Diversions #4: Subversive Pastimes: Constructing and Cultivating a Floating Allotment

The outbreak of social protest in 1830 has been recognised by a number of scholars as the spark for the national movement for allotments. Embittered and hungry labourers destroyed agricultural machinery and set fire to haystacks in what is known as the Swing riots and links the organised allotment movement to political protest. The allocation of allotments (strips of land rented to labourers at market rates year-round) was not simply an attempt by elite landowners to buy off labourers and avert further rioting, it was also hoped that the commitment required to develop a flourishing allotment would instil several favourable virtues in the rural poor including self-respect, independence, industriousness, sobriety, thrift, and honesty. Continue reading

Diversions #3: On the Dialectics of a Victoria Sponge

As might be expected from a blog post entitled “Diversions”, written for an online journal aimed primarily at PhD students, this one starts by stirring up images of articles left half-finished and monographs lying shut upon a desk, their unturned pages crying softly through their unbent spines to be read. Pressing as it may be for the contents of these no doubt worthy sources to be imbibed by their, you guessed it, distracted reader, he has far more diverting things with which to occupy his time than concerning himself with reading a Marxist critique of this, a Freudian analysis of that. From a dust jacket, a certain pessimistic German theorist from the last century stares out towards the unoccupied chair in which a diligent young researcher should be sitting, his disapproving gaze threatening to burn a hole in the upholstery. But enough context, it’s time to come to the point of this post. Continue reading

Still Point Blog Theme #4: Disasters – Call for Submissions

Individuals who seem fated with misfortune are sometimes described as “star-crossed.” This idiom comes from the belief that earthly phenomena are governed by the positions of celestial objects. The etymology of disaster – a negative position, “dis”, from a star, “astre” – can be traced to this belief. The notion that disasters are unavoidable plays an interesting role in the world today. No longer does the disaster remain limited to the purview of earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods – those things which we have called ‘acts of God’ – but disasters of our own making – nuclear, economic, and environmental. In this upcoming theme, we at Still Point are seeking contributions from masters, doctoral and early career researchers that tackle the topic of DISASTERS, be it political, personal, or academic. Do you reflect on disaster as part of your work? Have you ever had a ‘research disaster’? How does disaster shape the world we live in today?

Ideally submissions will be:

  • between 500-750 words with original or high quality images (but we may accept longer pieces)
  • for visual and multimedia artists, send us high quality images of your artwork or embed links to sound, video work, or gifs, accompanied by up to 300 words.

We welcome creative responses, and inventiveness and flexibility are encouraged both in response to the theme and in terms of the form which entries take.

The Still Point Journal is a literary journal for Arts and Humanities researchers in London, funded by the LAHP (London Arts & Humanities Partnership) and the AHRC. Our particular focus is on non-fiction writing related to the process and the experience of conducting research, and on creative articulations of and responses to this experience.

Please send submissions to blog@thestillpointjournal.com.

Still Point Blog Theme: ‘Open Mic’ Undergraduate Research – Special Call for Submissions

As a special project in July 2017, the theme for the Still Point blog will be an ‘Open Mic’ dedicated entirely to Undergraduate Research. We are seeking blog posts from Arts and Humanities undergraduate students from London universities that directly engage with research they have conducted – particularly final year students who have undertaken dissertations – in order to actively promote and celebrate the work of undergraduates and aspiring academics. We also welcome submissions from undergraduates based on the experience and process of conducting their research, which can take a variety of forms; including, but not limited to, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and visual art.

Ideally submissions will be:

  • Between 500-750 words with original or high quality images; but we may accept longer feature pieces.
  • For visual and multimedia artists, send us high quality images of your artwork or embed links to sound, video work, or gifs, accompanied by up to 300 words.

The Still Point Blog encourages creative and innovative responses both to the theme and the presentation of posts. As such, this is both a unique opportunity to proactively promote your research on an academic platform and creatively respond to your research experiences.

Deadline: Please send any questions or submissions to blog@thestillpointjournal.com by the 29 May 2017.

Diversions #2: Running and Research: Finding Solutions through Body and Mind

For the last six months, I’ve been training for the London Marathon. I am not what you might call a “natural runner”; running, for me, basically consists of trudging round London at a pace slightly quicker than walking. I might not be that speedy, but I do seem to be able to keep going somehow, and I managed to get around the course on 23rd April in 5:41:21.

