By Andrew Bailey
Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of going to the School of Advanced Study at the University of London to attend the “Québec Studies in the UK: A Balance Sheet” day conference, an event organised to celebrate the establishment of the Centre for Québec and French-Canadian Studies within the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies. The idea for this particular Quebec Studies gathering arose in the context of 2012’s being the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Québec Delegation office in London.
The conference consisted of a whistle-stop tour of current Québécois and French-Canadian research projects currently being carried out by professors and PhD students within the UK and in continental Europe. Québécois cinema, literature, theatre, language policy and politics were all presented and discussed, provoking some lively debate.
The day concluded with a consideration of the future of French-Canadian studies, with positive ideas emerging on how to increase both co-operation and dialogue and, more specifically, how to move forward with the Centre for Québec and French-Canadian Studies.
The icing on the cake was the launch of Ceri Morgan’s book Mindscapes of Montreal: Quebec’s Urban Novel, 1960-2005, at a wine reception kindly provided by the Québec Delegation in London.
The day, led by Professor Bill Marshall, was a great opportunity to network, to take stock of the great work going on in Québécois and French-Canadian Studies in the UK and Europe, and to consider what the future holds for the field. The day would not have been possible without the hard work of Bill and other québéciste colleagues, and the Centre would not be possible without the generous donation made by the Foundation for Canadian Studies in the UK.