Induction, quizzing and the new year

 

We’ve had a great start to the new academic year. Lots of lovely and lively students joined us during induction week. Here are some photos from the Humanities Induction Quiz which was great fun.

We were impressed by the general and specific knowledge of the students, and especially by the incredibly high scoring winning team.  Here they are already enjoying their weetabix (other cereals and food groups are available):

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We’re looking forward to working with our new and returning students this year!

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

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.

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