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WCC UK Statement of Solidarity with Palestine 

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WCC UK Statement of Solidarity with Palestine

Members of the Women’s Classical Committee UK passed a motion at the Annual General Meeting on 3rd of May 2024 to create and publicise a Statement of Solidarity with Palestine. We intend this statement to act as a pledge of our support for all those who are affected by the conflict and who face harassment for expressing their own support for the Palestinian people. Members of the WCC UK are also creating a resources page with background on the history of this conflict, further source citations, and suggestions for ways members of UK universities can advocate for colleagues and students within their own institutions, and support direct action.

As of 14th of May 2024, at least 1,139 Israelis and over 35,000 Palestinians (more than 14,500 of them children) have been killed following the atrocities committed by Hamas on 7th October 2023.[1] The vast majority of the Palestinian population in Gaza has been violently displaced[2] and millions have been deprived of access to food,[3] water,[4] electricity, fuel,[5] housing,[6] and medical provision.[7] The Israel Defence Forces have demolished vital infrastructure,[8] targeted journalists,[9] healthcare workers[10] and aid workers,[11] and have destroyed every university in Gaza.[12] These are violations of international humanitarian law.[13] The International Court of Justice has determined the actions of the State of Israel to be plausibly in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, a convention adopted by the United Nations in 1948.[14] Prior to the 7th October 2023, Israel’s systematic ethnic discrimination against Palestinians has been termed ‘apartheid’ by international bodies including Amnesty International,[15] Human Rights Watch,[16] and UN Special Rapporteurs.[17]

We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and with all those who denounce the actions of the State of Israel. We condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas on 7th October, the targeted attacks on Israeli and Palestinian life, and the catastrophic destruction of Palestinian culture, heritage, and futures. As academics, education workers and students, we condemn the systemic obliteration of education in Gaza through the arrest, detention and killing of teachers, students and staff, and the destruction of educational infrastructure. As Classicists, we condemn the destruction of Palestinian cultural heritage, including religious sites, historical buildings, monuments, museums and archaeological sites.[18]

We refuse to tolerate any forms of racism including Islamophobia and antisemitism, and note that both of these have increased in the UK since October 7th 2023, including within universities. We stand in solidarity with students and faculty across the UK and worldwide who are engaging in direct activism and in calling for institutions to reconsider their economic and scholarly support of the State of Israel and the Israel Defence Forces. We oppose universities’ investment in military industries, especially the manufacture and sale of weapons, and we call on them to cut financial ties with institutions and companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law. We call for the release of all hostages, political prisoners,[19] and those illegally and inhumanely held without charge.[20] We are deeply committed to principles of free speech and academic freedom, including the freedom to criticise the State of Israel.[21]


[1] Reuters, ‘Gaza death toll: how many Palestinians has Israel’s campaign killed’, 14/5/24: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/gaza-death-toll-how-many-palestinians-has-israels-campaign-killed-2024-05-14/.

[2] Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, ‘Palestine – Conflict in Gaza leaves 83 per cent of the population internally displaced in less than three months’, 14/5/24: https://www.internal-displacement.org/spotlights/Palestine-Conflict-in-Gaza-leaves-83-per-cent-of-the-population-internally-displaced-in-less-than-three-months/.

[3] IPC Global Initiative Special Brief, ‘GAZA STRIP: Hostilities leave the entire population highly food insecure and at risk of Famine’, 18/3/24: https://www.ipcinfo.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ipcinfo/docs/IPC_Gaza_Strip_Acute_Food_Insecurity_Feb_July2024_Special_Brief.pdf.

[4] ReliefWeb, ‘The Gaza Strip on the brink of a public health catastrophe: Health and WASH Clusters reassert calls for immediate long-lasting ceasefire’, 20/2/24: https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/gaza-strip-brink-public-health-catastrophe-health-and-wash-clusters-reassert-calls-immediate-long-lasting-ceasefire.

[5] UNWRA, ‘UNRWA Situation Report #107 on the Situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem’, 12/5/24: https://www.unrwa.org/resources/reports/unrwa-situation-report-107-situation-gaza-strip-and-west-bank-including-east-Jerusalem.

