News and Events

Prokhorov Lecture 2017

henk de berg and Marina WarnerIn February, best-selling novelist, short-story writer and scholar Dame Marina Warner delivered the 2017 Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture, entitled “At Home in Your Head: Stories in Times of Displacement”. In front of an audience of nearly 150 people, she spoke about the relationship between the way we tell stories and the refugee crisis. Her key question was: is culture strong enough to help? 

Marina Warner’s work includes ground-breaking studies of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Her most recent book is Once upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (2014).

The lecture was organized by Professor Henk de Berg in Germanic Studies and Professor Evgeny Dobrenko in Russian and Slavonic Studies.

Brexit-Schreck in Bochum

Jennifer Frost is currently on her German Year Abroad in Bochum where teaches English in a German School. She joined our Beginners' German course as part of her BA Modern Languages degree. That was in September 2014. Two and a half years later, she is giving an interview in German to a local newspaper in the Rhineland. This is her story:

Jenny Frost'I'm just coming to the end of my half year placement in Bochum as a foreign language assistant working for the British Council. The opportunity for an interview was mentioned by one of my colleagues. He said the local paper would be interested in hearing a native's opinions on Brexit, how/if it had affected my time in Germany and what it could mean for the future. I was also asked to give a brief description of my opinion on Bochum and the surrounding areas and sum up my experience. All in all, it was a great chance to discuss my feelings towards Brexit and talk about my time spent in Bochum. And all in German!'

Beginners German     German Interview with Jennifer Frost

Postgraduate Success: Nina Schmidt

Nina SchmidtPostgraduate study at Sheffield has led to the start of an academic career for German student, Nina Schmidt, who completed her PhD study in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield this summer. She is continuing her research having secured a postdoctoral post at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Nina first came to Sheffield in 2007 as an Erasmus student studying for a semester on her BA in English and German Philology degree programme. Her love of the city and her experience of studying at the University inspired her to return in 2012 for her PhD – an interdisciplinary study of contemporary autobiographical illness writings. Nina’s research was funded by a University of Sheffield Faculty Scholarship.

Nina took advantage of the opportunities available to help her develop her career whilst conducting her research. She gained valuable experience teaching German language modules and conversation classes and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the award-winning module ‘Interdisciplinary Research in Practice’.

Nina commented, “Sheffield has been a great place for me to start to build my academic profile. The combination of excellent academic supervision across both the English and German departments and the close knit, supportive community of postgraduates from across the School of Languages and Cultures has given me a great start to my career in academia.”

PhD study with Germanic Studies

Prokorov Lecture 2016

Professor T.J. ReedIn December 2016 the world-leading scholar Professor T.J. Reed delivered the annual Prokhorov Lecture. Jim Reed explored the nature of artistic creation and the genius of the great writer in his lecture entitled “Beginning in Their Times: Homer, Montaigne, Shakespeare (and Some Others)”. 

T.J. Reed, emeritus Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, is the President of the English Goethe Society and a Fellow of the British Academy. 

The lecture was organised by the Prokhorov Centre, which is directed by Prof Henk de Berg in Germanic Studies and Prof Evgeny Dobrenko in Russian and Slavonic Studies.

The Prokhorov Centre is the only research platform in the UK with a combined focus on Western and Eastern Europe. Its main areas of interest are the intellectual and cultural histories of Germany and Russia.

Prokorov Lecture 2016 YouTube    T.J. Reed on Goethe YouTube

On Swissness

Swiss author with studentIn October 2016 staff and students in Germanic Studies met with Swiss author Martin R. Dean for a translation workshop. A section from Dean’s novel Ein Koffer voller Wünsche (2011) formed the basis for an exploration of 'Swissness': What is it and how can we translate it into English?

Swiss literature in German is becoming increasingly diverse. In recent decades the label 'Swiss literature' has come to cover writers in local Swiss German dialects as well as Swiss authors who discuss the themes of immigration, multiculturalism and post-colonial culture. The writing of Martin R. Dean, born to a Swiss mother and a father from Trinidad, is an example of the latter.

Translating a literary text rich in 'Swissness' for a contemporary English readership brings considerable challenges. What to do with the intricacies of traditional costumes specific to individual Swiss cantons and how can the translator signal to an English-language reader that cultural clichés are, in the context of the novel, intended ironically?

Martin Dean's translation workshop formed an exciting addition to our German BA-programme. It not only offered the opportunity to work with our MA Translation Studies students but, above all, to exchange thoughts and suggestions with the author himself. 

Martin Dean’s visit was organised by Dr Seán Williams and supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK.

More about Swiss Studies in Sheffield

Social life in Germanic Studies

In Germanic Studies we take great pride in our community atmosphere: our German Wandertag, the Dutch borrel, our sporting events to name a few. Here are some social traditions of Germanic Studies that took place in May and June 2016.


Students and staff at busstop after walking in the Peak DistrictSunday 8 May 2016 students and staff from the Germanic Department met for their traditional hike in the Peak District, challenging the German folksong “Das Wandern ist des Müllers Lust”, which claims that hiking is particularly enjoyed by millers.

We started at Fox House, climbed down to Grindleford Station and continued an easy stroll to Hathersage. The weather was terrific as was the mood. This photo taken at the Hathersage bus stop gives evidence: “Das Wandern ist auch des Deutschstudierenden Lust”.


