Friday, 12 December 2014

VCD student on Over to You programme on the BBC World Service

It's the last day of term and SOAS is engulfed in festive activities: we had mince pies and chocolate cake in our tutorials and there is music and partying all night. The BBC World Service contacted us this week to arrange for one of our VCD students to go on the Over to You show. It'll be aired tomorrow (Saturday 13 December) at 11.50 GMT and repeated over the weekend. There's a link to the programme here:

Meanwhile - happy end of term! :)


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Language Entitlement Programme

Yes, the term is really zipping by. The tree outside my office is gradually realising that autumn is here!
The first essays have been handed in, and I have had lots of discussions about possible dissertation topics, term two options and dealing with deadlines.
There is one new and very exciting conversation that I've been having this year: for the first time, all PG students are given the chance to learn a language. So I've been signing off approval forms for people to study Swahili, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi - there are loads of language courses on offer. Often people have some idea of where they want to work when they've finished studying, and getting the basics of a language now is a brilliant investment for next year.

Full details of the Language Entitlement Programme are here:
Here's a little video of how it works:

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Happy New Term!

It is the start of a new term!! It's a really exciting time of the year - meeting new people, and discussing their experience and research interests. Yesterday was Monday and we had our first lecture and talked about the year ahead. Today it's Tuesday, so... already time for a party!
The SOAS salsa band was playing in the JCR and the timbales made it right out of the stage area and into the middle of the dancers....

Then the SOAS samba band emerged from the bar downstairs and accompanied everyone out of the building to continue partying elsewhere.

Salsa, samba and education for the masses. You really can't say fairer than that!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Miriam Nabarro - The Damnation of Memory

Miriam Nabarro, Research Associate and Artist in Residence in the Development Studies Department, is currently exhibiting her work The Damnation of Memory in the Wolfson Gallery in SOAS Library. The photographs of the destroyed National University Library of Sarajevo are printed on glass and provide a perspective on the concept of cultural genocide.

Miriam graduated from the VCD programme in 2005!! It is great to have her back.

Miriam Nabarro, Research Associate and Artist in Residence, with her work

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Damnation of Memory - photographs of the National University Library of Sarajevo

The Damnation of Memory

Do Not Forget, Remember and Warn!


Photographs of the National University Library of Sarajevo

              by Miriam Nabarro

July 17- September 5 2014

 Library opening times 9am - 11pm

Wolfson Gallery, SOAS Library, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0 XG



RSVP essential (It is a functioning University Library, so there will be a list on the door): Miriam Nabarro 07973151966


'On this place.... Serbian criminals in the Night of 25-26th August 1992 set on fire the National and University's Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over 2 Millions of Books, Periodicals and Documents Vanished in the Flames

Do Not Forget, Remember and Warn!'


So reads the plaque at the entrance to the historic Vijecnica, the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, which was destroyed by systematic shelling 25-26th August 1992.  Describing the burning of the library in his poem, Lament for Vijecinica in 1993, the Bosnian poet, Goran Simic writes:

The National Library burned for three days last August and the city was choked with black snow.

Set free from the stacks, characters wandered the streets, mingling with passer-by and the souls of dead soldiers


Fernando Baez describes the irreparable, deliberate destruction of the library through a term identified by Roman thinkers for cultural genocide: damnatio memoriae, or memory erasure: an act aimed specifically the eradicate the collective and multiple diverse histories of a people,a city, a country and a way of life. 


Miriam Nabarro, the first Artist in Residence in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS,  photographed the library under reconstruction in 2006 and again in 2012. The exhibition consists of work printed by the artist with liquid emulsion on glass, suspended in precarious frames by FRAMEJUNKIE to let light in, causing the memory of the building to appear in elusive, ghostlike impermanence. 

The newly renovated building reopened in April 2014 as part of the commemorations of the centenary of World War One, which was began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed as he left the building.

The Damnation of Memory is at the Wolfson Gallery in School of Oriental and African Studies  (SOAS) University Library, which holds an invaluable and unparalleled collection of language, history and culture and acts as a collective meeting point for scholars and students.



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Reading in preparation for VCD

It’s the summer! Things are definitely quietening down. We still meet to discuss dissertations, and it’s really exciting to see what people are working on, how they are approaching their research and what material they are collecting. A few people arrive at the beginning of the year with their topic for the dissertation, but in most cases there is an evolution of ideas over the programme, informed by the courses, interactions with colleagues, events that take place.

Next year’s students are also starting to get in touch. I’ve spoken or emailed with several in-coming students  and one of the questions that comes up most is what reading can be done in preparation for the VCD programme.

The best way to get to know the work of the department is to navigate through to the publications tab on the staff profiles:  

The staff who are teaching on the VCD programme in the coming year are: Christopher Cramer, Jonathan Di John, Jonathan Goodhand, Laura Hammond, Tania Kaiser and Zoe Marriage. Books are listed at the top of the profiles, and articles below. Some of the articles are password protected but others are available for download.

Happy reading!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Chris Cramer's photographs of Ethiopia: Revealing the Invisible

Revealing the Invisible: Rural Wage Workers in Ethiopia and Uganda
The photographs from a four year DFID funded research project: Fairtrade, Employment and Poverty Reduction in Ethiopia and Uganda are currently on show in the SOAS library. The photographs provide an insight into the lived experiences of people who depend on wage employment in the production of tea, coffee, and flowers.

Chris Cramer with His Excellency Ambassador Berhanu Kebede of Ethiopia
Many of the photographs were taken by Christopher Cramer who opened the exhibition today with an overview of the project.

Here’s my favourite!

The exhibition runs 16 May - 3 June 2014 in the Wolfson Gallery, SOAS Library

Friday, 9 May 2014

War Correspondents - new show!

It has been too long! I remember to write a blog when I’m on my bike, then arrive at the office and get bundled. The year is spinning round – we’ve had revision, assessed presentations; yesterday exams started. The sun has come out!
Last night I took the train to Hemel Hempstead to see a fantastic show by Helen Chadwick: War Correspondents. Drawing on interviews with journalists, Helen has created a piece of song theatre that reflects on the experiences and priorities of reporting from the front. The show’s Creative Associate in none other than our own Miriam Nabarro. Miriam took the VCD course a few years back and is now Research Associate in our department.

There is a trailer to War Correspondents here.

State-sanctioned sexual violence against women in the Egyptian revolution

Following from last week's post, this is another video submitted as a piece of group work by some of last year's MSc VCD students....