Tag: Mark Cousins

We’re back!!

The blog has been rather quiet over the past few months but, as the teaching and assessment side of the semester winds down, it’s time to get things started again. There’ll be new student profiles, articles on what our students are up to on Study Abroad and news about research activities and plans but, by way of a starting point, a healthy list of congratulations!

We currently have three undergraduate students (Stefano, Nicolas and Annika) completing their Semester Abroad in France and working on fascinating and diverse research projects thanks to Stevenson Exchange Scholarships. Updates on the projects will follow from them but extra congratulations go to Stefano who – we have just learned – has been jointly awarded one of the University of Stirling’s Williamson Travel Scholarship which is likely to be put to very good use to fund fieldwork in Northern Italy and Southern France, examining  integration practices for refugees and asylum seekers between the two countries.

At the recent Conversation awards ceremony, our PhD student, Fraser McQueen, was the recipient of the Most Prolific Author award thanks to articles on the politics of contemporary France that have been read almost 13000 times.

And particular congratulations to our Language team of Brigitte Depret, Jean-Michel DesJacques and Mathilde Mazau who received an array of nominations at the student-led RATE awards (for everything from Excellence in Teaching in Arts and Humanities to the Santander Outstanding Achievement Award) with French Programme Director Cristina Johnston being awarded the Best Tutor prize.

And on a less strictly academic note, congratulations, too, to David Murphy for successfully completing the Stirling Half-Marathon and to our 2014 honorary graduate Mark Cousins whose new film The Eyes of Orson Welles premieres this very night at the Cannes Film Festival.

Yep, definitely a good place to start things off again on the blog! Congratulations to all and look out for more posts over the days and weeks ahead…

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From Cannes to Michigan with Mark Cousins and Orson Welles

This isn’t, strictly speaking, all about French or France but, then again, neither is French at Stirling! France and metropolitan French are only part of what we do so this seems a fine time to share this: Our 2014 Honorary Graduate, Mark Cousins, has written this fantastic letter to Orson Welles, inviting him on a road trip through the places and spaces of global cinema, all the way from Cannes and Cap d’Antibes to Michigan and the Traverse City Film Festival via Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and the FESPACO film festival.

Film Matters dossier on Film and Childhood

Looking forward to semester starting again next week after our break and, in particular, to setting to work on the dossier on ‘Film and Childhood’ we’re editing for the undergraduate film journal Film Matters. Students from Literature and Languages, but also from many other parts of the University, will be contributing to the dossier, writing articles on films as diverse as Etre et avoir, Atonement, Interstellar and La Vita è bella.

The dossier is being edited by Cristina Johnston and students will also have the chance to get feedback and advice from colleagues across Literature and Languages and Communications, Media and Culture who work on a range of aspects of cinema.

We’re really pleased, too, to have the support of our honorary graduate from last year, film director, curator and author Mark Cousins. As well as his work with Tilda Swinton on the 8 ½ Foundation, Mark has also curated a series of films on childhood (screening again this year at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse Cinema) and has directed two films about children (A Story of Children and Film and The First Movie). Mark will be coming to Stirling on 5 March to talk to the dossier’s authors about cinema and childhood. In the meantime, you can read his great article on teaching film here!

And we will, of course, keep you updated with progress on the dossier via the French at Stirling blog.

Africa in Motion 2014 Programme Launch

Africa in Motion 2014
Africa in Motion 2014

The programme for this year’s fantastic Africa in Motion film festival (founded by Lizelle Bisschoff, one of our former PhD students) has just been launched and looks as diverse and interesting as ever.

This year, there’s a programme of films in both Edinburgh and in Glasgow, and Stirling will be hosting a masterclass by Rwandan film-maker Eric Kabera at the MacRobert on Wed 5 November. As well as films from Senegal, South Africa, Angola, Burkina Faso and many other countries, the festival’s programme includes an exhibition of classic African film posters, an African storytelling event (both at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse), and an exhibition of posters and graphic art by South African designer/illustrator/photographer/art director, Modise BlackDice at Summerhall in Edinburgh. Check out the programme here.

You might also be interested in David Murphy and Lizelle Bisschoff’s edited collection Africa’s Lost Classics which will get its official launch at the festival and which our honorary graduate Mark Cousins has described as ‘a winning product of the centrifugal imagination’.

Africa's Lost Classics, edited by Lizelle Bisschoff and David Murphy
Africa’s Lost Classics, edited by Lizelle Bisschoff and David Murphy

Summer news

Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins

It’s hard to believe that a month has already passed since Stirling’s graduation ceremonies and the great speech by our honorary graduate, film director, critic and programmer, Mark Cousins. Honoured for his outstanding contribution to Scottish cinematic culture and to the reception of global cinemas across Scotland, Mark was introduced by French Programme Director, Cristina Johnston, and brought the ceremony to a close with the following: ‘Let’s be generous, let’s be glamorous, let’s be a bit wild!’ What better advice for a graduating class?!

Semester has now well and truly ended, and staff and students are busy with their various and varied summer activities, so this is really just a chance to report on some recent French at Stirling news.

Firstly, congratulations to Charlotte Cavanagh who has just completed her second year with us and who has been awarded a Stevenson Exchange Scholarship for 2014-15 when she’ll be in the Bordeaux region working as an English Language Assistant. The Stevenson Scholarship is highly competitive and awarded to students across all the Scottish Universities so this is great news!

Charlotte’s plan is to use the funding to help her examine ‘the popularity of foreign languages in France during a time where there seems to be a decreasing number of students in Britain who study languages. I will also compare the French education system and way life to the Scotland. I hope that the skills and information I obtain from my research around this topic will help broaden my horizons and help with my dissertation in fourth year. I hope that the scholarship will enable me partake in recreational activities to meet new people and to travel around France as much as possible. Having only visited Paris and Nice before, I am excited to have the opportunity to visit and explore other regions of France.’

Congratulations, too, to Fraser McQueen and Rachel Taylor who both graduated last month and who were the recipients of prizes for their exceptional performances over the course of their degrees. We wish them both all the very best in their future endeavours.

There will be a couple of changes in staffing for the coming year in French with the arrival of our new Language Assistant, Brigitte Depret, and the departure of our colleague Jason Hartford. Brigitte will be involved with teaching our 1st and 2nd year students, in particular, and Jason is off to take up a post at University of Ireland, Maynooth. Best wishes to both!

We’re looking forward to setting up a new Erasmus exchange with Blaise Pascal University in Clermont-Ferrand over the course of the coming months, too. Laurence Gourievidis, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Clermont, visited Stirling in the Spring semester and Jean-Michel DesJacques, our Language Coordinator and Study Abroad Advisor, had a very successful trip over there after teaching ended, so everything is well on track for a new partnership. We’re also in the process of renewing our long-standing partnerships with the University of Passau and the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg, with both of whom we run double degree programmes in International Management and Intercultural Studies.

Finally, some summer reading from Stirling colleagues: David Murphy has a new article in Francosphères, co-authored with Ferdinand de Jong and entitled ‘Archiving the Postcolonial City’!
Bonnes vacances!