and Dr Helen Pleasance (York St John). 

The workshop, entitled 'The Unfinished Projects Project' drew on the researchers' on-going interest in the role of textile handicrafts in women's lives, identities, inter-generational relationships and memory-making. A variety of unfinished textiles projects, including knitting, crochet, embroidery and tapestry, were provided by the researchers and donated by members of the public. Some of these were inherited from grandmothers, mothers and family friends who had passed away or were unable to finish due to declining health. 


The challenge set was to add to the projects without 'finishing' them, while talking about personal stories and memories of domestic crafting. The workshop began with a talk about the researchers' scholarly work, including previously published research with 'knit and natter' focus groups and new work on the figure of the 'bad knitter' and unfinished knitting in twentieth-century literature, including Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse and the short stories of Elizabeth Taylor. 

The workshop was attended by 17 participants, many of whom gave consent to be contacted about involvement in future interviews and focus groups. The unfinished objects created and donated by the group will be exhibited at York St John University in September 2019 and later taken to a planned workshop in Liverpool's Fabric District, the historical heart of the city's rag trade, where new participants will be invited to add to and discuss the collaboratively produced artefacts from York.

The Annual Conference for the Heritage Consortium and North of England Consortium for Arts and Humanities
Supported by the Art and Humanities Research Council, this conference took place in the school at Broadcasting Place on 4 and 5 June.  Attendance at this event was part of the research training programme for the students we have in our school supported by doctoral bursary schemes. 

The conference hosted three keynote addresses: Professor Jerome De Groot (University of Manchester) spoke about the challenge to conventional history that is presented by the widespread uses of DNA in modern life; Professor Roey Sweet (University of Leicester) discussed the continuities between eighteenth-century antiquarianism and modern-day heritage conservation; and Dr Laura King (University of Leeds) and Ellie Harrison (independent artist) considered the value of interdisicplinarity in the making of history and memory in a presentation which showcased their funded project, ‘Journeys with Absent Friends’. Student presentations covered everything from the Norwegian ice trade to professional wrestling.

Dr James McGrath was interviewed for June 2019’s #ActuallyAutistic podcast about his book ‘Naming Adult Autism’, and read a poem from his new work ‘an autistic figuration’ Listen to the episode. 

Also this month, James travelled to Södertörn University, Sweden, to act as external examiner for a (highly commended) PhD on autism and imagination.  

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