Spotlight – July 2020

Welcome to Spotlight, the Faculty of English Language & Literature’s alumni newsletter.

Issue 6

This newsletter is coming from our newly virtual Faculty. We closed the doors to the St Cross building on 24 March 2020, and have since been finding new and creative ways to work with our students until we reopen in Michaelmas Term.

Despite the tumultuous and unpredictable nature of life in a world with COVID-19, we've managed to navigate new technologies which have enabled us to continue teaching and research from afar. Thanks to the support of TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities) we've even managed to host our first ever online Professor of Poetry lecture with Alice Oswald, plus take part in numerous other online events including: The Social Life of Books, Invalids on the Move, and Shakespeare and the Plague (hosted by the University as part of Oxford at Home). These are all still available to watch (click on the links to be taken to the recordings). We also participated in the University’s Online Open Days at the beginning of July with video recordings by staff and students and live Q&As.

Members of the Faculty have secured funding for projects which offer a response to the repercussions of COVID-19: Professor Sally Shuttleworth for Contagion Cabaret, and Dr Stuart Lee for Lockdown 2020. We were also delighted to be recognised with an Athena Swan Bronze Award in May. The award recognises commitment to the advancement of gender equality in higher education and research institutions.

Black Lives Matter has seen us look to our teaching, syllabi, and recruitment and retention of staff to see how we can positively effect change in our Faculty. The Chair of Faculty Board has set up an anti-racism action group with a team of Faculty members to lead on change and build on existing measures. We have concentrated at the end of this term and over the summer on reviewing our reading lists and syllabi so that they are refreshed ready for teaching and study at the beginning of next academic year. We will be holding more consultations with staff and students early next term to ensure we are doing all we can to promote racial equality at the Faculty.

You can stay up to date with our (mostly online) events on the Faculty website, as well as on social media (Twitter and Facebook).

You can browse the different articles from the newsletter below, or view the whole newsletter as a pdf here.