BAMS Elections Open.

Today the BAMS Elections open. As postgraduate representatives, this is a particularly exciting time for us. We know that in a few short weeks we will be welcoming new team members on board to work with us, challenge us and invigorate our ideas. When we came on board in 2018, Helen Saunders and Stephanie Boland were finishing their tenure and Ruth Clemens was in the position we are today, right in the middle of her role. Together, we continued the hard work of Stephanie and Helen and built on the foundations they laid, relaunching the Modernist Review, undertaking a new BAMS Postgraduate Survey and organising a bevy of training days to help members get to grips with modernist studies today. We are further excited by the positions open on the Executive Steering Committee of BAMS and wish everyone running the best of luck.

Whether you are running or not, the election is your chance to get involved and help shape the future of BAMS. The representatives elected this month will undoubtedly have a hand in what BAMS looks like, its engagement with members and the kinds of events we offer. As such, we encourage all readers of the Modernist Review to sign up for BAMS membership and cast their vote. What’s more, you get a range of benefits included with membership.

Though we are only a year into our roles, BAMS has been helpful to our academic careers: the chance to network, to build projects under the auspices of a national association, to work with one another and support all of you. Below are testimonials from Ruth, Stephanie and Helen that we hope will encourage you not just to vote, but consider running next year once we step down.

In anticipation,

Sean and Gareth


Ruth Clemens | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018

I was BAMS Postgraduate Representative from 2016 to 2018. It was a great two years, and I gained a lot of experience. Along with colleagues at the University of Leeds, I organized the 2017 BAMS Postgraduate Conference in New Work in Modernist Studies. As well as being a crash course in conference organization, it was incredibly rewarding to bring other postgraduate researchers together for a day of exchange and collaboration. There is a lot of flexibility in the role, and a lot of it involves listening to what the BAMS postgraduate community needs and figuring out creative ways to implement these changes. I launched #ModWrite, the weekly Twitter ‘Shut Up & Write’ session, after a group of PhD students expressed their wishes for a cohesive writing community despite the geographical distances between members. Roused by the Brexit vote and the hostility experienced by some of my colleagues, I reached out to international postgraduates in our community and, with them, developed ways to improve the support we can offer to international colleagues and increase awareness of the problems faced. As part of this, I facilitated a panel by and for international students at the BAMS PGR Networking day in 2018. I think PGRs are often in a position where we have the freedom to be vocal about injustices or outdated traditions within UK HE, and we are often well placed to spot how things could be changed for the better. Please cast your vote for the new PGR Rep and help to shape the future of BAMS.

Stephanie Boland | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018

My time as a BAMS rep was wonderful not only for teaching me so much about the inner workings of academia, but also for providing a chance to network with a huge range of people in modernist studies. Working alongside the prodigiously industrious (and talented!) Dr Helen Saunders, I was involved in a research project designed to canvass the views of PGRs and ECRs, which we then fed into a study of careers and access. There’s a wonderful community of young scholars in and around BAMS, and it was a true pleasure to get to contribute to that community and get to know so many great people’s work. I’m really pleased with how the current reps have taken up the mantle, and look forward to seeing what their successors do, too—I really can’t recommend the post enough.

Helen Saunders | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018

I was a PGR rep from 2016 – 2018. It was a great experience and I’d recommend that anyone with an interest in modernist studies applies for the position. Day-to-day, the role involved administrative duties such as sharing CFPs, managing the website and social media accounts, running the blog and dealing with PGR issues. To this end, I helped run our annual PG conference, New Work in Modernist Studies, and Modernist Life, the 2016 BAMS conference, as part of which we organised a PG workshop. I also helped organise the first survey of our postgrad members, which has now taken the form of an annual survey which helps BAMS identify issues it can help postgraduates with. You’ll similarly have the opportunity to run events and workshops and speak on behalf of BAMS at conferences. (Occasional) travel is reimbursed on expenses and you can fit work in around your own schedule.


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From PhD to Postdoc: An Interview with Freya Gowrley

Dr Freya Gowrley is a Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Postdoctoral Fellow and a Visiting Lecturer in the University of Edinburgh’s History of Art department. Her research focuses on visual and material culture in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain and North America. Her monograph, Domestic Space in Britain, c.1750-1840: Materiality, Sociability & Emotion is forthcoming from Bloomsbury Academic, and she has had articles published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction and Journal 18. She has held fellowships at Yale Centre for British Art, the Winterthur Museum, the Huntington Library, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. We recently interviewed her to find out more about her journey after completing the PhD. Continue reading “From PhD to Postdoc: An Interview with Freya Gowrley”

The Modernist Review Issue #5: Modernism Beyond the Literary

Lilly Markaki is a PhD researcher at the Department of Media Arts, Royal Holloway. This month, she joins BAMS representatives and Modernist Review editors Gareth Mills and Sean Richardson as a guest editor for an issue examining modernism beyond the literary.