[6] Becky Sullivan (NPR), ‘What is ‘domicide,’ and why has war in Gaza brought new attention to the term?’, 9/2/24: https://www.npr.org/2024/02/09/1229625376/domicide-israel-gaza-palestinians.

[7] ReliefWeb, ‘Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) Update on the hospital situation in Gaza: 13 May 2024, 12:40’, 13/5/24: https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/medical-aid-palestinians-map-update-hospital-situation-gaza-13-may-2024-1240.

[8] ReliefWeb, ‘The Right to Adequate Housing is Under Attack in Gaza’, 18/4/24: https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/right-adequate-housing-under-attack-gaza.

[9] Committee to Protect Journalists, ‘Journalist casualties in the Israel-Gaza war’, 15/5/24: https://cpj.org/2024/05/journalist-casualties-in-the-israel-gaza-conflict/.

[10] Doctors Without Borders, ‘Seven months of relentless attacks on health care in Palestine’, 13/5/24: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/latest/seven-months-relentless-attacks-health-care-palestine.

[11] Human Rights Watch, ‘Gaza: Israelis Attacking Known Aid Worker Locations’, 14/5/24: https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/05/14/gaza-israelis-attacking-known-aid-worker-locations.

[12] UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘UN experts deeply concerned over ‘scholasticide’ in Gaza’, 18/4/24: https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/04/un-experts-deeply-concerned-over-scholasticide-gaza.

[13] Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis (Reuters), ‘US says Israel’s use of weapons may have violated international law’, 11/5/24: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-says-it-was-reasonable-assess-israel-used-us-weapons-inconsistent-with-2024-05-10/.

[14] International Court of Justice, ‘Summary of the Order of 26 January 2024’, 26/1/24: https://www.icj-cij.org/node/203454. See too the ‘Application instituting proceedings and request for the indication of provisional measures’, 12/29/23: https://www.icj-cij.org/node/203394, and the statement signed by 800 scholars of international law and genocide (15/10/23): https://twailr.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Gaza-public-statement-and-signatories.pdf

[15] Amnesty International, ‘Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity’, 1/2/22: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/.

[16] Human Rights Watch, ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’, 27/4/21: https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution.

[17] Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in OPT, ‘Israel Has Imposed Upon Palestine an Apartheid Reality in a Post-apartheid World – Press Release’, 25/3/22: https://www.un.org/unispal/document/special-rapporteur-on-the-situation-of-human-rights-in-opt-israel-has-imposed-upon-palestine-an-apartheid-reality-in-a-post-apartheid-world-press-release/.

[18] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ‘Gaza Strip: Damage assessment’, last updated 10/4/24: https://www.unesco.org/en/gaza/assessment.

[19] Omar Shakir (Los Angeles Times), Why does Israel have so many Palestinians in detention and available to swap?’, 29/11/23: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2023-11-29/gaza-palestinian-prisoners-hostage-exchange-detention-israeli-prisons.

[20] CNN, ‘Strapped down, blindfolded, held in diapers: Israeli whistleblowers detail abuse of Palestinians in shadowy detention center’, 11/5/24: https://edition.cnn.com/2024/05/10/middleeast/israel-sde-teiman-detention-whistleblowers-intl-cmd/index.html.

[21] Neve Gordon (Middle East Critique), ‘Antisemitism and Zionism: The Internal Operations of the IHRA Definition’, 22/3/24: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19436149.2024.2330821. See too the UK Jewish Academic Network’s statement ‘Not in our name: Weaponising antisemitism hurts us all’, 9/5/24: https://ukjan.org.uk/#inaugural-statement-20240509.

AGM 2024 Labour and Rest

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce its 2023 Annual General Meeting, ‘Labour and Rest‘, on Friday 3th May 2024. The AGM will be held in a hybrid format: please visit the TicketSource website. If you select to attend via Zoom, you will receive details closer to the date.

People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC UK’s aims are welcome to attend this event. Further details are available here. Around the website you can also find more information on the Women’s Classical Committee UK, including our aims and activities and how to join.

Location

The event will be a hybrid, in person and over Zoom. The event will be held at Durham University.

