TOEBI Panel I: Pedagogy and Public Engagement: Early English In and Beyond Higher Education

Mike Bintley 1Conference Room

This panel will explore the intersections between teaching, research, and knowledge exchange (KE) activities through the experiences of early and mid-career HE teachers and researchers working with early English language and literature. These papers represent a variety of collaborative public engagement projects across the Midlands, East Anglia, and the South East, and discuss ways in which their presenters have used connections between literature, language, landscapes, objects, and other forms of cultural heritage, in order to facilitate conversations with various constituencies within and beyond HE. They show some of the ways in which the study of early English (c. 400-1100) is of increasing relevance to English studies as a whole, and explore the subject’s connections and relevance to various adjacent fields.

‘Early English Literature and the Public Arts: Water, Words, Worlds’
Beth Whalley, PhD candidate, KCL

Using examples from two KE projects in Worcestershire themed around water, landscape, and community, this paper discusses experiences and challenges working between early English language and literature and contemporary creative arts. Between 2017-19, I was researcher for the Canal & River Trust’s major public arts programme, The Ring, a series of installations and events located at heritage sites on the Worcester and Droitwich waterways. In 2018, I collaborated with folk guitarist Ben Walker and local communities to create a soundscape for BBC radio, drawing on the wetland landscapes of the village of Pinvin. Though early English literature was central to neither project, discussions of early languages and communities emerged in diverse and important ways. This paper identifies how etymologies and place-names can be employed in radical cross-chronological and multi-geographic storytelling and pedagogy within and beyond HE.

‘Poetry, Objects, and Landscapes: Research, Knowledge Exchange, and Students as Heritage Practitioners’
Fran Allfrey, LAHP/AHRC PhD candidate, KCL

My research examines how Sutton Hoo is represented in mass media and museums, especially in relation to Old English poetry. In collaboration with undergraduate students, in 2017 I developed, delivered, and evaluated a display and activities on the theme of 'Trade and Travel' at Sutton Hoo, which explored early medieval objects alongside Old English and Latin literature. I will outline the difficulties and opportunities I met developing the project, and present visitor responses from: families who played language games exploring etymologies; sound walk participants who connected poems and landscape; and visitors who interrogated ideas of personal and national identity with reference to objects and texts. I will suggest how literature scholars of all periods might connect with places or objects to facilitate outreach and research, how students can be involved in the development and delivery of public engagement, and how experiences of KE transfer to HE classrooms.

‘Landscapes of Pedagogy, Research, and Knowledge Exchange in Early Medieval English Studies’
Michael Bintley, Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Culture, Birkbeck

REF has created an environment in which early-career scholars are increasingly developing portfolios of pedagogy, research, and KE to satisfy the requirements of fixed-term and permanent roles. These pressures have produced a context which encourages the development of approaches to the development of curriculum and teaching practice which are increasingly contiguous with research, outreach, and public engagement. Making a case study of KE projects developed in Folkestone and Canterbury (2015-19) involving texts, landscapes, and early medieval studies, this paper will discuss intersections between KE and the teaching of early English literature and culture. It aims to show how this period of English literary study is of increasing relevance and importance both in the current political climate, and in the development of transhistorical and transnational studies of English.


LEARNED SOCIETIES STRAND: Teaching Old English in Britian and Ireland

Fri 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm