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WCC ECR Research Dissemination Workshop: Notes

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On Friday, the 10th of July 2020, the WCC UK hosted its annual early career research event, focusing on the dissemination of research. As the event was held entirely online, the organisers have provided notes for the various sessions as well as links for further resources on the topics discussed.

Live tweets from the event can be found at #WCCECR.

There are two playlists of videos for the event that can be found on the WCC UK’s YouTube channel: presentations and spotlight talks.

Publishing journal articles Q&A (Carol Atack)

Useful links:
List of Classics journals with submission instructions
Not-for-profit open-access repository site for sharing publications
ORCID sign up for a digital ID to identify you as an author across different platforms
Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society: distributes payments to members when UK-published articles are copied or books are borrowed from public libraries
WCC short-term mentoring scheme may be a useful resource to consult a mentor about specific issues relating to publishing an article

Key discussion points:

  • things to consider in turning a (section of a) PhD chapter or a conference presentation in a journal article
    • length!
    • tone (e.g. if a very conversational oral presentation)
    • specificity – e.g. a very broad lit review may be needed for a thesis chapter, should be more closely tied to precise topic of article. (If the lit review is outside of your specialist area, consult colleagues from that area for help!)
    • number of footnotes – long discursive notes that are necessary in a thesis can often be cut from articles
  • it’s fine to publish articles from your PhD before submission, though do consider how these may overlap with an eventual book (cf. monograph publishing below)
  • articles sent back for ‘revise and resubmit’ can still get published! NB these can take two routes – can be sent back to the same reviewers or to a different set; the latter case is going to be more like an initial submission than the former
  • if you receive a really unfair review, engage with the editor on it; taking it to an advisor or mentor to see how to proceed/respond is also a good idea
  • for multilingual authors, it’s a good idea to publish in a mixture of English and other language(s)

Publishing trade monographs talk (Issy Wilkinson)

Useful links:
Society of Authors: support and advice for authors

Key discussion points:

  • trade publishing aims at a general audience, with books marketed widely
  • two main kinds of relevant trade publication: narrative non-fiction (60-90,000 words) and illustrated non-fiction (25-50,000 words; more pictures!)
  • ways to find a publisher: go bookshopping! talk to independent booksellers, talk to colleagues
  • should you have an agent? they advocate/negotiate for you, but getting one without a completed MS is tricky; you’ll need to self-represent to get a book deal before MS completion. Small publishers are more likely to accept MSS without agents.
  • things editors will consider when commissioning a trade book: why publish this now? who is the audience? what are the competitor publications?
  • you can approach editors directly; they may also commission books based on previous publications, journalism, public events, social media…keep profiles up-to-date!
  • book proposal should be succinct and direct, specifying audience (age, what shops they visit, what else they read…). check out what books are bestsellers in your area. tone should be similar to that of a cover blurb. and personalise your emails to the editor you’re writing to!
  • remember in trade publishing deadlines are REAL 

Publishing trade and academic monographs Q&A (Issy Wilkinson and Michael Sharp)

Trade-specific points

  • IW tries to find new/less-published authors – maybe half of her authors are ECRs; specialism is more important than experience
  • market for ebooks is increasing for narrative non-fiction, but not for illustrated, and in general hard-copy sales are not being pushed out by ebooks
  • point at which contracts are issued varies – may be based on just an initial proposal, or on a complete MS
  • deadlines are firmer and turnarounds quicker in trade publishing than academic: a couple of years is really the maximum time between agreement and publication. other commitments can be factored in when making agreement, but timing is just less flexible
  • the key difference is that trade books are not new research, which is what takes most of the time for academic publications
  • co-authorship can lighten the workload or lead to its own issues; it’s more common to have multiple contributors to a volume with a single main editor

Academic-specific points

  • for the ‘thesis book’ – it’s worth embargoing your thesis if it’s deposited in an online repository as some presses will not publish it if it’s freely available (not CUP – MS regards the book as sufficiently different from the thesis that it doesn’t matter – you will need to revise it for publication anyway!)
  • for the ‘second book’, most people approach a publisher with an idea, perhaps with some related articles published. a good first book plus strong proposal including sample chapters can lead to a provisional contract before the MS is completed
  • NB contracts for first-time authors often specify that publisher is to be given first refusal on the author’s second book
  • publishers may issue a ‘letter of interest’ if needed for e.g. applications – this will come after some input from readers, enough for editor to know they are interested, but is not a commitment to publish as a contract is
  • generally a contract is only issued after a full MS is submitted (though no need to have fully sorted out e.g. conforming to house style at this stage)
  • authors who are not in academic jobs are just as welcome to publish as those who are; time-frames can be flexible (deadline specified in agreement can be up to 4-5 years away; to allow for longer timeframe it’s possible to wait until later in writing process before making agreement)
  • co-authorship is the exception, not the norm, for monographs (as opposed to edited volumes)

