Tag: Cinema

Mid-Semester Catch-Up

Halfway through the mid-semester break seems a good point to catch up on various bits of news from Stirling staff and students. More to follow on some of these in the weeks ahead but, in the meantime…

This year is Stirling University’s 50th birthday and, as part of the year-long celebrations, the University is holding an Open Doors Day on Saturday 18 March. Lots of different activities are planned for the day – and all are welcome! – including a series of talks by academics from the School of Arts and Humanities with a French at Stirling contribution in the shape of a talk by Elizabeth Ezra on ‘Androids and Globalization, or How Cinema Makes Us Human.’ The talks will be chaired by French at Stirling’s Cristina Johnston.

In this anniversary year, we’re also welcoming to Stirling our first cohort of students on our new BA Hons Translation and Interpreting degree, in partnership with HNU in China. As a means of strengthening the ties between existing Stirling students and their HNU counterparts, a buddying scheme has been running since September 2016 with around a dozen Stirling students helping HNU students to get to know the University, the campus and the town, and generally helping them get used to life in Scotland. We thought it would be a great idea for one of the buddies to get a chance to travel to China to meet with next year’s HNU cohort this Spring so, after a very competitive selection process and with Faculty support, we’re pleased to announce that Elliot (currently in the 2nd year of his degree in French) will be travelling to China to represent the University and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in a few weeks. More tales to follow on that front!

Closer to home, we’ve also been able to send another group of Student Language Ambassadors into a local secondary school – McLaren High in Callander – to talk to pupils there about life as a Languages student and the opportunities that opens up in terms of Study Abroad, employability, travel, and so on. Our students Stefano, David and Ross took on this role as Language Ambassadors, in a visit jointly organized by Jean-Michel DesJacques, Cristina Johnston and McLaren High teacher Alastair Brown. Alastair was very impressed by our students’ performance, commenting that ‘they spoke very well in all classes, and at the assembly, where they got a spontaneous round of applause from the pupils. They gave very motivating accounts of their language-learning journey and responded very well to the pupils’ questions.’ We hope to continue sending our students out into schools as ambassadors over the weeks and months ahead.

As well as looking forward to receiving our copy of our former PhD student Stefanie van de Peer’s edited collection Animation in the Middle East, we’re also excited to learn that another former French at Stirling PhD student, Lizelle Bisschoff has a new AHRC-funded project on ‘Africa’s Lost Classics in Context’ with David Murphy as co-investigator. The project aims to bring a number of screenings of ‘lost African film classics’ to UK audiences, complemented by public and educational events and activities to contextualise the films for audiences, in collaboration with the five UK African film festivals, including Africa in Motion which was founded by Lizelle while she was doing her PhD. The project started in January 2017 and will run for a year.

Alongside all the usual work, assessments and other commitments our students have for the second half of the semester, we also have a number of teaching and research-related events coming up, involving both staff and students. Our Year 4 French students, for example, will get the opportunity to try out Interpreting Taster Sessions in late-February, early-March, taking full advantage of Stirling’s new interpreting suite. A number of our students will also be attending the Language Show Live at the SECC in Glasgow in a few weeks and 3 of our current Year 2 students will be attending a Summer School run by our partners at the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg in June. Mid-March, we’ll be welcoming Lucie Herbreteau of UCO Angers to Stirling on an Erasmus teaching exchange and she’ll be taking classes involving not only our final year French students but also our postgraduate Translation programme and Years 1 and 2 of our undergraduate French programme. And, finally, at the end of March, Cristina Johnston has been invited to introduce a screening of Claude Chabrol’s Une Affaire de femmes at Edinburgh’s Cameo Cinema with Hugh McDonnell of Edinburgh University, as part of Mihaela Mihai’s project on Greyzones.

Busy, busy times and more news to follow, I’ve no doubt, over the coming weeks!

Black History Month: Dakar 1966-2016

As part of Black History Month, French at Stirling’s David Murphy organised a series of events and film screenings in October to mark the 50th anniversary of the First World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar in April 1966. These events emerged from research for his recently published book, The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966: context and legacies2016-david-dakar-book-cover-sept.

On 14 October, at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, there were screenings of two documentary films on the 1966 festival, followed by a panel discussion, ‘Dakar 66: Fifty years on’. Later in October, he was involved in more screenings/events as part of the 2016 Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival. On 28 October, he gave a talk on the 1966 festival at a symposium, ‘Havana-Dakar 1966: Capitals of an artistic and political revolution’, at the University of Edinburgh, and held a Q&A after screenings of two documentary films. Then, on 30 October, David introduced documentaries on the ‘Zaïre 74’ Festival (held in conjunction with the famous ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ fight between Ali and Foreman) and the 1966 festival, as part of another AiM screening. Finally, from 8-10 November, David was in in Dakar, Senegal, where he had been invited to speak at a conference to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the festival. The event featured academic papers and personal testimony from participants in the festival, and it received wide local media coverage. While in Dakar, David carried out further research on the 1966 festival, including filmed interviews with participants from the 1966 event.

