Summer is around the corner and the Spanish Section is currently wrapping up the academic year. It has been a year full of activities, hard work and recognition. Although we are very sad to have to say goodbye to our Class of 2016, we are extremely proud of them. They have put up a great effort and all of us –the lecturers– have had the chance to read outstanding pieces of research. It has been an honour to have them around and to have been part of their education. Good luck with everything the future may bring you, and hope you keep in touch. ¡¡¡HASTA MUY PRONTO!!!
We have also had to say “adiós” to five wonderful colleagues: Maritza Carrasco-Marchessi, Manuel Mayoral-Durán, Patricia Moro, Daniel Mourenza-Urbina, and Aurelio Ramos. Their superb teaching skills, their collegiality, and their professionalism will be greatly missed. ¡GRACIAS POR TODO Y MUCHA SUERTE!
Aurelio Ramos Caballero joined Aston in 2007 as Teaching Associate. He has been a key member of the Spanish team, teaching a broad range of modules. Aurelio’s teaching was always praised by students and colleagues, and his ability to engage students with learning Spanish highly recognised. ¡WE WILL MISS YOU, COMPAÑERO!
Last September 2015, the Spanish Section welcomed a new member of staff, Dr Pablo Calderón-Martínez. Pablo’s expertise in contemporary Latin American, Spanish politics, economy and social issues has made possible to incorporate a wide-range of key topics to our modules. We are very pleased to have him on board! Pablo is currently in the United States taking part in the Brown International Advanced Research Institute Conference at Brown University 4-18 June 2016 funded by Santander.
Due to his extensive research on current Spanish politics, Pablo was interviewed by the BBC and also organised a lunch-time discussion on the Spanish general elections (20th December), sharing his ideas about the new left-wing alternative, Podemos.
All in Spanish at Aston have been very active organising cultural and academic events.
Back in October 2015, we had the pleasure of welcoming two great Spanish writers: Kirmen Uribe and Jesús Carrasco. Kirmen Uribe talked about his experience as a writer in the Basque language, as a translator of some of his own work into Spanish, and also his books have been translated into a number of languages. He defines himself as “a poet of wide concerns, politically engaged, with an inclusive, humanist awareness and a direct, distinctive voice”. Jesús Carrasco explained what motivates him as a writer and gave us some hints about the novel he has recently published and Raquel Fernández-Sánchez is already reading (impatiently awaiting her review).
On April 14-16 2016 the First Biennial Conference Spanish Cinema: Gender and Ageing Studies was held at Aston University. Co-organised by Dr Raquel Medina (Aston), Dr Olga Castro (Aston), and Professor Barbara Zecchi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), this conference gathered academics from around the world, as well as the scriptwriter Alicia Luna, the actress Elvira Minguez, the filmmaker Carla Subirana, and the scriptwriter and president of CIMA Virginia Yagüe. Core issues such as gender discrimination (sexism) and age discrimination (ageism) in Spanish cinema were explored and discussed.
May brought us the visit of the award-winning Spanish writer and social activist Belén Gopegui. Belén Gopegui discussed her notion of literature as social activism.
According to her, “most of my novels are about commonalities between the individual and the group. They try to counteract a widespread attitude in Spanish literature that consists in ‘defending politics while denigrating activism.’ People who are active, not only in political parties but also in groups or joint projects, place politics in a more important space than simply voting every four years.”
Undoubtedly this has been a great year for Spanish at Aston with regards to professional and teaching recognition. Daniel, Manuel, Olga and Stéphanie were all nominated to the Astonishing Aston Awards, and Dr Stéphanie Panichelli-Batalla was the winner of the Most Inspirational Academic Award in LSS. CONGRATULATIONS!
Dr Raquel Medina was the winner of the LSS Staff Poster Competition marking the 50th anniversary of Aston. CONGRATULATIONS!
Finally, the end of the academic year brought to our colleague Dr Raquel Fernández- Sánchez a well-deserved award, Aston Achievement Award for Learning and Teaching.
We wish you all have a great summer… But above all, we wish our colleague Olga Castro a speedy recovery.
ENJOY THE SUMMER!!!