English students organise and host Nottingham Trent University literary conference

Second year students hosted the conference, titled ‘Literary Cultures: Reclaiming Identity’ this December

The students developed and marketed the conference, titled 'Reclaiming Identity'
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The students developed and marketed the conference, titled 'Reclaiming Identity.' Image courtesy of Dr. Jenni Ramone

Students in their second year of BA (Hons) English organised and hosted a conference this December as part of their Literary Cultures module. As part of the module, students have to write, edit and publish an online  journal, as well as organising a conference to support and launch the work. The theme of both the conference and journal is ‘Reclaiming Identity and Resisting Oppression.’

Special guest for the day was BBC journalist and author Lainy Malkani, who read from her newly released short story collection, ‘Sugar, Sugar.’ The book focuses on Indian migrant workers in Guyana and has been inspired by her acclaimed two part series for BBC Radio 4, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas.’ She also hosts the podcast ‘The Social History Hub’  which aims to bring the stories of the migrants to life through capturing untold stories and curating audio-visual exhibitions. Not only did guests hear about her work, there was also an opportunity to get their books signed and ask Lainy questions, which was an invaluable experience for English students.

Also taking part in the day were NTU academics Rory Waterman and Jo Dixon who delivered a poetry reading based on the theme. Midlands 3 Cities PhD student Georgia Stabler also delivered a workshop on New York Times bestseller ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Housseni. Lecturers and students discussed cultural identities, migration and slavery in a compelling and eye opening day for students and staff alike.

English students planning the conference at NTU's Clifton Campus
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English students planning the conference at NTU's Clifton Campus

The conference signalled the launch of the students’ journal, which will be published in January 2018 and will also be titled ‘Reclaiming Identity.’ Students have written pieces for the journal as well as each taking a role in the organising and hosting of the conference. The module, designed and led by Dr Jenni Ramone, has enabled students to gain key employability skills and explore possible career paths such as marketing, events management and publishing.

Georgia Cunningham, student on the module and part of the marketing team for the event, has found the experience incredibly helpful. She told us: “Our conference and journal launch was, and continues to be, a unique experience to gain independence during our degree. Not only we were all given our own roles in order to help run both the conference and journal, but we were all also given the opportunity to write and publish something we should all be very proud of. Having students run their own module has taught us the importance of working as a team and has also completely brought us out of our comfort zones.”

English students organise and host Nottingham Trent University literary conference

Published on 14 December 2017
  • Category: Culture; School of Arts and Humanities

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