English and Comparative Literature Department Tour

Hiya, I’m Tash and I’m a 3rd year, BA English student here at Goldsmiths and today I’m just going to give you a little taster of some of the things we get up to here in the English Department and our first stop is the Richard Hoggart Building where you’ll have a lot of your lectures I’m going to take us to meet Charlotte Scott who’s invited us into her Shakespeare lecture this morning What kind of approach to do you take to teaching Shakespeare? What’s most important is that each student finds their own way in my job is not to impose readings or to force a kind of particular understanding of Shakespeare but to show the massive, extraordinary opportunities that he offers The lecture is really important for just kind of formulating how you feel about the play but then in the seminars that’s the point where you can say how you feel, you can challenge the lecture and you can really start to think about the sort of, dialogic nature of the plays So we’re outside the Warmington Tower now this is where all the English Department Staff’s offices are and we’re going to go and speak to a few of them Hello! We met with you teaching me Modern American Fiction One of the things that I was brought to Goldsmiths to teach was African American Literature Something I love about teaching is bringing these authors to students’ attention to read the history and the sort of social and historical context around the books At Goldsmiths we kind of read things maybe slightly differently that are out of the traditional white Western canon so it opens up different areas of study I think that’s one of the things that makes it a subject that students really get excited about You’re assigned a personal tutor in your first year and you stay with them through those three years It is nice to have that initial point of contact with someone you know on a personal level One of the Research Centres we have here at Goldsmiths is the Centre for Caribbean and Diaspora Studies run by Joan Anim-Addo We have within the Centre, a space of diversity and a space of diversity that has been active within the college and within the community for 30 years It’s highly unusual for a university to have this kind of space So what do we do? Over time it’s changed but because of my focus we do a lot on Caribbean Literature but we have always worked in a very interdisciplinary way because of the way in which the Centre was set up when it was a very, very difficult time for Caribbean migrants Obviously being English students, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the Goldsmiths Library They keep all the literature up on the 2nd floor but if you’re really interested in old books you must check out the Special Collections You read so much about them and research articles about them on computers and on screens nowadays so to see them with original illustrations, original bindings, is such a unique experience So this is a deluxe edition of the Prologue to the Wife of Bath, part of the Canterbury Tales Look at that Coming to Goldsmiths you are part of the University of London which means you automatically get access to Senate House Library in Central London to study The English Department place a strong focus on cultivating a creative writing practice and one of the ways they encourage this is through The Goldsmiths Prize It’s for unconventional writing exciting, innovative, challenging writing and people who are bold enough to actually find the form to say what they want to say The great thing for students is it brings the most exciting contemporary writers to the College We’ve had Howard Jacobson delivering one of our key lectures we’ve had Ali Smith and there’ll usually be talks on craft and we have book launches and as a writer myself I think fostering that community is important for your life as a student but also going forward So English PEN are about to have a meeting in here and we’re just going to go check it out What happens at English PEN, what’s it about? So English PEN fights for freedom of speech so one side of it is we campaign for writers that have been exiled for what they write and then the other side is kind of making Goldsmiths students recognise the privilege that we have to be able to have a space where we can voice our own opinions We’ve got a week planned where we’re going to do writing workshops, translation workshops Doing events with the Black Arts Collective, doing events with the Debate Society we’re trying to get as many collaborations in as possible to get a really nice diverse range of people Of the committee here, three of us do Anthropology and two of us do English So it’s a nice way to meet other students and get involved in writing but you don’t have to be part of the English Department to do it Thanks so much! To round off our tour I’m going to take us to The Word which is our local, independently run bookshop You can find a lot of the texts that you’ll study on the English courses in there and a massive plus, there’s loads of cafes in the local area both on and off campus so you can sit and study or just relax

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