Congratulations to French at Stirling’s David Murphy on the publication of his new book, The First World Festival of Negro Arts Dakar 1966 which came out last week! The book is the first sustained attempt to provide not only an overview of the festival itself but also of its multiple legacies, which will help us better to understand the ‘festivalization’ of Africa that has occurred in recent decades with most African countries now hosting a number of festivals as part of a national tourism and cultural development strategy.
David is also involved in a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the festival over the coming months, including talks at this year’s Africa in Motion festival, documentary film screenings in Liverpool at the International Slavery Museum and a speech at a conference in Dakar in November. More to follow on all of these in due course.
Our Language Coordinator Jean-Michel DesJacques serves as Stirling’s representative on the University Council of Modern Languages (UCMLS) and recently attend a conference on the 1+2 Language Policy in Dundee on which he has sent us the following report.:
“First I would first to thank the Chair, Marion Spöring, for her excellent organisation of the event. It kicked off with 4 keynote speakers from various backgrounds which illustrated the success and challenges of language learning. We learned from Thomas Hulvershorn from Outplay Ltd. based in Dundee that you never know where learning a language can take you. In his case, designing computer games with the help of multilingual technicians whose expertise in the language and culture is key to success. If you ever played Angry Birds in a foreign language, it is partly thanks to them. This was followed by Do Coyle from Aberdeen University who gave a very good insight of “where are we right now?” regarding the impact of the 1+2 Language policy and its implications on education programmes and the HE sector in general. Then we had the point of view of the local authorities. Sometimes we do need to be reminded of the financial implications and the importance of dealing with day to day issues in schools.
In the discussion groups, it was fascinating to hear and share the views from all sectors of education and to see how we can support each other. There is still so much to be done especially on how to make languages more relevant. I know, the research is there for all to see, the impact of a good knowledge of foreign cultures on the economy is very well documented but simple things such as: convincing parents to let their children continue with languages especially in deprived areas; making sure primary teachers get the right training to give them confidence; gaining the support of your head of school to invest in languages; etc.
The attempt was really to look at how we can generate ideas for a cross-sector action plan in support of the 1+2 implimentation by 2020. The idea is to finalise discussion at local level, this is why the next hub-meeting from the central region will be held at Stirling on Thursday 22 September, 5-6.30pm. Do get in touch if you wish to attend.”
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.
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.
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…
With the Autumn semester less than 3 weeks away, a couple of bits of news about the year ahead. French at Stirling has a new Programme Director in the shape of Dr Fiona Barclay – congratulations and all the best for the new role! We look forward to reporting on a whole range of French at Stirling initiatives over the semesters ahead.
First among these new initiatives is the launch this week of a pilot 4-week block of ‘Bridging Materials’, available to all incoming students registering for our Advanced stream Semester 1 module. The aim of these materials is to bridge the space between school and University-level study of French through a variety of subject-specific exercises, as well as more generic study skills information. All members of the French at Stirling team have contributed to these Bridging Materials and we hope they’re useful to students embarking on their study of French with us.
More news about the 2016-17 academic year to come over the next few weeks.
The Summer is always a good time to catch up with former students and find out where life has taken them since graduating. After Lelde Benke’s account of life working for the Latvian Tourist Office, Mark O’Hagan has written the following piece about his experiences since he completed his BA Hons in French back in 2008.
“I grew up in Luxembourg and France and so doing a BA in French in Scotland may seem like an odd choice. However, after having visited Stirling University as part of an Open University summer course, I was really struck by how nice the campus was and the variety of courses and activities on offer. In 2004, I returned to Stirling and undertook a BA in French. The modules available appealed to me and I have always had an interest in languages. After graduation I decided that I would stay in Stirling for my postgraduate studies and began an MSc in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) with the intention of returning to Luxembourg and teaching English. I returned to Luxembourg in 2010 where I taught English at Berlitz for two years. I enjoyed my time teaching and was able to travel to a variety of businesses and financial institutions giving me the opportunity to meet new people and gain much needed experience.
After a conversation with one of my students I found out that with my BA in French and a law degree, there would be opportunities at the European Court of Justice as a native English speaker. I therefore began a GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law) online with BPP Law School part time and graduated in 2012. I applied for a Linguistic Verifier position through the Court’s website and have been working there since November 2012.
As a Linguistic Verifier I work within the English Language Translation Unit at the Court and check translations and revisions of EU Judgments, Opinions and Orders, before the hearings take place, with regard to correct language usage, grammar, use of citations and legal terminology. This is done in contrast to the French version as it is important that the English version is consistent with the French. French is the main functional language used throughout the EU Institutions and as such my degree in French has proved invaluable.
Permanent positions are posted on the EPSO (European Personnel Selection Office) website where potential candidates sit an exam and are then placed on a reserve list. English and French are two hugely important languages within the EU and it is hoped by myself, colleagues and other UK nationals hoping to work for the EU, that Brexit will not change this.”
Many thanks to Mark for this blog post and all the best for the future!