Any of you with an interest in African cinema (one of our areas of research expertise at Stirling) should catch up with Radio 4’s The Film Programme where Lizelle Bisschoff, founder of the annual Africa in Motion Film Festival (and former French at Stirling PhD student), has just been talking about her Africa’s Lost Classics project. The 2017 festival kicks off next week and the full programme is online here.
Just to round up this series of updates to the blog for just now, a quick overview of events French at Stirling staff have been involved in over the course of this past month.
On 18 March, Elizabeth Ezra gave a public talk on ‘Androids and Humans, or How Globalisation Makes Us Human’ as part of a series of talks chaired by Cristina Johnston on the University’s 50th anniversary Community Open Doors Day. This past week, Cristina was invited to introduce a public screening of Claude Chabrol’s Une Affaire de femmes at the Cameo cinema in Edinburgh, alongside Edinburgh postdoc Hugh Mcdonnell. The screening is part of Mihaela Mihai’s ERC-funded project on Greyzones.
And, winning the battle for the most far-flung location this month, Bill Marshall gave a paper on ‘’Lionel Soukaz: Historicity and Time’ as part of a panel on ‘Cruising the Seventies: Glancing Backwards at Queer Cinema’ at the SCMS conference in Chicago.
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 Knight (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. Stefano Intropido, David Vescio and Ross Brown 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!
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 legacies.
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.
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!
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.
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.
“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.