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Dr Rachel Dickinson on BBC Radio Scotland

Dr Rachel Dickinson (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, MMU Cheshire) will be interviewed live on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Culture Show on Tuesday 8th July at 2 p.m.

A major exhibition of John Ruskin’s art opens this week at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery The Culture Show is dedicating 30 minutes to this on Tuesday.  They have asked Scottish dance critic Kelly Apter to view the exhibition as a non-specialist and have asked Rachel Dickinson to be the Ruskin expert in a live conversation with host Janice Forsyth

July 4th, 2014 - 15:39pm

Next North-West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar at MMU

The next North-West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar will take place on July 2nd at 2 pm at Manchester Metropolitan University in Geoffrey Manton building, Lecture Theatre 5 (ground floor). The building is opposite the Aquatics Centre on Oxford Rd. We will be going for drinks and dinner afterwards as usual if you would like to join us.

Please contact Dr Emma Liggins ( if you’d like to give a paper next year, 2014-15; Emma is currently organising the programme. We are considering having a day-long event in July 2015, which would include a series of papers on Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, but if anyone would like to suggest another theme to go with this, she would be very happy to hear this.

Wednesday July 2nd 2014, 2-5pm


Prof Gail Marshall (University of Leicester), ‘Writing 1859’

Dr Jane Thomas (University of Hull), title to be announced


Richard Thomas (MMU), ‘William Godwin’s Fleetwood and the Demise of the Grand Tour’

Frank Pearson (University of Lancaster), ‘”The deep air’s unmeasured wilderness (Shelley)”: Caves and Romanticism’

The seminar is grateful for funding from IHSSR, BAVS and BARS.


Dr Emma Liggins

Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Department of English at MMU

Phone number (0161) 247 3772


June 10th, 2014 - 16:49pm

Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue: Prizing and Publishing Muslims

Dr Ana Miller (Department of English) is to be one of the keynote speakers at a forthcoming workshop exploring “Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue: Prizing and Publishing Muslims” at the University of York on Friday 23rd May. The workshop considers the negotiations surrounding the production, design, publication and dissemination of works by authors of Muslim heritage.  Focusing on four main areas – prizes, festivals, literary celebrities and the publishing world – a panel of international experts will explore the paratexts that surround authors and texts of Muslim provenance or authorship. The workshop is free and will take place between 10-4 in the Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building, Campus West (University of York).

Ana’s paper entitled “Small Publishers, Critical Paratexts and Middle Eastern Short Story Collections” explores the role of independent publishers in translating and circulating literature that has traditionally been marginalised in commercial publishing. Through a comparison of the paratexts of commercial and independent publications that present and mediate ‘Middle Eastern’ and ‘Arabic’ fiction for an Anglophone audience, the paper investigates how independent publishers set out to resist the commercial hegemony that favours novels marketed around stereotypical themes such as the veiled Muslim woman. Contemporary ‘Muslim’ and ‘Middle-Eastern’ writers and the independent publishers bringing their work out constitute an important counterpoint to a reinvigorated culture of Orientalism in the aftermath of 9/11. However, it remains important to investigate how such literature continues to be mediated and marketed in potentially problematic ways to meet the expectations of Anglophone literary markets and cultural expectations.

Brochure for the event: Prizing Muslims – Brochure

May 21st, 2014 - 15:21pm

Ruskin discussed on BBC Radio Scotland

Dr Rachel Dickinson, from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at MMU, can be heard on BBC Radio Scotland tomorrow (Tuesday 15th April) at 13.32, discussing John Ruskin’s failed marriage to Effie Gray in a programme entitled Women with a Past: Effie Gray.

This is an example of unexpected impact: in researching the programme, the producer, Dr Louise Yeoman, read one of Dickinson’s submissions for REF2014, a book chapter entitled ‘Of Ruskin, Women and Power’,  and thought the MMU academic might offer an interesting angle for the programme.  Following an initial phone conversation, Dickinson was invited to join Yeoman and the host, Susan Morrison, for two days of taping on location in Scotland on 9th and 10th February.

