Event: Free Workshop for GCSE English Language Students!

On Tuesday 7th May, Diseases of Modern Life will be back in Dorset this time to talk to students on the theme of Illness and Well-being in the Nineteenth Century. Using our free GCSE resources, we will situate Victorian ideas of health within the context of local literary legend Thomas Hardy’s writings, and encourage students to explore the links between fiction and non-fiction, as well as how preparation for English Language can aid you in English Literature (hint: it tests the same skills!).

The workshop will take place at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Central Dorchester, and the full programme can be seen below. We have sent invitations to all schools local to the area, but if you happen to be able to come along then please email catherine.charlwood@ell.ox.ac.uk to book places for your students – we’d be delighted to welcome you.

This workshop is the result of a collaboration between Diseases of Modern Life and the Thomas Hardy Society, specifically Dr Karin Koehler of Bangor University, Andrew Hewitt, who is undertaking a PhD on Thomas Hardy at the University of Hull, and – especially for the creative responses session – published author and Academic Director of the Thomas Hardy Society, Dr Faysal Mikdadi.

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 WRITING ABOUT ILLNESS AND WELL-BEING IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

7 May 2019 

Free English GCSE Students Workshop
at Shire Hall, Central Dorchester

to help prepare students for unseen non-fiction prose element of the GCSE exam

10.00-10.30am Arrival and registration
10.30-10.45am Welcome and overview of the day

·         Why we’re here: learning objectives and expectations for the day

·         How we’ll approach the topic of illness and well-being: what topics we’ll be reading about and discussing, and a chance to raise any concerns

10.45-11.30am Nature and well-being in Thomas Hardy

We will discuss a selection of poems/passages from the work of Thomas Hardy about the interactions, positive and negative, between people and nature. This will be our starting-point for thinking about what role nature might play in people’s well-being (globally and individually).

11.30am- 12.15pm Illness and well-being from the point of view of science and medicine

We will introduce a selection of non-fiction texts highlighting typical nineteenth-century concerns about illness and well-being – for example, the impact of sedentary lifestyles in urban settings and different theories about mental health – and explore some of the challenges for a 21st-century reader of understanding, analysing, and responding to such texts.

12.15-1.00pm FREE LUNCH
1.00-1.45pm Fiction versus non-fiction

Drawing on more examples from Thomas Hardy, who used non-fiction sources as an inspiration for his novels and stories, we will consider the relationship of fiction and non-fiction (which were less separate in nineteenth-century culture than now) to inform the analysis of nineteenth-century prose. How is reading a scientific or medical text different from reading fiction or poetry? How is it similar? How can English Language help you with English Literature and the other way around?

1.45-2.30pm Responding creatively to nineteenth-century concerns about illness and well-being

We will prepare creative responses – e.g. poems, short narratives, drawings – to the anxiety about the disconnection of nature and humans, in Hardy’s day and in ours. What links the nineteenth century to the present?

2.30-2.45pm Afternoon break

Refreshments provided

2.45-3.30pm Practical exercise

The day will end with a practical session in which participants and facilitators will collaborate on preparing an answer to a mock exam question featuring an unseen extract of nineteenth century literary non-fiction.

3.30-3.45pm Feedback
3.45pm Workshop ends

 

Teachers and students of English Literature at GCSE, IB or A Level might also be interested in the Thomas Hardy Society Essay Competition, which has a deadline of 30th April. As well as a £50 Amazon voucher, you could end up being published in a Thomas Hardy Society journal!

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Objects of Research: The Material Turn in Nineteenth-Century Literary Studies

A Half Day Workshop

The Woburn Room, Senate House Library

Monday, 18th July, 1pm to 6pm

The Victorians’ fascination with objects and things has proved equally fascinating to the field of Victorian Studies. In keeping with this ‘material turn’, the last decade has seen an upsurge in interdisciplinary, collections-based research that enriches our understanding of Victorian Literature while expounding upon the diverse material culture of the period.

This workshop is a means of learning more about the nature and methodologies of current object-led research in Victorian Studies, as well as the broader issues surrounding this kind of research such as using online resources, locating materials, and searching collections. Bringing together researchers and curators who work across the nineteenth century, we will be asking questions about how to ‘read’ objects, how to situate such materials within a broader historical context, and how to construct narratives based on object-based research.

* Registration is free, but booking is essential as places are limited. *

Please register via this link.

PROGRAMME

1.00 – 1.10                  Arrival and Registration

1.10 – 1.20                  Welcome and Introduction

1.20 – 2.30                  Session One: Buildings and Bodies

Verity Burke (Reading) ‘Corpora: Articulating Literature and Anatomy in Collections-Based Research’

Nicola Kirkby (KCL) ‘Sketching, Engineering, Plotting: Brunel and Paddington Station’

Emma Curry (Birkbeck) ‘Mad Hats: Dickens’s Material Languages’

2.30-2.45                     Tea Break

2.45 – 4.00                  Session Two: Materialities of Writing and Reading

Hannah Field (Sussex) ‘The Destructible Book: Children’s Novelties and Materialized Readers’

Joanna Robinson (Surrey) ‘Performance and Digital Palimpsests’

Katherine Ford (Science Museum) ‘The archives of the Royal Society and Victorian literary culture’

4.00-5.00                     Session Three: Conversations with Curators

                                    Tim Boon (Science Museum)

                                    Edwina Ehrman (V&A)

Kristin Hussey (QMUL

5.00-6.00                     Wine Reception, Montague Room

LOCATION

The workshop will take place in the Woburn Room, Senate House Library, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. For a map and travel information, please click here.

For more information, please contact the organiser, Dr Melissa Dickson, at melissa.dickson@ell.ox.ac.uk