Media Art and Design Research Blog

Research Seminar: CoomberSewell on Joyce Grenfell.


Research Seminar: CoomberSewell on Joyce Grenfell.

PhD student Jane CoomberSewell will be looking at the representation of World War 2 in the work of Joyce Grenfell and her private writings.

Canterbury Christ Church University
School of Media Art and Design
Research Seminars 2017-2018
Powell Building – Pg06
North Holmes Road Campus

21 March 2018

The Time of My Life
How World War 2 is represented in the work and
private writings of Joyce Grenfell.

Speaker: Jane CoomberSewell, CCCU

The work of large entertainment corps supporting both the UK and American military during World War 2 is well documented and to be celebrated for their morale boosting role. However, Joyce Grenfell was one of many individuals who travelled to entertain the troops either on their own or in tiny companies. Grenfell’s tours for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), with accompanist Viola Tunnard, had a significant impact on the recovering soldiers they visited and on the entertainers themselves. In this presentation, using Grenfell’s war journals (forbidden under the Official Secrets Act but kept in an old school book), correspondence both to and from Grenfell, and some later sketches, I will explore the representations and socio-political record Grenfell has left for us. I will consider her portrayal of and impact on the troops, their support systems and life for those left at home. I will draw conclusions as to whether more research should be undertaken into small group and individual entertainers and what their work tells us about the way the wellbeing of the troops outside the concrete areas of medicine, food and shelter were approached.

Jane CoomberSewell is a PhD researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University, exploring the work of Joyce Grenfell and its use as a feminist resource/socio-political commentary. Jane has additional research interests in female-led detective fiction and certain aspects of the fantasy/sci-fi genre. As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Jane cares for 3 disabled young men with her amazing wife, and attempts to go self-sufficient. There are days when the best conversations she has are with her chickens.

Powell Building – Pg06
North Holmes Road Campus

Email Dr Andrew Butler – – for further details

— All welcome —


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