Reflections on the Falklands/Malvinas: 35 years on

Reflections on the Falklands/Malvinas: 35 years on is an international and interdisciplinary one-day workshop organised by Dr. Helen Parr and Ph.D candidate Eleonora Natale in the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations & Environment.

The event, also supported by the Keele University research fund, will be held at Keele University on Tuesday 30 May 2017 in the Claus Moser Research Centre, room CM0.12.

You can view the full programme and contact details below:

2nd Annual ‘Century of the Soldier’ – English Civil War Conference 10/09/16

(This post was originally posted here on thebumblinghistorians, a new blog started by two of Keele’s Early Modern History Postgrads.)

I learnt about this conference by happenstance. In a book I purchased a few weeks ago, I found the publisher had inserted a small card for registering with their mailing list. It also included their twitter handle. Now us budding academics are told we must have an online presence to facilitate and improve our academic profile. Short version, I have a Twitter account focused around my academic studies and so followed this company – Helion Books – on Twitter. During one of my (very rare, honestly) bouts of procrastination I decided to trawl Twitter and spotted that Helion Publishing were advertising their 2nd Annual ‘Century of the Soldier’ conference, to be held in Shrewsbury and supported by the Pike and Shotte Society.

PhD students are also told, by various academic and non-academic university staff, that we need to attend conferences or seminar series, even ones not fully connected to our topic. As I am still in my first year of my part-time study (if only just!) while writing this, I have not been able to attend as many as I would have liked. Those that I have attended have usually been run by one of the constituent departments of the university. So seeing that the ‘Century of the Soldier’ series of books concentrated on military history between 1618 and 1721 (my topic is 1638-1651) I looked into it. The conference was very reasonably priced and advertised that it would include unlimited drinks, a lunch and opportunity for a free tour around Civil War Shrewsbury.

Food, limitless cups of tea, Civil War papers AND a historical tour in the sunshine? Decision made.

So what was it like?

Well, it was a great choice of venue at Rowley’s House in Shrewsbury. The atmosphere when I walked through the doors was very welcoming and informal. Admittedly I did not take COMPLETE advantage of it as I am a little bit of a “socially inhibited gremlin” in the words of one of my more polite colleagues. However, the opportunity was there. Included in the foyer of the building throughout the day was a stall for the current and upcoming books in the Century of the Soldier series. I found no objection to this marketing as the conference was run by Helion and it was also a great opportunity for some pre-orders at a fantastic value (I may have partaken of a few…)

book-stall

20% on new releases and pre-orders. I ask, what was a poor PhD boy supposed to do?!?

The papers presented at the conference were along the topic of ‘professionalism’ and they all fit around that theme very nicely. What was very well done was, despite the last minute cancellation of one of the papers, the conference chair comfortably rearranged the order of a couple of papers so there maintained a nice cohesive ‘flow’. Additionally, we were treated to a second presentation by Professor Malcolm Wanklyn who briefly covered the topic of the missing paper. I quite liked this touch and, if Prof. Wanklyn of necessity could not go into detail on the topic, at least those people who had attended in part for the missing paper were not totally disappointed.

For myself, I found all of the papers interesting and several of them directly useful for my own work – the pages of my A5 notebook were filled with my scribbled notes. I was able to talk to a few people during the regular breaks and get some contact details that might prove useful later. “Networking” is the key phrase that is always thrown about for these things.

The tour was a nice touch for those of us without much knowledge of Civil War Shrewsbury and, as mentioned previously, it was lovely weather for a nice end to an interesting and fun day. One other point I feel I should mention about the food provided. Apart from being really high quality, it had little signs detailed what sandwiches had what including which were vegetarian or suitable for various allergies. Now this did not really affect me as I will eat anything if it is between a couple of pieces of bread, but I thought it a nice touch for those that need to be a bit careful on their diet.

