ALCS Research Grant: Anna Geurts

The ALCS sponsored Dr Anna P.H. Geurts’ research visit to The Hague in August 2017. Anna Geurts reports.

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Page from a local illustrated notebook from the Harz, used by a Dutch visitor in the summer of 1869.

‘My ALCS grant allowed me to travel to the Netherlands in order to examine primary as well as secondary literature for my project on the history of Dutch travel in the nineteenth century. I have examined a range of secondary literature on the history of transport technology in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in The Hague, and copied several published pieces of travel writing, such as Henrica Françoise Rees van Tets’s book Voyage d’une hollandaise en France en 1819 – written in French by a well-travelled lady from a Dutch family of politicians, painters and art dealers; and the quite different account of Johannes van Oostendorp who was drafted as a soldier to help suppress the Belgian Revolution of 1830.

I also visited the Dutch National Archives to photograph manuscript travelogues from across the nineteenth century, ranging from an aristocratic boy visiting his father at work in the southern Netherlands, to journeys to Switzerland, Italy, Germany and France, including even one cycle trip, made at a time when bikes were rare even in the Netherlands.

I will use these sources in my book on Dutch travellers’ interactions with space and place, as well as an article about the changing experience of distance and an article about the significance of gender in nineteenth-century travel.

I am also looking for a publisher to print a set of four particularly fascinating manuscript accounts, which I have discovered.

I would like to thank the members of the ALCS for their generous support, and am looking forward to the moment when I can present my findings – in English as well as Dutch!

‘A Source of Great Pleasure’

The ALCS are conducting an investigation in ‘the state of’ Dutch language and culture studies in the UK. The full report will follow soon, but ahead of the hard facts and naked truths, we want to share some stories of colleagues we have uncovered in the process. First up is Claire van Wengen. She is tutor of Dutch with the College of Open Learning (COL) at Edinburg University.

“I have had the good fortune of growing up and going to school in the Netherlands (Oegstgeest) and studying in London. I am bilingual with Dutch and English. I have lived in Edinburgh for almost 30 years now. I trained as a French teacher (Durham University) and I hold an MSc in Language Teaching from Edinburgh University (2013).

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Clarie van Wengen (back row, second left) with COL students of Dutch

About fifteen years ago I discovered that my true calling and passion lay in teaching Dutch so that is what I do now. I started teaching one evening class at the University of Edinburgh in 2002 and have managed to expand the small department from the original two classes (at that time there was another Dutch teacher) to four classes. From October 2017 instead of having two Beginners’ classes and a Dutch 2 and Dutch 3 we will have one Beginners’ class and also a Dutch 4 class.

The students are all incredibly enthusiastic and I was delighted to be nominated for the Best Overall Teacher Award by a number of my students. They said lovely things such as ‘Claire has fostered a genuine community around her Dutch language lessons’ and ‘Claire is extremely knowledgeable with endless patience for her students. Lessons are varied and always appropriately adapted to the needs of the class and the individual students’.

Every year I give a party for all my Dutch students and their partners and children. It is always tremendous fun and it’s wonderful to see all my students (both children and adults) connecting with each other and laughing and talking. Quite often long lasting friendships are formed which is a source of great pleasure.”

Dutch courses offered by Centre for Open Learning, University of Edinburgh

10th ALCS Student Days 2017: An Impression

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On 23 and 24 March 2017 over seventy students and staff from Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and UCL flocked to London for the 10th edition of the ALCS Student Days.

Christine Sas (UCL) put together an informative, inspiring and fun programme for all students of Dutch in the UK and Ireland. Both mood and content of this edition of the Student Days underlined that Dutch Studies is an exciting study option and that our students become part of a community that offers plenty of (career) opportunities.

