Julia Bongiorno and Nicolas Locks
Both feared and longed-for by the Master students, the LERMAsteriales are study days organized by the students themselves, with an audience comprising academics and fellow students. This year’s guiding theme for the 6th edition of the event was ‘Rémanences’, which could be translated, remanence or retentivity. It goes without saying that the topic in itself was not an easy task to deal with. However, due to the numerous interpretations of the term, the papers were varied and truly interesting.
For instance, Celia Bourcy’s paper was entitled ‘Vestiges d’influences linguistiques et historiques dans les langues artistiques’. During this presentation, Celia talked about how Tolkien used different languages and historical events to create new languages, featured for example in The Lord of The Rings. Emmanuelle Bontemps’ was based on a civilization topic entitled ‘Rémanences de la vision impérialiste sur la représentation de l’Afrique contemporaine’: this added a historical aspect to the term ‘rémanence’. Later during the day, Simon Pasquini spoke about ‘La voyelle STRUT dans le système chanté et les accents du nord des Île britanniques : témoin d’un accent rémanent?’: how people tend to change the way they pronounce vowels when they sing. Within the last panel, Miriam Haddjeri talked about ‘Les rémanences au service de la cause abolitionniste dans Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl d’Harriet Jacobs’, the subject of her paper being slavery.
The speakers were grouped by panels formed by associating their research content under a sub-theme. The panels were arranged in such a way that all the disciplines—literature, history, phonology, translation and linguistics—were merged to illustrate the complexity of the theme ‘Rémanence’, which proved to be an interdisciplinary concept. Thus, the whole range of English studies was represented, and it offered us the opportunity of discovering research in other disciplines.
As you may have guessed, thorough rehearsals were in order before the big event, alone at home or in group sessions. Not only were our papers grouped within a panel but also within the whole conference, which means that they had to be in accordance with those of our fellow students.
A particularly interesting task was the selection of the conference image that went on publicity material. Since we participated in all aspects of the conference, with the help of Mrs Page and the doctoral students, some students volunteered to create posters of their own. They were quite well done all in all and a vote decided which one was to be selected.
The LERMAsteriales was a great opportunity for us. Indeed, it allowed us to organize a workshop and to go from attendees to participants.
Looking back on this experience, we were reminded how important it is to collaborate with colleagues, learning from and supporting each other in order to play a part in academic work.