Netball and football teams 2016

Once a year, student of Germanic Studies engage in a battle of the sexes: SLOGIN, our Germanic Studies netball team, challenges SLOG, our football team. For this special occasion only, these normally mixed teams return to their single sex history in a winner takes all game. On 13 May 2016 the encounter was as charged and exciting as ever. SLOGIN nearly won.

Dutch Borrel

Students of Dutch at drinks party

In our last teaching week, it is another good tradition within Germanic Studies that students of Dutch gather for the yearly Borrel. This annual drinks event takes place in early May and whereas in previous years the Sheffield weather did not always play ball, the 2016 edition was a glorious event. With over seventy students spread over the four years of study, the Dutch section at Sheffield is not only the biggest in the country but perhaps also the liveliest. 

More Dutch news

Prokhorov Lecture 2016: Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

German-born American scholar Hans Ulrich GumbrechtOn 5 May 2016, the German-born American scholar Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht from Stanford University delivered the Annual Prokhorov Lecture. He spoke about “The Past and Future of the Humanities”.

Gumbrecht, one of today’s most eminent public intellectuals, explored the various ways in which the humanities give us a more nuanced view of the world, from literature to international relations. He analysed what makes the top-ranked universities in the world so successful, and made a plea for “riskful thought” (thinking outside the box) in the study of cultures and languages.

The lecture was organized by Professor Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) together with Professors Evgeny Dobrenko (Russian and Slavonic Studies) and Phil Swanson (Hispanic Studies). You can watch the full lecture as well as an interview with Hans Gumbrecht conducted by Henk de Berg.

For an overview of the riskful and the traditional within Germanic Studies, please check our full list of undergraduate modules.

Sauerkraut Cup Back in Sheffield

sauerkraut cup

student and staff at football tournamentGermanic Studies were proud to host the annual Sauerkraut Cup football tournament at the Goodwin Sports Centre on 23 April – and even prouder to win it! Excitement reached fever-pitch during a hotly-contested semi-final which went to a penalty shoot-out, and although Leeds did not make it through to the final, their pitch-side support and chanting were second to none. In the final, Sheffield proved too strong for a worthy Nottingham: 4-1. 

The Sauerkraut Cup is now in its thirteenth year and has become a much-loved tradition for German departments all around the country, being hosted by the students and the DAAD-Lektoren. A very special feature of the Sauerkraut Cup is its popularity with alumni: Sheffield and Leeds put forward alumni teams every year, which may explain why the final can often turn into a Yorkshire derby (with four Cups for Leeds and now five for Sheffield).

Many thanks go to all the competitors, to our fantastic local supporters who turned out on a chilly day and especially, of course, to this year’s organizers Mathias Schäffer and Sarah Pogoda!

The Sauerkraut Cup 2016 was sponsored by Euro London Appointments, Henderson's Relish and Ohyo.

sponsor logos Sauerkraut

Exclusive interview with Tzvetan Todorov

Todorov with De berg, ZbindenProfessor Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) and Dr Karine Zbinden (French) managed to secure an exclusive interview with renowned French thinker and public intellectual Tzvetan Todorov. Todorov, who received de Berg and Zbinden in his Paris home, has worked extensively on issues of memory and the Holocaust. He is also the author of many books and essays in the broad area of literary and cultural studies.

Henk de Berg, an expert on German and French thought, is currently co-editing a collection of essays on Todorov. Within the Germanic Studies Henk de Berg offers undergraduate modules on Freud (Year 2) and Modern German Thought (Year 3).

The full French-language interview, which was conducted in Paris in March 2016, can be viewed here.  

Book Donation Swiss EmbassyBook cover Swiss Lit

The Embassy of Switzerland has generously donated a new collection of contemporary Swiss Literature in German to Germanic Studies. It comprises the latest literary works emerging from the country.

Dr Seán Williams FRSA, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at Sheffield and formerly a lecturer in Bern, Switzerland, emphasises that this collection offers both undergraduate and postgraduate students an excellent entry-point into Swiss contemporary culture, an area that we tend to stereotype as simply the land of Alps, fondue and debates about the EU.

“The arrival of these books complements existing opportunities to study German, Austrian, Dutch and Luxembourgish cultures in our School", according to Willams, "so Sheffield’s Germanic offering is true to the breadth of that adjective, and is remarkably rich in its variety”.

The collection will soon be searchable and available on loan via the university library’s central catalogue, and is perfect for those who are curious about exploring Swiss literature beyond Heidi!

Sheffield's Swiss connection goes beyond the book collection: Sheffield students can now spend their 3rd Year Abroad at the University of Bern on a new exchange programme. Plans are in progress for a visiting Swiss author for autumn 2016, and Germanic Studies collaborates with Applied Languages programmes in Sheffield to support those who wish to translate Swiss literature into English.

Post-GCSE and Beginners’ German: 'Tonnes of improvement'

In September 2014 Germanic Studies welcomed the first post-GCSE and Beginners’ German students. Eighteen months later Oliver Pilcher and Jennifer Frost reflect on their progress.

Oli PilcherOliver Pilcher:

'I’ve always wanted to learn German but had thought that not doing it at A-Level would stop me doing it at University. However, at Sheffield I was able to take up Beginners’ German. The tutors and lecturers have shown their flexibility again and again, adapting to my learning style. In addition to our language classes we were tutored by final year German students, giving us a one-on-one environment to go over points we had found difficult in class.

