Sunday, 23 June 2013

Only two more days...

and then freedom! And while the prospect of the study tour and lectures being over and my real holiday beginning is obviously a very exciting one, I won't necessarily be leaving Sheffield with an overly enthusiastic heart. I have grown very fond of this city over the two weeks we've spent here. I love the people and adore their charming accents, and I've enjoyed just exploring the city on my own. I'm never brave enough in Melbourne or Sydney to just go off alone, become lost and rely on my wits to get home again. I think I have developed a superior confidence in myself and my ability to navigate a city or approach strangers over the duration of the study tour. That will prove an invaluable asset as I set off across Europe in the next few days.

As for this week, I can't do justice here to how fantastic it was to finally visit Haworth Parsonage. I have been a literature student since high school, I'm building my career upon literature, and I've been an avid fan of the literary talent and feminist image that the Bronte sisters project since I was young. To actually stand in the room where Emily Bronte wrote 'Wuthering Heights' was surreal. I've been devouring that book almost annually since I was thirteen. I actually pity the students who didn't go into the Parsonage, because they missed out on an incredibly rare opportunity. The Bronte's weren't just some trivial, passing lightweights. Enormously influential texts were written in that house by literary giants, whose shadow is still cast over much of what we read today.

Our Arts based visit to Manchester was equally exciting! Again, to stand in front of a painting (particularly those by John William Waterhouse) that I had admired only in books and on the Internet for years was a fulfilling and enriching experience. I was genuinely surprised by the quality of the collection at Manchester's gallery. I didn't expect to see so many famous artworks, and I was especially delighted by the Pre-Raphaelite wing. But of course, for a city as wealthy and powerful as Manchester once was, it is fitting that they would also strive for a rich and cultured art gallery.
'The Sirens & Ulysses' by William Etty
In preparation for my major essay, which is focussing on literary representations of the North throughout the 20th century, but with a cultivated focus on Sheffield, it has been a real boon for me to actually experience the locale. So often in literature, we are expected to accurately and insightfully write about a certain time or place that is completely alien to us. It is such a relief to have first hand knowledge of the city and its people for a change. I have seen the geography, spoken to the locals, got a sense of the atmosphere in these great, deindustrialised metropolises, so I don't feel like such an uninformed loser who is just jumping to conclusions. Hopefully, the time I have spent in the North will allow me to construct an insightful and educated image of these places in my major essay.-

- Cloe Timperley (Bachelor of Arts)


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