My name’s Helen and I’m pleased to announce that I’m the new FWSA Treasurer! It’s an absolute honour to be offered this position – in fact, when I found out that I’d been successful in my application, I instantly high-fived the person standing closest to me. Sorry about that.
So, a little bit about me. I’ve just started my third-year studying part-time at Swansea University. My research is studying Japanese influences in Angela Carter’s work (yep, I’m a Carter-ite!), with particular reference to her time spent there in the early 1970s. I’m particularly interested in looking at Carter’s archival material that is available in the British library – looking at her old journals, notebooks, and drafts of her stories really adds to the thrill of my research. Studying these books makes it clear that Carter was very much influenced by Japanese cultural and literary tropes: from theatre, to cinema, to literary icons, Japan permeates her work of fiction.
I also teach on the undergraduate module ‘Approaches to Gender in English Literature’ at Swansea. I’ve just recently started teaching and I love it. When students respond to you, share really original ideas, and even make you see a text in a completely different light, it makes all the hours of preparation and admin work worth it. I’ve even started having emails through from quite a few of my students, thanking me for the work that I’ve done, and for the help that I’m giving them. And, although I may not necessarily appreciate the fact that said emails come through on my phone at 2am in the morning (I forgot that students are basically nocturnal), it is rather lovely to see that hard work pays off.
For fun (and for money), I work part-time at Swansea Central Library. This basically means that I’m really good at performing a Google search. Sometimes it can be a bit strange ‘switching gears’ between working at a university and working at a library. One day I can be taking a seminar on Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex; a few days later I can be supervising twenty children on how to make snakes out of a load of netting and crepe paper (I can be quite creative when I want to be).
Prior to working at the library, I spent two and a half years in the finance industry, putting me in a fairly unique position for an English Literature Ph.D. student. I’m comfortable with transferring large sums of money, I can identify and rectify cash banking errors, and I know pretty much everything about banking security. It is this knowledge that will really contribute to the role of the FWSA Treasurer. I can budget, plan, and am confident when analysing facts and figures.
Having followed the work of the FWSA for the last two years, I find it to be resourceful and educational, offering a diverse range of information that highlights contemporary issues relevant to feminism. Having developed an affiliation with the FWSA through a variety of means (for example, through social networking and applying for funding), I have found all the team members to be extremely friendly and approachable, creating an informal working atmosphere that I can be proud to be a part of.