Post-16 French Enrichment Day on Environmental and Medical Issues

The ASMCF was delighted to support the Post-16 Enrichment Day on Environmental and Medical Issues at the University of Bristol on 11 May 2019 through its Schools’ Liaison and Outreach Activities. Below you can find a report of the day, written by Dr Daniel Finch-Race:



9:45, Welcome – Dan Finch-Race (Bristol)
10:00, Text workshop – Holly Langstaff (Oxford/Warwick)
*11:00, Coffee
11:30, Translation workshops – Joseph Ford (IMLR) + James Illingworth (Exeter)
*12:30, Lunch
13:30, Film workshop – Arthur Rose (Bristol) with Dan Finch-Race (Bristol)
*14:30, Coffee
15:00, Admissions Q&A – Gina Robinson (Bristol) with Maria Andrews (Bristol)
*16:00, Closure

Two weeks ago, the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol hosted a workshop for early career researchers working on French and Francophone contexts, followed by a widening participation event for teachers and A-Level students, with support from the Institute of Modern Languages Research at the University of London (@IMLR_News), the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (@asmcf), the British Society for Literature and Science (@TheBSLS), and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol (@UoBrisCEH). The first day involved eight speakers and four participants, which proved to be advantageous for focussed discussion of the papers as work-in-progress for a forthcoming special issue edited by Dan Finch-Race, which will be the primary academic publication from the event. On the second day, three sets of workshops were delivered to four teachers and five A-Level learners: close readings of literary texts and films complemented parallel sessions on translation. At the end of the event, the participants had an hour-long discussion with an undergraduate and the Faculty Engagement Officer based in the School of Modern Languages.

During the outreach day, Holly Langstaff, Joe Ford, James Illingworth, Arthur Rose and Dan Finch-Race delivered one-hour seminars on approaching A-Level French materials through the environmental humanities and the medical humanities. The activities began with Langstaff highlighting animal life in texts by Marguerite Duras and Albert Camus. She focussed on insects to emphasize how a close reading can provide a keener understanding of form and content. Ford and Illingworth built on this attention to detail through parallel sessions about translation as an aid to appreciating a primary text’s semantics: Ford looked at scenes from Camus’s L’Étranger in which non-human details disorient human agency; Illingworth drew out turns of phrase from Colette’s novels that position her in an ecofeminist tradition. After lunch, Rose and Finch-Race co-presented on Claude Berri’s film adaptation of Émile Zola’s Germinal. They demonstrated the value of locating parallelisms regarding medical and environmental concerns that are set against a backdrop of manmade climate change. Gina Robinson, in collaboration with undergraduate ambassador Maria Andrews, brought the event to a close with a question-and-answer session on Modern Languages at the University of Bristol.

The close-knit audience was exceptional: each of the ECRs delivering the workshop commented upon the engagement of the teachers and learners. At the end of the proceedings, the audience’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with several people referring to how the sessions had provided the means and the motivation to develop their work.


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