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English students take part in Student Symposium to share their research on Literature and Psychoanalysis

Students in their second year came together to share presentations, videos and educational resources on the topic

English student Naomi presenting at Student Symposium
English student Naomi Hollis presenting her work to her peers in the audience

Students in their second year of our BA (Hons) English course took part in a Symposium this month in order to share their work for the module ‘Literature and Psychoanalysis.’ The theme for the day centred on Freud’s theories, with students exploring sub themes including dreams, hysteria and sexuality among others.

The day kicked off with a keynote speech from Dr Jo Dixon, who recently gained her PhD from Nottingham Trent University and is now a Research Assistant for the English, Media and Creative Cultures department. Students then presented their work in one of four ways: a presentation, a short Educational Resource suitable for a museum website, a video or a poster. This interactive method of presenting research was inspired by investigation into the Freud Museum London website, which contains informative videos, photographs and learning points on the various themes.

The cohort have been investigating the subject of Literature and Psychoanalysis for the last term. They have explored ideas about the human psyche and analysed how different writers might have used these in various periods throughout history. Rather than using psychoanalysis to diagnose an author or character’s illness, the students talked about the relationship between literature and psychoanalysis and what they can tell us about each other. Reading literary, theoretical and clinical material, students explored ideas including madness, sexuality, and trauma.

Ryan Marshall Presenting at the English Student Symposium
Student Ryan Marshall presenting his work

The symposium was as close to a professional academic conference as possible, in order to give the students an authentic experience. Attendees were required to answer questions on their research materials, as well as ask thoughtful questions of their peer’s work, which encouraged confident speaking as well as testing their subject knowledge. Module leader Sarah Jackson told us: “We feel that it helps the students to develop transferrable skills that will be useful for their future employment while also developing subject specific knowledge. Speaking in front of peers, making a video, writing a blog, or designing a poster helps build students’ confidence, while also celebrating the learning that they have achieved during the module.”

The students enjoyed being able to pick a specific theme that interests them and found the experience an interesting way to present their research. Amy Latham told us: "I enjoyed the symposium because I had the freedom to choose what I found most interesting on the module to present about, and it was really interesting to listen to other peoples' chosen topics too."

Published on 25 April 2018
  • Category: Current students; School of Arts and Humanities