Blogpost by Masuda Qureshi, CHASE Associate Student at Birkbeck, University of London In the vast sea of academia, being a black or minority ethnic doctoral researcher can often feel overwhelming and isolating. Far too often academia, particularly senior researchers, are amongst the white, the Oxbridge educated, and elite - how can we change this dynamic and what value non-white or British researchers have – are amongst some of the questions raised at the BAME Doctoral Researchers Event held at the British Library, July 2019.
by Nicole Mennell (CHASE-funded and University of Sussex alumni) I successfully defended my PhD thesis in March 2019 after 4 (and a bit) years of researching, writing, editing and rewriting 100,000 words. My thesis, entitled ‘Shakespeare’s Sovereign Beasts: Human-Animal Relations and Political Discourse in Early Modern Drama’, explores the ways in which animals were used to represent and complicate concepts of sovereignty in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature.
In my capacity as Chair of the CHASE Student Committee for Action and Communication, it is a pleasure to warmly welcome our new students to their CHASE PhDs and welcome back the rest of the cohort to what I’m sure will be a jam-packed year.
My placement with the British Antarctic Survey Archives was designed to share some of the fascinating material in the archives with school students, and to raise their awareness of Antarctic science. Placement blogpost by Elizabeth Lewis Williams, CHASE funded student at UEA.
With just a few days remaining in my role as Director of CHASE, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you the very best with your doctoral research - whether you are about to start, are just getting stuck in or are working to an imminent submission deadline.
Sunday, the last full day of the residency. I slept a full ten hours, uncharacteristically, as if my body was already anticipating the early mornings and structured time to which it would soon be returning. It promised to be a fine day, so I set off on long stroll through the Cheshire countryside.
By Friday, everyone had established a morning routine. I had some fruit, cereal and black coffee and then started writing, in the little nook of Scarlet Hall that had become my personal work space over the past week.
I wake early, go downstairs for coffee. The rain is my constant companion. Back upstairs with the coffee, in bed, I write. About anything. The only rule is that I write by hand. Today I copy out two poems: Some Trees by John Ashbery, and To Be of Use by Marge Piercy. I love the rhythm of poetry to start a day.
On May 10-11th 2019, PhD Candidates Sofia Cumming (University of East Anglia, 2017 Cohort) and Federica Mure (Goldsmiths, 2018 Cohort) put together a programme of events centred on the work of German-Jewish philosopher and critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940).
This piece is a response to a seminar on ‘Politics and reflexivity when studying conflict’ organised by doctoral students from the Courtauld Institute of Art that took place at Birkbeck University on the 19th March 2019. This issue is suggestive for my doctoral project because I am looking at the representation of the First and Second Congo War in popular culture but I am neither Congolese nor of African origin.
This story starts with a letter. As I was sitting in the Houghton Library of Harvard University in the first year of my PhD, I was drawn to a beautifully calligraphed manuscript, inked in an elegant cursive hand.
Intelligent Futures was a postgraduate and ECR conference, supported by CHASE DTP and Sussex Humanities Lab. Over the course of two days, the conference challenged researchers to find original, philosophical and cultural approaches to Artificial Intelligence. The interdisciplinary explorations spanned the social sciences, informatics, psychology, art, literature and more, promoting critical and speculative engagements with technical cognition.
There was a man from London who said his family was from St Lucia; a woman whose accent I couldn’t quite place from the South-West of England; an Iranian poet committed to changing the narrative of queer, female representation in Iran; a Scot who when he opened his mouth I swore was from Barbados (he wasn’t, but his partner was);
Nadifa Mohamed gave a masterclass at UEA on ‘Writing Violence: Literature as Reportage/Recovery’ and she began by sharing with the group how she came to write her debut novel Black Mamba Boy, for which she won the 2010 Betty Trask Award. The novel is a fictionalised account of her father’s experiences as a child and young man in Africa in the 1930s and 40s.
By Elspeth Latimer (CHASE funded student, University of East Anglia)
We began the day with dedicated writing time, where people were free to take up position on the lawns or the garden table or the sofas or the dining table, or the many benches scattered around Great Barn Farm.
Today was the first day of discussions and workshops—and what a perfect place in which to do all these! The weather was wonderful, the atmosphere serene and contemplative, the people all friendly and smart.
The focus of my PhD is ekphrasis in response to modernist paintings, especially those that are very dark or near-black. One example is a poem I wrote about Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square (recently published in The Ekphrastic Review).
NDACA, the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive, is a £1-million Heritage Lottery Fund project which celebrates and preserves this history; the protests, songs and artwork of the individuals who were central to this unique movement. From the satirical cartoons of Crippen, to the subversive cabaret performances of ‘The Tragic but Brave Show’, NDACA tells these stories, bringing new digital and object meaning to the Disability Arts Movement.
With a focus on housing and public space, the first of three sessions co-organised by the ICA, the Architecture Space and Society Centre at Birkbeck (ASSC), and CHASE brought together practitioners, theorists, activists and students to try and answer what might at first seem like a trick question. ‘Where is the social in Architecture?’ Surely the answer is ‘everywhere’? After all, is there any aspect of architectural space and architectural practice which is not thoroughly social?