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Next Generation: Arts Lecture Series

The Open University is pleased to announce a new series of free online talks showcasing the ground-breaking research being carried out by PhD students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

From ancient artefacts to Elizabethan grieving, to creative practices in novel-writing, for fascinating talks by our PhD students in the School of Arts and Humanities join us every Wednesday from 26 April – 24 May. The 30-minute talks, plus Q&A, will be held online and are open to everyone.

Meet the Next Generation in Arts and Social Sciences - OU's Kevin Shakestaff invites you

About the talks

Sign up through the links provided below. The talks will also be recorded and made available later on the FASS website, and YouTube channel. We look forward to seeing you there!

Date and time Title Speakers

Wednesday 26 April @ 1-2PM

Life, Legacy, Fact, Fiction, and Form: How research shapes creative practice in a novel about Gertrude Bell

As a distant relative of political officer, archaeologist and writer, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) Rebekah has always been fascinated by Bell’s achievements and legacies.

This talk will explore how Practice-research works, and the impact fiction can bring to redressing the past for modern audiences, through the specific lens of Gertrude Bell who helped to build the nation state of Iraq.

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone (English and Creative Writing)

Wednesday 26 April @ 7-8PM

The Limitations of Historical and Fictional Representations of Jewish People in the Nineteenth Century

How did historians and novelists construct an idea of Jewishness during the nineteenth century? This talk will consider a historiographical approach to examine novels and histories about Jewish people in the period.

Antonia will examine the ideological perspective of the writer, the narrative strategies in both novels and histories, and how each historian and novelist responded to contemporary events and movements, and to social anxieties about the so-called 'Jewish Question'. 

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Antonia Saunders (English and Creative Writing)

Date and time Title Speakers
Wednesday 3 May @ 1-2PM

Elizabeth I: Emotion and her Effigy

This talk will focus on the emotional impact of Elizabeth I’s funeral effigy. 

This event was the catalyst for Claire’s research, and thesis subject ‘Emotion and Elizabethan Royal Ceremonies’.

Claire’s research comes at a significant moment in British history particularly, as we live through the passing of a long reigning Elizabethan monarch more than 400 years later.  

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Claire Ashwell (History)

Wednesday 3 May @ 7-8PM

From Here to Eternity’: Non-linearity in Creative Writing, Physics, and the Romantic Sublime.

Zoe’s talk will focus on depictions of non-linear time within contemporary ‘time slip’ novels, and question how these may be linked – especially through the work of Romantic and Pre-Raphaelite writers and artists – to a growing understanding of the fluid, non-linear properties of time as posited in modern theoretical physics.

By utilising practice-based creative research, as well as sharing some of her own creative work-in-progress, she will detail the pursuit of fresh ways to authentically represent our human experiences of time.

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Zoë Marriott (English and Creative Writing)

Date and time Title Speakers
Wednesday 10 May @ 1-2PM

Style over Substance? Stylistic analysis as a tool for the study of bronze figurines from pre-Roman Italy

Mirjam researches a group of bronze votive figurines, c. 6th-3rd century BCE. These figurines are our main surviving source for understanding the religious practices and beliefs of the people who inhabited the region of Umbria before the Roman conquest.

In this lecture, Mirjam will discuss how stylistic analysis has been used to study these enigmatic figurines in the past, and how it can be used today to find new answers to questions about their production, use, and meaning.

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Mirjam von Bechtolsheim (Classical Studies)

Wednesday 10 May @ 7-8PM

The Nineteenth Century Inquest: A Social History of Sudden Death

In the nineteenth century, inquests were public community events, drawing people from all social classes together to investigate the circumstances of a sudden death.

Sophie’s talk will examine the role of the inquest as an important legal function, and a gateway into the justice system following a suspicious death.

The proceedings – often reported verbatim in the local press – are a fascinating insight into Victorian life, death and society, lifting the curtain on domestic life, working practices, and interpersonal relationships. 

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Sophie Michell (History)

Date and time Title Speakers
Wednesday 17 May @ 1-2PM

Beyond the joke: cartoons in early post-war France, 1944-1946

Despite the joy and relief of the Liberation, the French had to face many challenges in the immediate post-Second World War. They were hungry and cold, and many had lost their homes and family members, still displaced or deceased. The country was ideologically divided and had suffered much destruction. And yet, a surprising number of humorous drawings were printed in French publications between 1944 and 1946.

This talk explores, through cartoons from the Chadwyck-Healey Liberation Collection, what people were laughing about at the end of this terrible conflict, and what functions humour had in rebuilding the French nation. 

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Sophie Dubillot (History)

Wednesday 17 May @ 7-8PM

"A vision which no one who saw it forgot to the day of his death": dreams of flight in late-Victorian scientific romance

The late-nineteenth century saw an increasing interest in powered flight, an interest reflected in the early science fiction of the time.

Adam’s talk will explore the parallels and the divergences in the inventions of the real world and the imaginative ideas of what writers such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, and how these authors imagined powered flight might change the world.  

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Adam Baldwin (English and Creative Writing)

Date and time Title Speakers
Wednesday 24 May @ 1-2PM

Decolonisation and Immigration: What We Can Learn from Kamala Markandaya's ‘The Nowhere Man'

This talk will focus on the novel ‘The Nowhere Man’, published in 1972 by the British-Indian novelist Kamala Markandaya.

Set in a south London suburb in the 1960s, Markandaya’s novel recounts the experience of an elderly Indian, Srinivas, who becomes the target of racially motivated attacks perpetrated by Fred Fletcher, his neighbours’ unemployed son, who blames recent immigrants for his own misfortunes. 

Anne will explore the ways in which the novel provides a complex picture of race relations in 1960s Britain, and ask what it can tell us about today’s multi-cultural society.

Sign up for this event via Microsoft Teams

Anne Wetherilt (English and Creative Writing)

Joining the talks

These talks will be held on MS Teams, and are best viewed on a desktop or laptop PC, where you can join through your usual browser without creating a Teams account. To join through a mobile phone or tablet you will need to download Teams. Your camera and mic will be off for the duration of the talk, which will be recorded. You will be able to ask questions through a chat bar. For more information on joining an MS Teams call without an account, visit the Microsoft support website.

What comes next?

Next Generation: Arts will be followed later in the summer by Psychology and Social Sciences series, so look out for more information on the FASS website.

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