Booking Open: Bullying and Harassment in the UK Classical Workplace: Finding Solutions


Bullying and Harassment in the UK Classical Workplace: Finding Solutions
Women’s Classical Committee UK Workshop
University of Roehampton, 11th September 2017
Organisers: Susan Deacy, Fiona McHardy, Katerina Volioti

This event takes place at a time when various groups are coming together in the UK and internationally to discuss workplace bullying and harassment and to seek solutions. The issue is high on the agenda of the Women’s Classical Committee UK, which conducted a survey in 2016 asking for feedback on experiences of gendered bullying and sexual harassment. A paper in Cloelia in 2016 by two of the current event’s organisers (Susan Deacy/Fiona McHardy) explored the responses to this survey while also presenting the experiences of other classicists. One goal of this workshop is to look in further depth at some of the problems in Classics. For example, we should like to look at where issues of gender intersect with mental health, age, disability and status. We also anticipate a discussion around whether the perpetuation of ‘traditional’ views of Classics might be fostering a culture where bullying and harassment can endure. But: our key goal is to move from identifying problems to finding solutions. We take inspiration, here, from the ongoing moves in Classical women’s networks in North America and Australasia to tackle issues in the discipline by cooperation, including by those who have themselves suffered unpleasant experiences in the workplace. Our quest will also be informed by initiatives beyond Classics, including the 1752 Group, which is developing strategies for combatting sexual misconduct at UK HEIs.

The structure of the event will draw strongly on informal discussion and sharing experiences in a supportive, confidential environment. In addition to the topics set out below, discussions areas will include ‘gagging orders,’ social media bullying and institutional duties of care.

You can book for this event via our Eventbrite page. Members of the WCC UK are entitled to complementary tickets and have been sent instructions on how to order them; if you need a reminder, please e-mail us at womensclassicalcommittee at gmail dot com.



1pm – Lunch

1.30 – Introductions; identifying the issues; outlining the problems (Fiona McHardy); some possible solutions (Susan Deacy)

2.30 – Short papers

Katerina Volioti – (Under)standing bullies

Alan Greaves – Homophobia in Classics and Archaeology

Kate Keen and Jay Gainsford – Codes of Conduct: A Perspective from Fan Conventions

4pm – Tea and coffee

4.15 – Discussion, solutions, wrap-up and take-away tips

5pm – Close



Katerina Volioti – (Under)standing bullies

We talk about bullying in negative terms, and with good reason. And yet, there is somehow less of an incentive for us to understand bullies as distinct personality types. In this short presentation, I shall cover two types, as discussed mostly in the business literature: the abrasive and the narcissistic personality. Both personalities are described also in connection with leadership and high performance, making it more difficult to differentiate leadership from bullying behaviours. My main objective in this presentation, nonetheless, is to discuss bullies as suffering individuals who crave for love and affection in their loneliness, but whose behavioural problems can be addressed by specialists (counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists). Regrettably, most bullies neither see the need for treatment nor do they believe that there is anything wrong with them. I close with a pessimistic statement: “We still do not know how to deal with the bullies”.

Katerina Volioti is Visiting Lecturer teaching Classical Art at the University of Roehampton and worked in corporate business before returning to academia.

Alan Greaves – Homophobia in Classics and Archaeology

In this paper I will examine, with reference to theories, data and illustrations from my own life, the many subtle (and less subtle) ways in which homophobia operates within academia. I will also illustrate how, at the University of Liverpool, we have managed a campaign of peer education across all disciplines to raise awareness of LGBT* equality matters via our Flagship lecture series and some of the results from that programme.

Alan M. Greaves is a Senior Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Liverpool.

Kate Keen and Jay Gainsford – Codes of Conduct: A Perspective from Fan Conventions

In recent years there has been growing debate about the need for codes of conduct at academic conferences, as a way of addressing sexual and gender-based harassment, and other misconduct. This debate has been going on for longer (and still continues) around science fiction and fan conventions. Kate Keen is Deputy Director of Nine Worlds Geek Fest, an annual London event that places inclusivity at the heart of its mission, and has been closely involved in formulating its codes of conduct. Jay is the lead of Nine Worlds technical team and a passionate advocate for the benefits of diversity and inclusion in STEM. In this presentation they talk about why Codes of Conduct are necessary, what academia can learn from fan cons’ experience in implementing them, and what best practice looks like.


Leave a Reply