General

  • you can include work previously published e.g. as articles or book chapters – rule of thumb is something like up to 1/3 (academic) or half (trade) of the complete work.
  • Agreements with article/chapter publishers should mean you are able to re-use your own content in the book, though you may need to notify them
  • pros/cons of trade vs academic publishing: trade books have larger reach, potential greater impact; but may be less of a contribution to ECR academic CV

Research plans for job and funding applications Q&A (Naoise Mac Sweeney and James Clackson)

Key discussion points

  • Start looking for postdoc jobs/funding early – you never know when e.g. the perfect postdoc will come up – but final year of PhD is when to start seriously applying
  • If you know of people who are applying for/have got project funding in your area, by all means get in touch to ask about opportunities even if formal job ads not yet published
  • post-PhD projects should be connected to your PhD but new — e.g. expand outwards to a bigger topic; transfer the question to a different dataset/context; comparative analysis
  • When writing research plans, show drafts to as many people as possible — including non-specialists (especially for funding applications and JRFs); ask to see previous successful (or unsuccessful!) applications
  • You can use current trends/debates to make your research topical for an interdisciplinary committee – but remember research doesn’t always need to be topical, just to matter to your particular discipline
  • Ditto, if you can show an impact on adjacent fields of research, do – but a single project doesn’t need to do everything: sell it on its own strengths
  • When writing for people outside your own discipline, tell them what the current debate is, what your contribution to this is, why it matters
  • Job applications imply an applicant needs to do everything – you can’t tell from them what criteria are actually key for a particular department’s. Look at department members/activities, esp those on interview panel – e.g. for impact, look at previous REF submissions (environment statement, impact case-studies) – different departments will have different focuses on e.g. media work vs local community engagement
  • When choosing an institution for a funding application, the most important thing is the benefit to your own research, rather than strategy about e.g. how many previous grants they’ve won
  • As well as individual research, research plans can certainly include things like organising a conference/journal special issue/edited volume. Make sure these include a proper research output from you – ie a paper and/or intro/conclusion with substantial research content, not just a summary of contents
  • Value of (published or proposed) trade publications in applications varies – for a job it can be a plus, showing wider impact/knowledge transmission/communication with wider audience; less so for a research grant. More traditional institutions can still see trade books as less ‘serious’ than academic.
  • Ditto other forms of wider communication like blogging, running workshops, etc – the system has not yet figured out how to properly value things like this. Academic publications should still be the priority. NB that people interviewing you will look at your social media if you have it.
  • Differences between applications for jobs and funding:
    • for a job, it’s about the whole person, not just the research project; but can be harder to sell interdisciplinary work in a job app than a funding proposal
    • Proposing to spend time on turning PhD thesis into a book is fine in a job application, not for a funding application – these expect to fund new research

BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers Q&A (John Gallagher)

  • Application: pitch for a radio show plus review of recent cultural item
  • Pitch for show should be based on your research but potentially broadened in scope (e.g. JG’s was about phrasebooks – his area of research – but expanded beyond early modern period)
  • Review: good idea to review something unrelated to your research – showing breadth/range (e.g. JG reviewed a recent novel). Subject doesn’t have to be “highbrow”!
  • Anyone at an AHRC-funded institution (including e.g. cultural heritage orgs as well as unis) is eligible to apply; no previous media experience required but having some definitely isn’t a disqualifier
  • 60-person shortlist -> workshops in groups of 20 with BBC producers and AHRC people; talks, workshopping and delivering pitches and answering questions on them (e.g. unpicking jargon, backing up big claims, giving examples – reacting on your feet is what’s important), simulated radio show discussion
  • Just because there’s already a high-profile person who’s often in the media talking about your area doesn’t mean you can’t apply/won’t be successful – aim in first instance is to create interesting programmes rather than finding new ‘go-to’ people in particular topics
  • Benefits of programme – as well as the obvious media exposure, there are benefits in expanding presentation skills (helpful for teaching!), answering the ‘so what’ questions about research, and definite CV benefits
  • Question about support provided for dealing with potential harassment arising from media exposure, especially as e.g. a woman or person of colour. JG has experienced a lot of discussion around potentially sensitive subjects, but not so much about protection of individuals; senses that producers are increasingly aware of this as an issue but the support mechanisms are not necessarily very strong. But NB a social media presence is not required either for application or if successful.

