“Returning” by Andrea Woodward

A white woman with long blond hair smiles at the camera
(c) Andrea Woodward

Andrea Woodward is a York St John English Literature PhD candidate. Andrea, who started her HE journey at 30, could have taken a very different path in life. Here she reflects on her experiences as a returning student, recalling the day as an undergraduate when she thought she would give it all up – and why she didn’t!

I first came to York St John as an undergraduate student in English Literature in 2006. I was 30 years old.

As a mature student who’d spent 15 years out of full-time education, I quickly felt overwhelmed and more than a bit out of place. Those classmates who’d arrived fresh out of college seemed to radiate knowledge in seminars, knowledge that my first essay results suggested to me I didn’t have. After several weeks into the first semester, I felt it would be for the best if I withdrew from the course, believing that I’d never succeed. Continue reading ““Returning” by Andrea Woodward”

YSJ Lit Interview: Words Matter Prize Winner Katie Godfrey

Adam Kirkbride interviews Katie Godfrey the 2021 York St John Literature Words Matter Prize Winner. The Words Matter prize is given annually to the first year student with the highest marks across all modules. The prize represents our programme motto Words Matter, as a way of centring our philosophy that books and literature play a hugely important role in the world we all live in.

Book about studying literature at university on a table with a cup of teaKatie, what does this award mean to you?

As somebody who entered university after a large gap in education, and with very little confidence, this award has made the world of difference to me in terms of boosting my self-confidence and self-belief and reassuring me that my efforts are not wasted! 

 

What was it like completing your first year of study during the Pandemic? 

While this is probably not the anticipated response, I actually feel that the remote study during the pandemic enabled me to be more productive. I had already been working from home due to lockdown restrictions, so it was a pretty smooth transition for me. I also commute to university, so having the lectures and seminars online enabled me to save over three hours per day of travel, freeing up my time for reading and studying. Continue reading “YSJ Lit Interview: Words Matter Prize Winner Katie Godfrey”

International Women’s Day 2022

 

#BreakTheBias

Happy International Women’s Day! 

This year’s campaign theme is #BreakTheBias – find out more at the IWD website

 

To mark IWD, Dr Anne-Marie Evans is hosting an online event on Thursday 10th March with acclaimed playwright Ade Solanke. Ade will be talking about her play Phillis in London. The play explores the life of Phillis Wheatley – an enslaved woman – who was famously the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry, and only the second American woman to do so. Find out more and book a ticket here.

You can also celebrate IWD2022 by calling into the Fountains Learning Centre to see their YSJ Women display, which  explores resources from our archives that provide a glimpse into the changing lives of female students over the years. 

“Take the Time to Smell the Roses”: Megan Sales discusses Mindfulness in this Busy World

Final year English Literature student Megan Sales shares her thoughts with us about managing stress.

A group of students sit at a table and discuss a problem
(c) York St John University

As a literature student, with an obvious love of books, it may seem odd when I tell you that I have never considered reading a ‘self-help’ book. I’ve spent my years with my head stuck in 18th and 19th century books, finding amusement in the way humans work – How much do we change? However, after an intriguing conversation with my Auntie, I found myself reading a psychology book and from there I have moved onto my current read Stress, the Psychology of Managing Pressure by Diane McIntosh. The book itself so far has been an interesting read. I personally love to find out how the mind works but even more than a basic interest, I have found this book genuinely helpful. Here is what I’ve learnt. Continue reading ““Take the Time to Smell the Roses”: Megan Sales discusses Mindfulness in this Busy World”

Dissertation Corner: Tia Clifford on Fairy Tales for Feminists

Recent graduate Tia Clifford sums up some of her dissertation ideas for us in this blogpost.

Fairy-tales: the term itself is attributed to Madame D’Aulnoy, a French writer who coined the term conte de fée in the 17th century (Zipes, P. 222- B).

