Year 2: January 2022 - January 2023
In this blog post we present a round-up of the second year of our project and some of our plans for 2023.
Jade Munslow Ong and Andrew van der Vlies, eds., Olive Schreiner: Writing Networks and Global Contexts (forthcoming Edinburgh University Press)
In February Andrew and I signed a book contract with Edinburgh University Press. We have since been busy reading, writing and editing our own and others’ chapters, with Emma on hand to help us decipher the Chicago referencing system! We’re now reviewing the final chapters and drafting the Introduction, and look forward to the collection being published later in the year.
You can find out more about the collection here.
In April, my article on Schreiner and Woolf was published as part of a Special Issue on ‘A Century of Modernism in South African Literature and Literary Culture’, edited by Rick de Villiers.
The issue also includes essays on the modernisms of H.I.E. Dhlomo, Edward Wolfe and William Plomer, Virginia Woolf and Fiona Melrose, J.M. Coetzee, and Chinua Achebe, by contributors Rick de Villiers, Arthur Rose, Michelle Adler, Sofia Kostelac and Russell West-Pavlov.
Emma and I have continued to work alongside PhD students Hannah Helm (Salford) and Natalie Ilsley (Manchester) on a research-impact project entitled ‘South African Modernism as Decolonising Methodology for A-Level English Literature’.
The project began in January 2021 with three aims:
a) to extend the reach and impacts of AHRC-funded research;
b) to assist student learning and preparation for A-Level English Literature assessments;
c) to support and enhance decolonising efforts in English Studies.
To date, we have delivered over 80 hours of teaching to over 530 students across 12 Further Education providers.
In January 2022, my related article ‘Decolonizing the English Literature GCE A-Level via the South African Ex-Centric’ was circulated as part of the WJEC Eduqas exam board newsletter; and in February, I delivered the keynote lecture, ‘Decolonising the English Curriculum’, as part of the Manchester Catholic Education Partnership (MANCEP) Teacher Training day.
In October our team was awarded £4923 by the Research Impact and Public Engagement Fund at the University of Salford to continue our decolonising work until July 2023. We also recruited new team member, PhD student Katie Barnes (Salford), who joins Hannah, Natalie, Emma and myself in delivering taught sessions in colleges and sixth forms in and around the NorthWest.
Look out too for Hannah’s upcoming blogpost about the next phase of the project, which we will publish on the site next month.
Between July-September I spent 9 weeks in South Africa. I was joined in the first week by project affiliate Sanja Nivesjö, as well as colleagues Simon Stanton-Sharma, Maire Tracey and Matthew Whittle (Kent) to make the project film All That Is Buried.
You can read our blogpost about the making of the film here.
After our colleagues left, Sanja and I spent three weeks in Makhanda (Grahamstown) conducting research in the archives at Amazwi, and meeting colleagues and presenting papers at Rhodes University. A day trip to Cradock also provided the opportunity to visit the Olive Schreiner house and Schreiner's sarcophagus atop Buffelskop mountain. In September I then travelled to Johannesburg to work in the Bailey’s African History Archives.
You can read our blogpost about Amazwi, Rhodes, Cradock and BAHA here.
In April, I was announced as one of the ten 2022 AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinkers. This role provides a great opportunity to bring project research to new public audiences. So far I have appeared on programmes on global modernisms (2nd February), the New Generation Thinkers 2022 (31st March) and South African writing (14th June).
The 2022 AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinkers are (L>R): Shirin Hirsch (MMU), Louise Creechan (Durham), Sabina Dosani (UEA), Oskar Cox-Jensen (UEA), Jade Munslow Ong (Salford), Ellie Chan (Manchester), Jim Scown (Cardiff), Clare Siviter (Bristol), Joan Passey (Bristol), Emma Whipday (Newcastle).
In November we hosted a one-day event for late-stage PhD students and early-career researchers on decolonising literary studies. Speakers included Dr Kai Syng Tan (MMU, UK), Ursula Hurley (Salford, UK), Rick Monture (McMaster, Canada), Tasnim Qutait (Uppsala, Sweden), Rick de Villiers (Free State, South Africa), Shazia Jagot (York, UK) and our own Emma Barnes (Salford, UK).
Recordings of the pre-panel papers, panel discussions, workshop images and notes, and a reading list can be found here.
In June we were awarded £1000 by the British Academy and AHRC to host two events as part of the nationwide Being Human Festival.
On 11th November we held our first event, which was the premiere of our film, All That is Buried.
You can watch a recording of the event here and below:
On 12th November we hosted an art and writing workshop inspired by the work of South African modernist Albert Adams.
A recording of the workshops and an online gallery of the watercolours, collages and creative writing produced by members of the public can be found here.
In February 2022, Andrew interviewed Damon Galgut about his Booker Prize winning novel, The Promise, for the podcast Novel Dialogue.
I presented a session on ‘Decolonising Research’ for the Salford Postgraduate Annual Conference in June, and took part in a British Association for Modernist Studies roundtable discussion on ‘Modernist Studies Beyond Britain’ as part of English: Shared Futures in July.
Project team members presented papers based on their chapters for the collection Olive Schreiner: Writing Networks and Global Contexts in various places. Emma, Sanja and I contributed a panel at the Women in World Literature conference at the University of Warwick in June; Sanja and I presented at Rhodes University in South Africa in July; and I spoke at the Modern School Seminar Series at the University of York in November.
It’s hard to believe (and slightly terrifying to realise) that we’re already two-thirds of the way through our project. Whilst we certainly feel that we’ve achieved a lot, there’s still so much to do! Some of the activities we have planned for 2023 include the following:
In my role as an AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker, I look forward to being interviewed by Prof Madhu Krishnan for Bristol Ideas next week; attending the selection days for the 2023 New Generation Thinkers; and recording a programme on South African modernism for ‘The Essay’ on BBC Radio 3 in the Spring.
Emma, Sanja, Simon, Maire, Matt and I will be going on 5-day writing retreat in May 2023 to write an article about the making of All That is Buried. This has been generously funded by the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology (University of Salford) and the Landmark Trust.
Sanja and I will attend the Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival in Cradock, South Africa, in June 2023, and will be undertaking long-overdue research trips to Durham and London to look at the William Plomer and Solomon Plaatje archives later in the year.
We have submitted All That is Buried for consideration at a number of international film festivals – so we’re keeping fingers crossed!