#EmptyShelf17 #26: Becoming Reverand by @revmattwoodcock

Becoming Reverend: A diaryBecoming Reverend: A diary by Matt Woodcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I met Matt whilst teaching MediaLit at Cranmer Hall a few years ago – he made a comment about how pimped up my laptop was (it was a chrome covered HP) … He’s certainly a larger than life character and starting the book with an unfortunate blocking of the toilet does set the tone – Matt is definitely a lads lad, but with a real concern to bring others into contact with Jesus by BEING HIMSELF (as God made him), and to see the church grow by pioneer ministry. I recognised a few ‘characters’, laughed at some of his particular insights, and enjoyed the way he has sought to challenge himself to sit/listen/experience things that he’s not comfortable with in the name of being part of something bigger than himself.

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#EmptyShelf17 #19 Philomena by Martin Sixsmith

PhilomenaPhilomena by Martin Sixsmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful book, less about Philomena than about her son, dealing with some of the most challenging aspects of state religion/politics in the 20th C.

One thought that wouldn’t go away though, is his legal legacy Trump?!

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#EmptyShelf 2016 #2: @SuePerkins – Spectacles

sue-perkins-spectaclesI received Sue Perkins Spectacles: A Memoir (Penguin, 2015) for Christmas, and I enjoyed reading it over the course of the last couple of evenings (before term kicks in, and I end up reading seminar-prep books instead!).

Right from the off, you could hear gentle giggles as I read my way through this book – as she talked to her family about if they were happy about how they might appear, and the gentle ribbing as she attempted a couple of pages representing them as they would like to have been!

Having just read David Mitchell’s Backstory – I was already aware of the importance of ‘Footlights’ at Cambridge, so enjoyed reading more about that, and the Edinburgh Fringe (which I managed to go to August 2015 – and went to a comedy show at 10am (or was it 10.05am?!)), and the gentle journey into television comedy.

I enjoyed hearing more from behind-the-scenes of various TV shows I’m familiar with as a viewer – yes, including Bake-Off, and particularly enjoyed reminders of what it was like to travel in Vietnam and Laos … especially that sudden change as one crosses the border – noticed in more than one nation!

A mix of gentle comedy – especially with regards to road rage – and I could hardly contain myself re the journey with the poor dog D&V’ing everywhere, with a certain amount of vulnerability – about the family, pets, relationships, Twitter trolling – I enjoyed it, but darn you Sue – I stayed up late to finish it – I need more sleep!

So … as Sue hears everywhere she goes… let’s all say it together … BAAAAAAKE


About @ww2Poster

Extracts from the original page from @ww2poster blog:

drbexl-phdThis blog was designed to complement a website, created in 1997, constructed as an electronic resource to gather data and disseminate the research-in-progress for my PhD: “The Planning, Design and Reception of British Home Front Propaganda Posters of the Second World War.” In 2010, the blog and the website were integrated.

My thesis was examined by Lord Asa Briggs and Dr Adrian Smith (University of Southampton) in June 2004, and passed without corrections.  You can see the range of roles I’ve had, and I am currently ‘Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning’ for CODEC, Durham University … it’s all about contemporary communication!

The Start of All This?

berlin-wallShortly after the Berlin Wall was knocked down, my mother took my youngest brother and I to the Imperial War Museum. I only remember a couple of things from that day, one is standing at this wall which says “Change Your Life” (which that day did), but I think that’s mostly a reminder from the photo. The main think I remember from that day is wandering around the Museum, looking at all this machinery… but I’m into people, so it was when I got to the Home Front section of the Museum, with the brightly coloured posters (I’m highly visual!) that my attention was caught, and my souvenir that day was the “Women of Britain Come into the Factories” postcard, which formed the basis of my A-Level project, myUndergraduate disssertation, my PhD, this blog, and eventually – my book (there’s some publicationsalready) – or do I want to go fully virtual.. decisions, decisions, although the academic life likely demands a book!

As I wandered around I started to think that these had caught my attention, started to wonder why (when I’m not living in the Second World War)… and wonder what it was that made them so resonant now… although my thesis focused more on the posters at the time, structured around the idea of “the planning” (the government/Ministry of Information behind the posters), “the design” (how the artists interpreted their briefs, and how far these were accepted – there was no particular design style imposed as in Germany), and “the reception” (what did people say about them at the time, through newspapers, Mass Observation, etc.) – with a few references to what people remembered of them “now” as lots of people still remembered them and enthusiastically filled in questionnaires for me!

Keep Calm and Carry On

The historical information circulating (generally without citation) around the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, largely comes from my PhD thesis. It took a while for me to pick up on the phenomenon, as the poster was largely insignificant during the wars years, having never been displayed, but I had covered it as one of the first posters produced in preparation for the war. I am absolutely fascinated by how it has become such an icon for the recession.

Find me on Twitter: @drbexl

The Website:

This website is a not-for-profit site produced by Dr Bex (Rebecca) Lewis, who finished her PhD on the subject in 2004. The site is maintained around other working commitments, and plans to publish in book/journal form.

The site provides information mainly on the posters produced by British agencies, in particular the British government, aimed at the Home Front during the Second World War. Information about the posters themselves, the artists who designed them, related books, the research project itself, and relevant events, are provided. Some information is also provided on the general wartime period, and on other posters and graphic design eras.

With Information
Although I have finished the PhD, I am still interested in collecting new information relevant to this topic, particularly as I plan to re-edit the thesis into a format suitable for a book. Please feel free to contact me with information you think may be of interest. I am particularly interested in collecting information on artists.

Requesting Information
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Cult of personalities @timeshighered

This looks like an interesting article in the Times Higher Education today, re the growth of biography to respectable levels. I’m curious to see who they are biographies of, and what determines someone as a subject worthy of attention:

As the social science model of history has been overtaken by events, biography has grown as a serious discipline. This is welcome, says Jonathan Steinberg: after all, people make history (but not in the circumstances of their choosing)

When I began my career as a historian in the 1960s, biography fell into the category of “unserious” stuff written by amateurs. Not any more. Big biographies of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Winston Churchill, Lyndon B. Johnson and many others pour from the pens of the most distinguished academic historians. What has changed? Why has biography become respectable as a form of history?

In the 1960s, the discipline’s prevailing paradigms came from the social sciences. History had to build sociological models. It had to measure, count and verify. It had to study structures and functions of the social order, drawn from Marxist analysis or Weberian sociology. Anything else seemed dangerously uncertain, ill-defined and, worse, “subjective”.

The collapse of the Soviet Union brought down the whole edifice of social science. Nobody in the spectrum of social studies had a clue that the USSR and its vast empire could vaporise in two years as if it had been a mirage; anything with “social” in its terminology lost purchase along with socialism.

Read full story.