The Next 100 Years of Dutch Studies

OpenforbusinessYou will all be aware of the importance of 2019 for Dutch Studies in the UK and Ireland: it is the Centenary Year of Dutch Studies at UCL and, by extension, of the discipline in the UK.

The executive committee of the ALCS wants to use this historical moment to draw attention to the state of Dutch Studies in the UK.  Our report The state of Dutch Studies in the UK and Ireland, which we presented in Sheffield in June 2018, is the starting point of a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of Dutch language and cultures studies for the UK and Ireland.
Recently, Henriette Louwerse, Chair of the ALCS, published the following opinion pieces:

Nicola McLelland (our former ALCS Chair) raised the position of Dutch during a British Academy Round Table in London on 30 January. She pointed out that monitoring of the national coverage of so-called specialist language such as Dutch is required. We are hopeful that a comment on the provision of Dutch and other specialist languages will find its way into the briefing that Janice Carruthers (AHRC Leadership Fellow for Languages) will produce from the various consultation round tables about languages.

More positive action is needed to raise the profile of Dutch Studies. We are working with various partners to inform policy makers in the UK and the Low Countries and we call on all our ALCS members and friends to speak up and point to our report whenever they can. We will keep you informed.

13th ALCS International Conference

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13th ALCS International Conference:
Worlding the Low Countries

University College London, 6–8 November 2019

Marking the occasion of the Centenary of Neerlandistiek in the Anglophone world (the first Chair for Dutch Studies was founded in 1919 at University College London, with historian Pieter Geyl as its first incumbent), the 13th international and interdisciplinary Conference of the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS2019) will be held at UCL from Wednesday to Friday, 6–8 November 2019.

This means that with our biennial conference will be a year early. Not only is a centenary too good to pass on, this also this puts the ALCS conference in alternate years with the INCS conference of the American AANS. Colleagues will be in a better position to visit each other’s Conferences.

The full Call of Papers can be found on the Conference website.

Picturing Reality: A Sunny Snapshot

Picturing Reality: A Sunny Snapshot of International Dutch and Flemish Studies

In the last week of June 2018, scholars from ten countries and four continents gathered at the University of Sheffield for the 12th biennual ALCS conference. In uncharacteristically sunny weather (a marked contrast to the snowstorms which dominated our last Sheffield meeting of April 2012), our delegates enjoyed three days of talks, networking events and entertainment hosted by staff from Germanic Studies at the University of Sheffield.

Our speakers looked at how, why and for whom reality is shaped, perceived and represented and how these representations impact on self-image, national stories and language status. And although Picturing Reality may have a contemporary ring to it, the breadth of our contributions proved it is a theme for all times. Among the historical realities we encountered seventeenth-century comic theatre as a vehicle for social criticism; Polish views on the Dutch Republic as a military power; and the realities of queer women in Dutch novels between 1928 and 1945.

In addition to welcoming friends old and new to our conference, the ALCS was proud to join in the celebrations marking 70 years of Dutch and Flemish Studies at Sheffield. What started modestly in 1948 as an option for students of German has grown into one of the largest Dutch Sections in terms of student numbers in the Anglophone world. Professor Emeritus Michael Perraudin, himself a former teacher of Dutch language and literature, entertained our guests with the history of how Dutch came to be studied at the university, offering anecdotes about current staff and former students during a festive dinner.

Another highlight was the performance of The Farce of the Fisherman, a 16th century short play by Flemish playwright Cornelis Everaert, performed by Sheffield English and Drama students.

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Sobering report

An important part of the ALCS Conference was taken up by the discussion of the comprehensive report The State of Dutch Studies in the UK. This is the third ‘state of’ report, which gives us the opportunity to compare today’s situation with where we were in 2006, the date of the previous report.

The sobering conclusions of the report – Dutch Studies as an academic discipline is in decline, Dutch as an Institution Wide Language is standing its ground – has prompted the committee to invite a representative of the IWLP Dutch to join the committee, Ms Claire Wengen (Edinburgh).

We have now shared the report widely with relevant organisations including the UCML and Flemish and Dutch representation in the UK. The report was also presented and discussed with the Taalunie and other policymakers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

 

Executive Committee 2018-2019

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The ALCS Executive Committee wants to reflect all the disciplines represented in the Association. At the moment it consists of linguists, historians, literary scholars, art historians and a librarian/information expert. Dr Anna Geurts (Sheffield, Nottingham) is the ALCS administrator.