Engraving of woman with arms folded
Dorothea Viehmann: a German storyteller and source for many tales collected and published by the Brothers Grimm

Oral fairy-tales, I contended in my dissertation, were often likely to have been told by women. Noticeably, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were given the title of “dignified scholars” after the publication of Children’s and Household Tales, their first revised fairy-tale collection for mass consumption in 1812; however, the lexis originally surrounding fairy-tales, prior to their appropriation by male writers, tended to be negatively gendered as “domestic art”, “women’s art” or “old wives’ tales” (Maria Tatar, P. XVI). I suggested that fairy-tales were initially a form of female rebellion against the patriarchal society oppressing women. Some fairy-tales acted as proto-feminist critiques of patriarchy, but they can also be viewed as survival manuals or as warnings by women for women regarding the dangers of a male-dominated society. In “Little Red Riding Hood”, for example, young girls learn that men are not always what they seem and that deviating from the socially accepted path will lead to danger. Continue reading “Dissertation Corner: Tia Clifford on Fairy Tales for Feminists”

The Top 10 Books Studied on English Literature! (According to a recent graduate) by Adam Kirkbride (he/him)

As we begin a new semester, and as some of us begin a new path in life as a university student, Adam Kirkbride reflects on his recent undergraduate studies and the books that inspired him:

This semester I began my MA in Contemporary Literature at York St John University, where I also studied for my BA in English Literature. I’ll be completing my MA on a part-time basis, so by the time I hand in my MA dissertation, I will have been at YSJ for five years.

So, I felt now was a good time to stop and reflect on my previous studies, and I’m writingToni Morrison author this down because it will help me to remember what I have learned in the years to come. Over the past three years the texts that I studied have helped to shape my views on literature, politics, representation and so much more. Reading is, in my opinion, the best way to educate or entertain yourself in an age of turmoil. And if I get to the end of writing this post without developing an overwhelming desire to read all of these books again, then I will be shocked!

The freedom and independence to pick and choose texts, topics, and modules on my degree was by far the feature that I enjoyed most. I rarely came across a text I disliked, and not once did I have to write about a text which truly bored me with no redeeming factors. Creativity and the study of literature go hand in hand, so it is important when reading to engage with texts that pique your interest and inspire originality. These ten books have nurtured my head and my heart throughout my degree, and I know that I am a better person for having read them. I can only hope that the texts I will read over the next two years will have the same impact on me. Continue reading “The Top 10 Books Studied on English Literature! (According to a recent graduate) by Adam Kirkbride (he/him)”

Autism Awareness Week, 1-5 April 2019, Student Art Display

Artwork by Monica Marshall  and words by Benjamin Longbone

Autism is a term for a wide variety of learning difficulties. The National Autistic Society defines Autism as a lifelong developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. We also aim to highlight other learning difficulties that affect people such as ADHD, Dyspraxia and Dyslexia as well other conditions. Between Monday the 1st of April and Friday the 5th of April, there will be a display of student work themed around learning difficulties. The work will include written creative pieces, life experiences and art work. There will be an opportunity to add to the display as students will be able to express their own experiences by writing them down on post it notes and these experiences will be included. On Saturday the 6th of April there will also be a display in Spark (located in Piccadilly Street in York) of collected student art work.

 

Hidden Figures Screening: March 28th

By Charlotte Stevenson

On Thursday 28th March 2019 at 17:00, FT/002, York St. John Feminist Society will be hosting a free screening of Oscar nominated motion picture, Hidden Figures. The movie tells the story of mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who produced defining work which made possible numerous NASA successes during the U.S. Space Race and beyond.

Continue reading “Hidden Figures Screening: March 28th”

Where are they now? YSJ alumni Philip Price on Literature at Work: Publishing

In order to begin explaining my life after the three years studying at York St. John University (2015-18), I first need to highlight some events which occurred over my three years as a YSJ undergraduate.

I chose English Literature as my BA subject at YSJ for only one reason: my passion for books. I knew from a young age a University degree was going to be almost mandatory for future success. I chose to study at YSJ for one simple reason: it felt like home. I travelled from my hometown a few miles outside of Norwich up to York and instantly fell in love with the campus. Besides the stunning architecture, I instantly believed that the tutors at YSJ cared for me as an individual rather than merely a student on the course.

