Please support our graduate

Grace Ioppolo writes:

Please consider helping University of Reading English graduate Nina Constable win an award from Water Aid for her short film ‘Watchmen of our Waters’.

After completing her degree in FTT and English Literature a few years ago, Nina did a Masters degree in documentary filmmaking. She has written and produced several short films, including on the plight of Syrian children in refugee camps and on how young women in Morocco fight gender discrimination by learning how to surf. Her dedication to working with charities to give a voice to those who need to be heard is to be commended.

Nina Constable

You can follow Nina on Twitter @ninaconstable. Her website is

To help her win the Water Aid award, simply watch her shortlisted film:


Grace Ioppolo (@ProfShakespeare)

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EMRC seminar: The Protestant and Catholic Body

The Early Modern Research Centre at Reading University welcomes you to a research seminar on 11 March at 1.15pm

Tessa Storey, English and Italian Regimens Compared:​ The Protestant and the Catholic Body, 1500-1700

Dr Tessa Storey is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of History at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has worked extensively on courtesan culture, prostitution and material culture in Counter-Reformation Rome as well as on the history of medicine in early modern Italy. Her paper draws on new research following her recent co-authored book (with Sandra Cavallo) entitled Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy (Oxford University Press, 2013).


The seminar will be held at University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus, HumSS 128, 1.15pm.  

 For further information, see or contact Dr Lisa Sampson

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Thursday 5 March | 7.30pm | Great Hall, London Road campus

To mark International Women’s Day we are delighted to present this annual event in memory of Edith Morley, believed to be the first woman to be awarded the title professor in a British university. Appointed as Professor of English Language at Reading in 1908, Professor Morley was dedicated to her subject, her students and her cause. She believed that women should have an equal place in academia and society and was an inspiring and motivating force for the young people around her. Over 100 years on, we invite you to celebrate this extraordinary part of our heritage with this special event to inspire young women to achieve great things.

Edith Morley lecture flyer image

We will welcome a small panel of our highly successful female alumni to present their own views on what it means to be a great role model for young women in our contemporary society.


  • Laura Tobin, ITV weather presenter (BSc Physics and Meteorology 2003)
  • Rhianna Dhillon, Radio 1 Film Critic (BA English and Film & Theatre 2011, Alumnus of the Year 2013)

 Admission is free, places are limited. To book a place, visit


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A paid research opportunity for an undergraduate

Applications are sought from University of Reading students currently in the middle year(s) of undergraduate study, i.e. in the second year of a three year degree or second/ third years of a four year degree.

The project:

Marketing Literature in the 1920s: investigating the Chatto & Windus Advertisement Books

This project will involve research in the Chatto & Windus archive held in the University’s Special Collections. The student will examine the company’s advertisement books, assessing the different advertising methods applied to individual publications, and contributing to the enhancement of the archive catalogue.

More details can be found here.

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David Oakes is to visit us tomorrow…all welcome!

David Oakes, star of the tv series Ripper Street, The Borgias, and The White Queen, the plays Shakespeare in Love and Pride and Prejudice and numerous films, will be speaking about his career from 5-6pm on Wed. Feb 11 in the Van Emden Theatre in the HUMSS building. He will be talking about working with Jeremy Irons and Sir Tom Stoppard, among others. Please share this info with anyone else who may be interested in attending.

David Oakes

 You can follow him on Twitter @david_oakes

 You can see his showreel at:


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Archives and Texts: Vivien Leigh

The next Archives and texts seminar is taking place on Monday 9th February over lunchtime – please feel free to bring lunch with you. Hope to see you there!

Monday 9th February (wk 5), 1.00-2.15, Henley Business School, G03

Vivien Leigh as creative labourer: archives, gender and visibility

Vivien Leigh has primarily been read as a British star actress – known for her glamour, her renowned beauty and her iconic performances in films like Gone with the Wind and A Streetcar Named Desire. Yet the variety of roles she adopted across her career suggests that a different history is yet to be written of her transatlantic creative labour in exchanges across Europe and Hollywood, obscured through an emphasis on her star persona alone. Leigh’s career demonstrates the mobility of women’s creative work across multiple spheres – in Leigh’s case, in theatre, film, fashion, modelling and photography, as war time labourer, celebrity, public figure and financer for stage productions – that cannot be unpacked through a singular disciplinary framework, nor a limiting focus on the female star body.

vivien leigh

Focusing on Leigh as a case study, this paper will discuss the ways in which we might better understand histories of women’s creative labour in and around the 20th century film industry through archival research and collaboration, reflecting on the how scattered traces of her labour have been collated and collected within international, national and local museums and archives, in personal collections and online. It will consider how collaborations and interactions with a variety of non-academic partners need to be forged to fully explore the alternative histories of a star figure, making visible the invisible and side-lined acts of labour and concepts of identity forged through different forms of work. At the same time, it will foreground the tensions that exist in the ways in which such labours are valued –by the film industry, by Leigh herself, by archives and museums that hold Leigh materials, and by public audiences in their continuing interest in and consumption of her star image.

