Month: May 2016

Success for Stirling Languages Students

A few weeks ago, we posted news that 4 of our undergraduate students had submitted applications for the Stevenson Exchange Scholarships… Fantastic news on all four fronts as each of the students was successful in their application and will be making the most of the scholarship in the coming academic year to work on a range of fascinating projects. And now that fingers can be uncrossed, we can also name those involved so congratulations to: Jana, Artie, Bethany and Jeanne. Updates on their projects and plans will be posted over the coming months but, in the meantime, with thanks to our colleague in Spanish, Ann Davies, a little more information about what the students will be up to:

Second-year student Jeanne has just completed the 2nd year of our Integrated Masters programme in International Management and Intercultural Studies and plans to use the scholarship to pursue archival work while on Study Abroad in Spain next year for her research on the Franco dictatorship. For Jeanne, ‘receiving the Stevenson Exchange Scholarship, as a French student at Stirling, makes me extremely proud as it implies that I have been trusted to become a ‘Scottish Ambassador’ to represent Scotland during my semester abroad.’ Bethany, who has also just completed her 2nd year, will be taking courses in folklore next year at the University of Seville in order to work on her research exploring north-south cultural differences and how stereotypes can be challenged. She is making the most of the opportunity offered her by the Scholarship to develop her passion for understanding and exploring how far cultural differences in different Spanish regions are artificial constructs and how they depict the vibrancy of local cultures.

Final-year student Artie, who is about to graduate in French and Spanish, plans to carry out research on whether Canary Islanders feel a desire to become independent from Spain while working as an English Language Assistant following graduation. Of the challenges of applying for the Scholarship, Artie observed: ‘The first challenge was thinking of a viable, interesting question with I felt I could answer during my year abroad. I then had to write a report explaining my idea and the means I will use to answer it. And last, but most certainly not least, an interview at Glasgow University to determine whether or not I would receive the Scholarship. All of the different stages have had their own difficulties and consequent triumphs, but I was definitely most nervous about the interview, which just made it all the more satisfying when I received the good news!’

Jana will carry out her Scholarship at the École de Management in Strasbourg, where she will be completing the final year of her Integrated Masters in International Management and Intercultural Studies. She will be  examining the level of accessibility of tourist attractions across Alsace for blind and visually impaired visitors. For Jana, ‘the Stevenson scholarship is the cherry on top. Not only it will enrich my academic knowledge via valuable hands-on experience while assessing how accessible “Accessible Tourism” really is with regard to the specific needs of visually impaired people in Alsace, but also this experience will allow me to flourish personally, as I will have the chance to explore exciting opportunities, embrace the culture and way of life.’

Congratulations again to all four of our Stevenson scholars and to our Language Coordinators, Jean-Michel DesJacques and José-Maria Ferreira-Cayuela, who helped shape the research projects the students will undertake.

Elizabeth Ezra on How Cinema Makes Us Human

French at Stirling’s Elizabeth Ezra will be giving a paper at the ‘Afterlives: Remediations in Word and Image’ conference at the University of Dundee later this week. Elizabeth’s paper will examine ‘Technics and Remediation in Wall-E and Prometheus, Or How Cinema Makes Us Human.’

Elizabeth will also be organising a workshop at Stirling on 10 June as part of the Agency of Images research network she has co-founded with Ed Welch (Aberdeen). More details to follow!

Women in French in Scotland Meeting at Stirling

We’re delighted to announce that the next academic meeting of ‘Women in French in Scotland’ will take place at the University of Stirling on Monday 20 June, when we will welcome colleagues from institutions across Scotland to Stirling. Building on a recent successful conference at the University of Strathclyde, the event is organised by Fiona Barclay and will feature a range of academic papers on the subject of ‘Gender and trauma’. It will also include an innovative workshop session focused on supporting women researchers in French, which will include networking, building research collaborations, and mentoring, and promises to be a productive session for women academics working across the discipline of French Studies. We look forward to welcoming everyone!

David Murphy at the Dak’art Arts Biennale

2016 Murphy Dakarts logo MayHaving just returned from a workshop at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, French at Stirling’s David Murphy is off to Senegal where he has been invited to speak about his research on the 1966 World Festival of Negro Arts at the Dak’art Biennale (3-21 May). He will be presenting two documentary films on the festival and leading a workshop as part of the programme run by Suba arts magazine. You can read more about David’s work on the 1966 Festival in his article in The Conversation here.

Languages and the Big Wide World

One of the fantastic things about getting to do this blog and getting students (past and present) to write for it, is that you get a chance to find out more about the students, their motivation, their enthusiasm for languages… things you don’t always get a chance to explore in the classroom context with the focus on seminar preparation and participation and, inevitably, assessment. So, taking full advantage of the fact that many of those who’re about to graduate in French are still in or around Stirling, soaking up the last days and weeks of being a student, it’s been good to get a chance to post some more of their articles. This particular piece has been written by Stephanie Rogers who will be graduating in June with a BA Hons in French and Spanish and who gives a great and wide-ranging answer to the ‘why study languages’ question:

2016 Rogers Picture V May

“People often ask me, “What are you going to do with a language degree- why bother studying languages?” I usually just reply, “Well, why not?” But really, I have a lot of reasons. I have been studying languages since I started High School, but back then I was studying German. I could write a foot-long monologue on why you should study German, but I’ll cut it down to three simple points: it makes sense; they have single words for concepts which other languages require full descriptions; and it’s useful- if you speak German well, not only are its native speakers really impressed, but it puts you a step ahead in many business roles. Also, none of this nonsense that it doesn’t sound nice, just listen to Morgan Freeman speak German.

I’m soon graduating in French and Spanish, and these have been great languages to study, with rich histories and interesting cultures. I have met so many lovely people through travelling and studying abroad in France and Spain, and used these foreign languages as a lingua franca with people who don’t speak English. If you speak even a few words of a different language, it opens so many doors for you: being able to communicate with someone you otherwise couldn’t have- this is a brilliant feeling.

The best thing about studying and learning languages is what it does for you as a person. Your character develops as you meet new people and you learn how they express themselves. I started Stirling as a shy, quiet girl, but my degree and the experiences I’ve had over the past four years has made me more out-going, and given me some great friendships, and now I can confidently go out in to the big wide world. If I get lost, I know how to ask for directions.” 2016 Rogers Picture I May

2016 Rogers Picture II MayMany, many thanks to Stephanie for this blog article and best wishes for the future!