French Studies at Warwick is one of the UK's leading centres for interdisciplinary work in traditional and emerging fields of scholarship in French and francophone studies. Our research has achieved an enormous impact on public understanding and awareness of the cultural richness of one of the UK's most historic allies, rivals, and closest neighbours.
Our research has enhanced cultural insight and appreciation. It has led to improvements in archival methodology and practice by extending online access to more expertly edited and reliable Old French and Occitan texts. It has informed learning under the national curriculum for primary and secondary school pupils within our local area (the West Midlands and Warwickshire) and more widely across the UK. It has stimulated interest in the acquisition of foreign languages and greater historical and cultural understanding among students of all ages and the general public. Programmes such as our Warwick Young Student Researchers events on the French Revolution have inspired curiosity-driven learning in primary and secondary schools.
Our research has allowed us to explore the UK's strong international heritage and to bring new perspectives to historical and contemporary events through public talks, popular exhibitions, outreach activities, and media work, while also making a significant contribution to the UK economy through the tourist industry and enriching the cultural life and learning of the public of all ages, from school children to adults.
This project explores different secular responses to the Crusades through songs of the Occitan troubadours and Old French trouvères. Students at the University will be using these texts to give a public concert in Spring 2014. In March there will be a workshop on the crusades open to the public, and in 2015 an online poetry competition on the idea of Crusade.
Associate Professor and Reader
Innovative research by Kate Astbury uses modern trauma theory to understand how writers and artists at the time responded to the traumatic events they were experiencing. Contemporary images are often more accessible to primary school pupils than complex written texts, and offer an exciting and stimulating way of finding out about the French Revolution and understanding what it represented. The prints also provide secondary-school and University students with a fresh and vivid perspective on this crucial phase in French and European history and culture.
Marat image credit: Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust), Photo: Imaging Services Bodleian Library © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.
Dr Katherine Astbury
Associate Professor and Reader
Improving learning on the national curriculum
By presenting new subject areas and showing primary and secondary school students how to conduct their own research
Informing the heritage industry
By improving the knowledge of staff and enhancing the visitor experience through research-informed exhibitions
Increasing access to cultural artefacts
By digitising important historical documents together with reliable modern translations to make them more easily accessible to a wider audience
Podcasts and videos
This series of five videos explores a collection of 400 printed images from the French Revolution assembled by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the nineteenth century and housed at Waddesdon Manor, the seat of the Rothschild family in Britain and a National Trust historic property in North Oxfordshire.
The ACCESS students were totally intrigued by the prints. They were fascinated by the degree of humour displayed along with the way in which the artists / engravers were given licence to criticise the ruling elite.
— ACCESS History Course Leader
North Warwickshire College, 2013