English makes a splash at the University Festival 2018


The annual University Festival offers everyone the chance to step away from teaching, learning and, yes, marking, and to take part in some exciting events. As usual, the School was well represented, from the Being Human postgraduate conference How Hidden Narratives Challenge Authority to the Edible Garden and much more. Naturally, we in English are celebrating our own achievements!

The Festival of Learning brought together students and staff for a day to talk about how we learn, and how learning can bring about social change. Dr Hilary Weeks gave a presentation on exchanging feedback roles as a way of helping students understand their work better.

We also celebrated our contribution to online learning and a more sustainable world. Last year, English Course Leader Professor Arran Stibbe, along with his team of student interns, developed and launched a free online course, The Stories We Live By.  To date, 1200 students have enrolled, and 77,000 people worldwide have visited the site. One of the English interns, Charlotte Dover, exhibited her work on the course at the Festival. It also marked the end of Charlotte’s tenure as English Social Media Student Intern and her impending graduation with BA Hons in English Literature and Language. She contributed so much to the course during her three years. We’ll miss you, Charlotte!

Charlotte Dover, Class of 2018.

And Professor Arran Stibbe’s inaugural lecture, The Search for New Stories To Live By, brought the Festival of Learning to a close. In a lecture whose references ranged from all-American hamburgers to Japanese cartoons, from haiku to pop songs, and, as always, the weather forecast, Arran explained how the language we use and the stories we hear and tell determine how we see the world, and our place in it. The Vice-Chancellor introduced Arran and Jane Cantwell, Head of School of Liberal and Performing Arts, gave the vote of thanks. Members of the public, students and staff gathered for a reception afterwards, and even the geese at Park were happy.

Photos courtesy of C. Randall, A. Stibbe and C. Dover.

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