Knowledge exchange projects (Emma Cole)

Useful Links:
South West Creative Technology Network mailing list
Pervasive Media Studios newsletter
Bristol and Bath creative R&D
Creative Clusters Programme

Key discussion points:

  • Possible starting-points: local meet-ups, mailing lists/networking events for organisations you might want to collaborate with
  • When setting up a collaboration, be clear on IP ownership, and who has control over which elements of the project — best to have elements where the timeline is under your own control in case of external delays affecting your research/publications from project.
    • Consult uni legal teams for advice on contracts, NDAs, etc. Note that universities will often want to control IP.
  • Start small and build up – e.g. having an existing collaboration (with seed money, or even unfunded) can help gain larger-scale funding to scale up the project
  • Ditto in job applications – existing projects with room for growth and potential to attract further funding are attractive
  • Institutional backing can help – e.g. some funding opportunities are only available to those with (permanent) uni jobs – but there’s also a freedom to explore possibilities when not on a permanent/research contract
  • consider that you may wish to borrow research methods from other disciplines when involved in KE but that you’ll have to explain clearly how you’ve adapted them
  • there could be all kinds of ways you could participate in KE – let your imagination run wild!

Other useful resources:
Classicists’ PDF Society (Discord)

WCC UK Call for Blog Posts

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The Women’s Classical Committee (UK) is pleased to issue an open-ended call for members to contribute to the WCC UK blog. This aim is two-fold: to increase the use and readership of the blog, and to promote the work of our membership.

We welcome submissions on a range of topics including (but not limited to):

  • your research
  • pedagogy
  • current topics in academia / schools / other fields related to Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology broadly defined
  • issues relevant to the aims of the WCC UK
  • personal stories or experiences
  • book reviews
  • public engagement or outreach activities
  • any other topic you wish to write about

Blog posts should be in a range of 800-1500 words. Light touch editing may be carried out by members of the social media team. Posts can be anonymised. If you are interested in contributing to the blog on any topic, please contact womensclassicalcommittee@gmail.com with a brief description of the topic you wish to write about and a time frame for when you expect to complete the post.

#WCCWiki Colloquium 2020

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The first #WCCWiki Colloquium will be held on 29 July 2020 from 10.00am to 3.15pm. #WCCWiki is a crowd-sourced initiative that aims to increase the representation of women classicists (very broadly conceived) on Wikipedia. Since we began in 2016, we have edited or created more than 450 Wikipedia pages for women classicists. For more information, please visit our Project Page.

The event is an opportunity to bring the #WCCWiki community together, and to reach out to those interested in learning more about women classicists online and why that’s important. We will share experiences and resources for editing, and develop future objectives for #WCCWiki.

The colloquium will be hosted online by the Institute of Classical Studies. This event is free and open to all but places are limited and booking is essential. Booking information can be found on the ICS website.

#WCCWiki Colloquium Schedule
Emma Bridges: moderator
Adam Parker: moderator
Valerie James: technical assistance on Zoom

10-10.15: Introduction, Victoria Leonard: what is #WCCWiki, why is it important, how you can get involved (15 minutes)
10.15-10.25: Emma Bridges, technical introduction to the event (10 minutes)
10.25-10.30: Talk 1, Richard Nevell: data and statistics (5 minutes)
10.30-10.45: Discussion (15 minutes)
10.45-10.50: BREAK (5 minutes)
10.50-11.05: Talk 2, Kelly Foster: Race and Wikipedia (15 minutes)
11.05-11.25: Discussion (20 mins)
11.25-11.40: Break (15 minutes)
11.40-12.15 Discussion: technical Wikipedia editing how-to and skills share – bring your queries! Ie., how do I make an infobox? How do I get images online?
12.15-1.15: LUNCH
1.15-1.25: Talk 3, Adam Parker: Notability (10 minutes)
1.25-1.35: Talk 4, Kate Cook: Achieving good article status (10 minutes)
1.45-2.05: Discussion (20 mins)
2.05-2.10: Break (5 minutes)
2.10.2.25: Talk 5, Miller Power: LGBTQ+ (15 minutes)
2.25-2.45: Discussion (20 minutes)
2.45-2.50: Break (5 minutes)
2.50-3.10: Final discussion: round-up and future directions (20 mins)