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We The Humanities – happy birthday!

We the Humanities, the brainchild of the department’s Kristina West and Jessica Sage, turns one this week.

Launched during their CIRCL PhD studies, the past year has seen the rotation-curation Twitter project grow to 2,300 followers.  Guest editors have come from as diverse humanities fields as Egyptology, contemporary poetry and literary theory and included University of Reading Special Collections curator, Liz McCarthy.  In between graduating (Jessica) and winning an award (Krissie) they’ve branched out as social media trainers, lecturing both at Reading and at the School of Advanced Studies at the University of London.

To celebrate the project’s anniversary they’re putting the rotation-curation model to the test, with a different returning curator every day this week, including a medieval scholar in the Arctic Circle and a planetary science historian (and PhD: The Movie producer) in California.

We the humanities

If you’d like to join them in a piece of virtual birthday cake you can find out more the celebrations here [] and follow the account at

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EMRC event tomorrow – everyone welcome

The Early Modern Research Centre is holding an event this Wednesday, 28 January, at 1.15pm in Humss 128, Whiteknights Campus

Elizabeth McKellar (Open University),  Landscapes of Pleasure: London’s suburban pleasure grounds c.1660-1760

Respondent Paul Davies (Reading)


 Professor McKellar is an architectural historian specialising in seventeenth and eighteenth-century British architecture and culture, with a particular interest in London’s history and buildings. Her paper builds on her recent major publication, Landscapes of London: the City, the Country, and the Suburbs 1660-1840 (Yale University Press, 2014).

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A creative writing event – open to all

You are invited to a Creative Writing at Reading Event.

Shara McCallum and Peter Robinson will read from their work at 6 o’clock on Monday 9th Feb. in HUMSS 125, Whiteknights Campus. The event is free and open to all.
Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Shara McCallum is the author of four books of poetry: The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2011); This Strange Land (Alice James Books, US, 2011), a finalist for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, US, 2003); and The Water Between Us (University of Pittsburgh Press, US, 1999), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry. Her fifth book, Madwoman, is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2017. Recognition for her poetry includes a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress and a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her poems and personal essays have been published in literary magazines, anthologies, and textbooks in the US, the UK, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Israel and have been translated into Spanish, French, and Romanian. Since 2003, McCallum has been the Director of the Stadler Center for Poetry and a Professor of creative writing and literature at Bucknell University.

Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953, and grew up mainly in Liverpool. His many volumes of poetry include a Selected Poems (2003), The Look of Goodbye (2008) and Like the Living End (2013). Buried Music, his latest full collection, will be published in 2015. He was awarded the Cheltenham Prize for This Other Life (1988), while both The Great Friend and Other Translated Poems (2002) and The Returning Sky (2012) were recommendations of the Poetry Book Society, and The Greener Meadow: Selected Poems of Luciano Erba (2007) received the John Florio Prize for translation from the Italian in 2008. Other publications include a collection of aphorisms, Spirits of the Stair (2009), four volumes of literary criticism, the most recent being Poetry & Translation: The Art of the Impossible (2010), a collection of short fiction, Foreigners, Drunks and Babies: Eleven Stories (2013), various edited collections, anthologies, The Complete Poems, Translations & Selected Prose of Bernard Spencer (2011) and The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary British and Irish Poetry (2013). His work is the subject of The Salt Companion to Peter Robinson, ed. Adam Piette and Katy Price (2007), and a new collection of essays on his writings edited by Tom Phillips is in preparation. The literary editor for Two Rivers Press, he is Head of Department and Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading.

Peter Robinson reading at public event - Copy

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Archives and Texts Seminar

Dr Daniel Starza Smith (Oxford) ‘The Curious History of the Conway papers’

by slheywood<>

The Conway Papers were amassed between 1550 and 1700 by a family of statesman, soldiers, authors and collectors, including two secretaries of state – but when the family line expired, the archive was lost to history, apparently destined to suffer the vagaries of damage and dissolution. Thankfully they were rescued from obscurity by Horace Walpole, before passing through the hands of a great many people who weren’t quite sure what they were, or what to do with them. Only in the last twenty years have we been able to examine them and understand them properly. What do the Conway Papers contain? How can we piece them back together? And what research questions still lie among them?

Monday 26th January (week 3), 1.10-2.30pm, Henley Business School, G03

A joint seminar with the Early Modern Research Centre

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