During the Biennial General Meeting at University of Sheffield on 30 June 2018 the following members were elected and co-opted to the Executive Committee:

  • Dr Henriette Louwerse – Chair (Sheffield)
  • Dr Jenny Watson – Honorary Teasurer (Sheffield, Edinburgh)
  • Dr Carol Fehringer – Secretary (Newcastle)
  • Dr Hans Demeyer (UCL)
  • Marja Kingma (British Library)
  • Dr Nicholas Piercey – Member for Area Studies (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • Adam Sammut – Postgraduate member (York)
  • Christine Sas (UCL)
  • Claire van Wengen – Member for IWLP Dutch (Edinburgh)
  • Vacant: Member for Ireland

Chair’s Report 2016-2018

Travel and Practical Information


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12th Biennial Conference of the ALCS, 2018

28 – 30 June, University of Sheffield


We are looking forward to welcoming you to Sheffield. Here is some practical information.

For all questions or queries: ALCS@sheffield.ac.uk

ALCS Programme 2018

Travel Information as PDF (with maps


Overview Venues

Workshop for Tutors
Jessop West, Room G.03
Registration and Opening
Firth Court, Council Room
Festive Conference Dinner Weston Park Museum
Conference Hotel  Jonas Hotel, Endcliffe Village
Friday Conference The Edge Conference Centre
Friday Evening Play DINA, 32 Cambridge Street
Saturday Programme The Edge Conference Centre

Getting to Sheffield

The University of Sheffield website contains information on a range of ways of getting to the university from anywhere in the world, including local maps: www.sheffield.ac.uk/visitors/mapsandtravel.


 Jonas Hotel & conference venue The Edge (Friday & Saturday)


imageposterwebJonas Hotel & The Edge
Endcliffe Village
Endcliffe Crescent
Sheffield S10 3ER
+44 114 222 8816
hello@jonashotel.co.uk

Hotel practical info:

  • Check-in from 3pm. Check-out before 11am. Luggage storage available.
  • Tel. porter for those arriving after 11pm: +44 114 222 8810.
  • A very small breakfast is included (Coffee/tea and danish).
  • The Edge, the centre where the conference takes place on Friday and Saturday, is on the same site as the hotel. 3-5 minutes walk and clearly signposted.

Dutch Tutors Workshop (Jessop West) and Opening Conference (Firth Court) 


From Sheffield Railway Station, the easiest ways on Thursday to reach Jessop West (room G.03) for the Tutors Workshop, Firth Court for the conference opening (Council Room) , or Weston Park Museum for the dinner, are:

  • On foot: 30 min.
  • By tram: stop at the back of the railway station, YELLOW and BLUE routes to University of Sheffield stop. Tickets available from the conductor.

Friday Evening


fishermanposterNo dinner has been arranged for Friday before the evening event The Farce of the Fisherman

Near the Endcliffe campus, many nice places are to be found on Sharrow Vale Road and Ecclesall Road: 10 min. walking from the Endcliffe campus, in the direction of Neill Road and Newington Road bus stops (which helps you on your way to DINA: see Travel Information).

Near DINA itself, the city centre itself also offers plenty to eat.

DINA

32 Cambridge Street
(near to the John Lewis department store)

  • On foot: 40 min.
  • By bus: 30 min. inc. walking (exc. waiting):
    • bus 6/271 from Newington Road stop to Moorhead stop
    • bus 81/82 from Neill Road stop to Charles Street stop
    • bus 88 from Neill Road stop to Moorhead Eyre Street stop
    • bus 120 from Endcliffe Vale Road or Shore Lane stop to City Hall stop

Staying in Sheffield a little longer?

The city’s tourism information website lists a great many things to see and do:

www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/visit/things-to-see-and-do

Sheffield is known for its street art, vibrant pop scene, and its many local breweries.

The Jonas Hotel is close to the Botanical Gardens and Endcliffe Park, from where a walk along the Porter Brook takes you straight into the Peak District, a national park.

Sheffield’s industrial heritage is also visible in many places, both in Sheffield’s museums and in the open air, for instance at the grinding workshops which can be seen in operation at Shepherd Wheel, along the Porter Brook.

Or sample some Netherlandic art at the Graves Art Gallery!

While we are in Sheffield, the city also hosts a virtual-reality exploration into the life experience of by Dutch multi-disciplinary artist, Marcel Schreur: Life is Beautiful Always (28 June – 1 July, Grace Unit, Fitzalan Square, near the High Street).