Hot off the back of the publication of 'Soul Travel' which she co-edited, Dr Hillman explained how she's making the library become the heart of AKS,
“Whereas the older students use the library to study and for quiet relaxation, Years 7 and 8 have a library lesson as part of their timetable where they work towards Rainbow Reading Awards. These require the students to read a book and complete a task which is designed to promote deeper levels of engagement with the books they read. For example, they may be asked to write a book review, or to complete a fictitious diary entry from one of the characters from their books.”
Dr Hillman also runs creative writing workshops, working closely with the English Department and hosts external author visits as well as coordinating the staff book club, Archives Club and the Book to Film Club which is popular with Year 7s and 8s. So far this year, the club have read ‘Wrinkle in Time’, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’, ‘Wonder’ and ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’. The Book to Film Club watch films once a month after reading the books. They are then prompted to consider how the book has been adapted for the screen using work sheets designed to encourage their critical thinking.
The library space and displays are frequently updated to reflect topical themes, for example, taking inspiration from our half-termly Round Square Discoveries, the Carnegie shortlist, Black History Month and Holocaust Memorial Day. Each theme enables books to be explored in different ways and it encourages our students to try something new.
‘Soul Travel’ is Dr Hillman’s second book to be published and follows her doctoral thesis, “Female Piety and the Catholic Reformation in France” (2015) about a failed rebellion amongst noble elite in 17th Century Paris. It’s unlikely to be the last title in her name, as she noted, “I would love to write some historical fiction next as it’s my favourite genre. I’m drawn to the idea of starting from a real-life event and bringing to life the characters that were involved.” We look forward to what she has in store for us next!
'Soul Travel', co-edited by Dr Hilman has been published by Peter Lang Academic Press (Oxford) is a new history of pilgrimage and spiritual travel across the early modern and medieval periods. Dr Hillman worked on this with Professor Elizabeth Tingle, her former colleague at De Montfort University. It features contributions by scholars from institutions across the UK and Europe.
More information is available here.