A case-study, two book reviews, a conference summary, and an interview. In line with the publication’s mission-statement, the five articles featured in this special issue of the Modernist Review all capture different facets of our activity within the field of modernist studies. Continue reading “The Modernist Review Issue #5: Modernism Beyond the Literary”

Book Review: At the Mercy of Their Clothes: Modernism, The Middlebrow, and British Garment Culture by Celia Marshik

Helen Saunders

The Bloomsbury Group had a thing for fancy dress. In 1912, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell dressed as ‘Gaugin pictures’ at an event at London’s Crosby Hall and were accused of being ‘practically naked’[1] by an outraged guest. In the 1920s, Lytton Strachey would dress as an Admiral at parties when, during the First World War, he had in fact been a conscientious objector. In 1930, the entire Group went to an Alice in Wonderland themed event, Woolf as the March Hare. Anecdotes and curiosities such as these turn up again and again in the pages of Celia Marshik’s (Stony Brook University) rich, expansive and thoroughly enjoyable At the Mercy of Their Clothes: Modernism, The Middlebrow, and British Garment Culture (2016).

Continue reading “Book Review: At the Mercy of Their Clothes: Modernism, The Middlebrow, and British Garment Culture by Celia Marshik”

Book Review: In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen, by Alix Beeston.

Kari-Christina Sund, University of Glasgow

In and Out of Sight (2018) is the monograph from Alix Beeston (University of Cardiff). An initial glance through the book is evidence alone of Beeston’s conscious desire to look beyond the field of literature within the study of modernism. Whether through her distinctive writing style, the careful choosing of words to convey minutely specific meanings, the scattering of engaging images throughout the book, or the chapter headings which evoke the fields of art, history, culture, and film, Beeston’s embrace of modernism beyond the literary is evident.

Continue reading “Book Review: In and Out of Sight: Modernist Writing and the Photographic Unseen, by Alix Beeston.”

Eileen Agar’s Science

Christy Heflin, Royal Holloway 

A passion for art, an interest in science

When Eileen Agar passed away in 1991, the body of knowledge about her was somewhat limited. That said, she has clear credentials as a Modernist; she readily embraced changes in the zeitgeist of the 1920s and 30s and eschewed tradition. Her personal life was one of rebellion against her bourgeois parents, conventional romantic relationships, and a life of motherhood and domesticity. When it came to her artistic practice, she never fully embraced the title ‘Surrealist Artist,’ though not for lack of commitment to and passion for her art. For whatever reason, there remains a dearth of research on her compared to other artists in her circle – including her lover Paul Nash – so any truly meaningful inquiry must begin with her art but also include her writings and personal effects.

Continue reading “Eileen Agar’s Science”

Conference Review: ‘Virus of Hate: Responses to Fascism in Psychoanalysis, Surrealism & Modernism’ Conference

Hailey Maxwell, University of Glasgow

That British seaside towns have eroded since working class holiday makers diverted away from the fairgrounds and promenades of Blackpool and Bognor Regis, towards sunny and exotic destinations in Europe, is an established narrative. Over the last two decades or so, the poverty and violence which seems to follow pleasure long spent, has crept steadily along the seaside. It felt appropriate that in attending a symposium concerned with European cultural history, I found myself on the southernmost English coast in Bexhill-on-Sea. In the serene melancholy of the chilly seaside in winter, runs of Victorian buildings, survivors of WW2 upon the last frontier of English land, defiantly stared out across the Channel. Continue reading “Conference Review: ‘Virus of Hate: Responses to Fascism in Psychoanalysis, Surrealism & Modernism’ Conference”

Conference Review: New Work in Modernist Studies 2018

Polly Hember, Royal Holloway

The Gothic turrets and daunting granite buildings of the University of Glasgow looked slightly ominous to a first-time paper presenter such as myself, walking up University Lane on a chilly Saturday in December last year. However, as soon I arrived at the New Work in Modernist Studies Conference (NWiMS), all thoughts of clammy hands and nerves dissipated immediately. NWiMS 2018 was a friendly, relaxed and inspiring one-day conference, hosted by the Scottish Network of Modernist Studies in conjunction with the Modernist Network Cymru the London Modernism Seminar, Modernism Studies Ireland, the Northern Modernist Seminar, the Midlands Modernist Network and the British Association for Modernist Studies, attracting new researchers working on or around modernist studies from all over the UK.

Continue reading “Conference Review: New Work in Modernist Studies 2018”

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