‘Trading Places’ Short-Story and Poster/Collage Competitions 2021 Now Open!
What is ‘work’? And where do our ideas about work come from?
At the University of Greenwich we are fascinated by the origins of how we think about work, because by understanding our history we can imagine and perhaps work towards new ways of working.
Many of our ideas about work originate with the Victorians and while there is a great deal of academic research on ‘work’ but there has been almost none on how ideas about work and its practices were formulated and disseminated through the Victorian periodical press.
BLT19 is a literature project at the University of Greenwich. BLT19 stands for “Business, Labour, Trade and Temperance and 19th-century Periodicals”. We have set up this website to feature some of the Victorian magazines focused on work. Many of them ran stories that illustrated how we should behave at work, while others just tell you what the job involved.
Today we watch stories based in the workplace, and those of us with jobs have manuals and guides to tell us how to do them. The Victorians had magazines to help them with their work – the Building World for builders, the Law Times for lawyers, the Meat Trades Journal for butchers, and thousands more. We have set up the BLT19.co.uk website to feature some of the Victorian magazines focused on work.
Take a look around the website. Browse through the magazines, the blogs, and the image galleries for inspiration. We called the competition “Trading Places” because it’s all about imagining yourself into one of the many work situations that are described on the website.
Andrew King, Professor of English Literature at the University of Greenwich, has made two videos to tell you more about the competition. The first is a short competition video with the basic details, and the second is a longer competition video which goes into more detail about what type of short stories and poster/collages we are looking for.
Magazines on the website:
- the Building World for builders
- the Law Times for lawyers
- the Meat Trades Journal for butchers and meat importers
- the Baker and Confectioner
- the Navy and Army Illustrated for would-be military personnel
- the Stationery Trade Review for newsagents and stationers
- the British Printer for printers and publishers
- the Wizard for stage magicians
- and, for workers in general – including in the home, the British Workman and
- the British Workwoman.
We’ve found that students have powerful reactions to these magazines, as shown by the fantastic stories we received in our short-story competition last year (click here for the 2020 competition winners’ stories).
There is a wealth of material on the site – and it’s growing all the time – from image galleries (on animals, child labour, women and other topics) to essays on advertising, child labour and substance abuse amongst others, lessons on industrialisation, how to identify a target audiences, and other topics, a record of an exhibition we put on in collaboration with contemporary artists and a booklet with essays on servants, what “work” means today, and “employability” at University We are especially proud of the stories that our own students have written.
HOW TO ENTER
This year we’ve got two ways to enter the ‘Trading Places’ competition! You can either write a short story OR design a poster/collage in response to the magazines and materials on this website.
Write a short story. It doesn’t need to be set in Victorian times, but you will need tell us what on this website inspired you.
- If you are aged 12-15, write a short story (1500 words maximum). You don’t need to set the story in Victorian times, but you do need to add a short account (300 words maximum) saying what on BLT19.co.uk inspired you and explaining why you decide to write the story as you did. [please note that because you are under 16 years old you will need to ask your parent or guardian to submit the entry on your behalf].
- If you are aged 16-18, write a short story (2000 words maximum). You don’t need to set the story in Victorian times, but you do need to add a short account (350 words maximum) saying what on BLT19.co.uk inspired you and explaining why you decide to write the story as you did.
Design a poster or collage based on the images on this website. You will need tell us what on our website inspired you.
- If you are aged 12-15, add a short account (300 words maximum) saying what on BLT19.co.uk inspired your design. [please note that because you are under 16 years old you will need to ask your parent or guardian to submit the entry on your behalf].
- If you are aged 16-18, write a short account (350 words maximum) saying what on BLT19.co.uk inspired your design.
We’ve got two age categories for the competition: one for ages 12-15 and one for ages 16-18. Both the short story and the poster/collage competition have three prizes to be won. That’s a total of 12 prizes in all!
- 1st – £100 in vouchers
- 2nd – £75 in vouchers
- 3rd – £50 in vouchers
There will be an online award ceremony and the short-story winners will be invited to work with an academic to perfect their stories. Winning stories and posters/collages will be published on BLT19.co.uk