Where to find NCRCL staff (when not at the university)

Our lecturers at the NCRCL don’t just teach on the undergraduate and MA programmes at the University of Roehampton. In case you want to catch them outside of their natural environment, here are events and conferences where they have spoken, or will be speaking, over this academic year.

Gillian Lathey, Director of the NCRCL:

On 12 October Gillian gave a guest lecture at the University of East Anglia on ‘Invisible Storytellers: The role of translators in the history of children’s literature’ followed by a seminar the following morning on the translation of children’s literature for students on the MA in Literary Translation at UEA.

On 21 October Gillian was invited to participate in an event loosely linked to 9/11 at the Cotsen Library in Princeton University, NJ, on trauma, memory and autobiography  to present ‘From Emil to Alice: The Hiatus in the Childhood Reading of Exiles from Germany and Austria 1933-45’, based on interviews with and the memoirs of German and Austrian Jewish refugees.

Gillian is also presenting a paper on 16-17 November on ‘Fierce Russians and Fashionable French: The representation of national identities in British picture books during the Great Exhibition and the Crimean War 1851-56’ at the Low Countries Conference 2011 on Translation and National Images in Antwerp/Amsterdam.

Lisa Sainsbury:

Lisa will be speaking at the Child and the Book conference, to be held 30 March-1 April at Cambridge University. The title of the conference is ‘Towards Common Ground: Philosophical Approaches to Children’s Literature.’ Lisa’s current area of research is philosophy and contemporary children’s literature and her book on ethics and British children’s literature is due for publication in 2013. Lisa will reflect on the relationship between philosophy and children’s literature and bring together key issues raised during the conference.

(In fact, the Child and the Book postgraduate conference was founded at the University of Roehampton back in 2004, as you can see on the main conference website.)


Laura Atkins:

Laura will be delivering a paper at the ‘Race, Ethnicity and Publishing’ Conference, to be held from March 23-24 in Aix-Marseille Université in Aix-en-Provence, France. The title of her talk is “Reading Multicultural Children’s Book Manuscripts” and she will discuss issues around race, diversity and publication of children’s books in the UK.

Jacqueline Wilson PhD Scholar

The NCRCL welcomed a new research student to the fold this term as the Jacqueline Wilson Scholar. Congratulations to Nick Campbell who was selected for his research project ‘Inherent in the Landscape: The Neo-Romantic in Post-War British Children’s Literature.’ The scholarship is generously funded by Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

Post MA thoughts

This post was written by Daisy Johnson, one of our MA students who has completed her MA dissertation and coursework. Daisy was part of the Distance Learning programme and writes here about the experience. Our congratulations go to Daisy and all of the other new graduates from our MA in Children’s Literature.

Originally posted on August 21, 2011 by nobodyjones on her blog.

I’ve finished my MA in Children’s Literature. And now, a few days after passing my dissertation to the lady in the post office (MAKE THEM SIGN FOR IT WHEN THEY GET IT PLEASE IT’S VERY PRECIOUS ER YES IT IS JUST PAPER BUT PRECIOUS PAPER), I feel able to look back on the degree that I fell into by accident but loved every second of.

I started the degree in 2007, a few days after it had officially started. I caught it on a random google (I think I was looking for jobs) and said to my parents (with whom I was living at the time) that this looked amazing.

And lord love my dad but he said “Go for it”

Cue a slightly frantic stream of e-mails including a personal statement and a pdf of my precious Buffy undergraduate dissertation being sent off to the admissions tutor with the plea of “Am I too late?” Thankfully I wasn’t. I got accepted (still slightly stunned at the fact that somehow I’d decided to do a Masters) and that acceptance heralded four years of solid distance learning which culminated last week with the receipt of my dissertation.

What have I learnt? I’m a damn sight more confident about a subject I previously worshipped at a distance. I’ve learnt that my opinions have validity and I’ve learnt that I still don’t quite get on with Jungian theory. I’ve learnt that this subject is important and continues to be. I’ve learnt that I can commit to something and follow it through. I’ve learnt that I can write academic essays and they can be good. I’ve learnt to have faith in my abilities as a researcher / academician / writer.

My top five tips for those considering a Masters via distance learning?

  1. You have to enjoy the topic. That’s the only thing which will sustain you through those long hours of self-paced working. If you don’t enjoy what you’re studying or reading, you will sack it off and fall behind before you’ve even noticed.
  2. Set yourself realistic targets. I am a freak with deadlines. I write them in my diary and then give myself a fake deadline of two weeks earlier. That means I can push to get it done and then have that little breather at the end to pick up errors. This came in particularly handy with my dissertation recently when I picked it up from the printers. My title: “The gifted and talented child in British Children’s Literature” My bibliography: several texts from New Zealand …
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your tutor is here to help you and you need to make the most of this. Learn how to communicate with your tutor in the way that best serves you. I never once had a tutorial via phone despite that being freely on offer. I knew that if I did, I’d hang up and promptly forget everything we just talked about. Plus I also get very self-conscious talking about my work in public so I knew that wouldn’t necessarily be the most fruitful activity. I had all my tutorials via e-mail as this allowed me to have feedback and comments in writing and also allowed me to refer back to them.
  4. Use. The. Library. Use it early, use it often and get used to the distance learner service. Ask them questions. Find out the key names. If you can’t afford postal loan rates or if your institution doesn’t do postal loans, make friends with your local public library or find out about the SCONUL scheme. I was very lucky in that I worked at a university whilst studying at another so I was able to utilise the library collection at work (which had a spectacular children’s literature section) to support my degree. And make sure you know how Athens works fairly early on as you will need articles at some point.
  5. Understand how you study and how you study best. Early mornings? Late at night? By yourself? In a cafe? I tended to take the part of the module I was working with at that particular point of time and snatch fifteen minutes at lunchtime to finish off a chapter or make some notes. I study fairly well by myself but occasionally took myself off to the uni library and told myself I couldn’t come home until I’d written 2k worth of words. That in particular worked wonders during my dissertation.

It’s scary. It’s complicated. And you need to change how you think. A Masters is all about you leading the learning (obviously within certain parameters). You decide your essay titles and you decide what to write upon. You decide how to study and you decide to skip a little bit over that section on Freud but focus more upon the section on Iser. You lead your learning. That’s quite a step to take after being spoon fed throughout school.

But god it’s good. I’m so proud I’ve done this and I’m so proud that I’m (hopefully) going to be a MA, BA (hons) soon. Admittedly I’ll have to stop doing a sheep impression on the BA bit but you get the picture.

The thing about this degree is you think you can’t do it. You think that’s not going to work out for you. But then you realise that actually this is one of the best steps you’ve ever done. It’s all so blinking fab.

(And, you get to read the most amazing  books whilst going “For RESEARCH darling RESEARCH!).

What’s not to lose?