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French Film Festival: School Screenings at the MacRobert

More to follow on this over the next few days but this year’s screenings for schools as part of the annual French Film Festival will be kicking off at the MacRobert this week. Fiona Barclay and Cristina Johnston will be introducing the screenings to pupils from Dollar Academy and Queen Victoria School in Dunblane a little later this week, with pupils from Dunblane High School also due to attend a screening later in November.

As well as these screenings for secondary school pupils, there will also be 3 films from the main programme of this year’s French Film Festival showing at the MacRobert in November. On Monday 17 November, at 7.30pm, there’s a performance of the WWII film Come What May, followed by a screening of A Journey Through French Cinema, at 7.30pm on Thursday 21 November. And finally, on Monday 24 November, David Murphy will be giving a lecture before a screening of Nicolas Boukhrief’s film Made in France. Tickets for all of the screenings can be purchased via the MacRobert website and there’s a special deal for people buying tickets for all three screenings! Venez nombreux!

 

 

Africa in Motion 2016 Programme Launch

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It’s that time of year again! Founded by our former PhD student, Lizelle Bisschoff, and now into its 11th year, the annual Africa in Motion film festival has just launched its 2016 programme. Details here and, as ever, a fantastic array of films from every genre imaginable, as well as Q&A sessions with leading figures from African cinema, workshops, exhibitions and much more! Events in Glasgow and Edinburgh from 28 October to 6 November.

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Translation Masters at Stirling: ‘Perfect mix of theory and practice’

Lauren Kenny graduated in 2011 with BA Hons in French and returned to Stirling in 2014 to embark on our MRes in Translation Studies. She has just completed that course, having completed her dissertation on subtitling banlieue cinema over the Summer months, and has written a post about her reasons for taking up postgraduate study.

2016-kenny-image-i“Almost 4 years after graduating from Stirling University with a BA Hons in French I finally made the decision to return to Stirling University to undertake an MRes in Translation in the autumn of 2014. I hadn’t really considered undertaking further study following my undergraduate course until my fourth year. I was 23 when I enrolled at Stirling and being that bit older I was keen to get my degree as soon as possible to land a graduate job. What I didn’t expect was how much I would enjoy university, not only the student experience but also the course work. Having worked full time in administration before starting uni studying, exams and essay writing was a welcome challenge compared to office life.

Towards the end of my fourth year Cristina Johnston had mentioned that Stirling was offering a Masters in Translation and for anyone interested to get in touch. As soon as I heard this I knew I wanted to take the course. I really enjoyed the translation assignments, had taken translation classes on my semester abroad in Perpignan and a career using my language skills really appealed to me. However, it was not financially possible for me at the time so I ended up getting a full time job working in Financial Services. There were very few opportunities in my role to use my language skills. In my spare time I did continue to read French novels and watch French films in an attempt to keep up my language skills and indulge in my passion for all things French. I also got the chance to practice my French while accompanying French exchange students on tourist trips to Edinburgh.

This was not enough for me though and I still wanted to undertake the Masters in Translation but quitting work and studying full time was not an option. I noticed that Stirling offered a part time option for the course and came to an arrangement with my employer to allow me to complete the course part time while continuing to work.

That was almost 2 years ago and having now completed the course and handed in my dissertation I only regret not doing it sooner. The course was everything I thought it would be and more. It had a perfect mix of theory and practical elements and provided an abundance of opportunities to pursue a career in translation. My advice for any future Masters students looking for a career in translation would be to make the most of every opportunity, attend all postgraduate events, and make contacts to get the most out of the course. I am glad I made the decision to return to Stirling to complete my Masters and urge anyone interested to find out more.”

Thanks to Lauren for this post and we hope you’ll keep going with the postgrad work after this Masters programme! All the best for the future.

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PhDs in French at Stirling

As well as our new group of Semester 1 students and new Masters students on our Translation programmes, we’re also delighted to be welcoming back to Stirling recent Stirling French and History graduate Fraser McQueen who’s embarking on a PhD with us. Fraser will be supervised by Fiona Barclay with additional supervision from Nadia Kiwan at Aberdeen. His research topic is ‘Race, religion and communities of friendship: literary and filmic contributions to French political debates post-2005’ and we’re particularly pleased that Fraser was awarded an AHRC scholarship to fund his research.