More details can be found here  The photo at this link is of Dickinson (L) and Morrison looking at Effie Gray’s family plot in a Perth cemetery.

April 14th, 2014 - 11:22am

A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition released on 5 December

A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition released on 5 December alongside a new online resource featuring rare material from the Anthony Burgess archives.

Penguin’s A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition – complete with a striking cover design from Barnbrook studio – hits the shelves on 5 December. To mark the paperback release of Burgess’s original text The International Anthony Burgess Foundation will launch an online resource of articles, images and podcasts covering everything you need to know about the novel and the film, and next year will host Day of the Droogs, an event offering new perspectives on cinema, gang culture and young masculinity.

A ‘terrifying and marvellous book’ (Roald Dahl), this fully restored edition reinstates the author’s original text, and includes a Nadsat glossary, explanatory notes, extracts from Anthony Burgess’s illustrated manuscript, author interviews and a foreword by Martin Amis.

The authentic, back-to-basics attitude of the publication is also reflected in the cover design from Barnbrook. Jonathan Barnbrook, the designer of David Bowie’s recent albums and the acclaimed Penguin Modern Classics cover for George Orwell’s 1984, describes his cover creation as ‘bold and uncompromising’ with Penguin’s Art Director, Jim Stoddart, stating Barnbrook’s design makes this latest edition ‘a book you just have to own’.

A Clockwork Orange Online Resource (5 December 2013)

In addition to the Penguin paperback release, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation will be unveiling a new online resource for A Clockwork Orange.

Visit on 5 December and you’ll be able to access everything you ever needed to know about the book and the film: myth-busting facts, full bibliographies, informative articles about the evolution of the novel and the film, a gallery of book covers, podcasts and much more.

Day of the Droogs (29 January 2014)

To mark the publication of A Clockwork Orange Restored Edition the International Anthony Burgess Foundation and Manchester Metropolitan University’s Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research presents Day of the Droogs, a free day-long event focussing on the critical views surrounding a A Clockwork Orange and its legacies, including new perspectives on cinema, gang culture and young masculinity.

Full details here:


About Anthony Burgess and the International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Born in Manchester in 1917, Burgess grew up in Harpurhey and Moss Side, went to school in Rusholme and studied at The University of Manchester. A prolific novelist, poet, playwright, composer and critic, he wrote thirty-three novels, twenty-five works of non-fiction, hundreds of musical works and vast quantities of journalism.

Based in Manchester, the Burgess Foundation has an extensive library, archive and study centre containing Burgess’s books, music and papers. It also has a performance venue where we present new work by writers, artists and musicians. The Burgess Foundation is an entirely independent charity that welcomes all individuals and institutions interested in Burgess’s work. Visit for more information.

For further information, images and interviews, please contact

Clare Preston-Pollitt

Events and Marketing Officer

International Anthony Burgess Foundation

0161 235 0776

December 9th, 2013 - 18:00pm

Remembering Sister Ruth

Dr Andrew Moor, MMU English Department’s Reader in Cinema History, recently took part in a Tribute Evening to the actress Kathleen Byron in the glorious setting of London’s Cinema Museum in darkest Kennington.

Kathleen Byron died in 2009, and so it was great that many members of her family were able to participate too. Her son, the actor Jasper Jacob, said how touched his mother would have been by the whole event, and how amazed that her work on film is now so highly regarded.

Byron is particularly associated with the filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. She makes an impression as an efficient Heavenly Angel in their 1946 fantasy A Matter of Life and Death. She will, though, forever be associated with one role: ‘mad’ Sister Ruth, casting off her nun’s habit, lasciviously applying red lipstick and throwing herself at louche Mr Dean in Powell and Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece Black Narcissus (1947). It was a supporting role, and she is the most memorable thing in an astonishing film. Unfortunately, nothing she did since matched that part – as Powell predicted – though she starred in a later film for them, The Small Back Room (1949), and alongside bringing up her family she continued to work in film, television and on stage. You may remember brief appearances in David Lynch’s Elephant Man and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

The event’s host, Steve Chibnall of De Montford University, introduced a packed audience to Kathleen’s work, before Sarah Street (Bristol University) spoke about ‘that role’ as the wayward Nun. It made her career, but in many ways it also hampered it. Hollywood associated her with ‘neurotics’ and unlike her contemporary Deborah Kerr the higher echelons of stardom didn’t beckon. She just seemed too intelligent, strong and confrontational a woman for the sober 1950s.