I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study in Germany for a month over the Summer 2015. This was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had, allowing me to expand my language skills hugely and make international friends! After my First Year, I changed my degree programme to make German as my major language in Second Year!'

Jennie FrostJennifer Frost:

'I decided to take up something completely out of my comfort zone- having only studied Spanish at College. At first I found German for Beginners challenging but the subject tutor, Sarah Pogoda, was always willing to go over anything I didn't fully understand in class and always provided support when I needed it. I, personally, find it difficult to form spontaneous sentences and pieces of writing, but the beginners’ course ensures that you get the writing practice you need, with feedback from your tutor the next week. Now in the Second Year of the course, I can definitely see tonnes of improvement.' 

MA Graduation 2016

MA graduation 2016Congratulations to all our Masters Graduates! At the ceremony on Friday 15 January 2016, we were delighted to see several of our previous Germanic Studies undergraduates receiving a second degree from Sheffield, in Germanic Studies, Dutch Studies, European Gender Studies and Translation Studies.

Pictured here are Christina Barningham (Dutch Studies), Ben Lewis (Germanic Studies) with his family and supervisors, Prof Henk de Berg and Dr Caroline Bland, and Amy Sheffield and Philippa Gregory (European Gender Studies) with supervisor Prof Jan Windebank.

This year’s graduates have found work in their chosen fields or are moving on to doctoral study. Well done everyone!

Research Seminar: Georg Büchner

Georg BuchnerThe first presentation in our annual Germanic Studies Research Semniar Series will take place on Wednesday 21 October at 4pm in Jessop West, Seminar Room 3.

Everybody is welcome to attend and use this opportunity to hear guest speakers, colleagues and postgraduate researchers present and discuss their research. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion. Drinks will be served.

Our first speaker will be Professor Michael Perraudin (Sheffield). The title of his presentation is 'Büchner: Empathy and Revolutionary Optimism'. 

The full schedule of talks that will take place in 2015-16 will follow later. 

Prokhorov Prize for Joanna Kremer

Joanna KremerThe Graduate Committee of the School of Languages and Cultures has awarded this year's Prokhorov Prize to Joanna Kremer. The Prokhorov prize recognises "outstanding contribution to research culture and life of the School by a final year research student.'

We could not wish for a more rewarding winner. Joanna Kremer has had wide-ranging impact on the research culture and life of the School. She served on the editorial board the Faculty-wide journal Track Changes and contributed to The Image Speaks. Joanna is gifted at presenting her research to a wider audience and was selected to represent our Faculty at the 'Three Minute Thesis' competition in 2014. She also co-organised various conferences for the Department. 

Joanna has contributed enormously to the research and teaching at the Centre for Luxembourg Studies. She headed up organisation of the 20th Anniversary Colloquium - attracting some eighty participants - and she received the university-wide Academic Award for Best Postgraduate Teacher of the Year in 2015. Moreover, Joanna has published on language testing and citizenship in Luxembourg and on discursive approaches to language policy and language ideologies to.

We offer our warm congratulations to Joanna!

Drawing a Map: Postgraduate Colloquium

Organising committee

Our Germanic Studies students go in many different directions after graduation. Some opt for translation or education, others for business, media, or postgraduate study. Whatever their future, we are proud to see our graduates take the lead in their chosen field.

Here is a prime example: our graduates Richard McLelland (PhD KCL), Jenny Watson (PhD Swansea) , Aimée Hardy (MA UCL) and Cyd Sturgess (PhD Sheffield) formed the organising committee of the Inaugural Postgraduate Colloquium: Drawing a Map which took place in London on 2 and 3 July 2015.

During a committee meeting of the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS), Jenny launched the idea of an international colloquium for MA and PhD candidates and early-career researchers and she wrote the Call for Papers. Richard teamed up with Aimée and they secured financial support from the Netherlands Embassy and they arranged for sessions at UCL and Senate House. They also ensured that the Institute for Modern Language Research (IMLR) came on board. Cyd supported by reading the abstracts and putting together the programme.

The result was a two-day event with over twenty participants from the UK, the Low Countries and Germany. For a report of the Colloquium and the full programme, check here.

Rich, Jenny, Aimée and Cyd all combined their BA in German with Dutch Studies.

Department Appoints Prestigious VCF FellowSean Williams

In October 2015, Dr Seán Williams will be joining the Department as one of the University’s sixteen new Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows. The VCF scheme, which is highly competitive, aims to attract the most promising international young scholars to the University of Sheffield.

Seán holds BA/MA, MSt and DPhil degrees from Oxford and currently teaches Germanistik at the University of Bern. Before moving to Switzerland, he lived, studied and worked in Germany, the Netherlands and the US as well as the UK.

Seán is a specialist in German literature and culture from the 18th century onwards and has worked on topics as diverse as Hegel’s philosophy, Hoffmann’s novels and novellas and contemporary satires of Hitler.

Research Interests of Staff in Germanic Studies

Summer Open Days 2015: Why study German at Sheffield?

For the Summer Open Days 2015 we decided to ask our current students about why they study German (or Dutch) at Sheffield. Their responses vary from practical to passionate, from personal to strategic. 

Please come and see for yourself what studying with us is like. During our Open Days we offer general and Departmental Talks as well as various Taster Sessions. Also, you will meet the staff and students: hear the stories and ask the questions. 

