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Working together. Students of arts and sciences share experiences

Published: 25 April 2012
Research in our science labs

PhD student in English Briony Bennett and Speech and Language Therapist Sarah Worsfold have been sharing their experiences in the University of Southampton’s innovative Litmus Project. Students of English were paired with scientists and engineers and challenged to work together to produce some poetry or prose, as part of 2012 Multidisciplinary Research Week.

Sarah works at the University's Cochlear Implant Centre, which is part of the University's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR). She is reaching the end of her doctorate into the effectiveness of language assessments of children with hearing impairment. Sarah volunteered for the scheme as she was interested in gaining new perspectives into her work.

Briony, who is studying for a PhD on the fertility of metaphor in modernist poetry and neuroscience, enjoyed getting an insight into Sarah's work with hearing technologies: "I didn't know what to expect at first but we got together and talked for a couple of hours, then I wrote a few drafts and sent them to her. Sarah was great to work with and understood everything I was trying to say. After all, we are both trying to get answers to  pressing questions."

Sarah was fascinated by Briony's poems: "I was interested at how sparse they were and how they reflected the experience of people with hearing impairment. They often don't hear everything that's going on, have to fill in the gaps for themselves and get stressed."

Both Sarah and Briony enjoyed working together and plan to keep in touch in future.

The Litmus Project was the idea of Frances Clarke from Research and Innovation Services (R&IS). Professor Peter Middleton and Dr Will May from English led the initiative which started with a pairing of poet Robyn Bolam, Resident Royal Literary Fund Fellow in Humanities and Professor Paul Lewin from Southampton's High Voltage Laboratory.

To read the poems please click on the links to the right of this page.

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