Sonia Lambert: “We’ve had a map of London swimming pools, break-ups in London pubs, and all sorts of weird and wonderful angles on the areas where people live and work”.

Writing the City is a Goldsmiths short course that encourages students to learn about London while enhancing their creative writing skills. Maya Simkin interviewed the course leader, Sonia Lambert, to learn more about the course.

As part of the course, students create poetry from materials found in London. Can you describe this process and how it further connects students to the city while also developing their creative writing skills?

For the “found poetry” exercise we use free London newspapers like the Evening Standard and the Metro. The students make “cut-up” poems from headlines and text, inspired by artists and writers like William Burroughs and David Bowie. It’s weirdly therapeutic and we often get some amazing, surreal, and subversive work. It can be quite political – one student described hers as “Communist Party Propaganda!” – but there are also strange and resonant individual stories if you dig down into the small print. The randomness means you find things you weren’t looking for – but surprising meanings jump out of the juxtapositions. We use images as well and they look great, like mad blackmail notes.

I especially enjoy the session where students draw their own mental maps of one aspect of London. We’ve had a map of London swimming pools, break-ups in London pubs, and all sorts of weird and wonderful angles on the areas where people live and work. Everyone sees the city differently, and it’s teeming with our personal stories and histories.

How has writing about London in the class or otherwise changed over time? Have you noticed any shifts in recent years?

London writing is always changing. We’ve had some interesting Brexit stories over the past few years. I taught the class in the pouring rain on the night of the referendum, when everyone was in shock, thinking about what this might mean for their families and colleagues. Then during the last session, we all looked at our phones in the break to see how the big votes in Parliament had gone – it felt as if fact was outdoing anything we could invent. Listening to people processing these experiences through fiction and narrative non-fiction is an incredible process.

What drew you to developing this course? How do you see it changing over time?

I love the way we have life-long Londoners remembering the city as it used to be, alongside recent arrivals, bringing their own hopes and fears from home. I really enjoy meeting Londoners in so many different jobs – health workers, social workers and teachers often have amazing stories to share. I also enjoy the way that by being intensely local in London you usually end up being intensely international as well.

To find out more about the Writing the City short course, please visit the course page on the Goldsmiths website. To see what other short courses are available, please visit the Short Course page.

7 things to do around Goldsmiths that won’t break the bank!

Whether you’re into sports, fitness, cinema, or anything in between, South East London will have some to peak your interest. Our student marketing intern writes about some budget-friendly activities available in New Cross, Greenwich, Peckham, and beyond!

Club Pulse

Club Pulse is Goldsmiths’ very own Gym, open to students, staff and the public. It is home to a full fitness suite, and offers a variety of fitness and relaxation classes to try, like Power Yoga, Group Cycling and Abs Attack, and Boxercise. Students can either sign up to a monthly student membership for £21 or buy a prepaid membership and get 12 months for £189 (which works out to £15.75 per month.) Visit the Club Pulse website.

PicClub pulse

Ballie Ballerson

This ball-pit cocktail-bar boasts more than a million balls. Their Basic Baller tickets start at £7.50, giving you access to two ball pits, and all-night bar access. They host a student night one Monday a month, featuring a discounted drinks menu – tickets start from £2. Head over to their website for dates, prices, and more information. Visit the Baille Ballerson website.Read More »

London Transport Starter Pack

There are lots of ways of getting around London, and getting to and from campus, but the transport you use will largely depend on where you’re going, how late it is, and how long a trip you’re willing to put up with. Our Student Marketing intern gives you the low-down on all the different ways of getting around London.

A London bus

Transport for London 18+ Student Oyster Photocard

If you are a full-time Goldsmiths student, the university will approve your application for an 18+ Student Oyster. This will allow you to save 30% on adult-rate Travelcards, as well as bus and tram pass season tickets. If you frequently travel into university by train, an 18+ Oyster may save you a decent bit of cash in the long run– the registration fee is only £25! For more information visit the TFL website.Read More »

Working as a Student Ambassador at Goldsmiths

A fun way to earn while you study is the Student Ambassador program at Goldsmiths. Popular Music student James Williams caught up with some friends who have just finished their first year on the program to discuss their experiences, and answer some frequently asked questions about working as an ambassador.

What kind of work do you do?
James: I mainly work on Music Applicant Days, which involves giving campus tours and directing people around the department to their interviews. I also write articles for the Goldsmiths Student Blog aimed at prospective students.

Do you enjoy being a student ambassador?
Matthew: My first ever shift was making a video for Goldsmiths’ social media, which was great fun – having fun while getting paid is something I’m not used to!

Kieran: I presented a video exploring three markets near campus for Fresher’s Week, which was probably my favourite, but I enjoy doing campus tours too; you end up learning from those on the tour as much as you’re teaching them.Read More »

Working while you study: what to expect

Working a part-time job while in University is an interesting prospect to a lot of students, but balancing a job with coursework, classes, and a social life can be challenging. Sofia Wickerhauser spoke to three Goldsmiths students about finding a job, and balancing work with student life.

The most common way of finding work is by searching on one of the many job-search websites like Monster, Indeed, or Totaljobs. Rebecca Steve Masker found her job as a retail and admissions assistant at the Imperial War Museum through Arts Jobs.

“I work 15 hours a week, Saturday and Sunday. I really enjoy working at the museum – I majorly rate retail over catering or bar work. It’s a very interesting place to work, and I get paid the London Living Wage. However, it is not a job I imagine I will stay in after graduation.”

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