Schedule

10:15: Welcome and housekeeping
10.30: Business meeting
11:30: Coffee break in local coffee shop or at home
12:00: Spotlight talks
13:15: Lunch (Akursu Turkish Restaurant)
14:30: Keynote: Professor Edith Hall (Durham): “Behind every working woman is an enormous pile of unwashed laundry”: A Cultural History of Dirty Clothes
15:30: Get to know the WCC – discussion on further directions (LT)
15:50: Wrap up and close

Class in Classics and the Women’s Classical Committee UK

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By Cora Beth Fraser, WCC UK Co-Chair and working-class classicist

The Women’s Classical Committee UK welcomes the report today on Class in Classics, compiled by the Network for Working-Class Classicists and supported by the Classical Association and the EDI Committee of the Council of University Classics Departments.

The report draws attention to an issue which we have all been aware of in Classics: that working-class people are underrepresented in the discipline, from undergraduate study through to professional employment. We have always known this – but thanks to the large-scale survey conducted by the Network for Working-Class Classicists and analysed in the Class in Classics Report, for the first time we can see the scale and impact of the imbalance. The report also helps to illuminate how working-class underrepresentation intersects with other characteristics to produce even greater imbalances for particular groups – one of which is working-class women, who are at a ‘double disadvantage’ (p.22 of the report).

The Class in Classics report gives us at the WCC UK a useful lens through which to view our own initiatives. It highlights the areas in which we are ahead of the discipline as a whole in modelling inclusive practice, and it also points out areas where we should develop our activism further in the future, in order to benefit working-class women and non-binary people in Classics.

Financial support

The Class in Classics report authors offer a number of practical recommendations for addressing elements of socio-economic disadvantage. Many of these recommendations endorse (explicitly or otherwise) the existing procedures and policies of the WCC in relation to financial support.

Our Small Grants Scheme, offering grants of up to £150 to members, makes payment upon approval of the grant, in line with the report’s recommendation to ‘avoid reimbursement systems whenever possible’ (p.52). The WCC recognises that reimbursement culture is inherently discriminatory, accessible only to the people who can afford to pay up-front costs, and acting as a barrier to those most in need of financial assistance.

The report (p.52) also references WCC good practice in naming the Small Grants Scheme:

The report (p.52) recommends careful phrasing on grant application forms, to avoid off-putting language or the implication that applicants have to prove their poverty:

‘Hardship funds should be renamed. “Hardship” can be a stigmatising term and it can also deter potential applicants if they believe they are not experiencing sufficient hardship. Consider borrowing phrasing from Sportula Europe (‘microgrants’) or the Women’s Classical Committee (‘small grants’).’

‘Similarly, revise policies that require applicants to demonstrate extreme poverty and/or exhaustion of commercial credit schemes before being considered for funding.’

At the WCC, our Small Grants application process requires applicants to explain the purpose of their application, the nature of the event or activity and how the grant will be spent; but there is no requirement for the applicant to plead poverty or divulge details of their financial circumstances.

Access

The Class in Classics report (p.50) draws attention to inequality of access, particularly to conferences and similar events, and the impact of that on belonging, networking and professional development.

‘Online or hybrid conferences improved accessibility, particularly for those with disabilities or caring responsibilities; but there is a concern that this mode of attendance is already being phased out, and that it does not provide adequate networking opportunities.’

The WCC has been very aware that online and hybrid access to events continues to be important, particularly for women who might have caring responsibilities. Our events continue to be either wholly online or hybrid, and there are no plans to remove that access option.

Access for those with caring responsibilities has been an issue of concern to the WCC for some time. In 2020 the WCC’s Caring in Classics Network published a set of guidelines for Supporting Carers and Organising Events, designed for the use of anyone organising either in-person or online events. In these guidelines we stated:

‘The provision of support for those with caring responsibilities is a central strategy for ensuring gender diversity, not only in practical provision that helps to get women in the room, but in empowering those who are not white, male, middle-class and able-bodied to feel that they are included and that they can productively contribute to the scholarly conversation.’

We welcome the renewed attention that the Class in Classics report will bring to the issue of support for access, which continues to be a key issue for the WCC.

Speaking out

The Class in Classics report (p.29) makes the point that it is difficult to talk about class:

‘Class has become such a difficult subject to broach that even in this anonymous survey there were concerns about saying the wrong thing.’

