This week’s guest post comes from Hannah Morrish, an actor and screenwriter who has among other things played a number of roles in Shakespeare’s classical plays, about her latest project.
Ceres is a short film, currently in development, that tells the story of a daughter seeking refuge from her abusive relationship at the home of her estranged mother. It follows their attempt to reconnect, and move forward, before the daughter’s inevitable decision to return to what she knows. But now with earth underneath her fingernails.
The film is a modern retelling of the myth of Ceres and Proserpina, a film about mothers, daughters, regrowth, and the complexities of abuse.
I grew attached to the myth while working on it as an actor at the RSC, at a time when I found myself having frequent conversations with friends and colleagues about their experiences with coercive-controlling relationships.
Ceres uses the roots of the myth to look at the everyday shadows of emotional abuse, the far-reaching effects it has on those close to the victim, and the near-impossibility of extricating oneself from its hold.
Set in modern-day suburban Norfolk, this fifteen-minute film is about the subtle psychological movements that can often only take place in safe female spaces.
This section of Ted Hughes’ translation of the Proserpina myth is the essence of the film:
From this day, Proserpina,
The goddess who shares both kingdoms, divides her year
Between her husband in hell, among spectres,
And her mother on earth, among flowers.
Her nature, too, is divided. One moment
Gloomy as hell’s king, but the next
Bright as the sun’s mass, bursting through clouds.
The Rape of Proserpina, Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes
The film will be directed by Amelia Sears and the parts of Ceres and Proserpina will be played by Juliet Stevenson and myself respectively. Due to the subject matter of the film, we aim to assemble an all female, trans, and non-binary crew for the shoot.
Ceres aims to shed light on the nuances and complexities of emotional abuse, the scars left on women that can’t be seen, and the female connections that help to bring women back to themselves.
We are currently in the fundraising stages of production with one week to go to reach our goal. If this film and the subject matter resonate with you, and you felt like supporting in any way, or indeed sharing with others, you can find more information on Kickstarter.
Following the WCC UK 2021 AGM, we have a number of vacancies for liaisons on the steering committee. Liaison posts are voluntary positions with a renewable term of two years.
Each liaison officer is a person whom members can contact as a first port of call when needing information, advice or further direction. Their duties are as follows:
Advocate for the specific group they represent at all WCC UK events and Steering Committee meetings.
Ensure specific issues relevant to their group are foregrounded as appropriate.
Play a role in organising events specifically focused on the interests of that group.
Work proactively rather than reactively to represent the needs of their group.
Work with the support of the co-chairs and the steering committee rather than having sole responsibility for action, particularly on difficult issues like those around race and discrimination.
Encourage others to become active in the WCC UK.
The following positions are vacant as of the 2021 AGM:
Ethnic minorities liaison: This liaison is responsible for making sure issues concerning BAME classicists are heard on the steering committee. Sukanya Rai-Sharma is currently in post; we would welcome a second ethnic minorities liaison to share the load.
LBGT liaison: This liaison is responsible for making sure issues concerning LBGT+ classicists are heard on the steering committee. This position is currently vacant.
Disability liaison: This liaison is responsible for making sure that issues concerning disabled colleagues are heard on the steering committee. Eris Reed-Williams is currently in post; we would welcome a second disability liaison to share the load.
PhD liaison: This liaison is responsible for making sure the voice of PhD students is heard on the steering committee. Kate Caraway is currently in post; we would welcome a second PhD liaison to share the load.
ECR liaison: This liaison is responsible for making sure the voice of ECR colleagues is heard on the steering committee. Rhiannon Easterbrook is currently in post; we would welcome a second ECR liaison to share the load.
Schools liaison: This liaison is responsible for representing the needs and interests of school teachers in steering committee discussions. This position is currently vacant.
Website and social media: To provide content and oversight of the WCC UK’s Facebook and Twitter account, and to help manage the WCC UK website. Supports the Administrator. To help create a larger team handling the WCC UK’s social media presence.
If you are interested in finding out more about being a liaison or in taking up a liaison role, please get in touch via womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.
The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce its 2021 Annual General Meeting, ‘Care and Caring‘, on Friday 14th May 2021. The AGM will be held via Zoom: please register for the event on Eventbrite and you will be sent details of how to join the meeting.
People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC’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.
9.15am: Room opens; welcome and housekeeping.
9.30am: Business meeting
10.30am: Coffee break
11am: Keynote – Véronique Dasen (University of Fribourg) – “Amulets and Women’s Agency: Heracles and Omphale, a Knotted Life”.
