Hello, my name is Ed Trotman and
I’m employed as a graduate intern with the University of Manchester, working
specifically on the Schools-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI). I’ve
recently graduated from the University with an MA in Art Gallery and Museum
Studies. Prior to this I completed an undergraduate degree in History at the
University of Bristol.
You might not have heard of Museum
Studies as a degree option - it involves the study of the role of museums and
galleries in society as well as how museum professionals (e.g. curators,
conservators, educationalists) go about putting on displays and exhibitions.
The idea is that it provides a basic training to enter the museum sector. As a
Master’s degree it took place over the duration of a year (although some
Masters take longer!). In this time I learnt about a variety of aspects of
museum work. I also did a lot of volunteering with staff at the Manchester
Museum, the Manchester Central Library, the Museum of Science and Industry and
Manchester Art Gallery. The course culminated in a research project assignment.
This could be on any topic related to Art Gallery and Museum Studies.
Thinking about my experiences of
learning about and working in museums and art galleries I decided that I wanted
to investigate the educational role of these institutions. I discovered that
cultural organisations play a bigger role in society than I was aware of. It is
common, for instance, to find that museums carry out community outreach
projects in poorer socio-economic areas, host workshop classes for the very
elderly and those with dementia and provide educational activities for people
of all ages and backgrounds struggling with disability.
Despite their social good however,
factors including transport costs, limited free time and a lack of familiarity
with cultural institutions often prevent many adults from accessing the
museum’s educational resources. I was interested to know how museums and
galleries could seek to attract more adult visitors to talks and workshops, how
best to engage with them whilst they were there and how to encourage them to
After doing some reading I found
that not that much research had been done by academics within the field of
Museum Studies into adult education in cultural institutions (which was
actually pretty shocking!). In order to understand more about the best ways of
going about adult education in museums/galleries I looked at Adult Learning
theory. In particular, I read about the Theory of Andragogy by Malcolm S.
Knowles. This is a foundational theory of adult learning which states that adults
learn differently to children. Knowles defines six key principles which explain
how adults learn differently. These include the ideas that adults rely heavily
on lived experience to learn, that they always need to know why they need to
learn something before learning it and that they prefer to be self-directed
when learning. When these ideas were published in the sixties they were fairly
controversial but have now become more accepted. Knowles argues that these
principles can be applied to almost any situation in which adults are being
encouraged to learn.
The focus of my research was to
understand if Knowles’ principles had broader application within cultural
institutions. I assessed two educational sessions for adults at Manchester Art
Gallery including a gallery tour and a workshop, carrying out focus group
interviews with participants in both. I found that, in the workshop class, many
of these ideas were already being used by gallery staff to great effect and
could be seen to have application. In the tour session meanwhile it was clear
that teaching staff were contravening several of Knowles’s principles and
consequently adults reported feeling frustrated with their experiences. As a
result I concluded that the principles of Andragogy had practical use here. The
process of carrying out this research and writing it up was really interesting,
especially as I felt like I was contributing something new to the field of
Museum Studies. I got to speak to members of the public about art and art
galleries and practice my interview skills.
If you want to find out more about
my MA, the Theory of Andragogy or the sessions I attended at Manchester Art
Gallery follow the links below:
Art Gallery and Museum Studies at
the University of Manchester: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/masters/courses/list/01100/art-gallery-and-museum-studies-ma/
Knowles’ Theory of Andragogy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andragogy
Manchester Art Gallery, Exhibitions
and Events: http://manchesterartgallery.org/exhibitions-and-events/
Museums Association http://www.museumsassociation.org/home
My name is José Guillermo Puello.
I grew up in the Dominican Republic where I went to a French school. When I
finished school I came to the UK to study music at university. I recently
graduated with a PhD in Composition from the University of Manchester. My
research focused on the integration of Dominican music and culture with
European contemporary concert music. My thesis consisted of seven original
pieces of music, including works for orchestra, for small chamber ensemble, duets
and trios. I decided to pursue this area because I wanted my music to reflect
my background. As the research progressed, I became interested in how the
audience perceived the music and how I could integrate extra-musical elements
into my music.
When I started my undergraduate
degree, I never thought I was going to do a Master’s degree, let alone a PhD.
It was towards the end of my second year that I started to integrate Dominican
dance music (i.e. merengue) into my compositions. I continued to develop this
throughout my third year and my Master’s. As a result, my style became clearer
and my Masters supervisor suggested that I do the doctorate. These past four
years doing the PhD provided the opportunity to better define what I want my
music to be.