This is an important factor to emphasise, and perhaps suggests a need for a cautious approach to visibility, despite the report’s call for more working-class role models. It is difficult to speak out, and it also carries professional risks, because as many of the comments featured in the report highlight, people who talk about class in university Classics departments are often seen as disruptive or treated as outsiders.

In counterpoint to the report’s call for greater public visibility, the WCC recently lent its support to a confidential ‘safe space’ trial group for working-class women in Classics. Chaired by Dr Elizabeth Pender, Class Acts ran from 2021 to 2023 in the North of England, trialling co-operative peer support among a small group of working-class classicists with similar backgrounds. Its focus on individual and regional working-class experiences was designed to respond organically to the needs of participants. The Class Acts trial is currently being evaluated, with a view to embedding future versions of the group within existing WCC initiatives.

Conclusion

The Class in Classics report recommends a number of support strategies which the WCC UK put in place some years ago. We would like to see these becoming universal standards, reaching not just those classicists who have discovered the WCC, but everyone who comes into Classics.

Class is an uncomfortable topic for us to talk about in the UK, but the remarkable number of responses to the Class in Classics Survey (1,206) suggests that there is a real need to open up the discussion in Classics. At the WCC we look forward to playing a part in these essential conversations.

Working in Archaeology, Heritage and Classics with a Long-Term Condition

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Online Workshop 

29 February 2024 (‘Rare Disease Day’), at 16.00 – 17.15 (GMT) 

This ‘Rare Disease Day’ we would like to invite you to the online workshop ‘Working in Archaeology, Heritage and Classics with a Long-Term Condition’

A long-term condition (LTC) is defined as a condition that cannot, at present, be cured but is controlled by medication and/or other treatment/therapies.  

Some examples include: 

  • Cardiovascular Disease (e.g., heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and heart failure) 
  • Diabetes (Type 1 and 2) 
  • Cancer 
  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) 
  • Asthma (adults and children) 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
  • Neurological disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Essential Tremor) 
  • Autoimmune diseases (e.g., Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Vasculitis) 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) 
  • Coeliac Disease 
  • Long Covid 

LTCs have a large impact on a person’s life. Therefore, individuals require ongoing care and support. 

In this workshop three speakers will present their experiences of living with LTCs and working in archaeology, heritage and Classics. Subsequently, there will be a discussion where participants will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and problems, but also ask questions to the group. 

The workshop is meant to be a safe space for people living with LTCs to share their experiences, concerns, and successes, but also for people who would simply want to learn more about how to best support individuals with LTCs in the archaeology, heritage and Classics sector.  

From this event we hope to create an informal support group that people with LTCs can turn to for advice or simply sharing experiences and issues related to LTCs and their working life. 

Programme 

16.00-16.15: Introduction by Katerina Velentza (WCC UK Disability Liaison) 

16.15-16.30: Alexandra F. Morris (University of Lincoln & University of Nottingham) 

16.30-16.45: Amanda Hart (Roman Baths and Pump Room) 

16.45-17.15: Discussion 

Register for the online workshop here: https://helsinki.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5YufuutqD8uG9PkF35DnepHlHw8RmVoZU0H 

Mid-career event 2024

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is organising an event aimed at mid-career scholars, to be held on Friday 19th January 2024 on Zoom between 10am and 1pm. We are delighted that Dr Ellen Adams, King’s College London, will be our keynote speaker.
 
The Women’s Classical Committee UK run a mid-career event annually to help colleagues discuss the issues and challenges that face academics, particularly women, at mid-career. Topics to be discussed may include decisions about whether and when to move institutions, questions around disciplinarity/interdisciplinarity and collaboration in research, expectations about international mobility and balancing this with family/caring duties, managing institutional expectations (which may be gendered) around types and levels of administrative service, taking on leadership positions, ways of supporting precarious colleagues, and strategies to tackle unconscious bias in the workplace. Those who register their intent to attend will be invited to fill in an online questionnaire, the results of which will inform the precise choice of topics for discussion sessions. We envisage that the day’s discussions will help to set priorities for resource development and future campaigns by the Women’s Classical Committee UK.
 
The WCC UK recognises that the term ‘mid-career’ is open to a range of interpretations, but also that different challenges face women in classics in different situations and career stages. This event is aimed primarily at women who self-define as having reached mid-career; markers of this may include being eight or more years after the award of their PhD, holding an open-ended contract, and having an established publication profile. If the event is oversubscribed then we will give priority to women in this situation, but we welcome applications to register from anyone of any gender who feels they would benefit from attending.
 
