English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies at Community Day

Title English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies at Community Day 2012
Duration 3.52 mins

My name is Luke Darbyshire, a postgraduate in the English department and here today with the Vernon Manuscript.

We're getting people to come and read a medieval manuscript that was written in the local dialect. It's spent the last 600 years hidden away and it's finally getting read and seen by the people who it had been originally meant for. So people are getting the chance to look at the language and seeing how closely related the way people speak now compared to how people spoke 600 years ago.

People enjoy it because you're not only looking at the manuscript and seeing how illuminated it is, the beauty of it as an artefact, also when they start reading it and they start reading it out, people start hearing things they recognise and going 'Ah, I know someone who says that'. People get very excited about it.

I'm Scott Lucas. I'm Professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham, but I'm also editor-in-chief of EA Worldview which is a news analysis site which we hope is sitting alongside CNN and BBC in covering certain areas of the world. I think the big thing about news today and about journalism is that you need to be able to interact with the people that are reading it. You don't just simply hand them the information, you learn from them as well.

We've had people who've come by today who've said I'm interested in this story in the Middle East, or Europe, or just down the road, down in Moseley or Selly Oak and it's those types of ideas that you follow up. Because the idea as opposed to the old-fashioned newspaper that dropped on your doorstep each day, the idea now is that this is a 24/7 process and you have to learn from people's interest and who better to learn from than the hundreds of people who are stopping by here.

I'm Tom and this is Naddy and we're both Drama students. We've been rehearsing for a couple of weeks to think of stuff we can do around the campus to brighten up the Community Day.

Bring attention to the architecture and our course. 

We're trying to sort of especially use big acoustic buildings or when we're outside we're drawing attention up towards the buildings we've got, the height difference if you look at the buildings.  Hopefully it's going well, it's just a bit of fun really. We're having a good time although I did just break my bin if you can see through there. Hitting it with sticks I've broken it, it isn't a catastrophe, we'll get through I think!

I'm a reader in English Literature in the English department and I'm talking today to people about the work I'm doing in editing Jonathan Swift and I'm finding people are very very interested indeed. I've been showing people examples of the different sources that an editor uses to arrive at a text when publishing editions of something like Swift. 

The interesting thing about community is that on a day to day basis with something like the EA Worldview news site, we're watching communities in Syria or in Egypt or in Yemen or in Iraq that are going through very big change. But then we've got our community here that's in Birmingham and it's important that we stay in touch with people here. That even though we're trying to put a window on the world, what's happening day to day in Birmingham, the way that we basically are evolving as a city and as a university, that's really, really crucial.