Organised by Richard Nevell, Emma Bridges, Katie Shields, Anna Judson, Victoria Leonard, Kate Cook, and Adam Parker

WCC UK emergency grants Round 2 June 2020

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Following the first round of emergency grants offered in April 2020, the Women’s Classical Committee UK can offer a further round of emergency grants, thanks to support from our members and from the Classical Association. In this round we can offer emergency grants of up to £100 per applicant to UK-based applicants; we hope to make an initial distribution at the end of June 2020.

We encourage applications from early-career researchers and unfunded or partially funded graduate students in financial need due to the pandemic crisis and lock-down, including those whose fixed-term employment or funding expires at the end of this academic year. We also encourage any classicist in need to apply, including those working in classics-related creative arts and performance. This scheme is available to all classicists regardless of gender or affiliation with the WCC UK.

We are also keen to support unfunded and unsalaried student applicants who have lost paid work (both academic and non-academic) on which they relied for living expenses as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, especially those who are falling through gaps in government schemes or who have not been given emergency funding by their institutions.

To apply for this funding, please email carolatack@gmail.com by 30 June 2020 with the following information:

  • Your current course, including year (eg 2nd year doctoral student in Classical Archaeology), or job title (eg Teaching Fellow).
  • Your current or most recent institutional affiliation.
  • Brief details of your situation: please tell us something about your situation along the following lines (these notes are not exhaustive):
    – ‘had departmental funding for MA fees, self-funding for living expenses, no income now from zero-hours coffee shop job at xxx, applied for universal credit/government support programme xxx’;
    – ‘in final unfunded year of PhD and now no hourly-paid teaching work for final term of year’;
    – ‘recent PhD graduate; working with theatre company but now all performances cancelled, laid off from paid work and hourly-paid teaching cancelled’.
  • If you have applied for or received emergency funding from other schemes, or from your department or institution, please let us know; this will not affect your application for this scheme, but will help us gain a better understanding of the varying support offered by different institutions.
  • If you are able to email from your institutional email account (ie. @xxx.ac.uk address), please do so, though if this is likely to expire soon please include your personal email address too.

Applications will be reviewed quickly, by a small team of WCC UK committee members; all details will be treated as confidential. Payments will be made by bank transfer to UK bank accounts. Applicants who have received funding in the previous WCC UK round, as well as from schemes offered by other organisations including New Classicists and Sportula Europe, are welcome to apply to this round of WCC UK grants as well.

WCC UK ECR Research Dissemination Workshop

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce the full programme for its online ECR event on Friday 10 July. Designed for early-career and postgraduate researchers in Classics, Archaeology, Ancient History, and other fields relating to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world and its reception, the aim of this online workshop is to provide
information and opportunities for discussion on both traditional and non-traditional forms of reaching out with research.

The majority of presentations will be pre-recorded, and will be available to watch on the WCC UK’s YouTube channel from a week in advance of the live event; they can also be watched on the day during the breaks between live sessions. Two other presentations will be given live, immediately before their respective Q&A sessions, all of which will take place over Zoom. Live events will not be recorded but a written summary of the information and
resources shared will be published after the event.

We also plan to offer 5-minute prerecorded “spotlight” talks, in order to provide a chance for delegates to share projects, experiences or research connected to the WCC UK’s aims. We would especially like to hear from delegates who have been involved in innovative or unusual activities related to outreach, widening participation, knowledge exchange or public
engagement. If you would like more information or to volunteer to give one of these talks, please email Rhiannon Easterbrook (rhiannon.easterbrook@sas.ac.uk). The deadline for expressing interest is 5pm on Monday 22 June, and videos should be submitted by 5pm on Tuesday 30 June.

People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC’s aims are welcome to attend this event; registration is free for both WCC members and non-members (if the event reaches capacity, WCC members will be given priority). The link for registration is here.

Registration closes at 12 noon on Thursday 9 July.

