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Read, Watch and Listen

Leah Broad, University of Oxford

Leah Broad’s research is on Nordic modernism, exploring the music written for the theatre at the turn of the 20th century, taking her to Finland and Scandinavia to search out scores which have not been heard since the early 1900s. As a journalist Leah won the Observer/Anthony Burgess Prize for Arts Journalism in 2015. She is the founder of The Oxford Culture Review, a website communicating arts and humanities research and arts reviews.

Louisa Uchum Egbunike, Manchester Metropolitan

Louisa Uchum Egbunike’s research centres on African literature in which she specialises in Igbo (Nigerian) fiction and culture. Her latest work explores the child’s voice in contemporary fiction on Biafra. She co-convenes an annual Igbo conference at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) and delivers a workshop, ‘Rewriting Africa’ in secondary schools across London. She is curating a ‘Remembering Biafra’ exhibition to open in 2018.

Sarah Jackson, Nottingham Trent University

Sarah Jackson’s current research explores the relationship between the telephone and literature from the work of Arthur Conan Doyle to that of Haruki Murakami and why Sigmund Freud detested the telephone. The project involves research at the BT Archives which hold the public records of the world’s oldest communications company. She is also a poet whose collection Pelt won the prestigious Seamus Heaney Prize in 2012. She reads her poetry and fiction across the UK and USA.

Sean Williams, University of Sheffield

Sean Williams is currently writing a cultural history of the hairdresser from the 18th century to the present day exploring their role as ‘outsiders’ in society. As a lecturer at the University of Berne in Switzerland he taught German and Comparative Literature and wrote articles on flatulence in the 18th century and contemporary satires of Hitler.

Seb Falk, University of Cambridge

Seb Falk is a medieval historian and historian of science whose research centres on the scientific instruments made and used by monks, scholars and nobles in the later Middle Ages. His research has led him to make wood and brass models of the instruments he studies including the ‘equatorium’ and what it tells us about early scientific instruments. His new project will be an investigation of the sciences practised by medieval monks and nuns.

Mrs Everywoman's "Passport to Freedom"

Fanfare campaign announcing validation for the American brand ‘C-Quens 21’ in British trials. The modern British wife might now expect “freedom to plan her family as she chooses” but also “a very low incidence of depression and loss of libido”. 1969. Physician's circulars / Eli Lilly & Company, 'C-Quens'. With the kind cooperation of Eli Lilly. Courtesy of Julia Larden, and the Wellcome Library, London. Photography by J Borge 2014 CC BY 4.0

The Home Front 1

TASS Window 1115: 'A Sacred Duty', 22 December 1944. The leading Window for the Home Front theme on the website, this poster proclaims its message in the title.  The cavalry's ‘sacred duty’  is not so much a religious mission as an obligation to liberate fellow Russians and the common homeland. The poster combines traditional military equine painting with an all but cartoon approach to the rescued citizens, bottom right.

The Home Front 2

TASS Window 1039 'Fruit and Veg to the Front', 29 August 1944. This near idyllic scene was meant to encourage food production for the front line. It urges Russians at home to send their best produce for the 'soldier -heroes'. The image is sugary, backed up by the choice of  pastel colours, and reminiscent of 1930s painting in the name of socialist realism. It also implies the tough role taken on by women in the war effort. The orderly fields in the background reassuringly suggest that all is well on the collective farms despite the war devastation elsewhere.

The Home Front 3

TASS Window 1197, 'The Carpathian Mountains', 29 April 1945. Using the skills of landscape painting, this poster draws in the spectator to follow the heroic trek of the Red Army across the Carpathian Mountains in the winter of 1944-45. Their task was to confront the enemy forces by whatever means and continue to drive them out of Russia. The Carpathians may provide a barrier but nothing was insuperable to the Red Army. The verse recalls that Suvorov, a  famous general  under Catherine the Great and her son Paul, had not been daunted either by this epic crossing. As a barrier, the mountains also protect, and they remind Russian spectators of the beauty of their homeland.

The Home Front 4

TASS Window 934, 'Sister-Nurse', 12 March 1944. Among the most obviously religious images in the Windows, this poster brings to the onlooker the tender compassion of an icon of Mary and her son as she receives him from the cross ( a piéta). The  grey-blue colours  reflect the war content  but do not deny the religious source entirely, while the words speak of her blue eyes. This window celebrates another role of women in the war. They were not able to fight in the front line but provided many of the back-up services, particularly to the wounded. Russian losses in WWII ran into millions.