Registration Options
 
The event is capped at 15 attendees; we will be prioritising WCC UK members and non-members based in the UK should this event be oversubscribed. Free registration is available to all via Ticket Source; if the event reaches capacity, WCC UK members will be given priority. Donations in support of the WCC UK and its activities are welcome.  

Child-friendly policy
 
The Women’s Classical Committee is committed to making our events as inclusive as possible, and recognises that the financial and practical challenges of childcare often impede people from participating in workshops and conferences. We welcome the virtual attendance of children at this event.
 

2024 Steering Committee Elections

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We’re calling for nominations to join the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK. You can nominate someone else – but self-nominations are also warmly encouraged! If you’d like to shape our agenda, or if you have a perspective that ought to be heard, please do put your name forward!

The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and future development of the WCC UK. Committee members serve for four years, with the option to renew for a further four-year term. The Steering Committee wishes to encourage a diverse organization comprised of representatives from any background, location, or career level.

People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC UK’s aims are welcome to become members and to put themselves forward for office; our aims can be found at https://wcc-uk.blogs.sas.ac.uk

Nominees must be members of the WCC UK – but you can become a member when you’re elected, if you’re not a member already.

If you’re interested, you should submit your name (or somebody else’s) to Cora Beth Fraser, WCC Co-Chair, by Friday 22nd December 2023. Her e-mail address is CoraBeth.Fraser [at] open.ac.uk.

Next steps

Each nominee will be asked in January 2024 to send in a short CV (1 page) and an election statement. These will be made available on the WCC UK website for members to review prior to voting. If you’re nominated by somebody else, the Co-Chair will contact you for permission to place your candidacy on the ticket.

Voting will open on Monday 4th March and run until Friday 15th March 2024. The elected members will be announced in late March and will assume office at the AGM in April 2024.

If you have any questions about the Steering Committee or the process of elections, please e-mail us at womensclassicalcommittee [at] gmail.com.

Letter to UKRI regarding suspension of EDI advisory board

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Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser

Chief Executive, UKRI

14 November 2023

Dear Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser,

 As organisations devoted to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion within the field of Classics in the UK, the Women’s Classical Committee and the Council of University Classics Departments EDI Committee write to express our deep concern at the decision of UKRI to suspend its EDI advisory board as of October 30th 2023, following criticism of two of its members by the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology. 

This decision is deeply concerning on several grounds: not only the public criticism, and misrepresentation, of two named individuals without regard for due process or the welfare of the academics concerned, but also the wider implications for academic freedom – including the freedom to award research funding and carry out research without political interference, and the right to freedom of expression. Furthermore, the suspension of the entire advisory board based on critique against two of its members is an unjustifiable move and alarmingly calls into question UKRI’s commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion within UK academic research.

We ask you to immediately reinstate the EDI advisory board and reaffirm your commitment to both advancing EDI in UK academia and protecting academic freedom.

Yours,

Women’s Classical Committee UK

AGM 2023: Announcement and CfP

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce its 2023 Annual General Meeting, ‘Resistance‘, on Friday 5th May 2023. The AGM will be held in a hybrid format: please register for the event on Eventbrite. If you select to attend via Zoom, you will receive details closer to the date.

People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC UK’s aims are welcome to attend this event. Further details are available here. Around the website you can also find more information on the Women’s Classical Committee UK, including our aims and activities and how to join.

Location

The event will be a hybrid, in person and over Zoom. We will meet at 70 Oxford Street, Manchester Metropolitan University. You may know this as the ‘Cornerhouse’ cinema’, which was a staple of Manchester’s creative and independent arts and arthouse cinema scene in the 1980s-2010s. 

The building is distinctive and just a few minutes’ walk from Manchester Oxford Road station (or a short taxi/tram ride from Manchester Piccadilly Station). 