My doctoral research focused on
integrating Dominican cultural elements into my music, building strong musical
structures and developing my rhythmic language. To this effect, I researched
the music of other Latin American composers, such as Astor Piazzolla, Amadeo
Roldán, Tania León, Julio Alberto Hernandez, Alberto Ginastera and Leo Brouwer,
to evaluate how they incorporated Latin American elements into their music. I
also researched the music of other composers, such as Stravinsky, Birtwistle, Debussy,
Bartók, Berio and Ligeti, to understand how other composers dealt with rhythm,
folk music and the articulation of musical structures.
The act of composing is not just
writing notes on the page but also of listening, studying and problem-solving.
I don’t think I know of any composer that just sits down to write the music in
their head. I always compare composing to an architect designing a building. It
very often starts with a concept/idea that the composer/architect tries to
realise using the techniques they have developed and borrowing/adapting the
ideas and techniques of others.
During my PhD, my research into
Dominican culture mainly influenced the concept of the piece that I was
composing. For example, I wrote an orchestral piece based on a religious ritual
and another based on a Dominican poem. As I read about the Dominican Republic
and its history I realised that the fusion I was creating in my music could be
compared to the melting pot of cultures that shaped Dominican history. The
music, whilst taking inspiration in Dominican music, is closer in style to the
music of European composers (i.e. contemporary classical music) than to
merengue or salsa songs.
One of the most gratifying
aspects of being a composer is writing for and collaborating with other
talented musicians. I have been fortunate enough to have my music performed by
a number of professional and amateur ensembles, including Manchester Camerata,
Psappha, The Fourth Wall Ensemble and Quatuor Danel, in the UK, Europe, Canada,
USA and the Dominican Republic. Furthermore, each new piece brings its own
challenges, which provides the opportunity to keep learning and to keep
imagining new musical possibilities.
If you would like to know more
about the University of Manchester Music Department and the very active
Manchester University Music Society, you can visit the following websites:
You can visit my website: www.joseguillermopuello.com or listen to my music on soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/jgpuello
Below are some links to pieces
that I have listened to and studied as part of my PhD.
Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
The video has a five-minute
Piazzolla’s Adios Nonino
Ligeti’s Trio for Violin, French
Horn and Piano
Juan Luis Guerra Todo tiene su
hora (merengue song)
Berio’s Sequenza III (for
Birtwistle’s Ritual Fragment
Messiaen’s Et exspecto
Debussy’s La mer
Brouwer’s El decameron negro
From High School I knew I really wanted to study languages and hopefully
pursue a career in translation or interpreting. So I chose French and Italian
at Manchester because I wanted to continue studying French after taking it at A
Level; but I also wanted the opportunity to start a new language from scratch.
Manchester offered several ab-initio languages and I decided I really wanted to
During my time at Manchester I particularly enjoyed the modules which
focused on core language and also linguistics, such as Structures of French
Language, French Syntax & Morphology and The Structures of Modern Italian.
They allowed me to gain a greater and more in-depth knowledge of both languages
whilst benefitting my spoken language and understanding of where modern day
French and Italian both stem from.
After graduating, I planned to work for one year, and now, having gained
this experience, I will go to Italy and study for a Masters in Language,
Society and Communication at The University of Bologna.
My name is Nicola and I’m currently in the second year of an
AHRC-funded PhD in Latin American Cultural Studies. My A-levels were in
Spanish, French, History and Mathematics and in 2006 I went on to study Modern
and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge in Scotland.
As part of my first
degree, I spent a year living and working as a translator in the city of
Valparaíso in central Chile. After continuing at Cambridge to complete a
Masters degree in Latin American Studies (specialising in Film and Visual
Arts), I then moved to Manchester in 2011 where I trained and worked as a
secondary school Spanish teacher.
In 2013, I began my PhD in the department of Spanish, Portuguese
and Latin American Studies at the University of Manchester. My research
explores how films influence and reflect the relationship between humanity and
nature in the 21st century, with a particular focus on the
representation of natural landscapes in contemporary Chilean cinema.
Just over half of the world’s population now lives in cities and
this figure is expected to increase to around two-thirds by 2050. When so many
people live in urban environments, what does this mean for how we encounter and
experience nature in the 21st century?
For many of us, the film and television screen is an important
point of contact with the natural world. We watch nature documentaries, travel
programmes, adventure films and cartoon animals, through which we encounter
places, habitats and landscapes that we never experience in real life. The
vision of nature that we see on-screen doesn’t simply reflect our relationship
to nature; it also shapes it.
research looks at films produced in Chile, a country with one of the most
diverse and fascinating natural landscapes in the world. From north to south,
Chile is the longest country in the world, stretching from the world’s driest
desert in the north, through fertile agricultural valleys, chains of volcanoes
and ancient forests, to the frozen expanses of Antarctica in the South. This
huge natural diversity and geographical variety is reflected in its
contemporary cinema, which makes it an interesting and important body of films
for those of us interested in cinema and the natural environment.