1pm: Spotlight talks
Lenia Kouneni – (Re)Introducing Greek embroidery in Classical Reception studies.
Jennifer Stager – Towards an archaeology of care
Helen Tank – Motherhood as a colonised concept: an ancient perspective
1.50pm: Screen break
2pm: Break-out discussion rooms on the theme of care. Each group will be given the same prompts to begin discussion.
3pm: Wrap-up and close
Spotlight talks – call for papers – now closed
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 care and caring; 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 (liz.gloyn at rhul.ac.uk). The deadline for expressing interest was 5pm on Monday 3rd May.
Please feel free to pass on this CFP to anyone you think may be interested in participating or saving the date.
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.
We’re looking for our next Administrator! Our current Administrator, Dr. Liz Gloyn, intends to step down from her post at the 2022 AGM; we are looking for someone interested in taking over the role from April/May 2022 so that they have the opportunity to shadow Liz and get familiar with how the administrative side of the WCC UK works. The Administrator currently serves a five year term; the role is voluntary. We welcome all enquiries and expressions of interest.
Click below the cut to see a detailed role description of what the Administrator currently does. If you’d like to discuss this opportunity in more detail or volunteer for the position, please drop us a line at womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.
The Women’s Classical Committee UK is very pleased to launch the Caring in Classics Network. The Network aims to support people of all genders and at all career stages who are affected by caring. This includes, but is not limited to, care for older people, care for younger people, children, and infants, care for disabled people, and kinship care. Whilst COVID-19 has impacted on every country in the world, the pandemic is not universally experienced. Stark inequalities experienced by those who provide or receive care have been revealed by the pandemic, which has worsened existing disadvantages. The Network aims to provide support particularly during, but also beyond, the pandemic.
The Network has created a new WCC UK policy document, Guidelines for Supporting Carers and Organising Events. It is available for download here. These guidelines are designed to assist those who are organising conferences and other events to support those participating in events who have or are affected by caring responsibilities. The provision of support for those with caring responsibilities is a central strategy for ensuring gender diversity and inclusion.
The Network is organising regular and online ‘coffee-hour’ style meet-ups for members of the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) who are affected by care to come together in an informal and private community setting.
The next Caring in Classics Network Meet-up will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 24 February, 15.00-16.00 GMT. Please email victoria.leonard at coventry.ac.uk for details of how to join the meeting. The time and date of the meetings will not be within a set pattern in order to maximise attendance. There will be break-out rooms available within the meeting, depending on attendance numbers.
The Network is led by Ellie Mackin Roberts, Adrastos Omissi, Rosalind Janssen, and Victoria Leonard. If you would like to get more involved with the Network, please email womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.
These guidelines are designed to assist those who are organising conferences and other events to support those participating in events who have or are affected by caring responsibilities. The provision of support for those with caring responsibilities is a central strategy for ensuring gender diversity and inclusion. People of all genders and at all career stages can be affected by a range of caring issues, touching on care for older people, care for younger people, children, and infants, care for disabled people, and kinship care. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the issues and obstacles faced by those with caring responsibilities, and we hope that the Guidelines will be particularly beneficial in addressing this urgent imbalance.
The guidelines encourage event organisers and institutions to take three steps in providing support for those with caring responsibilities: 1. think and plan; 2. reach out; and 3. support. Whilst these guidelines have been developed primarily for the Classics community, they are more widely relevant across higher education in the UK and beyond.
We encourage you to download the guidance, direct people to it, send it to people you think will benefit from it, and use it yourself.
This document is an evolving work-in-progress that will be updated to reflect best practice. If you have any thoughts or feedback, please do e-mail us at: womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.
The Women’s Classical Committee UK is organising an event aimed at mid-career scholars, to be held on Thursday 7th January 2021 on Zoom. We anticipate that the event will run from 10am to 1pm; should national lockdowns or other circumstances intervene, we will liaise with registered attendees to establish the most convenient alternative timing on that day.
The Women’s Classical Committee UK run a mid-career event annually to help colleagues in open-ended employment 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. We anticipate that any discussion will inevitably include consideration of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all these issues. 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.
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.
The WCC UK is pleased to announce a series of webinars featuring classics editors from book presses and journals, who will demystify the publication process and answer questions live. This is a free pre-lunch hour webinar from 11am to noon (GMT) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (We will confer with speakers about recording their talks). This series has been organised by Manu Dal Borgo and Cressida Ryan, the WCC UK’s mentoring officers, in response to our members’ requests for more support around publishing, and to provide some support which might address concerns around women submitting less work for publication in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the appointment of Dr. Christine Plastow as Treasurer of the WCC UK, we are now looking for a Mentoring Officer to take over our mentoring programme. The Mentoring Officer is a liaison position; office holders volunteer for a renewable two year term.
