Berny Sèbe introduces the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music

A video in which Dr Berny Sebe,  Lecturer in colonial and post-colonial studies, introduces the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music.

Title Berny Sèbe introduces the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Duration 5.26 mins

Undertaking postgraduate study in the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music at the University of Birmingham is a life-changing experience. Not only will it enhance your professional prospects, but it also offers you a unique opportunity to enjoy the added value of a multi- disciplinary approach in the humanities, which few institutions are able to offer.

The School benefits from the expertise of a wide range of literary, historical and political scholars in the fields of Francophone, German, Hispanic and Italian Studies, and of a distinguished academic team in Music and Art History. This unique combination of scholarly resources, drawing on the School’s traditional strength in Cultural Studies, Translation, European Languages and Cultures, Music and Art History, enables us to offer seven varied and popular Master’s programmes.

The School also boasts a long-established tradition of excellence in doctoral training, drawing upon the various fields of expertise of its members, who work on topics as diverse as the nature of art historical writing in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the music of Monteverdi or Elgar (the latter was the first Professor of Music of the University of Birmingham), French nineteenth-century literature, twentieth-century European cinema, the Holocaust, Media and Politics in Italy, Latin American cultures, Spanish regionalism, or the history of European Empires and their Decolonization, to name just a few. Because virtually no place of the world has remained immune from European influence, European Studies, and the various European languages and cultures in which the School has expertise, can offer you a broad and deep understanding of the rest of the world. Be it from the perspective of musical composition, art production, historical analysis or literary criticism, your experience as a postgraduate here will be uniquely cosmopolitan and allow you to reflect on today’s world in an insightful way.

Postgraduates always praise the level of support they are given in our School. Through the increasingly common practice of co-supervision, you can make the most of two expert perspectives on their topic. This will enrich your research experience, as you can witness first hand the fertility of intellectual exchange and how methodological approaches can complement each other. They also make the most of a vibrant research life articulated around Research Seminar series in each Department of the School, which regularly attract leading contributors in their field. Dynamic research initiatives such as the Centre for the Study of Hispanic Exile or ‘Postcolonial Birmingham’, a multi- disciplinary research network on colonial and postcolonial studies that looks at the modalities and consequences of European activity overseas over the last five centuries, provide vibrant platforms for discussion. A variety of Staff-Student Research Networks allow postgraduates and staff to discuss the latest developments in a variety of growing fields of research, such as ‘Collective Memory’, ‘the notion of Europe’ or ‘Text & Image’. The postgraduate-run Graduate Centre for Europe offers financial and logistical support to invite specific speakers, to organise an annual Postgraduate Conference during which ongoing research projects can be presented, and it also offers guidance on publication. There is an ample provision of skills training, including speed-reading, professional organisation, public presentations and advice on academic publication   Each department offers postgraduate teaching opportunities from the second year onwards, which allow you to gain valuable work experience before applying for jobs. Because it is housed in an art gallery, the famous Barber institute of Art, the history of art department’ works closely with this institute and also offers postgraduate students the chance to devise and curate an annual public exhibition. 

Twice a year, funds become available for research trips, performances, archive visits, travelling to conferences and giving papers. The last two activities, strongly encouraged by the School, pave the way for a smooth transition towards professional activity. Every effort has been made to ensure that working conditions are of the highest standard. Ninety desks in the European Research Institute are dedicated to the needs of postgraduate research, and seminar rooms, computer clusters, and wireless networks are also available throughout the university to ensure maximum efficiency . Moreover, every effort is made to listen to you and your experience as a student with us. We wish to support you academically and personally in any way we can and we have a termly staff-student consultative meeting where you can raise issues of concern.

Last but not least, the university offers a wide range of awards at Master’s and PhD level which attract the best candidates from all over the world. They contribute to maintaining the diversity of the School’s membership, whilst ensuring that excellence remains the defining criterion of access to postgraduate study. This rigorous selection process guarantees the international reputation of the University of Birmingham as a leading provider of the highest quality postgraduate education.