Britgrad 2011 and a summer of conferences…

On Sunday, I returned to Oxford from the Britgrad 2011 conference, where I was part of the Victorian Theatre Practices panel with the fragrant Jem Bloomfield.

KENDAL 4 LIFE. Or similar.

Jem was talking about mid- and late-Victorian productions of The Duchess of Malfi, while my paper was entitled ‘”Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind”: Madge Kendal and Victorian Shakespeare”. The conference organisers charitably having given us a panel in which to get REALLY EXCITED to the bemusement – and, thankfully, amusement – of our colleagues, we waved our arms and talked actresses to our hearts’ content.

A large proportion of the delegates at our panel had strong interests in performance; sometimes both as scholars and practitioners. I’d hoped one of the main points of my paper – that our current theatrical historiography is problematic in its accommodations for women, as evinced by Madge Kendal, acclaimed and central Victorian actress, falling through the gaps of history – might be disproved by someone bouncing up to say they, too, are a ridiculous enthusiast/horrified onlooker at the fireworks of her life. But no. While this does tell me I’m probably on the right track (conference full of excitable Shakespeare postgrads = not a flicker of recognition, but much interest), it’s such a shame!

Overall, a productive three days. Having swotted up on posts from (all I really need to know, I learn from) Thesis Whisperer, I made myself ask questions at most panels. I usually struggle to think of them (and am slightly allergic to Q&As as it is), but found that if I went in determined to ask, it made me a more proactive listener and I ended up with genuine queries. So hurrah for that. My only Britgrad regret is that there was a girl in my panel who asked a really fascinating question about Victorian theatrical fan literatures. I’d hoped we’d get more of a chance to talk afterwards (Victorian fan literatures are honestly one of the most exciting, and weirdest, things on God’s earth), but sadly I didn’t see her again.

My conference schedule for the rest of the summer is ridiculously busy. Should you have an inexplicable yen to see a short girl in glasses talk about Victorian actresses, you can catch me at any of the following:

10 June 2011: Oxford English Graduate Conference, University of Oxford: “The Famed and the Forgotten”.

7-9 July 2011: Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster, The Storey, Lancaster: “Politics, performance and popular culture in nineteenth century Britain”.

18-19 July 2011: Victorian Popular Fiction Association Conference, University of London: “Sex, Courtship and Marriage in Victorian Popular Culture”.

If you’re attending any of these events, please let me know! It’d be great to make some new conference-friends beforehand…

Oxford English Graduate Conference: update

To everyone who replied to our call for papers for the Oxford English Graduate Conference 2011, “The Famed and the Forgotten”, thank you so much! We have 45 amazing papers ready to be programmed, and those who submitted should hear very shortly. The standard of submissions was extremely high and it was really hard for us to debate the gathered field down to just 45. Fellow committee member Jaclyn and I are meeting up soon to start programming and designing panels… but not until I’ve got this chapter written.

Whether or not you’ve submitted an abstract, now is a great time to register for the conference, which runs on 10 June 2011 at the Faculty of English, University of Oxford. Handy map below:

Free for Oxford students, registration otherwise costs £15 including a delicious lunch and tea/coffee etc. throughout the day (i.e. it’s amazingly cheap and a great deal). We’re hoping for a strong Faculty presence and a fun, informal day with plenty of opportunities to engage and network with other postgraduates across your field. You can get more information on how to register here.

Any questions, please leave a comment!