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 (EXTENDED DEADLINE)

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

Absent Voices #3: Words from the Soul: Private Letters between John Locke and Damaris Masham

Portrait of John Locke, by Sir Godfrey Kneller. Oil on canvas. 76×64 cm. Britain, 1697. Source of Entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779. Attribution: Sir Godfrey Kneller [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
It’s not often, as a Gender Studies researcher studying the history of philosophy, that I find myself wanting to hear more from one of the famous-dead-white-men that make up the bulk of the field. You might be especially surprised to hear that, after working my way through An Essay Concerning Human Understanding from start to finish, I wanted to hear more from John Locke. When my PhD project is on early modern women philosophers, women whose philosophical voices are still too often absent from the classroom, why would I want to read missing texts from one of the great canonical English philosophers, a man whose writings we possess in abundance?

It’s like this. One of the women I’m studying is Damaris Masham (1658/9-1708), a philosopher whose thought is largely known to us through her two published treatises. But they weren’t all she wrote. Masham was an extremely close friend of Locke’s – they met when she was twenty-two, twenty-three, when he was already an established philosopher of nearly fifty. They quickly struck up an exchange of letters which lasted for several years. The only reason the epistolary flow between them stopped was that he actually moved into the house Masham shared with her husband and lived there until his death. They were close enough that snide comments were made at the time about the “seraglio” at the Masham household, and speculation has been made since about the extent to which their intense friendship bordered on a romantic connection. Continue reading

Absent Voices #2: Chasing Echoes: The Perpetrator’s Voice in the History of Violence

Double-deck burning in 2011 England Riots. Attribution: By VOA Persian Interview (VOA TV) [Public domain or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
In the summer of 2011 several English cities witnessed explosions of very public violence. Rioters, for the most part young men, smashed windows, looted shops, set fires and threw stones at the ranks of armoured police who descended on them. Afterwards, most people responded in one of two ways. Right-wing politicians and commentators lined up behind David Cameron to condemn ‘mindless violence and thuggery’. On the left, the story was about inequality, unemployment and bad policing. With a few honourable exceptions, nobody asked the rioters.

People who do violent things usually have some sense of why they do them. We might not like their reasoning, but we can’t properly understand violence without it. Sticking with the riots as an example, the left-wing narrative clearly has a lot to be said for it, with interpretations backed up by solid data on urban deprivation. But it lacks the voice of the Londoner in his mid-20s who said, ‘When no one cares about you you’re gonna eventually make them care, you’re gonna cause a disturbance.’ For him rioting wasn’t an instinctive reaction to big structural forces – it was strategic, a sensible thing to do under the circumstances.

Continue reading

Still Point Blog Theme #3: Diversions – Call for Submissions

From mid-April into May, our next theme at the Still Point blog will engage the topic of DIVERSIONS. We are seeking blog posts from doctoral and early career researchers –solid submissions from Masters students are also welcomed – that examine the subject of Diversions in a variety of ways. Such topics might include reflection pieces on the kinds of things that provide relief during the research process (i.e. music, hobbies, Netflix binges…), diversion as a tactic of subversion, diversion as a positive/negative experience, etc. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis up until the next theme is announced. Entries often take the form of non-fiction, but we also accept fiction, poetry, and visual art. Continue reading