Friday, 27 February 2015

Humanities Field Trip: William Blake exhibition in Oxford

Some of the English Literature Society on a day trip to Oxford, February 2015. Photo: H Weeks

In February  some Humanities students and staff made a day trip to Oxford to see the acclaimed William Blake exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum. William Blake: Apprentice and Master traced Blake’s life through his developing artistic vision, and focused in particular upon his remarkable techniques in print and image.  Blake ran wild as a young boy, drawing and copying when he should have been at school; but his education, learned in the streets, churches and print-shops of London, could not have been better in forming his creativity. The exhibits included variations on plates from Songs of Innocence and Experience and a complete series of Europe: A Prophecy, as well as a recreation of Blake’s workshop at Hercules Buildings, Lambeth (demolished in 1912). Blake’s use of relief etching, whereby the artist painted directly onto the copper plates, adding the text in mirror writing, revealed the artist’s mastery across media; and it demonstrated how Blake pushed the boundaries of conventional technique to breaking point.  Blake’s work (and working practices) manifests what Los states in The Book of Urizen: ‘I must create a system or be enslav’d by another man’s’.

It was the first visit to Oxford for one or two students, and there was much to explore, but one could spend the day absorbing the city’s atmosphere, looking around the Bodleian and wandering among the colleges.  Bethany Norris, second-year English Literature student, took some great photos (and there are more on our Flickr gallery here.

Photos: Bethany Norris

Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark-charmèd, rook-racked, river-rounded…
                                Gerard Manley Hopkins, from ‘Duns Scotus’s Oxford’

We all agreed on three things: that Blake is a genius; that Oxford is beautiful; and that we want to go on more field trips. Thanks to all who joined us and made the visit such a success. More trips are planned for April, and everyone is welcome.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Theatre Trip: Cheltenham Everyman, David Hare 'Absence of War' March 19th

On March 19th English Literature students have the opportunity to go and see David Hare's politcial play 'Absence of War' at Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre. We study David Hare on the third year theatre module 'Staging the Twentieth Century and Beyond' so this is very fortuitous! However, everyone is welcome.

Tickets cost £12 (rather than £26) and numbers need to be confirmed by Friday 27th February. So please email Rebecca Bailey ( if you would like to attend.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

'Back to the Future' Alumni Supper brings current students and graduates together

Dr Debby Thacker organised a special careers event last week that brought current Humanities students and graduates together to talk about careers. Bethany Norris, third-year English Literature student and President of the UoGlos English Literature Society, reports.

Thanks to Debby Thacker (who I’m sure we’re already missing!), a supper was arranged where past students came and talked to current students about their careers and how they got to be there. All the guest speakers had something unique to offer us.

Alex Beresford, an ITV weatherman and who is also currently on Channel Four’s Britain's Most Extreme Weather, spoke first and told us how he broke into media. What stood out most was that he never gave up, despite that industry being so hard to get into. He believed that he could do it, and although it wasn’t a straightforward path to where he is now, he got there with hard work and determination. He wasn’t afraid to ask for opportunities or jobs. After all, how can a potential employer consider you if you don’t let them know you want to be considered? 

In fact, that was something that everyone said. They couldn’t put enough emphasis on asking potential employers for internships, work experience or positions that you would like. As many of us already know work experience is really important for making applications, building a CV and making sure that’s the career path that you want to go down. Many of the alumni were proof of this; some had graduate level jobs from completing work experience or internships with their current employers. They also said the contacts they made through other placements helped them further their careers as well. 

Further study was also discussed as many humanities students will go on to do a MA, PGCE or even a PhD. Although post-graduate study is mainly self-funded there are loans, grants and bursaries available depending on where you go and what you do.

The main message I got from talking to the alumni is that it’s all right to not know exactly what you’re going to do after education, and that it’s ok to change your mind. You just have to do what makes you happy. 

