The language of the lake

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Today’s puzzle from Alex Bellos in The Guardian requires a range of skills which can be developed in English Language programmes (and in other subjects, including maths).

As Alex says, today’s puzzle is ‘hard, but not impossible’. He also suggests that working on puzzles like this can help you develop the skills needed to find a job with technology firms such as google. That suggestions is based on this article by Sam Gibbs in which he reports thoughts from google’s head of search, Ben Gomes.

Alex’s puzzle is one that has been used in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, one of several linguistics olympiads held around the world which then select teams to enter the International Linguistics Olympiad. The UK Linguistics Olympiad has been  very successful with lots of school students taking part each year.

You have until 5pm UK time today to solve it before Alex reveals the answer . . .

 

Clearing Day 2018

It’s clearing day at Northumbria. Several colleagues are helping answer calls from applicants for our BA courses in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing and also our Foundation Year in Humanities.

The clearing hotline number here is 0800 085 1085

If you’re not involved in clearing and/or would like to read some thoughts from colleagues in English at Northumbria, here are some recent articles which appeared in The Conversation:

Tony Williams on the story Cat Person and #metoo

Claire Nally on graphic novels

Katy Shaw on why the novel is not dead

Sarah Duffy on how we think about time

Claudine van Hensbergen on Hamilton

Here also is a piece by colleagues at Bradford and Swansea on how students use social media in making decisions about university applications

Character to Caricature

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Character to Caricature 1660 to 1850 is a one-day conference organised by Northumbria Postgraduate student Montana Davies-Shuck (Northumbria) and Jenny Buckley (York).

It takes place in the Institute of Humanities at Northumbria on the 3rd of September 2018.

The keynote speaker is Elaine McGirr (Bristol).

You can find full details of the programme at:

@Character2018 or http://www.character2018.wordpress.com/

It should be a great day!

 

EU-Speak Event 20-21 July: New ideas on adult language learning

EU-Speak July 2018

We are very much looking forward to hosting an important event at Northumbria on the 20th and 21st of July, in collaboration with colleagues at Newcastle University and a number of international partners.

The event, organised by the Eu-Speak Project, presents and explores new ideas for teaching adults to learn to read in a new language for the first time.

The EU-Speak Project is an eight-year project working to make a difference in the educational outcomes for immigrants with little or no education. It involves a number of international partners, including colleagues here at Northumbria and at Newcastle University. The project has already been very successful, developing a range of important findings and useful materials, and it continues to grow and to make significant progress, You can read about the project here

The event will include a wide range of workshops and hands-on activities.

Here are links where you can find out more and book a place:

EU-Speak event website

EU-Speak event flyer and programme

Registration form

There is a fee to attend but bursaries are available (see registration form for details)

If you have any queries about the event, please contact Rola Naeb

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Matthews wins Welshpool poetry competition

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Final-year PhD candidate/PGR researcher Lisa Matthews has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Welshpool Poetry Festival competition. The event took place over the weekend of 8/9 June, and festival judge Andrew McMillan said of Lisa’s prize-winning entry:

‘Gaze’ is a poem that I’m still working out each time I read it; the definite nature of the title is misleading, it’s a kaleidoscopic, shifting poem which keeps returning the reader to a place of uncertainty. Each time we return to it things appear slightly clearer, we see a little more, but then the ground moves beneath us again. It’s as if we are looking at the world through a diamond.

Lisa’s doctoral research at Northumbria explores the role of prose poem sequences in transforming life experience into poetry; and ‘Gaze’ is a prose poem triptych taken from an emergent practice strand.

The news is timely as Lisa’s fourth collection, Callisto, has just been released by Scotland-based publisher Red Squirrel Press. Callisto is made entirely of interconnected prose poem sequences and Gillian Allnutt has described Callisto as a “courageous book, clear-eyed, unflinching”. For more details about Lisa and her writing/research visited her academic profile and writer’s portfolio.

To read Lisa’s prize-wining poem ‘Gaze’ visit the Welshpool website, where you can also view Andrew McMillan’s full statement about the selected poems, and get more information about this annual festival.

Writers and intellectuals on Britain and Europe, 1918–2018

Here again is the call for papers for a major conference coming up in November.  The deadline for abstracts is 30 July 2018.