So, taken all in all, it was a lovely, relaxed and informative conference. This was only its second year and it seems there are some discussions that a new series of books Helion will be producing will join in the conference, alternating each year between the two titles. This second series would cover military history from 1722 through to 1815 giving the two series a combined coverage of over 200 years. I have no hesitation in saying I will eagerly attend future conferences run by either series and commend them very highly to anyone with interest in and around the topics.

Glenn

This post was produced by Glenn Price, a PhD student in History.
Glenn, who began his research in Autumn 2015, examines military logistics, supplies and the course and conduct of warfare in the British Isles in the middle of the seventeenth century.

g.w.price@keele.ac.uk
@gwprice207

Life after the PhD Workshop

This post was originally posted on Life after the PhD, a new blog acting as a forum fostering career development discussions for Humanities PG students who are beginning to think about life after the PhD.

33 Humanities PGR students from across the northwest and beyond gathered in Keele on 15 June 2016 for a workshop entitled ‘Life after the PhD: career development initiatives in the Humanities’. The purpose of the day was to expose current PGR students to the range of careers that they might pursue after completing their doctorate. Many, if not most, of the students present were very aware of the practicalities of pursuing an academic career (and were equally aware of the highly competitive job market for ECRs), but few were aware of the range of careers that their PhD might be preparing them for. Seven external speakers with postgraduate degrees spoke about their experiences of transitioning from PhD to their chosen career path. All drew on their personal experiences and offered specific advice.

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Dr Victoria Gardner talks about deciding to leave academia

Our speakers came from a range of educational backgrounds and had pursued a variety of careers. Dr Laura Tompkins, who holds a PhD in medieval history, now works as an Academic Engagement Manager for the National Archives at Kew. Dr Victoria Gardner, whose PhD is also in History, teaches and is Head of Scholarship and Academic Extension at Wellington College in Berkshire. Dr Ailidh Woodcock works as a European Advisor for the UK Research Office, a role that has recently taken her to Brussels on a three-year secondment, and before her move to UKRO worked for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Dr Katy Hamilton, whose PhD is from the Royal College of Music, is a freelance researcher, writer and presenter of music. Rachael Bowers, who holds an MA in Heritage Studies, is a Documentation Assistant for English Heritage. Dr Elaine Tierney also works in heritage, for the V&A museum. Dr Sarah Parry, whose PhD is in Hispanic Studies, works in university management, as a Policy Officer for the University of Strathclyde. Following each panel there were discussion sessions building on themes that were present in each of the talks, and the PGR students that were present asked many insightful questions about the practicalities of pursuing the careers that were discussed on the day.

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Dr Elaine Tierney talks about her experience of working in museums

Despite the variety in the career pathways taken by our speakers, there were many themes that reoccurred throughout the day. One concerned the links that many of the speakers had maintained with academia, emphasising that not pursuing a career as a lecturer does not mean having to leave academia completely behind. For Sarah Parry and Ailidh Woodcock, their roles involve close interaction with universities on a daily basis, in terms of management, policy, and co-ordinating research funding. Laura Tompkins and Victoria Gardner have both continued to research and publish academic work – Victoria’s book, based on her PhD research, was published earlier this year. Elaine Tierney illuminated the possibilities for close interaction between academia and external organisations. At the time of the workshop, Elaine held a one-year lectureship in early modern History at the University of Manchester, and has since accepted a role building on her previous experience of working with the Victoria and Albert Museum – from September 2016 she will be coordinating the development of teaching and training offered by the V&A Research Institute.