In addition to German and Dutch, we are the only place in the UK that offers courses in Luxembourg Studies

Summer Open Days 2015

Joaana Kremer and Nina SchmidtNomination for Best Postgraduate Teacher of the Year: Joanna Kremer and Nina Schmidt

Warm congratulations to Joanna Kremer for being awarded Best Postgraduate Teacher at this year’s Academic Awards Ceremony on 21 May 2015. It was fabulous that we had two nominees in this category, as Nina Schmidt was also nominated.

Joanna Kremer teaches weekly Luxembourgish conversation classes at beginners and advanced levels alongside her PhD work. As a researcher Joanna aims to identify links between language and notions of identity and citizenship in contemporary Luxembourg.

Nina Schmidt teaches German language classes for our post A-Level course. Her research focuses on contemporary autobiographical illness writings.

With over 350 nominations for various categories this year, it is phenomenal for two nominees from one department to be shortlisted, so very well done to both of you for showing Germanic Studies in its best light!

More information on the event may be found here.

Celebrating 20 Years of Luxembourg Studies in Sheffield:
Multilingual Encounters and ‘New Speakers’ of Luxembourgish

lux colloquiumMarking the 20th anniversary of the Centre for Luxembourg Studies, the colloquium held on 8 May 2015 attracted 80 people, including staff, students and members of the general public. It was a great honour that the Luxembourg Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, H.E. Mr Patrick Engelberg, formally opened the event and took part in discussions over the course of this special day.

The programme showcased work by undergraduate Sheffield students as well as former and current Erasmus students from the University of Luxembourg. Two PGR students, Joanna Kremer (Sheffield) and Annie Flore Made Mbe (Luxembourg) also presented findings on language testing and citizenship and family language policy in Luxembourg. The keynote speaker, Dr Kasper Juffermans (Luxembourg), discussed his current project (STAR), which focuses on the theme of crossing borders and is informed by the sociolinguistics of globalisation. Following the closing of the colloquium by Prof Penny Simons, participants enjoyed a traditional Luxembourgish wine reception, which was generously sponsored by Caves Ries.

Further details, including photos and media coverage, may be found here.

Official opening Prokhorov Centre

Opening Prokorov centreOn 15 May 2015 the prominent cultural historian and publisher Dr Irina Prokhorova performed the official opening of the Prokhorov Centre for the Study of Central and Eastern European Intellectual and Cultural History. The Centre is led by Profs Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) and Evgeny Dobrenko (Russian & Slavonic Studies).

The histories of Central Europe and Eastern Europe have been intertwined for centuries – in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, for example, or in the creation, development, and eventual demise of the GDR. Thinkers such as Kant, Schopenhauer and Freud were born in Eastern Europe, and major ties continue to exist in the form of cross-fertilisation and collaboration as well as, at times, conflict.

The Prokhorov Centre studies the various interconnections between Central and Eastern Europe from a scholarly perspective.

For more information and to keep informed about the events and activities of the Centre, please check the Prokhorov Centre website.

Animatograph: Germany Surrenders

Event germany Remembers

BananasAt the end of the happening German Surrenders on 10th May the audience were given a banana. This was a symbolic gift on behalf of the German people to the, predominantly, British audience. After all, in 1945 the British craved the exotic fruit they had been deprived of during the war years.

Is this serious? Is this a suitable symbol to commemorate something so emotional (and political) as the victims of World War 2?

Dr Sarah Pogoda and students put together a thought-provoking remembrance ceremony at Furnace Park. All commemoration elements were there: a procession, speeches by politicians, the symbolic planting of a tree, the national anthems, and the reading out of names. Yet these familiar rituals were challenged by the setting, the megaphone interruptions, the presence of too many cameras. Germany Surrenders was more than just another commemoration: this was a creative and artistic examination of commemoration itself, both at a personal level and as a tool for nation building.

Germany Surrenders was the first event of the Sheffield Animatograph Project: an investigation into how collective memory and commemoration rituals reflect our nations and affect our identities. The next event in this series, Memory and Commemoration as Social Sculpture, will be on 22 May, 6pm in Sheffield.

Gender and European History Colloquium

logo festival of Arts aand Humanities

In collaboration with the Centre for Gender Studies in Europe, Germanic Studies PhD students Nina Schmidt and Cyd Sturgess, alongside Dr Caroline Bland, have put together an afternoon of talks and discussions on the theme: ‘Gender and European History’. The colloquium will take place on Monday 18 May from 1.30- 6.15 pm.

The Gender and European History Colloquium forms part of the Festival of the Arts and Humanities, and will include a series of papers exploring the implications of gender within historical research. Our guest speakers will be Laura Doan (Manchester), Claire McCallum (Exeter) and Louise Johnson (Sheffield). Following this, there will be a break-out reading session focused on twentieth century German contexts and its various waves of feminism.

Attendance is free, but please register your interest with Cyd Sturgess ( by 1 May. Registration for the whole or parts of the day possible. If you register to attend the workshop, you will automatically receive the preparatory reading.

Author Visitors Germanic Studies Spring 2015

$ german and Dutch authors

At Sheffield we believe that meeting practising artists inspires our students and enriches the curriculum. The Department of Germanic Studies boasts a healthy history of author and artist visits and Spring 2015 was no exception.

We welcomed German and Dutch speaking authors from no less than four countries. The Austrian author Susanne Scholl and the German author Ulrike Almut Sandig both visited Sheffield in February. The Belgian author and performer Maud Vanhauwaert spent a week in Sheffield in March and in April we welcomed the Dutch author Vrouwkje Tuinman.

