Jen Elvy

Jen Elvy

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Research Interests

 

Abstract 

‘Criing Quiet’:

Early Modern Women’s Manuscripts and Contemporary Practice as Re-vision

 

The creative piece within this practice-as-research thesis is entitled ‘Criing Quiet’. It is a collection of artefacts commemorating loss, created as a response to three manuscripts written by early modern women: Elizabeth Isham, Hester Pulter and Anne Bradstreet. ‘Criing quiet’ are the first two words of Elizabeth Isham’s panel diary, completed in 1648, and represent a ritual of grieving in moderation, a Protestant preference in post-Reformation England and a contrast to the vociferous Catholic traditions of mourning and loss abhorred by many seventeenth-century Protestants. ‘Criing quiet’ is also a metaphor describing the act of writing as a method of silently and privately expressing loss. This project explores the restorative potential of autobiographical manuscript writing. When isolation demands solitary succour, perhaps I can learn from these women who wrote during one of the most volatile periods of British history. 

This research aims to explore commemorative manuscript writing to promote healing, performed when the loss of familiar rituals expedites the evolution of new innovative and eclectic practices. My method is to respond to the upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic through a comparative lens that looks back to the post-Reformation period. In seventeenth-century England, manuscript writing as a commemorative practice became increasingly popular when traditional Catholic ceremonies of mourning were abolished. Investigating the parallels between the improvisational rituals of post-Reformation England and Covid-19 England will illuminate contemporary negotiations with pandemic loss. This multidisciplinary research has facilitated the creation of a group of memorial artefacts, designed for site-specific exhibition commemorating loss and as a method to promote the hidden histories and manuscripts of three early modern women.  

 

Research Question: Can manuscript writing, inspired by early modern women’s manuscript culture, be employed as a restorative practice after an experience of loss? 

 

Aims:

To investigate early modern women’s manuscript culture and devise a creative practice to ‘re-vision’ three early modern women’s manuscripts.

 

Objectives: 

  • Develop three manuscripts inspired by Elizabeth Isham, Anne Bradstreet and Hester Pulter for a site-specific exhibition
  • Produce printed chapbooks designed to illustrate and illuminate the hidden histories and the manuscripts of three early modern women
  • Explore new materialism as a theoretical framework to engage in both the critical and creative strands of this thesis
  • Consider how my research could support people coping with loss, particularly in the context of the pandemic

Education/Academic qualification

Art and Drama Teaching, Birmingham City University

1 Sep 19991 Jul 2000

Award Date: 1 Jul 2000

Visual Performance/Theatre, Degree, Falmouth University, inc. Dartington College of Arts

1 Sep 19961 Jul 1999

Award Date: 1 Jul 1999

External positions

Teacher of Art- Avon Valley School

27 Nov 20061 Apr 2007

Head of Drama Banbury School

1 Sep 20001 Apr 2002

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