Schedule:

Pre-recorded presentations
Publishing journal articles – Carol Atack
Publishing academic monographs – Michael Sharp
Research plans for job/funding applications – James Clackson
BBC New Generation Thinkers’ programme – John Gallagher
Knowledge exchange projects – Emma Cole
Research plans for job/funding applications – Naoise MacSweeney

Live sessions, Friday 10 July (all times are UK = GMT+1)
10.00-10.15 – welcome remarks
10.15-10.45 – Q&A on journal articles – Carol Atack
10.45.11-15 – break 
11.15-11.30 – live presentation on trade publishing – Issy Wilkinson
11.30-12.15 – Q&A on publishing (academic and trade) – Michael Sharp & Issy Wilkinson 
12.15-1.30 – break
1.30-2.15 – Q&A on research plans in job/funding applications – James Clackson & Naoise MacSweeney 
2.15-2.30 – break
2.30-3.15 – breakout groups to discuss participants’ research plans
3.15-4.15 – break
4.15-4.45 – Q&A on the New Generation Thinkers programme – John Gallagher
4.45-5.15 – Q&A on knowledge exchange projects – Emma Cole 
5.15-5.30 – Closing remarks

WCC UK Statement on Racism and Equality

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One of the principles on which the Women’s Classical Committee UK was founded was to advance equality and diversity in the study of the ancient Mediterranean world and its reception. As an organisation, we abhor the ongoing brutality of the state sanctioned murder of black people of all ages and identities, the institutionalised racism that is condoned and continued by systems of government, healthcare, and academia, and the inequality inherent in both American and European cultures. As individuals, some of us from or educated in the United States, we watch in horror as those standing up for the fundamental right to live are beaten and gassed in the streets.

We stand with Black Lives Matter. We stand with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others on both sides of the Atlantic who have suffered and continue to suffer from the violence of institutional racism. We demand justice. We demand change. We reject racism. We reject the use and abuse of Classics by white supremacists. We reject the idea that Western Civilisation is superior.

The WCC UK will continue to advocate for equality and justice within an intersectional framework. As an organisation, we will support all Classicists of colour, whether our members, colleagues, or students.  We will continue to encourage and support white Classicists to learn to be better allies, and to decolonise our classrooms, museums, and field as a whole. We will, as individuals and as a group, use the power we have to hold others accountable for their action and dis-action, including institutions of higher learning, museums, and associated organisations. Following Cornel West’s call to action, we are committed to trying again, failing again, and failing better in the hope of fostering the equality and justice we want to see in the world.

Sign petitions:
Justice for George Floyd
Justice for Breonna Taylor
Justice for David McAtee
Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
Re-open Sandra Bland’s Case

Donate:
George Floyd Funeral Fund
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Black Lives Matter
Color of Change
Sportula (US)
Sportula (Europe)

Further Resources:
Black-Centered Resources for Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Race in Britain: the best books to help understand
NY Times Antiracist Reading List
10 Books About Race
Black British Female Authors you should read
Additional reading suggestions can be found here and here.

WCC UK ECR Research Dissemination Workshop

by

The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce its 2020 ECR event on Friday 10 July. Designed for early-career and postgraduate researchers in Classics, Archaeology, Ancient History, and other fields relating to the study of the ancient Mediterranean world and its reception, the aim of this online workshop is to provide information and opportunities for discussion on both traditional and non-traditional forms of reaching out with research. It will include presentations and Q&As on topics including publishing journal articles and monographs; writing research plans for job and funding applications; the BBC New Generation Thinkers programme; and knowledge exchange projects.

Presentations will mostly be pre-recorded, and available to watch from a week in advance of the event, with live Q&As with the presenters taking place on the 10th; there will also be time to watch the videos in between each Q&A session. Following the Q&A on research plans, a breakout group session is planned for attendees to discuss their own plans. The full schedule and details of speakers will be available shortly.

We also plan to offer online “spotlight” talks, in order to provide a chance for delegates to share projects, experiences or research connected to the WCC’s aims. We would especially like to hear from delegates who have been involved in innovative or unusual activities related to outreach, widening participation, knowledge exchange or public engagement. Given the current situation, we plan to make 5-minute videos of the talk available on YouTube from seven days prior to the event and to encourage discussion on them via the YouTube comments or during breaks between sessions on the day. We are happy to make videos unlisted/ private and to make them available for a duration of your choosing. If you would like more information or to volunteer to give one of these talks, please email Rhiannon Easterbrook (rhiannon.easterbrook@sas.ac.uk). The deadline for expressing interest is 5pm on Friday 19th June, and videos should be submitted by 5pm on 30th June.

Registration is free for both WCC members and non-members (if the event reaches capacity, WCC members will be given priority). The link for registration is here.

Registration closes at 12 noon on Thursday July 9th.