During their visit the artists and authors work closely with our students on a specific project. This can take the shape of a 'book club', a translation project or creative (writing) workshops. In addition we organise informal meetings between artists and students as well as a Reading or a Talk for the general public.

We receive support for our activities from various funding bodies including the German DAAD, the Austrian OEAD and the Dutch and Flemish Taalunie.

Bursaries for Student Summer Placements

Summer placement bursariesThe Placement Team is a designated team within the Sheffield Career Service that supports student with finding a placements in the UK and abroad. They also award a number of bursaries for students who opt for an oversees summer placements. 

In the recent round, three students from Germanic Studies have been successful in each securing a £500 International Placement Bursary. The lucky students are Emily Hopper (BA Modern Languages), Liam Richardson (BA German & Hispanic Studies) and Zoe Burt (BA Modern Languages).

They will be taking part in various work projects. Zoe Burt, for instance, will take on her role as a coordinator for a German volunteer company in Marakech. She will organise projects for 50 volunteers, as well as looking after their welfare and managing finances.

Liam Richardson is going to Berlin this summer and writes that, ‘This bursary will really help to enable me to live in Germany for a month, do work experience in a school in Berlin and hopefully improve my linguistic confidence. I am so thankful for this financial aid.’ 

Louise McInnes, Placement Officer for Arts and Humanities, is available throughout the year to support Germanic Studies students with all aspects of sourcing and applying for placements. Appointments can be booked via this link

Dutch Student Days at Sheffield

Banner Student Days

Students at Dutch Student DaysOn 19th and 20th March 2015 the Department of Germanic Studies hosted the 8th edition of the Dutch Student Days under the auspices of the Association for Low Countries Studies. 

The Student Days offer an opportunity to find out more about Dutch and Flemish culture, to meet employers and to learn more about your prospects as a student of Dutch. But it is also a chance to meet up, to meet new people and to have fun.

Around eighty University students of Dutch from the all over the UK flocked to Sheffield for a 24-hour programme of workshops, lectures, and performances. In addition to the event for students, there was an evening programme for the general public: Closer to Low Countries Cultures in Sheffield's Workstation.

small logo ALCS daysThe Flemish poet and performer Maud Vanhauwaert, the Dutch standup duo Johan Fretz and Marcel Harteveld, and Dr Betsy Wieseman, curator of the Dutch and Flemish collection of the National Gallery in London, were among the guests. The Students Days closed with a Employablity Forum where students put questions about Dutch Studies and future opportunities to a panel of experts. 

For more information on styding Dutch as part of your Bachelor Degree Programme, please check Dutch at Sheffield

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SURE Success for Lucy Tallentire

Winning student Lucy TallentireLucy Tallentire (BA Germanic Studies) was awarded SURE 2014 Student Researcher of the Year for her work on the project Remembering and Transforming: Graffiti and Gentrification in Berlin since 1989. The SURE scheme (Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience) offers undergraduate students the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with a research project.

For her project Lucy considered the impact of Berlin’s artistic population on the urban landscape, in particularly the relationship between Berlin’s graffiti culture and the process of gentrification. 

Lucy comments on her experience: ‘Although I’d always considered applying for a Masters, I was unsure about pursuing research as a career. SURE really changed my perspective on how flexible and rewarding research can be. I had an amazing experience on the SURE scheme, and my project has given me a whole new perspective on my current degree program. And I got to meet and interview some truly amazing people, and have grown in confidence as a consequence.’

Lucy Tallentire’s SURE project was supervised by Dr Kristine Horner (Germanic Studies) and Laurence Pattacini (Department of Landscape).

Word and Sound 

Image of German author Ulrike Almut SandigFrom 23 to 27 February 2015 the Department of Germanic Studies will present an audio-based art installation designed by Ulrike Almut Sandig. This award-winning German author experiments with different media and forms including radio plays, sound poems and audiobooks of poetry and pop music. Staff, students and visitors will experience this combination of word and sound, this "poetry through the senses", in the Foyer of Jessop West.

Born in Großenhain in the former East Germany, Ulrike Almut Sandig is one of the most acclaimed German writers of her generation and has received six major literature awards since the publication of her first poetry anthology Zunder in 2005. Since her debut she has published two further anthologies and the prose volume Flamingos (2010).

There will be plenty of opportunity to meet Ulrike: students will discuss Ulrike Almut Sandig’s poems and prose with the author and Ulrike will take part in a translation workshop that explores the challenges of translating literary texts.

On Wednesday 25th February 2015 there will be a public reading in English and in German at the Humanities Research Institute at 5:15pm. This will be followed by a discussion of Ulrike’s writing and her new prose volume, Buch gegen das Verschwinden. This event is free and A-level students are warmly invited. For information and queries, please contact Dr Giles Harrington ( 

The author will be visiting the UK as part of the London-based Poet in the City project. 

Students and staff at MA GraduationMA graduation January 2015

Germanic Studies congratulated two excellent Research Master graduates in January 2015: Jason Hilton and Liz Trueman, here with Professor Henk de Berg (Head of Department) and Dr Caroline Bland.

Jason wrote his MA thesis on Germany and the Nazi past as seen through the work of the thinkers Karl Jaspers and Hannah Arendt, while Liz worked on 18th- and 19th-century German and French literature under the supervision of Dr David McCallam (Dept of French) and Professor Michael Perraudin.

