As their tenure draws to a close, Katie Arthur and Harriet Thompson reflect on their time working together as editors of the King’s English Blog.
HT: It’s funny looking back on the time when we took over as editors in January 2019; I get that strange simultaneous feeling of it being very recent, but also a quite a while ago. A lot has happened since then! We were both in our first year studying for a PhD in the English Department at King’s and it was an exciting opportunity to be able to curate and commission such a wide range of writing from staff and students. Over two years later, I still have quite a lot of writing to do before I submit my PhD thesis. But having the blog to focus on alongside everything else has been a really nice (and productive) distraction. I didn’t imagine that we’d be spending practically a whole year inside, running the blog from our bedrooms on opposite sides of London. I think the last time we saw each other in person was in January 2020? That is so weird! I do miss the community and energy that comes with working inside the university buildings.
KA: Two years ago! I know what you mean about that odd simultaneous feeling of temporal contraction and dilation – I feel like there must be a word for it somewhere, in some language. Perhaps we should commission a blog on it! The blog has certainly been an anchor, both pre-Covid and now. Working with the department to publish publicly is really exciting, it has definitely helped me engage with the work happening here at King’s in a more thorough and thoughtful way than I might otherwise have given myself time to do. Though it was more fun conducted in the physical presence of the department as you say and it is a shame to have lost the sense of community that so often is linked to space. The blog also serves as a space of connection for the department. You did a wonderful round-up of all the work we had shared around the new year that received a very touching response from the department. Do you think that the functions of the blog have changed as our needs have moved online in the pandemic? It has always been interesting that the blog reaches out to and beyond the department but, perhaps now more than ever, it is also a meeting point of sorts when we cannot do in person.
Thinking in Crisis Times: A Collective Exploration by the English Department 2020-21
The shift to online learning this year, however partial or temporary, presents a tremendous change in teaching and learning in our department. Because these changes are both profound and at the moment unavoidable, they have raised countless urgent and pragmatic questions for everyone involved. Staff have spent months in the lead up to September 2020 thinking about the best way to use the online systems provided by KCL, and students will have spent time grappling with their own questions about online learning, not least the way it will affect their university experience and long-term future.
By Fran Allfrey, Strandlines assistant editor, English Dept alumna and Teaching Assistant
Strandlines is a life-writing and community history project, which takes the form of a website and linked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. The project was set up by Professor Clare Brant, with a board of editors made up of colleagues inside and beyond King’s. I joined as Assistant Editor in spring 2019. With the new term just starting, Clare and I thought now was a good time to reflect on where Strandlines has been, and where it may go next! Continue reading Strandlines: lives on the Strand, past, present and creative→
by Imogen Free Imogen Free is a first year PhD student at King’s College London, researching modernist women’s writing, sound technology and the politics of aurality (1930-1956).
One note held her ears through the hollow thunder of traffic: in shells of buildings the whirr of unanswered telephones. They were insistent Elizabeth Bowen, To the North
In these ‘unprecedented’ times, I’ve been surprised to discover how much I’ve missed the postgraduate research community at King’s. I miss the distinctly un-academic chatter in our research room, sharing coffee with my supervisor, and the strange charm of the floppy triangles of sandwich, with beige fillings of unidentifiable flavour and lukewarm, headache-inducing wine after conferences. Sandwiches aside, it’s been a period in which we’ve been reflecting on how our institutions can support their students and staff and it’s been a lonely, uncertain, distressing time for many reasons other than the pandemic. But I have also been fortunate enough to participate in some of the changes the research community have had to make in order to stay in contact and find modes of communion with one another, as we become ever more reliant on the medium of telecommunication.