Andrew Moor spoke about her role in The Small Back Room – a tense thriller about German booby-trapped explosives set in 1943. Here Byron is in a supporting lead role as Susan, girlfriend to the central character, bomb-disposal expert Sammy. The film has traces of noir, of romance and of ‘Boy’s Own’ wartime thriller, though Andrew’s talked suggested that Bryon’s muted, intelligent and mature performance provides a stable centre of strong, feminine realism to what is otherwise a deeply neurotic film about a male character who is falling apart at the seams.

After a break, there was a lively discussion with members of Kathleen’s family. Her daughter Harriet spoke about her mother’s affair with Michael Powell, and recalled how surprised Kathleen had been when her old films with Powell rocketed in reputation in the 1970s. Her son Jasper reminded the audience that his mother was as proud of some of her television work in literary adaptations.

The event, which was on 21st November, was put on to raise funds for the astonishing Cinema Museum in South London. Occupying the old Lambeth workhouse, where the young Charlie Chaplin lived and toiled as a young boy with his mother, the Museum is a ramshackle temple to film-buffery and slim-funded enthusiasm. Details of the Museum and of other events taking place there can be found at

– Dr Andrew Moor



December 9th, 2013 - 17:26pm

Social Movements Conference – Call for Papers

From 1995 to 2013, Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a series of very successful annual international conferences on ‘ALTERNATIVE FUTURES and POPULAR PROTEST’.

We’re very happy to announce that the Nineteenth AF&PP Conference will be held, between Monday 14th April and Wednesday 16th April 2014.

The Conference rubric remains as in previous years. The aim is to explore the dynamics of popular movements, along with the ideas which animate their activists and supporters and which contribute to shaping their fate. Given the significance of the mass movements in numbers of countries during the early years of this decade, we especially welcome papers discussing these – while no less welcoming suggestions on other topics.

Reflecting the inherent cross-disciplinary nature of the issues, previous participants (from over 60 countries) have come from such specialisms as sociology, politics, cultural studies, social psychology, economics,  history and geography.  The Manchester conferences have also been notable for discovering a fruitful and friendly meeting ground between activism and academia.


We invite offers of papers relevant to the conference themes.  Papers should address such matters as:

* contemporary and historical social movements and popular protests

* social movement theory

* utopias and experiments

* ideologies of collective action

* etc.

To offer a paper, please contact either of the conference convenors with a brief abstract:

EITHER Colin Barker, Dept. of Sociology

OR Mike Tyldesley, Dept. of Politics and Philosophy

Manchester Metropolitan University

Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West

Manchester M15 6LL, England


Tel: M. Tyldesley  0161 247 3460


Fax: 0161 247 6769 (+44 161 247 6769)

(Wherever possible, please use email, especially as Colin Barker is a retired gent. Surface mail and faxes should only be addressed to Mike Tyldesley)


November 21st, 2013 - 21:13pm

Knowledge is Power: new seminar series launches from Space/Place/Culture Cluster

Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme

The Space/Place/Culture RKE Cluster at MMU announce the first of a series of public seminars. All welcome.