Schedule

9.30am: Welcome and housekeeping

10am: Business meeting

11am: Coffee break in local coffee shop or at home

11.30am: Keynote panel discussion – Resistance. This will include a group discussion

1pm: Lunch in local eatery or at gine

2pm: Spotlight talks

Adam Aderman (Manchester Metropolitan University): ‘Psychology and trauma in the Roman Empire’ 

Benjamin Wilck (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem): ‘How to use a definition in scientific proof: Euclid’s model’

Ville Vuolanto (University of Tampere and Manchester Centre for Youth Studies): ‘Martha, a seller of fish in Roman Egypt’

Francesca Fulminante (University of Bristol): ‘Gender stereotypes in antiquity’

3pm: Coffee break in local coffee shop or at home

3.30pm: Get to know the WCC – discussion on further directions

4.30pm: Wrap up and close

Spotlight talks – call for papers

We are reserving time during the day’s schedule for a series of short (five-minute) spotlight talks by delegates. Through this session, we hope to provide a chance for delegates to share projects, experiences or research connected to the WCC UK’s aims. We are particularly interested in talks that address the AGM’s theme of resistance; that highlight new, feminist, intersectional and gender-informed work in Classics, ancient history, classical reception or pedagogy (inside and outside the university sector); and that feature new work by postgraduate students and early career researchers. If you would like more information or to volunteer to give one of these talks, please e-mail Liz Gloyn (totelinlm at cardiff.ac.uk). The deadline for expressing interest was noon on Wednesday 19th April.

Please feel free to pass on this CFP to anyone you think may be interested in participating or saving the date.

Child-friendly policy

The Women’s Classical Committee UK is committed to making our events as inclusive as possible, and recognises that the financial and practical challenges of childcare often impede people from participating in workshops and conferences. Anyone who needs to bring a dependent child or children with them in order to participate in one of our events is usually welcome to do so, but we ask you to inform us of this in advance so that we can take them into account in our event planning and risk assessment. The safety and well-being of any children brought to our events remain at all times the responsibility of the parent or carer. While we do our best to ensure that rest and changing facilities are available for those who may need them, this will depend on the individual venue we are using. Again, please contact us in advance to discuss your needs, and we will do our best to accommodate them.

WCC UK Wins Prestigious Award

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is delighted to have been awarded Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year prize for their initiative #WCCWiki. #WCCWiki is an example of successful community activism, where volunteers come together regularly to improve the representation of classicists who identify as women and non-binary on Wikipedia. Classics is very broadly conceived, including historians, archaeologists, theorists, translators, poets, and others who work on the ancient world. Wikimedia UK, the organisation that runs Wikipedia, have recognised #WCCWiki’s fantastic work in transforming the online representation of classicists and helping to challenge Wikipedia’s intractable gender gap.

One of our most prolific and dedicated #WCCWiki members, Lucy Moore, has been doubly recognised by Wikimedia UK as Wikimedian of the Year. The award celebrates Lucy’s tireless editing to improve Wikimedia’s diversity and inclusion as a platform, across class, gender, disability and race. Lucy is an excellent role model, both in her dedication and in her combination of professional academic and curatorial activities, and Wikimedia work.

Before #WCCWiki started, women and non-binary people, historical and contemporary, in classics were a largely unrepresented online demographic. An estimate in 2016 found that only 7% of biographies of classicists on Wikipedia featured women. #WCCWiki has held 62 editathons since then, shifting to online events during the pandemic. #WCCWiki has created or edited more than 600 Wikipedia pages, including path-breaking foremothers who were only referred to on their husbands’ pages, such as Dr Miriam T. Griffin, Dr Annie Ure, and Professor Leslie Brubaker. As of July 2021, 17.7% of the total of classicists’ biographies on Wikipedia now feature women. With every month, the proportion of Wikipedia biographies featuring classicists who identify as women or non-binary continues to increase.

The pace of change means that, on average every other day, a page for a woman or non-binary classicist is created or edited. Expanded, inclusive categorisation allows #WCCWiki to increase our scope, creating and editing pages for historians and writers working on later periods, such as Professor Olivette Otele, Dr Sadiah Qureshi, and Nikita Gill. #WCCWiki articles have featured regularly on Wikipedia’s front page and an increasing number have achieved Good Article status. #WCCWiki has collaborated successfully with other organisations that aim to improve diversity and inclusion on Wikimedia, including the Wikiproject Women in Red and Medieval Wiki, and #WCCWiki has received valuable support from Wikimedia UK in running events.