Dr Debby Thacker with ITV broadcaster Alex Beresford. Dr Beresford holds a BA Hons in English Literature and an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire. More pictures in our Flickr gallery.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Acclaimed nature writer, broadcaster Tim Dee to speak at the University of Gloucestershire

The School of Humanities is proud to host Tim Dee, the acclaimed nature writer, naturalist, BBC radio producer and broadcaster, at our latest Humanities Public Lecture on Thursday 19 February. Tim Dee works at the intersection between language and the natural world. His first book, The Running Sky (2009), meditates on a year's birdwatching. The poet Kathleen Jamie credits Dee for sensitising her ear to the natural world, and remarks that 'an outing with him is a lesson in listening; several poets owe what listening skills we have to Dee's tuition'. *  Four Fields (2013) reconfigures the field study as fields (of) study - of landscape, nature and cultural study - in Montana, Ukraine, Zambia and the Fens.

Tim Dee's lecture on Thursday evening, 'Atlantic Seaboard and Lodgings: Spring Seeking at the Edge of an Ocean' explores a new project: a personal and poetic response to Spring. We hope very much you'll join us for this special event. We'd like in particular to extend a warm welcome to our Applicant Day visitors who will have met us in the afternoon; please stay for the lecture and join us for a remarkable evening.

Book your place through the University's Online Store, here.

Humanities Public Lecture: Tim Dee

Thursday 19 February
Francis Close Hall, UoG

7:30pm, TC001

Everyone is welcome

*Kathleen Jamie, review of Four FieldsGuardian, 24 August 2013.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

English Literature news round-up

All sorts of things are going on in English Literature during the next fortnight and beyond. First, we are really delighted that some level 5 students have relaunched the English Literature Society. Affiliated with the Student Union, the Society is run by and for Humanities students, and it's tremendous asset to students as well as to our course. The team is looking for members to join the organizing committee, so whatever your interest in literature, and whatever your level of commitment, they'd love to hear from you.  Find them on Facebook (English Literature Society at the University of Gloucestershire) or contact Beth Norris.

It's never too early to think about where you will take your degree - or where your degree will take you. We know how highly a good honours degree is valued in the world of work, and we've invited some of our successful graduates to supper to tell you all about their experiences. Back to the Future is an informal gathering of graduates, current students and other guest speakers on Friday 13 February in TC006A/B.  Our students become journalists, researchers, academics, teachers, TV presenters, booksellers, events managers...the list goes on. Whatever stage of your journey you're on, you're warmly invited to join us.  The event is free but you MUST book your place via the Online Shop, so that we know how much grub we need to order. Click here for a link to the Store. Places are still available.

There's more. On Tuesday 17 February we're offering a Humanities field trip to the celebrated William Blake exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford. Then on Thursday 19 February, we're running a special Applicant Day for future students of English Literature. Come and experience what it's like to study with us, with 'taster' sessions and a chance to talk to our team of tutors. Book your place here.

And on the evening of Applicant Day, please stick around for the latest in our Humanities Public Lectures series. Tim Dee, nature writer, photographer and radio presenter, will be speaking. ‘Atlantic Seaboard and Lodgings: Spring Seeking at the Edge of an Ocean’ focuses on Tim's latest project – a personal and lyrical view of the spring. The event is free to students and staff, with booking through the Online Store.  More details to follow.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Come to our Applicant Day, Thursday 19 February

Our Applicant Days will give you first-hand experience of what it's like to study for a degree in English Literature, and English Literature with Creative Writing, with us. Please join us on Thursday 19 February to meet the team and to take a 'taster' seminar.  We hope you'll also join us that evening for our Humanities Public Lecture series. Time Dee, broadcaster and nature writer, is our special guest.

You can book online here: Book your place at the Applicant Day.

We look forward to seeing you on the 19th February.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Humanities Field Trip: William Blake Exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

We are going to Oxford to see William Blake: Apprentice and Master at the Ashmolean Museum on Tuesday 17 February. The exhibition is the Ashmolean’s major winter event, and it is in its last few days, so if you haven't seen it yet, now is your chance.  English Literature and other Humanities students won’t want to miss this trip, particularly students on HM5303 and the English seminars of HM5000.

Places are limited so please book through the Online Store at once, where you will find booking details. If you can't use the link, go to the Student Homepage and look for the link to the Store on the left-hand side.

Please note: the £7 ticket price includes student concession. You must bring your Student ID card with you on the day to obtain a ticket at this price.