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July good news


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

Lecturer Dr Tim Livsey has been nominated to join the Research and Travel Grant Committee of the Lagos Studies Association and will work alongside colleagues from Nigeria, Switzerland and Britain.

Reader Dr Heather Shore gave the keynote lecture at Lives, Trials & Executions: Perspectives on Crime, a conference hosted by Liverpool John Moores University and co-organised by former Leeds Beckett BA and MA History student Stephen Basdeo. Heather talked about her new research on the history of Borstal. The research has been funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant.

The English with Creative Writing team were proud to partner with First Story, Bluemoose Books and Blackwell’s and contribute to the inaugural National Writing Day. In the build-up to last month’s event, a creative writing CPD workshop for teachers and educators was held at Broadcasting Place. This was followed by a round-table discussion, titled Writers on Writing, and held at the nearby Blackwell’s bookshop. National Writing Day is an Arts Council initiative, co-ordinated by the charity First Story, which aims to nurture creativity and confidence in secondary school pupils. Events were held up and down the country to celebrate the power of writing to change lives.

Dr Rachel Connor, Course Director for English with Creative Writing, was recently longlisted for the prestigious Mslexia short fiction prize. Her story, 'How to Curate A Life', which captures the experience of a digital death manager in a speculative near future, made the longlist from hundreds of entries worldwide.

Meanwhile, and as part of the English with Creative Writing team’s commitment to outreach and widening participation, Rachel edited and introduced an anthology of writing, 'Back to Our Future'. Published by First Story, the anthology was produced by pupils from Dixons Allerton Academy in Bradford following a series of creative writing workshops organised by Rachel and held at the school and at the Thackray Medical Museum.

Professor Jayne Raisborough delivered a successful keynote address at the Methodological Innovations Conference at Plymouth University. Her paper, 'Working Towards an Antidote for Anti-ageing', inspired poets Blaidh Nemorlith and Tim Francis to write a poem, which they performed at the end of the conference.

A one-day workshop, 'What Place for the Environment in the Arts & Humanities?', attracted a diverse audience of staff, students and external partners to the University and proved a great success. Organised by Senior Lecturer Dr Shane Ewen and Reader Dr Heather Shore and supported by the Centre for Culture and the Arts, it demonstrated the excellent research being undertaken by colleagues and PhD students in environmental humanities. Great feedback was received from those present about the innovative research the University is doing in areas like the digital humanities, urban environmental history and the history of health tourism, and it was particularly pleasing to hear two Heritage Consortium PhD students, Andrew McTominey and Mike Reeve, present their research. The day ended with a fascinating discussion about future research and collaboration opportunities, both across the School and outside the University. Professor Susan Watkins, Head of Subject Dr Lisa Taylor and John McGoldrick, Curator of Industrial History at Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills, gave considered contributions during the round-table discussion.

The Cultures of Environment, Space and Place research strand now has a Twitter account (@EnvSpace), enabling followers to join in discussions and hear about upcoming activities.

Last month, Senior Lecturers Dr Henry Irving and Dr Jessica van Horssen represented the School at the Leeds Local History Fayre. The event, now in its second year, was organised by Leeds Museums & Galleries. It brought together a range of local history societies and featured talks, stalls and craft activities. Henry and Jessica showcased projects currently being undertaken by the History team at Leeds Beckett and promoted awareness of the forthcoming Level 6 module Community History Workshop. It is hoped contacts made on the day will also prove beneficial for future student projects.

Part-time Lecturer Tosh Warwick was recently interviewed by Vice, a social liberal print magazine and website, for a feature on politics and history in Middlesbrough in the lead up to the General Election. The article, which references Tosh’s role at Leeds Beckett, can be found here.

Senior Lecturer Dr Peter Mills’ book, The Monkees, Head and the 60s, has found its way into some illustrious hands: Bob Rafelson, co-creator of The Monkees and director of the group’s 1968 film Head, and Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson, who co-wrote and co-produced the film with Bob. Here is the text of a note Bob sent to Peter’s publisher:

“Jack Nicholson actually brought the book to my attention. Since neither of us are inclined to read books talking about ourselves - or for that matter about the movie world - I was surprised with this one. Peter Mills is a scholar and teacher but began as a musician, so his appreciation of The Monkees both as phenomenon and critic is well-founded. The Monkees’ history is astonishing. As for Head, no-one has so thoughtfully elaborated on its meaning. The movie is elusive. But not to him or anyone who reads the book. And that includes me.”

Dr Heather Shore recently led a workshop on researching crime at Teesside Archives as part of an £8million Heritage Lottery Fund supported Middlesbrough Town Hall Project. The talk provided invaluable guidance to archives staff, local history research volunteers and the wider public and was also featured in the local press.

Dr Shane Ewen has written an article about the Grenfell Tower disaster and the historic failures in fire safety. The article was published by History & Policy and you can read it here.

Senior Lecturer Dr Henry Irving has been commissioned by History & Policy to write an Opinion Article on the lessons of the Blitz, in light of the Grenfell Tower fire. You can read the article here.

Head of Subject Dr Simon Morgan’s review of Henry Miller’s ‘Politics Personified: portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830-80’ (Manchester University Press, 2015) has been published in Parliamentary History, 36:2 (2017). The same volume contains a review of the final volume of the Letters of Richard Cobden, edited by Dr Morgan and Professor Anthony Howe.

The new National Trust Guidebook, Prejudice and Pride: Celebrating LGBTQ Heritage, written by Professor Alison Oram and Matt Cook, will be published in early July and will be on sale at selected National Trust properties. The wider National Trust project, Prejudice and Pride, will be launched on 20 July at Sutton House. Alison gave a paper ‘Queer Beyond London: Lesbian Migration and Settlement in English Provincial Cities 1965-2013’ at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians in June at Hofstra University.

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