We’re looking forward to keeping you posted on Fraser’s work over the months ahead but, in the first instance, you can read his article on the current burkini controversy in The Conversation. The article was also republished in The New Statesman and we’re sure there’ll be much more to follow.

Fraser will be joining a growing community of doctoral students supervised by French at Stirling staff on a wide range of topics. Martin Hall is currently working on ‘British Cinema: Historicising Theory’ with Bill Marshall as his supervisor while Bill is also supervising Angus Macdonald’s thesis on ‘New French Horror Cinema.’ Angus’s 2nd supervisor is Elizabeth Ezra who also supervises Katie Moffat’s research project which examines ‘Transnational Nordic Film Culture and Minority Politics.’ As well as being 2nd supervisor for Fraser and continuing his supervision of Juliet Tenshak’s research on contemporary Nigerian fiction, David Murphy has also just taken on a supervisory role for Education student Mostafa Gamal who is working on Ethical, reflexive encounters with internationalisation in FE: an autoethnographic conversation’.

We hope to have a chance to post more about these projects and their authors over the months ahead.

First Day Back

Today is the first day of the new academic session at Stirling. To those starting out on our Semester 1 modules, whether in our ‘Advanced’ stream or as a Beginner, welcome to French at Stirling and we’re looking forward to getting to know you over the semesters ahead.

To those returning to Years 2, 3 or 4, welcome back. We hope you’ve had a good Summer and, for those just back from English Language Assistantships or Semester 6 Abroad, we’re looking forward to hearing all about it.

As ever, we’re also welcoming visiting students from a range of different places so whether you’re a Francophone Erasmus student or a non-Francophone exchange student taking some of our modules, we hope you enjoy your time with us. We’d also like to welcome this year’s cohort of students from Passau on our International Management and Intercultural Studies integrated Master’s programme and, this year, we’re also welcoming our first group of students on our Translation and Interpreting double degree with Hebei Normal University in China.

Alongside our undergraduate students, it’s also the start of the new academic year for students taking our Translation TPG programmes with French and for some new PhD students, working under the supervision of French at Stirling colleagues. More about them very soon but, in the first instance, welcome (back!) to Stirling.

Plenty more news to share about events coming up this semester, from French Film Festival screenings in partnership with the MacRobert to European Day of Languages celebrations and much else besides but we wanted to post a rentrée message before the day is out! More blog posts to follow soon…

“I wish I could go back and do it all again”

Claudia Legg graduated with a BA Hons in French in 2012 and is now working in the legal sector. Her memories of her time studying French at Stirling highlight the opportunities for study abroad and the range of topics studied over the course of 4 years:

“I went to look at Stirling University after friends in Scotland said I should. I didn’t really know what to expect and having visited Newcastle and Edinburgh Universities, both of which are city campuses, I never thought too much about a campus university. However, Stirling absolutely took my breath away (it was 20 degrees and sunny which always helps!), especially after only 2 hours sleep for the flight to Scotland.

I had always done a language at school and French was an easy decision for me. The course description and the variety of modules really sold Stirling to me. The fact that you could study subjects as opposite as politics and cinema and then combine it into your language modules was an incredible chance. So the course, coupled with the campus and the social opportunities made Stirling the ideal choice even if my parents were horrified during the 900 mile round trip they had to make!

My favourite modules were the postcolonial France modules, “Introduction to African Literature and Cinema” and the cinema module “Screening the City”. One film (5th Element) even came up in a pub quiz… the fact I got the answer wrong is no reflection on the course! My modules choices then formed my dissertation title and research, a major benefit of the Stirling course.

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End of my dissertation!

 

However the best part of studying at Stirling was the fact I could visit abroad- not once but twice. I spent my semester abroad at Limoges where I was able to easily get to Bordeaux, Oradour and other historical places. The Limousin is steeped in history and due to familial connections I was able to visit places that were not easily accessible to tourists otherwise. I was lucky enough to also go to Paris on a day trip to research my dissertation at the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration. If I had studied a different subject, other than French, I would never had the confidence to go abroad and do all these wonderful things.

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Limoges Exchange Students in Bordeaux

 

Since I graduated in 2012, I worked for two years in retail where we had a few French customers and I was asked to help translate where there were problems with customer care. Since 2014 I have been working in two law firms where French documents have periodically come in and I have been asked to help translate. Already at my new firm my boss has said there are more French clients coming through and that I will need to brush up on my conveyancing French (not that was on the course… I’m not sure how often “drainage search” would come up in conversational French). I think, though, other than French, the skills the course teaches you are invaluable. Presentations, written skills, discussions and debates all occur in day to day life. Stirling not only prepares you for your degree subject but also for the working world. I wish I could go back and do it all again.”

Many thanks to Claudia for this blog post and best wishes for the future!

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!