In the second semester of my final year, the University offered a module, ‘Literature at Work,’ which allowed students to explore the many avenues of employment after taking an English Literature degree. Within this module, most weeks consisted of a lecture and Q&A from people working in employment from journalism to publishing. Prior to my final year at YSJ, I had very little idea as to where my academic career was leading me. Again, I knew I wanted to work with books; however, my in-depth knowledge of specific book-related sectors was almost non-existent.

David Barker, who worked with Continuum publishing, later to be purchased by publishing behemoth Bloomsbury, offered an extremely insightful lecture on life in the publishing world. I instantly fell in love with every element of the industry and truly believed I had finally worked out the next step of my academic career.

I spoke to David after the lecture and discovered he was a lecturer at the University of Derby, offering a Publishing MA. After visiting an open day at Derby, I was offered an unconditional offer on the course.  All of the events, from my initial conversation with David to the offer on the Publishing MA happened within a few months over early to late Spring 2018.

September 2018 saw the beginning of my MA at Derby. Throughout the first semester, I came to understand that without choosing YSJ, this opportunity may have never been offered to me. I have fallen in love with academia once again and now wish to pursue a career in Publishing after this semester. The MA offers students to create and engage with a ‘Major Project’ of their choice, where you must find and publish work of your choice (specifically written for the project). I decided to work with YSJ and their alumni in order to create a short anthology of work which can then be distributed to current and future YSJ students.

This piece has touched mostly on my academic life during and after my time at YSJ, but it would be unfair to leave without acknowledging the friendship and community which I have become a part of.  I have made friends with students who I now see as friends for life, alongside creating bonds with tutors who I know are always willing to help with anything I need, even after my transition from student to alumni.

LGBT History Month Event: Trans and Non-Binary History and Acceptance, 13 February, York St John University

It’s LGBT History Month in February and we have some great events. How about coming along to this:

Trans and Non-Binary History and Acceptance, 13 February, York St John University

A talk with Kit Heyam. Former co-ordinator of the York LGBT History Month, and experienced trans-awareness trainer, Kit will return to York St John to share stories of trans and non-binary history and acceptance. Kit identifies as a non-binary transgender man and co-ordinates the Rainbow Plaques project.

This event is free and is open to all. The talk will be 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q+A.

Book via Eventbrite here.

‘Et in Arcadia ego’ – Reflections on Visiting Castle Howard

By Charlotte Stevenson

Each year, to accompany reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, third year students studying our Twentieth-Century Writing module visit the Brideshead of the screen, Castle Howard. Here Charlotte Stevenson reflects on her thoughts of the 2018 trip and her experience of reading Waugh’s novel.

Continue reading “‘Et in Arcadia ego’ – Reflections on Visiting Castle Howard”

YSJU Graduate and Work Placement Fair, 17 October 2018

The Graduate and Work Placement Fair is on Wednesday 17 October – 11.00am – 3.00pm at York St John University in Temple Hall. We have a range of employer attending offering Graduate and Year in Industry opportunities and Summer Internships/Placements, a list of the organisations attending can be found here [https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/careers-placements–opportunities/careers-events/employers-and-organisations-on-campus/#d.en.44720] and below. The Fair is an opportunity for students to not only find out about a range of careers but to gain confidence in speaking to employers and start to build networks.

Graduate and Work Placement Fair, 17 October 2018

11.00am – 3.00pm in Temple Hall

Don’t miss this great opportunity to talk to employers, discover what career prospects are out there and where you fit in!

Employers Attending:

The Distance

Postgraduate Study at York St John

Yorkshire Education

Wolsely UK

Clinical Selection Ltd

TransPerfect

HMRC

Anaplan

Technology in Play

Placer

NFU Mutual

ExP

The Grand Hotel and Spa

Civil Service Fast Stream

Royal Air Force

Step

Magical Maths

GradIntelligence

Stroud Resourcing

Mandarin Consulting

XCM

IDEXX Ltd

SimplyBiz

PureNet

Teach First

Yorkshire Graduates

Mitrefinch

Enterprise Rent a Car