MLAC events, PG events, Research Groups, Workshop

Events bulletin 14-18 June

Tuesday 14th June

Cafe Politique presents: What is Britishness? An interactive seminar, 18:00-19:00, Ustinov College, Fisher House

As the world becomes more interconnected, the concept of British citizenship and identity has become more contentious. Mass migration crises, questions about former colonial territories, such as the Falkland Islands, or the upcoming EU referendum of 23 June 2016 all raise fundamental questions about what is Britishness. The aims of this Café Politique event is to present empirical evidence from three Durham University academics as a starting point for discussion and to propose a group activity to tease out more broader questions about whether people felt British, European or International. Join Café Politique and special guest speakers from Durham University for an interactive, interdisciplinary seminar on ‘What is Britishness?’ We intend to raise questions, discuss personal experiences and share ideas about important debates like the Brexit-Bremain referendum. Refreshments provided.


Wednesday 15th June

Translation and Linguistics Research Group Presentation, 13:00-14:00, ER141

Prof. Mikel L. Forcada from the Universitat d’Alacant, Spain will be given a presentation entitled ‘Machine translation as an ingredient in professional translation’ for the Translation and Linguistics Research Group on Wednesday 15 June at 1.00-2.00pm in ER141. Everyone welcome. In this talk, after defining machine translation (MT), he will briefly explain the two main types of MT: rule-based and corpus-based. He will describe machine translation as based in very crude models of what professional translators do, and describe how hard it is to encode professional knowledge in these models. These models may work or not in a specific application, but in most applications the intervention of professional translators is necessary. In addition to the usual postediting scenario, where professionals are expected to edit raw machine translation output to produce a finished product, I will describe two additional ways in which professionals may benefit from MT: interactive or target-text-mediated machine translation and fuzzy-match repair.


The evaluation of a teacher-focused intervention to widen participation in higher education, as part of the Sutton Trust Evaluation Framework, 13:00-14:00, ED134, School of Education

Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series 2015/16. The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM) is working with the Sutton Trust on a common evaluation framework for several of their programmes. This talk will introduce the Framework, describing the approach taken to embed consistent evaluation methods across several of the Trust’s programmes. It will then focus on the evaluation of the Teacher Summer School programme. Teacher Summer Schools are a residential programme for teachers and other advisers, designed to complement the Trust’s student summer school. In 2015 the programme was delivered by eight ‘leading’ universities (three of these collaborating on a joint event). The programme aims to widen participation in higher education through information provision and breaking down misconceptions about competitive universities, as well as promoting the student-focussed intervention to attendees. It also aims to have an indirect impact through supporting subject-specific enrichment. We have evaluated the targeting of the programme and have conducted surveys of participants immediately following the programme and after six months. We have also conducted six follow-up interviews with a sample of participants. The findings will be presented from these surveys and interviews, focussing on the factors that have enabled teachers and advisers to change their practice following the programme and barriers to implementing change. I will also discuss the future plans for the evaluation.


IAS/Faculty of Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Research Feedback Session15:00-17:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study

This two-hour session is the second of a series of termly meetings that aim to share good practice and promote collaboration among postgraduate research students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The sessions will provide a friendly, interdisciplinary setting in which academics and research students from across the Faculty meet up to discuss and give oral feedback on work-in-progress authored by research students. Each session will discuss the work of up to two research students. After briefly introducing their work, students will take comments, suggestions and questions about their written work from those in the audience (who will have read it in advance). Each student will have a few minutes at the end to respond to comments or ask for clarifications. The length of the pieces of work to be discussed will be between 3,000 and 5,000 words. These could be an extract from a chapter of the student’s PhD thesis, a conference paper or an article (work-in-progress in all cases). Light refreshments (tea/coffee) will be served. In this session, two students from the School of Modern Languages and Cultures will present work from their PhD thesis:

Marzia Beltrami’s work sample is entitled Plots as maps and plots as trajectories: a work in progress’.

Yazid Haroun’s work sample is entitled Thus Spake Interpellation, or Translation and Ideology’.

Reading material for this session will be circulated by email for those who register for the event. Capacity at this event is limited to 30, and registration is essential. To register follow this link.


Postgraduate Reception, 17:30-19:30, A56

All Modern Languages and Cultures postgraduates (taught and research) and staff are warmly invited to the end-of-year postgraduate reception on June 15th from 5.30 PM in A56. Nibbles and drinks will be available.


DEI Public Lecture: How green was my Government? 18:30-19:30, Ken Wade Lecture Theatre, Calman Learning Centre

In this lecture Michael Feliks asks the question ‘how can we judge whether the Government is green or not?’ and takes us on a tour of the recent history of ‘green’ energy policy. Michael Feliks is committed to rolling out renewable, low carbon energy in the UK, especially heat generated from deep geothermal sources. But he recognises the pressures on funding in both the private and public sectors. How we use our finite financial resources to create our future energy system will require hard choices. Yet in a debate that has no shortage of impassioned points of view, he worries that we can easily lose sight of the facts and make bad decisions. More positively, he believes the facts have never been easier to find.


Thursday 16th June

‘I Worshipped the Invisible Alone’: A Coleridgean Shadow in Shelley’s 1816 Poetry, 17:30-18:45, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Sharon Tai

An Inventions of the Text seminar. Click here for more information.

Literature, Cinema, Videogame: Intermedial Influence and Literary Modernism, 17:30-18:45, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr Alistair Brown

As critics such as Andrew Shail have demonstrated, early cinema exerted a “significant unconscious influence” (Shail, 2012) on modernist literary aesthetics. From specific techniques such as montage, to the vision of how to narrate a story without an overt narrator but with a narrating point of view, literary modernists readily incorporated ideas from the new medium deep into their own formal methods. In the early twenty-first century, contemporary literature resides alongside a similarly radical other medium, that of video games. Yet whereas twentieth-century modernists took cinema across to literature in a deep intermedial exchange, some forty years after the advent of video games even avant-garde writers such as Will Self continue to wonder why video games have yet to make any significant impact on mainstream literature, particularly the novel which would seem naturally positioned to explore the remediatory possibilities of storytelling offered by interactive games. Certainly, niche hypertext fiction and multiply-navigable novels such as Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves have offered a “media-technical” response to interactive narratives, much like modernist magazines such as Blast! adopted visually striking representations of cinematographic methods in print. Yet the intermedial influences of cinema also extended deep into the formal epistemology of narrative, rethinking what storytelling might do even within the otherwise conventionally linear printed book. It is this sort of deeper influence that appears to be lacking in our current cultural ecosphere, in which video games and novels co-exist as popular fictional forms without seemingly intruding on each other’s evolved niche. This paper will suggest some of the reasons why some new media exert greater intermedial influence upon the literary domain than others.


Friday 17th June

What Can we Learn about the Mind from Brain Imaging Evidence? (Workshop), 10:00, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary’s College

Jody Culham, Western University, Ontario, Canada
Eleanor Maguire, University College London
Adrian Owen, Western University, Ontario, Canada
Dick Passingham, Oxford University
The conference is free to attend, but due to limited spaces advance online registration is required.
A more detailed program and information about the venue are available here.



Saturday 18th June

Durham Students Union Cultural Festival11:00-16:00, Dunelm House

Experience the world in one day through food, crafts, workshops, performances and more! Join student societies, University departments, and local businesses for this celebration of diversity and culture. Everyone is welcome to attend.  This event is suitable for all ages, although there may be restrictions for some activities. Entry to the festival is free.


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