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The two-day event kicked off with a workshop subtitling. Prior to the Student Days, all participants from Beginner to Advanced levels were asked to pick their favourite Flemish or Dutch short film. Cinema Bioscoop and UCL’s Centre for Translation Studies first presented the basics of screen translation and then the students were invited to get stuck in.  In small groups they tackled no less than nine short films: eight were given English subtitles, one was translated into Dutch.
The subtitling was not just practice but the real thing:  the newly subtitled short films were shown to the students and the general public in the trendy RADA Studios that very evening. How fabulous to see the students applying their Dutch linguistic and cultural knowledge to unlock the work of young Dutch and Flemish filmmakers for an international audience.


Stand out

studentsalcs1On the Friday morning our Careers Panel of alumni agreed: they had not anticipated  that choosing to study Dutch would prove so crucial to their career path. From the freelance translators –Tom Warne, Mark Potter, Scott Emblen-Jarrett – to Debbie Iles (Staffing and Recruitment for Benelux), Aimée Hardy (London Regional manager Anne Frank Trust), Lauren Harris (spokesperson and Senior Communications Advisor Dutch Embassy) and Christina Barningham (Foreign and Common Wealth Office, Brussels), they all confirmed that having Dutch on their CV made them stand out when applying for jobs.  Their tips for the students in a nutshell: be bold; be aware how special your language and cultural skills are; and don’t miss out on networking opportunities.

The final slot was for NOS correspondent Tim de Wit. Before shooting off to put together an item for the Dutch main evening news, De Wit shared his experience of his first two years as a correspondent in the UK and Ireland. His anecdotes struck a cord with anybody who works in UK-VL/NL circles, but there was a serious message too: he stressed the importance of ethical journalism, of the continued necessity to tell the full story of the UK to a Dutch audience, in particular in the light of Brexit.

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Thank you and sponsorscentras

The ALCS expresses their gratitude first and foremost to UCL and Christine Sas for organising such a top event, to UCL for their hospitality, Cinema Bioscoop and Centre of Translation Studies at UCL for their inspiring workshop.

We could not showcase the wealth and opportunities of Dutch and Flemish Studies without the support of The Netherlands Embassy and Flanders House and of course, as always, the Dutch Language Union.


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Call for Researcher Low Countries Studies Survey

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It is good practice for any association to look periodically at their aims and objectives and to check if they are still getting things right. The last time the ALCS measured and mapped the field of Dutch Studies in the UK and Ireland was in 2006. 

More than ten years on, the Executive Committee feels that it is time for another ‘state of the field’. This time, in addition to mapping the teaching and academic research in all areas of Low Countries Studies (including the Dutch language and all aspects of Dutch and Flemish culture), we want to canvas the views of our members: is the ALCS doing the right things to fulfil our aims?

To carry out the research the Association for Low Countries Studies is looking for an enthusiastic (student) researcher to undertake this survey of the state of Low Countries Studies in Great Britain and Ireland.

If you think you are the right person to take on this research task, please send an expression of interest containing a brief outline of your research approach and timeline with a short CV to ALCS@sheffield.ac.uk

Deadline 8 February 2017

Call: Researcher Low Countries Studies Survey

 

ALCS Research Grant: Chris Joby visits Asian Library Leiden

leiden_asia_centre_yearThe ALCS sponsored Dr Chris Joby’s  research  visit to Leiden in January 2017. Joby reports.

‘I am very grateful to the ALCS for supporting this research visit. It allowed me to access many resources held at Leiden University Library, which I would otherwise not be able to access. One project that I am currently undertaking is to write a history of the Dutch language in Tokugawa Japan (c. 1603-1868). The East Asia library at Leiden houses editions of primary sources, such as the Deshima Daghregisters, and many secondary sources, which I was able to consult for this project. Another project that I am undertaking concerns a collection of correspondence written in Norwich in the late 1560s. The letters in the collection were written by immigrants from Ieper and elsewhere in the Westhoek. The visit to Leiden University library allowed me to consult specialist material on sixteenth-century Flemish, which I can now include in an article on this subject. I was also able to meet with other academics involved in East Asia studies with whom I could discuss my project and exchange ideas.

A research visit such as this also allows me to keep my Dutch current and identify useful material for my courses on Dutch language, literature and cultural history at Hankuk University.’

For more information on ALCS grant opportunitiesm check our Research Grants page.