For more information on postgraduate study in Germanic Studies: Prospective postgraduates

Anglo Netherlands Society Essay Prize for Imogen Benton

Imogen Benton and Robert BrookeOn 11 June 2014, the Anglo-Netherlands Society announced the Sheffield winner of their annual essay prize: Imogen Benton. The president of the ANS, Mr Robert Brooke presented the £250 cash prize for the essay 'Het multiculturele drama: Did Paul Scheffer’s intervention create an opening for the rise of Geert Wilders?'

In her essay, Benton discusses the seminal publication ‘The multicultural Fiasco’ (2000), which triggered the Dutch debate on multiculturalism and immigration that still continues today. The full essay will be published in the Society's Newsletter.

The Anglo-Netherlands Society awards their annual Essay Prize to recognize and reward outstanding work in the field of Dutch Studies. Topics include the culture, language, literature, history and society of the Netherlands. 

Imogen Benton is a BA Modern Languages student (German, Dutch, Spanish) and will spend the autumn semester of 2014 in Germany and the spring semester 2015 working as a language tutor in 's Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.  

lucy Tallentire2014 Student Undergraduate Research Experience: Success for Lucy Tallentire

Warm congratulations to Lucy Tallentire who lodged a successful bid to the Student Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme in the 2014 round. Lucy will be undertaking a six-week research project this summer on the topic "Remembering and Transforming: Art, Graffiti and Gentrification in Berlin since 1989."

Her project is jointly supervised by Dr Kristine Horner (Languages & Cultures) and Laurence Pattacini (Landscape). Lucy’s research will be disseminated in multiple ways, including the SURE showcase in February 2015.

Each year SURE offers funded research scholarships to Sheffield undergraduate students to take part in ‘real life’ research projects and work alongside academic staff and/or work collaboratively in a research group.

Multilingualism and Mobility in Europe: New Publication by Dr Kristine Horner

Book cover Kristine HornerKristine Horner together with colleagues at the University of Luxembourg, Ingrid de Saint-Georges and Jean-Jacques Weber, has published a new edited book on Multilingualism and Mobility in Europe: Policies and Practices (Peter Lang, 2014). This volume focuses on the key question: How do individuals experience multilingualism and mobility in the context of Europeanization and globalisation?

The contributors explore language-in-education policies and family language policies, as well as the complex interface between multilingualism and space. The multiple sites analysed in the chapters are located in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Hungary and Moldova.

This volume includes the chapter ‘”Come back next year to be a Luxembourger”: Perspectives on language testing and citizenship legislation “from below”’ by Joanna Kremer. It is based on Joanna’s current PhD research and contributes to the current lead project at the Centre for Luxembourg Studies in Sheffield.

Kristine Horner is Reader in Luxembourg Studies & Multilingualism and teaches regularly on topics in multilingualism, language politics and sociolinguistics.

German for Enterprise finalists present final reportsStudent group German for Enterprise

Germanic Studies at Sheffield are currently running a unique collaboration with local businesses as part of the Final Year Language programme: German for Enterprise. 

On 21 May 2014 students taking the new final-year module presented their final project reports to Managing Directors from local businesses and fellow students. The event marked the end of a six-month project that saw students work with Sheffield tool manufacturer Numill Ltd and children’s clothing company Kozi Kidz.

GfE logoCommenting on the afternoon’s success, module co-coordinator Dr Giles Harrington said that ‘the students’ presentations were first class and demonstrated just how valuable foreign language skills are to the UK economy’.

The German for Enterprise team are really looking forward to working with existing and new partner companies in 2014-15. For more information: German for Enterprise and Presentations 2013-14.

Lux student with PosterLuxembourg Studies Poster Presentation

On 14 May 2014, students on the Introduction and Advanced Luxembourgish Language and Culture modules joined forces to organise an interactive poster presentation.

Students on the Introduction module explored aspects of language, culture and history in relation to the concept of national identity and social change in contemporary Luxembourg.

Students on the Advanced module designed individual projects that dealt with diverse perceptions of the roles and functions of the Luxembourgish language as well as shifts in the multilingual media landscape.

Check out photos from the event and Luxembourg Studies programmes at Sheffield

Students playing wertherYoung Werther in 2014

Have you heard of of Goethe’s novel Die leiden des jungen Werther? Probably, but the modern adaption, which was performed on the 14 May 2014 by the Department of Germanic Studies’ theatre group, surprised many in the audience. This was a young Werther we had not met before.

Ed playing WertherWer?ther.Projekt was the result of eight months of hard work, experiment and fun by five motivated actors - Ed Robinson, Olivia Michaud, Cyd Sturgess, Anita Houston, Henrietta Nehmzow. While the theatre group had taken the central themes of the novel, along with parts of the original text, they produced their own unique take on the suffering of the young man, experimenting with elements of dance, music and modern media.

Under the direction of Sandra Beer, they embarked on a postmodern production of Goethe’s novel with a Werther who, as dissatisfied with his life and unlucky in love as ever, found himself in the 21st century.

A yearly drama production in German is one of the Department's many curriculum enhancing activities and a way to make sure German language is read, spoken, developed and 'performed' inside and outside the classroom.