Thursday 21st November, 5.15pm-7.00pm (approx end time)
Room 315, MMU Business School

Dr Jess Edwards (Head of the Department of English, MMU)

‘Thomas Hobbes, Charles Cotton and the Wonders of the Derbyshire Peak’

I’ll be talking about two seventeenth-century writers who describe, from personal experience, the ‘wonders’ of the Derbyshire Peak district, one of the first destinations for English domestic tourism. I will argue that Hobbes’s ‘De Mirabilibus Pecci’ (1636) finds in the Peak a space on which to project that triangulation of reason, fear and power for which Hobbes would later become notorious, and that Charles Cotton’s ‘Wonders of the Peake’ (1681), makes explicit the science and the politics in Hobbes’s poetic topography, confronting and revising them. Each topographic poem is a self-conscious intervention in heated contemporary debates about science, government and their relation to various conceptions of the state of nature. I came to Hobbes and Cotton via subsequent generations of domestic tourists writing about the Peak, and I’m interested in travel and landscape writing in all its manifestations, so will welcome a discussion that views these poems in a much broader context than that of the English seventeenth century.

About the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme:

The ‘spatial turn’ has opened up dynamic synergies – and occasional tensions – between the work of cultural geographers and researchers working in a range of fields across the humanities. As Douglas Richardson explains, ‘ideas, terminology, and concepts such as space, place, scale, landscape, geography, and mapping’ now permeate interdisciplinary academic research as ‘conceptual frameworks, methodologies, and core metaphors’. Saliently, Richardson – Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers – also points out that such tropes have become increasingly prominent within public life as evidenced, in this country, by a collective preoccupation with edgelands, psychogeography, liminal spaces, cultural cartography and so on. Moreover, the proliferation of digital geographical technologies – including Sat Navs and Google Earth – has revolutionised the practice of everyday life. Researchers at MMU have recognised the shared emphasis on geographic themes as a focus for both internal cross-disciplinary collaboration and as a means to engage wider publics with academic research; the Space/Place/Culture Public Seminar Programme is a forum where such research can be discussed, and is open to anyone.

Forthcoming seminars:
Thursday 12th December – Tracey Potts (Culture, Film & Media, Nottingham)
The Matter Work Of The Heidelberg Project

Thursday 16th  January – Simon Faulkner (Art History, MMU)
The politics of here and there: Visual representations of spatial difference in Israel/Palestine

For further enquiries:


November 17th, 2013 - 16:14pm

Launch of International ‘Literary Geographies’ Journal

David Cooper (English, MMU Cheshire) has been working with colleagues from the University of Tokyo, University College London, the University of Nottingham and the University of Oulu (Finland), on the launch of a new international online journal dedicated to the ever-expanding field of literary geographies.

Literary Geographies is a new interdisciplinary open-access e-journal that provides a forum for new research and collaboration in the field of literary/geographical studies. The journal features work combining topics and methods from literary studies, cultural geography, cartography, and spatial theory. Recognising that the term ‘literary geography’ itself (along with its variants in other languages) has multiple meanings and is practised in a variety of ways within different academic traditions, the journal takes a broad view of its subject matter. The journal is fully refereed, and welcomes submissions (in English) from scholars at all career stages, and from all parts of the world. The Literary Geographies website went live in November 2013 and the journal is now accepting submissions for the first issue of the journal in 2014. Please follow the link for further information on the submission process and for full details of the journal’s international editorial board.


November 15th, 2013 - 10:58am

New PhD Studentships in Arts and Humanities at MMU

New studentships now available under the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWC DTP)

The MIRIAD/School of Art Research /Degrees Programme and the Faculty of Humanities Languages and Social Science, Manchester Metropolitan University will welcome applications through the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Programme from potential PhD students interested in research in the listed areas. The scheme will be launched on 1st December and the application deadline is 21st February. For further details about the particulars of the AHRC scheme at MMU and informal enquiries, please email Professor Jim Aulich ( For subject specific information see the named contacts below.

Funding for these studentships is conditional on attaining a place in the MMU Graduate School and successful application to the AHRC North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership. The Consortium will be awarding 200 PhD studentships over a five year period to excellent research students in the arts and humanities. It will provide research candidates with the potential for cross-institutional mentoring, expert supervision including cross-institutional supervision where appropriate, subject-specific and generic training, and professional support in preparing for and developing a career. Full details will be available from the NWCDTP website from 1st December through the link found on the Graduate School website


November 15th, 2013 - 10:15am