Raisa Butt

Raisa Butt

MA English Literature

Summary: Coming to Leeds allowed Raisa to further explore the connections between her two passions - drama and literature.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I was born in London, but spent the first 16 years of my life in Hong Kong. I later moved back to England to complete my A Levels and graduated with BA Drama and English Literature from the University of Huddersfield before coming to Leeds.

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

During my time at Huddersfield I experienced different areas of literary studies in small pockets, such as postcolonial literature and the Renaissance playwrights. I knew I wanted to continue exploring these topics and after seeing the taught module list offered by the School of English at Leeds, I knew it was a perfect fit.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I am fascinated by the idea that even though texts may not change, the ways in which they are approached and interpreted change constantly. My dissertation focused on inter-cultural adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, particularly within South Asian culture. Being from a Pakistani background myself, I really enjoyed the process of researching his works from their arrival in South Asia during the British Raj all the way up to present-day adaptations on stage and screen.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?

A major highlight for me was the student-led MA Conference, where the majority of our cohort presented papers that were either an introduction to our dissertation topics or associated with one of our modules. Discussing gendered spatiality in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was something I never thought I’d do, but the atmosphere was so positive and encouraging amongst our year group that it ended up being an incredibly fun and gratifying experience. I didn’t think my MA year was going to be a very social one due to the nature of writing modular essays and the dissertation. However, the cohort was a great one to be part of and I’ve made some wonderful friends this year.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

It’s a real melting pot for different cultures and people. Also there are so many hidden gems when it comes to food options, so I absolutely love it!

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

The School of English has a very warm and open atmosphere to it, and both the Brotherton and Laidlaw libraries are great in their own way. With the Brotherton, you feel as if you’ve almost stepped back in time because the building is so grand and beautiful, while the Laidlaw is always buzzing and is great for group work.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

The Students’ Union spoils you for choice when it comes to societies - everything is on offer from film clubs to sports activities. I managed to keep up with my dancing this year via the Street Dance and Modern Dance Societies, both of which are brilliant.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

I’d say definitely apply with the aim of pursuing your specific areas of interest, but also keep an open mind for opportunities that lie outside of it.

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I began working as a secondary school English and Drama teacher almost immediately after submitting my dissertation. I’ve always felt that the two subjects go hand in hand, so I’m really looking forward to teaching Shakespeare’s plays, having focused so much on them during my time at Leeds.