Dutch Honours List awardHenriette Louwerse

Our colleague Dr Henriette Louwerse (Senior Lecturer in Dutch at Sheffield) has been awarded the title of Ridder in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau (Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau) in the Dutch King Willem-Alexander's first "King's Day" honours list, 2014.

The award is for Henriette's "extraordinary contribution to the promotion of Dutch language in the UK" and was presented to her by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ms Laetitia van den Assum, on April 29 at the annual King's Day celebration at the Ambassador's Residence in London.

The Dutch Studies section at Sheffield is the biggest in terms of student numbers in the entire English speaking world. For a detailed description of the Dutch Studies programme at Sheffield, check Dutch Studies.

Luxembourg Trip and Internships

students on trip 2014Members of the Luxembourg Society travelled to Luxembourg to take part in a series of lively and educational activities from 7-10 April.

Highlights included a visit to the castle in Vianden with Gilles Genot, a walking tour of Luxembourg City with University of Luxembourg students, and a guided visit – op Lëtzebuergesch! – of the Bofferding brewery in Bascharage. The unusually warm and sunny weather also provided the perfect setting for visiting the open-air market. Check out photos from the trip.

laura and BenInternships

Two of our students of Luxembourgish, Ben Courtenay and Lucy Tallentire, took part in internships from 17-31 March with the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, where they developed promotional educational materials and completed professional translations.

Lucy and Ben were praised for the high quality of their work and their overall efficiency. During this time, they also gained in-depth and personal insights on the multilingual language situation and cultural context of Luxembourg. They made a short youtube video of their experiences.

For more information: Luxembourg Studies at Sheffield

German author nadine ZimmerNo Bad Parents: Growing up in poverty in Berlin and Sheffield

What is it like to be poor in a rich country? What is life like if both your parents have been unemployed for as long as you can remember? Is being poor in Germany different from the UK?

Cover Nicht von Schlechten ElternOn Thursday, 1 May at 5.30 pm the Department of Germanic Studies presented a book reading and a panel debate on social (in)justice in Berlin and Sheffield. Key speaker was our writer in residence Undine Zimmer (1979) who read from her book Nicht von schlechten Eltern, in which she offered a personal account of growing up in a family affected by Germany’s much praised social reforms Hartz IV.

After her reading, Undine Zimmer took part in a panel discussion with Cllr. Julie Dore (Leader of Sheffield City Council), Frances Potter (Sheffield Citizens Advice Bureau), Simon Duffy (Director of The Centre for Welfare Reform) and Peter Thompson (Germanic Studies, Sheffield).

The evening took place in the Humanities Research Institute on Gell Street and was followed by a wine reception. The event was produced by Dr Sarah Pogoda with the financial support of the DAAD and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

krimi posterEnt)spannung?!

The murder mysteries are back in Sheffield! And this time our most unfortunate Krimiabend is part of a wider event: the Germanic Studies Krimi-Wochen from 28 April until 6 May 2014.

The Krimi-Wochen kick off with the crime story writing competition "Murder you Wrote". Second Year students of German are invited to write part of the German crime story 'Tannoed' or enter their own crime story. The winners are awarded (krimi)book prizes sponsored by the OeAD, the Austrian International Exchanges agency. 

Our traditional murder mystery role play will take place on Tuesday 6 May. This is a family evening gone wrong: when one member of the family is found dead, it is time to release your inner detective, or murderer...

More information: Murder you Wrote and Krimiabend

posterGerman Drama 2014: Wer?ther.Projekt

Werther is in a dark place. He has just met the one for him, the irresistible Lotte - but his love is damned.

Our DAAD-Sprachassistentin Sandra Beer together with students and postgraduates in Germanic Studies proudly present The Wer?ther. Projekt. This project is the German Drama Group's very modern take on love in all its despicable forms loosely based on Goethe's classic novel The Sorrows of Young Werther.

When: 14 May 2014 at 7.30pm 
Where: University of Sheffield Drama Studio 
Tickets: £4 students and £5 non-students
Cast: Ed Robinson, Olivia Michaud, Cyd Sturgess, Henrietta Nehmzow, Anita Houston  

List of names of fallen soldiersStudents of Dutch visit Ypres

From 20 to 24 March 2014, twenty students of Dutch visited of the Flemish town of Ieper, or Ypres, in the far south-west of Belgium. During World War I Ieper was ravaged and the famous Menin Gate (Menenpoort) commemorates fallen British soldiers.

The visit is part of an extensive student project on The Low Countries in the First World War. The project aims to put the many commemorations of the start of the war 100 years ago into context.

In the Middle Ages Ieper was an important centre of the cloth trade for which its Cloth Hall (Lakenhal) was built. These days the Lakenhal houses the ‘In Flanders Fields Museum’, one of the focal points of the visit.

The excursion was organised by Dr Roel Vismans and subsidised by the Flemish Representation in London and The Dutch Language Union. 

Check Dutch for more information about studying Dutch at Sheffield.

Der Vorleser: Sixth Form Event

6 form event

On 20 February 2014, the Department welcomed Sixth Form students from Brinsworth, Wath, Sir Thomas Wharton, Silverdale and Meadowhead to a history event that explored aspects of the Nazi Past and the struggle to come to terms with it. The activities included a showing of the 2008 cinematic adaption of Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser. During the day the Sixth Formers were involved in several lively group discussions on the themes raised during the film and later engaged in a wider debate on the significance of the Nazi Past in present-day Germany.

The workshop, lead and coordinated by our postgraduate students Nina Schmidt, Cyd Sturgess and Ellie Roberts, was held as part of the ongoing Postgraduate project [Dis]connected: A Spectre of German History. The scheme, which focusses on several significant historical anniversaries in 2014, examines of the importance of historical events on the construction and experience of contemporary German life and identity.

From our Sochi correspondent: Olivia Michaud
Sochi Oliva Michaud

During the Winter Olympic Games, Olivia Michaud, a fourth year student in our Department, is working as a journalist for the Olympic News Service (ONS). She is stationed in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park up in the mountains near Sochi where all the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events take place.
Olivia writes:

‘Everyday after each training session or after a competition I try to catch as many competitors as I can to interview them about what they are doing, how they feel and what they expect etc. Then I run to the Press Centre where I load their comments on the official news channel. All Sochi journalist pay for this news service and can use my interviews for their reports. I have already found some of my stuff in German, Dutch and Flemish publications.'

Olivia stresses that it is often thanks to her languages that she manages to tempt the athletes into talking to her. ‘Languages open doors’, she says and with French, English, German and Dutch under her belt, she manages to wander into dressing rooms that remain closed for others.

Olivia wrote a short report in Dutch for her fellow students. 

Maria BraunShock and Fear in German and Dutch Cinema

The German and Dutch film industry has a history of challenging productions; challenging in the choice of subject matter and challenging in the often daring representation of sensitive social issues. In February, March and April 2014 the Department of Germanic Studies, in close collaboration with Showroom Cinema, offers a series of three public film showings around the theme of Shock and Fear in German and Dutch cinema.

Logo Goethe InstitutThe format of the series will be: a brief introduction putting the film in context - the showing of the film – short lecture by one of our film experts – discussion with the audience.

The Shock and Fear series was put together and organised by Sandra Beer, DAAD-Language tutor in the Department with the financial support of the Goethe Institut.

In addition to her German language teaching, Sandra Beer leads and directs the Germanic Studies Drama Group.

Monday 24 February, 6.15 pm German Chainsaw Massacre Dr Sarah Pogoda
Monday 31 March, 6.15 pm The Marriage of Maria Braun Dr Peter Thompson
Monday 28 April, 6.15 pm Tirza Dr Henriette Louwerse

Tickets are available on Showroom Cinema. For more public events within Germanic Studies, please check our Research Seminar Schedule.

MA graduation 2014MA graduation January 2014

Germanic Studies warmly congratulated three excellent Research Master graduates in January 2014: Terence Dunne, Laura Dragomir and Cydney Sturgess.

Terence has secured a prestigious internship at the University of Sheffield. Laura and Cyd have moved on to PhD positions: Laura is at the University of Exeter and Cydney is in our own Department, where she is conducting research on cultural constructions of lesbian identity in Germany and the Netherlands in the two decades after 1918.

For more informnation on postgraduate study in Germanic Studies: Prospective postgraduates

murder mystery groupKrimi total!

On 10 December 2013 the Department of Germanic Studies was in the grip of Ein mörderisches Rollenspiel. For one mysterious evening, students of all levels crept into the skin of their German characters to find out who was the murderer among them. By the end of the night many loaded conversations had taken place, several intrigues had been unraveled, but the murderer managed to remain undiscovered. Who knows what will happen next time?

Krimi total is an example of the extra-curricular activities the Department organises to encourage students to use German in an informal setting. This event was organised by Sandra Reisenleutner, our OEAD-Lektor, who teaches German languages at all levels as well as the optional modules Medien und Öffentlichkeit and Österreich Heute.

The Privatisation of Hope: New Publication by Dr Peter Thompson

book Peter ThompsonDr Peter Thompson together with Slavoj Žižek has published a new edited book on the German philosopher Ernst Bloch (1885 to 1977): The Privatisation of Hope.

Bloch wrote some of the most influential philosophy books in the early part of the 20th century with titles such as The Spirit of Utopia and The Principle of Hope. In these books Bloch tried to show how human beings are constantly trying to bring about a better world and that all around us and all the time there exist little sparks of Utopia, even if we don't recognise them. For example, although he was an atheist, he thought that religion carried within it an impulse for liberation and not just a set of codes for social cohesion.

Fredric Jameson says of The Privatisation of Hope that it "makes a start on renewing Bloch himself as a living multiplicity of themes and questions, and may even mark a beginning of that new beginning with which he tantalised us."

Peter Thompson is a internationally renowned Ernst Bloch expert. He is a Reader in Germanic Studies and teaches regularly on German Thinkers, Film Studies and the Former GDR. 

Dutch Translation Project UK: Wim Brands

Students of Dutch at Sheffield together with their peers from UCL and Nottingham translated a brand new literary text by the Dutch author and journalist Wim Brands as part of the project.

Wim Brands spent two weeks in Ghent to create a literary account of his encounter with this iconic Flemish town: ‘De fanfare die een olifant opat’.

It is for the English version of Brands’ text that the UK-students came in. Under the guidance of a professional translator, Jonathan Reeder, the students translated the Dutch text into English. The text and audiobook will be available from the website from February 2014.

The Translation Project is part of the Dutch Advanced language module which students typically take in their final year. The citybooks Translation Project is coordinated by Dr Henriette Louwerse and sponsored by the Nederlandse Taalunie, the Flemish Representation in the UK, the Netherlands Embassy and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.