But despite the huge effort of #WCCWiki, the scale of the problem means that the overall percentage of pages for classicists that feature women is still only around 20%, which is consistent with Wikipedia’s wider gender bias where pages for women are outnumbered 5:1 by pages for men. The #WCCWiki Wikidata Redlist records 2,700+ women classicists that still do not have pages. Women and non-binary classicists who have made significant contributions to the field still lack proper representation online. #WCCWiki will continue to inspire volunteers and spread the message about the importance of inclusion and diversity online for as long as necessary, and we gladly anticipate when this work is obsolete. 

By Victoria Leonard, WCC founding member, former co-chair, and steering committee member, and #WCCWiki organiser

For further information, please see:

The #WCCWiki Project Page here

#WCCWiki on Twitter

Assemblywomen: Call for Postgraduate Intern 

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Assemblywomen is the video-journal of the Women’s Classical Committee, which is hosted on the WCC’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/WomensClassicalCommitteeUK). It provides an online, open-access platform to disseminate research about women and gender in the ancient world (broadly conceived, including receptions of women in the ancient world). The aim of the journal is to promote new research, presented in an innovative way, that will appeal to both scholars and the general public.

We are currently seeking a postgraduate student to join the editorial team for a fixed period of 12 months. The intern will work with the members of the editorial board on all aspects of the journal and be given the opportunity to take submissions from pitch through to publication, with direct support from the editorial team. This may involve soliciting pitches (through regular calls and direct contact), reading and responding to pitches, assisting in the development of ideas, organising peer-review for video essay scripts, organising captioning of finished videos, providing advice and assistance to video editing (where appropriate), and promoting the journal.

Candidates should be either working towards a PhD in classics, ancient history, archaeology or a cognate discipline or have equivalent experience in a relevant industry (e.g. junior  professionals in museums, heritage, or in archaeology units) and have a research interest in women and/or gender, and an interest in promoting and upholding the aims of the WCC. All other things being equal, preference will be given to WCC members. The role description for editors is included below, the intern will be expected to work towards this role over the 12-month tenure but is not expected to undertake this role unsupervised from appointment.

About the Journal

Assemblywomen is an innovative avenue for the dissemination of research on women and gender in the ancient world published by the Women’s Classical Committee UK. The journal publishes both ‘pre-print’ and peer-reviewed work in video format on YouTube. All content is therefore open access, and available to be used in a variety of settings including in the classroom. It will present current scholarly research in an engaging and accessible way, and is therefore suitable not only for professional scholars, but also for undergraduates and a general audience. The journal presents one issue per year, with content published on a rolling basis, as soon as possible following acceptance.

The video-journal will accept three types of submission:

  1. Video Essays. These are 10-20 minute video essays, the scripts of which will have been peer reviewed prior to filming and publication on the site
  2. ‘Work-in-Progress Shorts’. These will be 5-15 minute videos of work in progress, these are conceived as less formal as video essays and provide an opportunity for ‘pre-print’ sharing of ideas and conversations
  3. Responses, these may either be to video essays or work in progress shorts that have been published on the site, or to wider debates within the field and will be 5-10 minutes in length

Expressions of Interest 

If you are interested in applying for one of the positions please forward a brief expression of interest of no more than one page and CV to Ellie (ellie.roberts@kcl.ac.uk). Letters should include a short summary of your research interests, a statement of why you are interested in joining the editorial team, and any experience you think may be useful for the position. Some knowledge of video editing and/or YouTube will be an advantage but is not required. Informal inquiries can be directed to Ellie at the above email address. 

Editor Role Description

  • Work with contributors, peer reviewers, and the editorial board to ensure the content of the journal reflects the breadth and depth of work on women and gender in the ancient world
  • Uphold a commitment to compassionate and constructive support for contributors throughout the pitch and review process
  • Work with contributors to refine pitches to ensure that finished videos have the highest chance of acceptance
  • Where necessary, commission contributions for individual videos and short series of videos with interconnected themes
  • Liaise with the editorial team and the steering committee of the WCC to ensure the smooth running and development of the journal
  • Represent the journal at conferences and workshops where appropriate, and develop the profile of the journal

Expressions of interest should be received by Monday, October 3rd.