What I have loved/hated about training for the marathon is the mental resilience it takes. What is primarily difficult about running 26.2 miles is not so much the physical element – although don’t get me wrong, I am writing this the day after the race and fear getting up from the sofa knowing my joints appear to have gone on strike. Instead, it is a question of what to think about for all that time, and what to tell myself when I want to stop but need to push on a bit further. That being said, there is such a deep satisfaction that comes from finishing a long run, knowing that I persevered and managed to meet my goal; crossing the finish line yesterday was such a phenomenal moment. Continue reading

Diversions #1: Words and Sounds to Accompany a PhD Crisis

This letter is a reproduction of faded scribblings found penciled on a study carrel in the clock tower at Maughan Library.

 Words don’t come easy, especially when you are writing a 90 000-word thesis. Ambiguous arguments, obscure references, and above all else, REPETITION, repetition, repetition…, are your worst enemies. ‘This sounds familiar, have I written the same paragraph before?’ you wonder as you scroll down the endless river of words.

 You wish someone would stop you, and just take over: a ctrl-X here, a ctrl-V there – life’s problems solved in a few simple keystrokes. But you know this is not happening. You must stop wasting time and keep writing, keep feeding the word count. Continue reading

Absent Voices #5: “What is your problem with our Freedom?”: Lipstick under my Burkha and the Indian Patriarchy

Artwork from 2016 film ‘Lipstick Under my Burkha’. Attribution: Alankrita Shrivastava, (director). Facebook post 8 November 2016. [online]. https://www.facebook.com/alankrita.shrivastava.
The question put forth in the title is the one that Rehana Abidi (played by Plabita Borthakur), one of the four protagonists of Alankrita Srivastava’s latest release Lipstick under my Burkha (India, 2017), asks in the film while interviewed by a journalist at an agitation against the decision of banning jeans for women in the college.  The irony of the utterance comes to a full circle through the refusal of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to release the film in India.  Two points are of tremendous importance in the letter of refusal from the CBFC. The film was denied release because “the story is lady-oriented, their fantasy above [sic] life. There are contanious [sic] sexual scenes and abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society” (emphasis mine). The basis for the embargo on the exhibition of the film in India seems to connect to the narrative’s depiction of four women exercising choice in their own lives, a premise which the CBFC considers as “their fantasy” about life. Indeed, as long Continue reading

Absent Voices #4: Giving Voice to the Dead and the Non-living: Music and Collaboration on the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Canadian National Vimy Memorial in Northern France. Designed by Walter Seymour. Completed in 1936.

In early April, Canada will mark the centenary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge: a seminal conflict in the First World War, relying on the successful collaboration of British and Canadian forces on the French battleground, and which was to be the first true moment of nationhood for the infant Canada. Indeed, the battle was hugely successful in military terms, which saw the soldiers retake the ridge from German forces in three days. But lest we forget, such success also inevitably relies on the deaths of thousands.

To that end, let us also consider the Vimy Memorial: a monolithic, modernist construction unveiled in 1936, comprised of two stone pillars jutting up from the battleground at Vimy. It is grand, imposing; the structure dominates the ridge and peers over the picturesque French landscape below. Around the base of the structure, some 11,000 names are engraved: the dead Canadian soldiers whose locations remain unknown. However, in a startling juxtaposition of style and form, the pillars are inlaid with twenty neoclassical statues, each variously personifying virtues, symbols, people, and tableaux. At the base of the memorial, Mother Canada (both a personification of the nation and a symbolic Mater Dolorosa), looks despondently upon the now-peaceful ridge, still scarred by this century-old battle. Continue reading

The Still Point Manifesto

Some words of inspiration…

The Still Point manifesto is an experimental attempt to reflect the collective thoughts of the editorial team. Its aim is not to read like a linear narrative, but instead, like a collection of unfiltered conversations with the mind. As contributors, we encourage you to approach your submissions with the same degree of open-mindedness. What are those hidden conversations hiding behind your academic work?  Let us engage with you just as much as your ideas. Tell us your research story!

The Still Point Editorial Team


Following our successful launch of the second issue, we are now accepting submissions for Issue 3: Borders.  The Still Point is looking for innovative responses in a variety of forms including, narratives, essays, short fiction, and poetry. For more information check out our ‘Calls for Submissions’ in the ‘About’  section of the website’s banner.

 

 

The Still Point Call for Submissions 2017: Borders

The Still Point Journal is a bit like a ‘Tardis’ – barreling through the depths of space and time, it transports the mind to universes limited only by those imaginations that govern them. This journal is dedicated to academic culture, music, film, arts, and research. We encourage researchers to infuse modes of perception and expression in their responses and to transform and challenge dominant structures of literary writing. From the footnotes to the bibliography, we celebrate everything manifested through the research process. The journal aspires to reflect and represent the voices of creative thinkers and researchers. 

Following our successful launch of the second issue, we are now accepting submissions for Issue 3: Borders.  The Still Point is looking for innovative responses in a variety of forms including, narratives, essays, short fiction, and poetry. Continue reading