Choosing to study English Literature at the University of Sheffield has been one of the best decisions I have ever made
Can you tell us a little about the project?
I recently worked as a Student Ambassador on the Barry Hines Project. Led by Dr David Forrest and Professor Sue Vice from the School of English, this research project explores the works of the South Yorkshire born writer Barry Hines. Last year marked the fifty-year anniversary since the publication of Barry Hines’ seminal novel Kestrel for a Knave.
Hines’ novel was famously adapted for the silver screen. Hines’ narrative became the iconic film Kes directed by Ken Loach. In celebration of Kestrel for a Knave’s 50th anniversary, the Barry Hines Memorial Project worked with pupils from Ecclesfield School to produce pieces of creative/academic writing in response to Hines’ novel.
Barry Hines himself was a pupil at Ecclesfield School so the project encouraged the children to engage with their local literary heritage. The pieces of writing that the pupils produced were placed in the University of Sheffield’s Barry Hines Archive for the scholars of the future to study.
Why did you decide to take part?
I took part in the Barry Hines Project because I had just completed the Post-War British Realist Cinema module convened by Dave Forrest. In this module, I studied and thoroughly enjoyed Kes. I was eager to explore Hines’ narrative further so I jumped at the chance to participate in the Barry Hines Project.
I admired the project’s commitment to outreach/civic engagement. The project aimed to bring the University of Sheffield’s staff and students out of the academy and into Sheffield’s local community.
I work on numerous projects for the Outreach and Widening Participation team here at the University, including working as a Student Ambassador at a homework club for local primary school pupils and mentoring five local secondary school pupils. I, therefore, understand the importance of the University giving back to the local community.
Reading and studying Hines's writing today reminds us that class still matters, and students like Scott are doing important work both within and outside the university to explore this idea in both academic and practical ways.
Dr David Forrest
What did you gain from being involved?
I gained employment experience and enhanced my skill set. In particular, I acquired leadership skills, experience delivering presentations, and can use my experience as a Student Ambassador when writing a job application or answering competency based questions in a job interview.
While I did gain valuable skills and experience, I did not become a Student Ambassador for self-serving reasons. I saw the Barry Hines Memorial Project as a chance to give back to the Sheffield community and to help local school pupils engage with their literary heritage.
Do you have any words on your time and experiences while studying at Sheffield?
I am not exaggerating when I say choosing to study English Literature at the University of Sheffield has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The academics in the Department are friendly and supportive, going above and beyond whenever I have needed assistance.
Every single module I have taken has been engaging and intellectually stimulating. Under their excellent teaching, I feel that I have grown into an independent researcher and critical thinker.
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