Taking up the role of the WCC UK’s Mentoring Officer involves administrating the Committee’s three mentoring schemes:
Short term Mentoring Scheme
The Short-term Mentoring Scheme offers focused support around a specific issue for a fixed period. We maintain a database of mentors who are able to offer guidance on particular topics. The scheme runs year round. Administrating the scheme involves:
assigning mentees to an appropriate mentor within two weeks of application
confirming with mentors that they wish to remain on the rota on an annual basis
putting out a call for new mentors periodically as mentors cycle off the rota
Co-mentoring Triad Scheme
The Co-mentoring Triad Scheme offers reciprocal support over the course of one academic year. The scheme runs annually. Administrating the scheme involves:
putting out a call for applicants to the scheme in late August/September
grouping triads and putting them in touch with each other in September, and circulating guidance for the mentoring relationship
soliciting feedback from the participants in the following August
Take a Grad Student to Lunch Scheme
The ‘Take a Grad Student to Lunch’ Scheme offers focused, one-off support for MA and PhD students, and occurs annually at the Classical Association Conference. Administrating the scheme involves:
putting out a call for mentors and mentees 12 weeks before the CA Conference
matching mentors and mentees 6 weeks before the conference
soliciting feedback from participants after the conference
fielding mentoring queries throughout the year, particularly directing applicants towards the appropriate scheme
using participant feedback to develop and improve the schemes
preparing reports for the WCC UK Steering Committee
attending WCC UK Steering Committee meetings if available
The role is focused on email correspondence and maintaining (very small) databases and lists of participants, as well as keeping an eye on scheme deadlines. It would suit someone oriented towards detail who wants to feel they are doing something concrete to help the WCC UK community. If you have any questions about the role, please contact the outgoing mentoring officer, Christine Plastow, at christine.plastow at open.ac.uk.
We note that the the Research Excellence Framework 2021 has invited nominating bodies to make further nominations to REF sub-panels, and that a new deadline for making such nominations has now been set. We ask candidates who seek nomination to the REF Classics sub-panel by the Women’s Classical Committee UK to provide answers to the questions below (in brief bullet points) by Friday 31st July 2020, and to send them to the WCC UK’s Administrator, Liz Gloyn, at womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com. The questions mirror those asked in the HEFCE nomination form, with the addition of Q6 which is specific to the WCC UK.
The sub-panel seek nominations in the following areas:
Subpanel member (practicing researcher) with expertise in ancient philosophy
Subpanel member (practicing researcher) with expertise in Language, Linguistics and Literature (with particular expertise in the early Aegean)
Impact assessor from the heritage sector with a focus on classical antiquity
Impact assessor from the museums sector with a focus on classical antiquity
A specialist advisor in the Ancient Near East: language & textual sources
A specialist advisor in Ancient (Pharaonic) Egypt: language & textual sources –
A specialist advisor in Modern Greek: history and culture
We will be making nomination decisions based on the published HEFCE criteria (captured in these questions), with the additional criterion that your nomination should further the WCC UK’s aims (for which see question 6). We will evaluate candidates of all genders according to the same criteria. We note that at present, of the 14 current members of sub-panel 29, 10 are women; we will be taking this gender imbalance and its implications for unequal distribution of the service workload into consideration in our nominations. The WCC UK will avoid nominating from institutions already represented on the sub-panel wherever possible.
1. Do you have previous REF panel experience? Give details.
2. What modern languages are you able to assess in?
3. Would you have any major conflicts of interest in regard to your current or former employment, substantial collaborations, family and friends, and, financial interests? See Annex D for further details.
4. What are your areas of expertise, including (if applicable) experience in wider use and benefits of research?
5. Outline which specific role you are nominating yourself for and provide evidence in support of your nomination (e.g. key achievements and academic appointments; esteem indicators such as editorial posts; experience of research management, commissioning, using or benefitting from research; experience of leading/managing/practising interdisciplinary research; experience of peer review, research quality standards, or of evaluating impact, benefits, or quality of research).
6. How will your appointment to the sub-panel help to advance WCC UK’s published aims? Our aims are:
Support women* in classics**
Promote feminist and gender-informed perspectives in classics
Raise the profile of the study of women in antiquity and classical reception
Advance equality and diversity in classics
* By ‘women’ we include all those who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women.
** By ‘classics’ we understand the study of the ancient Mediterranean world and its reception, including but not limited to scholarship by students and post-holders in academic departments of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology.