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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Prospective Postgraduate Newsletter June 2017

Time Machines

How big is time? And what will the future be like?

These are some of the big questions addressed at a new exhibition at Palace Green Library, which has been developed by researchers within English Studies.

Drawing on the scholarship of Professor Simon James, the exhibition has a particular focus on H.G. Wells, who drew on scientific ideas about evolution in his seminal work The Time Machine. A rare early manuscript is on display.

The exhibition brings visitors up to the present day, where it is particularly inspired by the work of Dr Jennifer Terry to show how more recent science fiction has provided a vehicle for black and female authors to imagine new forms of identity.

The links between early and late science fiction were threaded by one of our PhD researchers, Sarah Lohmann (see below).

Research Collections at Durham

Palace Green Library, where Time Machines is on show, is just one of several libraries and archives at Durham and across the region that hold special collections that can be accessed by postgraduate students.

These range from the medieval holdings of Durham Cathedral, which boasts the best-preserved Benedictine monastic library in the British Isles, to the Basil Bunting Poetry Archive, an extensive collection of published works by and relating to this important modernist poet.

Of course, all postgraduates have access to Durham's modern Bill Bryson Library as well.

Meet PhD Researcher Sarah Lohmann

The Time Machines exhibition was devised by a large team of people. Central to the project, though, was Sarah Lohmann, one of our current PhD students, who worked as project officer.

Sarah's main research is into feminist utopian fiction, but she was brought on board to write exhibition content and to make coherent links across the eras of science fiction. This post gave her valuable experience in collaborating with curators and archivists, and in public engagement.

All of our PhD researchers have access to training opportunities, sometimes involving work with cultural institutions or contributing to the wider projects of academic staff.