Cheryl Birdseye

MA English, 2014

Cheryl Birdseye

The department and incredible staff were the main reason I chose to stay at Brookes. The best thing about being a Brookes student is the supportive atmosphere. The support I received throughout both of my earlier degrees was second to none

Cheryl completed both her BA and MA at Oxford Brookes but decided to stay to pursue her doctoral research as she still had questions unanswered.

I absolutely loved the MA course at Brookes and felt that I wasn’t ready to finish. I learned so much during the year of MA study, but this in turn left me with even more questions I needed to answer. I’d also seen the new development being built during my BA and MA and I really wanted to use the new facilities.

The department and incredible staff were the main reason I chose to stay at Brookes. The best thing about being a Brookes student is the supportive atmosphere. The support I received throughout both of my earlier degrees was second to none. There's a real sense of community in the department, as cheesy as that sounds, and both staff and students alike go out of their way to help each other. I’ve heard some real horror stories from friends at other universities but I have never encountered any obstacles at Brookes. You are really encouraged here to aim for your best, and then keep going.

Doctoral study is completely different from the courses I’ve taken before. Whilst inevitably the most challenging factor of the course as well, the fact that you manage your research is a really refreshing learning experience. It requires a lot of self-discipline but the freedom to simply write about what interests you is amazing. I am studying the representation of domestic crimes within the popular culture of early modern England. A major aspect of my research is to understand how writers, in particular playwrights, and those responsible for broadside ballads and trial pamphlets, adapted contemporary source materials either for informative or entertainment purposes. We know that playwrights, for instance, depicted genuine murders and crimes that had occurred sometimes within living memory of their audiences. I want to know what their motivations were and what influence they subsequently held over their spectators.

I’ve always lived in Oxford and I adore it. It’s incredibly beautiful in addition to having an amazing history behind it. The city’s eccentricity is brilliant as well – you can’t walk through Oxford without stumbling upon something that is just a little bit bizarre. It makes for a pretty exciting place to live and study. The Bodleian Library is, without a doubt, the best resource a university town can boast. The huge library stock and beautiful reading rooms are really inspiring. I also find there are plenty of places to study throughout the city, especially when the weather is nice!

During the course of my study, I'm planning to work towards the Associate Lecturer Qualification in order to start an academic career. I've always had a huge love for the theatre, and I hope to continue researching the early modern period's influence on dramatic history, perhaps with the possibility of contributing to productions.

The relationships built with staff and students at Brookes have been some of the greatest factors of my time here. I'm still in touch with a lot of my BA friends, and I had the most inspiring, hilarious, and biscuit-loving group of fellow MA students that I could have asked for! The staff, particularly those who now comprise my supervisory team, have been truly inspiring during my time at Brookes. It is due to their encouragement and belief in my abilities that I have reached this point. The support from the department during my time at Brookes so far has been outstanding. I’d highly recommend it to anyone considering studying English Literature at any level.

Cheryl Birdseye is currently a postgraduate research student in English Literature at Oxford Brookes University.