Catching up

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Much has been happening with Strandlines! Except keeping up with the blog. I take it up now in part because I’m giving a talk about blogs next month, at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing; whoops, how embarrassing to have let Strandlines blog slip.

In part too the blog has taken a back seat because front of house doesn’t show behind the scenes. That’s been intense: all of last year I was on the hunt for funding, including putting many many hours into a big AHRC consortium bid for money under their Connected Community programme. At the very end of a long and deep process, we didn’t get funding, though – o irony – the final letter said Strandlines, like the other core projects in the bid, was a very worthy project and deserved funding.

Meanwhile thanks to the Annual Fund at King’s we have been able to put on a lecture series: many thanks to wonderful speakers and wonderful audiences for making them a success! One last event, Strand Lives Day on 8 May, will celebrate a mix of fascinating lives with Strand connections. Originally I titled the day ‘Luminous & Lesser Lives’, but on reflection I thought, no life is lesser so let’s ditch that bit. From medieval peasants to Cold War spies, the day promises fascinating stories and much illumination! All welcome.

Strandlines continues to explore arts on the Strand – and to create them! One of the pleasures of the Strandlines community is your imaginativeness: posts appear that contribute delightful ways of seeing, literally and figuratively, life through Strand eyes. We are also immensely lucky to have the Cabinet of Artists, who are brilliantly creating original work, thanks to a grant from LCACE, the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange. New poems! A fairy tale! A board game! Photographs catching tiny forms of life! A genealogical tale joining archives to ironworks! New songs! These will all be aired on 8 May, so do join us.

There’ll be music too, thanks to Jane Chapman who is musician in residence at the Special Collections part of the Maugham Library at King’s. Jane has found some beautiful pieces, a Winter Album, printed on the Strand in the eighteenth century. She’ll play them on a harpsichord, accompanied by Yu-Wie Hu on the flute. (Harpsichords, I learn, go out of tune quickly – with early morning adjustment we hope all will be tuneful for Jane when she plays mid-morning.)

May also sees oral history activity, as Graham Smith, chair of the Oral History Society, comes to train students in interview techniques. If you’d like to be interviewed about Strand life, do get in touch.

There’s also some forward planning going on for next year – both ideas and finding funding for them. Not easy in these stringent times…

Thanks for reading this. If you have any suggestions for the Blog, gratefully received!

Clare Brant

Clare Brant

Clare is co-Director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research, and Professor of Eighteenth-century Literature & Culture in the English Department at King’s College London.

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