Criticism and Culture by Peter West

On Monday afternoon, I made my way to the Teviot Balcony for the first part of the English Department’s ‘Criticism and Culture’ conference. This event promised to showcase the original research, career experiences and creative writing of the department’s incredible undergraduate students, and did not disappoint.

There is clearly a lot of interesting research going on within the English department, and I’m sure that this afternoon was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the course of the afternoon, we heard a range of varying presentations and panel-style discussions on careers in English Literature, postgraduate study, general literary discussion and medicine in literature – a particular highlight. What this event demonstrated was not just the varying research interests of the students involved, but the numerous applications of literary study.

After an interval, the event moved upstairs to the Teviot Debating Hall and the Balcony Bar, where literary cocktails were served (these included a ‘Tequila Mockingbird’ and a ‘Bloody Mary Shelley’). After 8pm the ceilidh started, which meant that jumpers and coats were swiftly removed as the energetic band got the room moving. As a relative ceilidh novice, I always find them a bit of challenge but, like the rest of the room, threw myself into it with great reward.

This event managed to attain the perfect balance of interesting research and jolly entertainment, making for an intellectually and physically stimulating afternoon and evening.

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