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Dr Ailidh Woodcock, Dr Victoria Gardner and Dr Laura Tompkins participating in a discussion session

Another recurring theme was the temporary nature of many of the first jobs our speakers held after their PhD. Many of the PGRs present were aware of that post-PhD, those who pursued an academic career could expect to hold a series of temporary posts before hoping to be appointed to a permanent lectureship. Some of our speakers, including Elaine Tierney, Katy Hamilton and Victoria Gardner, had held temporary teaching jobs in universities, and in Victoria’s case this had involved four jobs at four different institutions across the country.  It became clear, though, that this was no less common in careers outside of academia. For all of our speakers, their first jobs had been temporary posts. There was a prolonged discussion about the practical difficulties of this, and questions about work-life balance and the sacrifices that needed to be made in pursuing any career. In this sense, pursuit of academic and non-academic careers is very similar. Several of our speakers, though, noted the benefit of these temporary roles. They allowed for assessment of how much they wanted to pursue that particular career, and how much the job might suit them. Being fluid was in many ways seen as a positive, despite very real personal and financial concerns. Many of our speakers indicated that many permanent jobs in their field were only advertised internally, making it necessary to take temporary posts in order to be in a position to apply for permanent posts when they arose.

Workshop participants talk over lunch

At the end of the day there was a roundtable session. In addition to asking any residual questions of our speakers, the PGR students present used the session to talk to each other about what they got out of the day. Many of them were very positive, feeling that they had gained a much broader understanding of the range of careers potentially available to them, and the ways in which they might go about preparing themselves during their PhD for the possibility of a career outside academia. There was an emotional discussion about the idea of ‘failure’, and the internal, often subconscious, belief held by many PGRs that to pursue a career outside academia in some way made them a failure. This was emphatically refuted by all of the speakers and the lecturers present. Our seven speakers are at various stages of their careers, but all spoke positively about the ways in which they used skills, knowledge and contacts gained during their PhDs in their current roles, and the opportunities that they had been offered as a result of moving outside academia, which they might not otherwise have experienced. The final discussion, as well as the day as a whole, was useful for PGRs in fostering honest and open discussions about careers, and one of the attendees commented on their evaluation form that ‘the sense of community that was reinforced throughout the day was a big factor in feeling reassured about the future’. All of the attendees seemed to agree that they were much better informed about Life after the PhD.

 The last ones standing (sitting) at the end of the wine reception which ended the day

Many thanks to the Cohort Development Fund of the AHRC northwest doctoral training partnership, who funded this event. The workshop was organised by Dr Siobhan Talbott, lecturer in early modern history at Keele University.

Anyone interested in the Life after the PhD workshops, including information on future workshops (either as attendees or contributors), can contact Dr Siobhan Talbott via email: s.talbott@keele.ac.uk or on twitter: @SiobhanTalbott

Live Age Symposium – Arts Engagement and Older People

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When? Friday 30th September 2016 , 11.00 am – 1.00 pm

Where? The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

FREE EVENT – ALL WELCOME!

This year’s Live Age Symposium focuses on the benefits and barriers to engaging older people in artistic and creative activities. It features inspirational speakers and offers exciting opportunities for researchers, practitioners and anyone interested in late life creativity to share knowledge and experiences.

Poetry and Ageing: An Artist’s Perspective

Leah Thorn, spoken word poet and Leverhulme Trust artist-in-residence will be speaking about her use of poetry to explore the life experiences of older women.

Engagement and Older People: A Researcher’s Perspective

Dr Anna Goulding, Research Fellow at the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing will share insights from her work on visual arts opportunities and focus on Greater Manchester’s new five-year Ambition for Ageing projects to reduce loneliness and isolation.

Engagement Priorities: The Arts Council and Older People

Phil Cave, Director, Engagement and Audiences for Arts Council England will talk about the thinking behind the joint Arts Council England and Baring Foundation’s new funding programme – Celebrating Age

Ages and Stages at the Live Age Symposium

The Ages and Stages Theatre Company have created a series of interventions to provoke responses and stimulate debate about what engagement means from the perspective of older people themselves.

Introductions:

Prof. Miriam Bernard, Professor of Social Gerontology, Keele University and Festival Co-Director

Discussion Chair:

Prof. David Amigoni, Pro Vice Chancellor – Research, Keele University

Symposium participants are invited to join us afterwards in the PMAG café for lunch, entertainment will be provided by the Boat Band, and this will be followed by an afternoon of workshops, performances and discussion.

Invitation to Live Age Symposium Friday 30th Sept 2016