. . .

CALL FOR PAPERS

Writers and intellectuals on Britain and Europe, 1918–2018: 

An international conference 

Northumbria University | Newcastle upon Tyne | 1-2 November 2018

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Prof. Jason Harding (University of Durham)

Prof. Bob Eaglestone (Royal Holloway, University of London)

(For additional confirmed speakers, please see https://europeanconversations.com/programme/)

The British EU Referendum on 23 June 2016 once more threw into relief Britain’s conflicted relationship to and with the rest of Europe. While newspaper discourse and political rhetoric have been the focus of much popular and critical attention, debates around the referendum and its likely consequences have not been limited to journalists and politicians. Writers and academics were among those publicly commenting on Britain’s position in Europe, from J.K. Rowling, whose vocal tweets courted controversy among her fans, to EU law expert Professor Michael Dougan (University of Liverpool), whose videos on the subject of the Brexit campaign and its impact have been viewed by millions of people in Britain and abroad. 2017 also saw the emergence of what was quickly dubbed ‘BrexLit’, including high-profile titles such as Ali Smith’s Autumnor Adam Thorpe’s Missing Fay.

This conference seeks to connect the diverse literary and scholarly interventions in current and recent Brexit debates with earlier interventions by British writers and intellectuals into the relationship between Britain and Europe. It aims to bring together creative writers and researchers in literary and cultural studies with an interest in Britain and Europe to facilitate an exchange of ideas and encourage cross-period and cross-disciplinary exchange. The central questions and concerns to be addressed by the conference – Britain’s relationship to Europe and the place of writers and intellectuals in the process of defining this relationship – are likely to remain topical for some time to come, as Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union progresses through the negotiating stages.

The conference sessions will cover three main strands: (1) European debates of the inter-war years and the 1940s, (2) literary interventions in the wake of the 1975 United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum, and (3) present-day writers and intellectuals and the Brexit debate. The conference will offer a space to address any kinds of interventions, both for and against closer ties between Britain and Europe.

Three central questions will be addressed by the conference: 

(1) What contributions did/do writers and intellectuals make to debates about Britain’s integration into Europe in the public sphere? 

(2) How did/do writers and intellectuals reflect privately and in correspondence with each other on matters relating to Britain’s integration into Europe?

(3) What motivations drove/drive writers and intellectuals’ involvement in these debates, and how are these articulated? 

The conference looks at writers’ and intellectuals’ contributions to Anglo-European debates over the past century, seeking to draw out parallels and to establish challenges and opportunities. A public round table event will serve to articulate some of the lessons to be drawn from such a comparison, and will look at the experience of writers and academics who have themselves intervened in debates around Brexit.

We invite proposals for papers from researchers and writers that speak to any one of the conference strands and/or questions. Please send abstracts of up to 300 words, accompanied by a short biographical statement and contact details, to Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus at ann-marie.einhaus@northumbria.ac.ukEXTENDED deadline for submitting abstracts: 30 July 2018.

Thanks to generous support from UACES, there will be some support available for postgraduate speakers without institutional travel funds. Please indicate on your proposal whether you wish to be considered.

The conference website is www.europeanconversations.com

Bridges and Oceans (well, one ocean)

building bridges

It’s a busy week for Humanities colleagues at Northumbria.  With assessment boards over, we’ve been reviewing the delivery of modules and programmes this academic year and preparing for next.  There are lots of good things to celebrate, including lots of great achievements by students and staff, and we have lots of good ideas for next year.

Tomorrow, we have two important events happening on campus.

First, we are being visited by school subject leaders and teachers of English and History for our Building Bridges day.  We will spend the day discussing some of of our teaching and other activities and exploring ways we can work together to develop resources and activities to support teaching and project work.

One focus of the day will, of course, be how things have changed recently, including the effects of GCSE and A Level reforms.

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After that, Lynne Murphy will be giving the Northumbria Annual Linguistics Lecture, exploring differences between British and American English.  Bookings for this quickly got close to our initial capacity so we adapted things so we can accommodate a bigger audience. It’s not too late to book a place:

Separated by a Common Language? Northumbria Annual Linguistics Lecture

We’ll tell you more about how things go after tomorrow