Reflections on Welcome Week 2017

A treasure hunt for about 150 people, dead pigeons and over 200 brand new students… Welcome Week 2017 was eventful to say the least. Here are my reflections on Welcome, for the first time through a staff member’s eyes rather than a student’s.

For those of you who have not met me yet, I am the new Student Engagement Intern in the LiFTS Department. I am also a LiFTS alumna, as I graduated with my BA in English Literature this summer. I started in the beginning of September, and my first month in the department has been all about Welcome Week. More than a month of hard work from everyone in the department’s admin team culminated in our Departmental Induction Day on Tuesday 3 October.

We started the day in LTB6, where undergraduate and postgraduate students alike were welcomed by the admin team and 9 of our friendly peer mentors. Each student was provided with a name tag and a welcome pack, and by the time our Head of Department, Liz Kuti, started speaking, over 200 brand new students were seated in the lecture theatre. Liz Kuti welcomed the students to the department, and then it was my turn to take the stage. I was a bit nervous to be speaking in front of all the new students, but it all went fairly smoothly, except for some fiddling with the microphone.

Peer Mentors

Peer mentors Ela, Phoebe, Julija and Chelsea, as well as me, welcoming the new students.

After the initial talk, we did our best to shepherd all the students along to the Tony Rich Teaching Centre. Here, the students were guided to rooms were they met their personal tutors. After a friendly chat, and in some cases a walk, with their tutors, the undergraduate students were gathered for the start of our treasure hunt. We had 12 large teams running (or walking quite leisurely, depending on their competitiveness) around campus solving clues and answering questions. In the end, Team 7 was crowned the winning team. There was some grumbling from Antonio in the general office about corruption, and he longingly watched the winning team eat the chocolate that should rightfully have been his (according to him).

Treasure Hunt winners

The winning treasure hunt team, led by peer mentor Julija.

After the treasure hunt the students were chatting and making friends over lunch, although some were shaken by an incident that was witnessed by several of the treasure hunt teams. The incident in question involved a pigeon flying straight into the glass wall between the two doors to the Tony Rich Teaching Centre. The pigeon lay on the ground for a while, convulsing, before it died. It was bizarre and sad to watch, but later in the day the pigeon was rightfully honoured in the team name of the quiz team “Dead Pigeons”, whose team name was Rachele’s favourite.

The quiz took place after the Head of Department address, and I might have made it a little bit tricky… I will admit the quiz was quite hard, but I still think the students had fun and enjoyed using their brain for a bit at the end of a long day. “Les Quizerables” (my favourite team name) won the quiz, but most of the new students seemed to leave the room looking pleased and chatting with their new friends.

Quiz winners

“Les Quizerables”, the winning quiz team.

At the end of the day, I and everyone else involved in the planning of our Induction Day breathed a huge sigh of relief that no major disasters had taken place. Personally, I’d been having nightmares about the induction day for the last week, but thankfully none of my nightmare scenarios came true.

I enjoyed meeting all the new students immensely, and I hope that they felt that the Induction Day was a smooth and welcoming start to their time at Essex.

Welcome to the family!


Welcome to LiFTS!


Hello and welcome to the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies! Whether you are a undergraduate or postgraduate student we hope you are looking forward to studying with us in LiFTS. Welcome Week is just around the corner and the Department and the University have arranged exciting events all week to help you settle in. Here’s what’s going on:

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LiFTS in Southend

By Ashleigh Poole.

Last week, our own Dr Liam Jarvis visited Shoeburyness High School, working with their fantastic musical theatre students and conducting a workshop. The stage was filled with smiles as they took part in practical exercises used in the rehearsal sessions for the record-breaking West End show, War Horse.

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2nd & 3rd Year Results Day!

A massive congratulations to all our second and third years for their hard work!

We are very proud of all you have achieved. You deserve it!



GIFs sourced from


We look forward to celebrating with all our third years at Graduation!




Reflections of a 3rd Year Literature Student…

By Jordan Welsh. 

I’ve wanted to write a blog entry for the LiFTs Department at Essex for some time but unfortunately reading, essays, research and life got in the way. Today I am pleased to actually have the chance to contribute something as I prepare to end my time at the University of Essex. *sobs uncontrollably*

I am amazed at how much the place has gotten under my skin. The truth is Essex feels like home. It is welcoming and accepting. They say that university is an opportunity to reinvent yourself, I say that university is the place where you can actually be yourself. Unlike school, when you come to university you’ll find that you will moan and complain but you never truly want to leave. More amazing still you actually can’t wait to return after the holidays!

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The Return to LiFTS…

                                                           Ashleigh Poole.

It took nineteen months of being a University of Essex graduate before the longing to come back stole my every second thought. Nineteen months of wishing I had stayed for the Wild Writing MA programme, nineteen months of missing the way the squares tend to vibrate with happiness as soon as the sun begins to shine, nineteen months of reminiscing over the senseless adventures taken during my three years at University of Essex and regretting the decision to stop them right there. After nineteen months, I couldn’t stay away.

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Fake News?

  By Sarah Lawrence.

I’m sorry, who will star in Strictly Come Dancing 2017?!

The lineup for the Saturday night show is always one to spark interest and to be the subject of speculation before the official unveiling. However, from a trustworthy source, a rumour concerning the participation of someone who is very close and dear to the University and most importantly, the LiFTS Department has just been confirmed. Does the name Seeger ring any bells? We can now safely assume that one of the fifteen celebrities competing for the Glitterball Trophy in 2017 is our very own Dr Sean Seeger.

Let’s hope that his fondness for James Joyce is second to his fondness for sparkles and fake tan!

The rumour started to occur when he announced a rather abrupt sabbatical from the University of Essex: why else would he leave? Now it seems that he is planning to impress tutors of a different kind (personally I hope he is partnered with Oti Mabuse). Hopefully Craig Revel Horwood will be as proud of him as we are. 

Although we are not sure whom he will be competing against yet, we know he has our vote. More is set to be revealed in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled and be vigilant!

…and don’t forget: “keep dancing!”
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The View from the General Office…

By Deanna McCarthy

When I joined the LiFTS General Office in March 2016, I was eager to see things from “behind the scenes”. When I was a Language & Literature student here at Essex, I never really gave much thought to what those in the admin offices actually do. My experience with the admin team (in both the LiFTS and the Language & Linguistics department) was often extremely brief. I would hand in or collect coursework or enquire whether my marks were back (FASer was in its infancy when I studied here from 2009-2012 and I normally received my feedback handwritten – oh how times have changed!) and then leave for my lectures or to try and grab a study space in the library.

However, it turns out (as our previous Student Engagement Intern Sam said in his post earlier this year) that it takes an awful lot to run an academic department and the General Office have a bigger role than you may think. So in case you’re interested, here’s a brief rundown of what we do all year (no Easter or summer break for us!)…

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