central argument of my thesis is that analyses of cinematic landscapes can no
longer be confined to the landscape’s role as a symbol of national identity or
an allegory of some aspect of national history. Instead, natural spaces can be
more usefully discussed as “postnational landscapes”, which are marked by personal,
local and global forces as much as by national cultures.
expanding and refining approaches to landscape and nature in contemporary
cinema, my research contributes to a growing academic interest in how culture
influences our attitudes towards nature and how this impacts on the future of
humanity’s relationship with the planet.
updates about my research activities, follow me on Twitter: @nicolarunciman
watch new films by Chilean directors online, visit: http://www.cinepata.com/
English language reviews and articles on South American cinema, music and art: http://www.soundsandcolours.com/
find out what we’re up to in the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin
American Studies, visit our blog: http://www.alc.manchester.ac.uk/subjects/splas/
My name is Tom and I am embarking on
a PhD in History at the University of Manchester this autumn. I studied for my
BA in History at Manchester and I’m currently finishing my masters in Gender
History at the University of Glasgow. In between these courses I spent a year
working as an English Language Assistant in two secondary schools in Lille,
France. During my undergraduate studies I developed a passion for early modern
beliefs about the supernatural and I wrote a dissertation on sixteenth-century
French demonological treatises (you could call these witch-hunting manuals!). My
research has now taken me to the phenomenon of demonic possession in sixteenth
and seventeenth-century France and England, particularly on how possession narratives
contributed to the cultural construction of the body.
Demonic Possession may seem strange
to us now, something you expect to see in a horror film, but during the early
it was an extremely important phenomenon. There were perhaps thousands of cases
of possession and exorcism across continental Europe, including France, during
the early modern period (c. 1500-1800).Young
boys and girls, often teenagers or young adults, were recorded as having seizures,
possessing unnatural strength, speaking in ‘foreign tongues’, levitating and
spitting out objects like pins and nails. There are many cases in France where
entire convents of nuns were said to be possessed by the devil. During the
Reformation and Counter-Reformation, when Western Christianity split and
Protestant churches emerged, demonic possession and exorcism acted as a vehicle
of religious propaganda, a way of showing which religious denomination God
However it was also an important
phenomenon for everyday people. Men and women flocked to see public exorcisms
in France and there was a booming book trade which centred on stories of
demoniacs (a possessed person) which would rival the best Stephen King novel.
In this way demonic possession can be viewed as a type of performance, even a
form of mass-entertainment. This is where my research centres. I’m interested
in why demonic possession was such an important phenomenon in this period but
also how it affected other areas of people’s lives. I look at the use of the
body within the performance of demonic possession and how it was written about
and understood. I use a wealth of documentation left behind, from the trials of
witches accused of causing possession, personal and witness testimonies of
possessions and exorcisms and the wealth of printed books which distributed
these narratives to a mass audience. In doing so I hope to shed light on how
beliefs surrounding the supernatural were connected to early modern cultural
ideas about the body and the life-cycle.
I developed my interest for this
area of history in my final year of undergraduate studies during a module on
Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe and I was supported by my supervisors in
developing this project. Having French language skills made this a viable PhD project
and so if I could give one word of advice it would be to learn a language! Not
only do languages give you a competitive edge in academia or on the job market
but they’re actually pretty fun and (cliché alert) really do take you places.
It was fantastic having the opportunity to live in France and practice my
French for a year. I gained life-long friends and memories plus I’ve picked up
practical skills in the process. It’s never too late to learn either! I started
learning Latin this year and in fact your first year at university is the
perfect time to experiment. Manchester’s University Language Centre lets you
take a language as part of any degree programme. You may not have clicked with
French, German or Spanish at school but have you ever thought about Portuguese,
Polish, Chinese or even Arabic? Try it and who knows where you’ll end up!
There really is a wealth of on-line
resources out there on early modern Europe and the Supernatural. Also, in 2016
there will be an exhibition, “Magic and the Expanding Early Modern World”, at
John Rylands Library on Deansgate!
15-Minute History: “Demonic
Possession” in Early Modern Europe (Podcast) (http://15minutehistory.org/2013/10/23/demonic-possession-in-early-modern-europe/)
The Survey of Scottish Witchcraft (http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/Research/witches/)
The Damned Art: The History of Witchcraft
and Demonology (Internet Exhibition) (http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/specialcollections/virtualexhibitions/damnedart/)
The Many-Headed Monster (Blog) (https://manyheadedmonster.wordpress.com/)
The Pendle Witch Trial (Documentary)
A helpful website on European
Women and the Early Modern Witch
Hunts (Blog Post) (http://www.jesswatson.co.uk/post/78990856670/women-and-the-early-modern-witch-hunts)