To Not Die of History​

Presented by Cherry Smyth (2019 S.W. Brooks Fellow in English Literature)

Date: Friday 18 October, 2019
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Location: Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37) 


How can we make remembering performative rather than reproductive, move from what Svetlana Boym calls restorative nostalgia to reflective nostalgia?  This seminar will draw on  Famished (Pindrop Press, 2019) Cherry Smyth’s book-length poem that explores the Irish Famine (1845-52) and how British imperialism helped cause mass starvation and the largest refugee crisis of the 19th century.  Inspired by the current migrant crisis, which evokes the ‘coffin ships’ that crossed the Atlantic, Famished details the impact of the Famine on women particularly and how famine followed the Union Jack.  If the Famine happened now, the Irish would be in the boats, prevented from landing on the shores of the UK.  The seminar will outline the role of dehumanisation central to all famines and the postcolonial legacy of trauma, silence and shame.  Cherry will also discuss her collaborative performance with a musician and vocalist to create the power of collective lament.

‘Because I didn’t know what a million was, I started to count.
Because I couldn’t believe the silence, I started to carry stones,
seeking somewhere to set them, make a structure, a steadying wall.’

from Famished



Cherry Smyth is Senior Lecturer in Poetry at the University of Greenwich, London and was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of East London, 2014-16. 


About Research Seminar and Workshop Series


School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

The research seminar and workshop series occur each semester, each with a different topic and guest speaker from UQ or otherwise.

Friday, 24 March

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

Fire Futures: codesigning for resilience

Dr Skye Doherty

Friday, 31 March

Hybrid: Online via Zoom and in person at the
SCA Writer's Studio
(Level 6, Michie)

From Fatigue Studies to Burnout: A Brief History of Work Exhaustion

A/Prof Elizabeth Stephens



Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37)