Nominations are being solicited for joining the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK. The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and future development of the WCC UK. Two new Committee members will be elected by the membership, and will serve for four years, with the option to run for re-election 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.
In addition to nominations of others, we also strongly encourage members to nominate themselves if they are interested in the roles. Nominees must be members of the WCC UK in good standing (please check with Christine Plastow at christine.plastow[at]open.ac.uk) if you are unsure of your membership status). Names of nominees should be submitted to Thea Lawrence, the Elections Officer, at TLawrence[at]lincoln.ac.uk, by Wednesday 23th of December 2020.
The Elections Officer will contact nominees for permission to place their candidacy on the ticket. The Elections Officer will require a short CV (1 page) and an election statement from each nominee. These will be made available on the WCC UK website for members to review prior to voting. For previous examples of such materials, see here.
Voting will open on Monday 4th January and run until Friday the 5th of February 2021. The elected members will be announced in mid-February, and will assume office at the AGM in April
If you have any questions about the Steering Committee or the process of elections, please 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.
We are pleased to share the announcement that the CUCD has released their Equality and Diversity in Classics Report. The report is the final output of the CUCD Equality and Diversity Project, 2019-20. The report can be found here. The report presents and analyses the results of two surveys that were disseminated in 2019. The Experience Survey aimed to take a snapshot of the field of classics and explored experiences of discrimination and barriers to progression among postgraduate and staff experiences. The Departmental Contexts Survey examined departmental policies and contexts, with input from Heads of Department and Equality Officers. A summary of the data used to compile the report can be found here. The report complements the WCC’s own survey and report, Women in Classics in the UK: Numbers and Issues (2016).
The report will be formally launched on the 25th of November 2020 in an event hosted by the ICS from 1-3:15 pm.
The launch event includes brief presentations by the co-authors of the report, Helen Lovatt and Victoria Leonard.
A panel of experts will present their own responses to the report, followed by discussion, and finally a Q and A session.
Mathura Umachandran: Who’s Task is Equality?
Lucy Grig: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? A Perspective from a Head of Department
Victoria Leonard: Changing Equality In Classics? A Five-Year Perspective From The Data
Helen Lovatt: What We Did and What We Need to Do: the CUCD Perspective
Katherine Harloe: Spotting Patterns; Recognising Problems
Sukanya Raisharma: TBC
If you are interested in attending the launch event, please register here.
The University of Roehampton is faced with losing large numbers of posts in the Arts and Humanities as a result of university cuts. At the same time, other areas of the university are expanding, placing an unequal burden on budget savings in one area of teaching and research, including Classics. What follows is the letter sent on behalf of the WCC UK to the vice-chancellor and provost of the university. We encourage any members of the WCC UK or our community to send their own letters of support for the staff and students facing losing their jobs and degree programmes.
Dear Professors Ezingeard and Gough-Yates,
We are writing on behalf of the Women’s Classical Committee UK to express the very serious concern of our members at the news of the University of Roehampton’s plans to make significant funding and staffing cuts to Arts and Humanities. As a group working within the field of Classical Studies in the UK, weare dismayed at the effects these cuts will have on Classics at Roehampton, as well as across Arts and Humanities more broadly. Classics is a particularly successful subject at the university: the Roehampton Classics courses were ranked fifth in the UK in the Guardian league table 2020, one of only two non-Russell Group universities in the top ten for the subject, with exceptionally high scores for teaching satisfaction (96%) on a par with Durham and St. Andrews. In the most recent NSS survey, Classics received a score of 100%, showing colleagues’ outstanding level of teaching and its effectiveness.
The Arts and Humanities are not disposable, not ‘soft’ subjects or things that are just ‘nice to have’: they remain a crucial part of Higher Education in the UK. Theirstudy teaches written and verbal communication and skills of creative and critical thinking that cannot be automated but are essential across the workforce; they empower citizens; contribute to sustaining a vibrant culture and economy; give students cultural capital and rounded personal lives; and ultimately help to create a cohesive society. Their fully funded inclusion on the curriculum at Roehampton is made essential by the traditional make-up of the student body at the university. Many Roehampton students are from working-class backgrounds; and a large proportion are from Black and other ethnic minority backgrounds. They are regularly the first in their families to go to university. Shrinking of the Arts and Humanities at Roehampton will reduce access for these communities and contribute to the exclusion of traditionally under-represented members of society from participating in the arts and creativeindustries.
Cuts of this magnitude will have a devastating effect on both the student experience and the quality of the research of whoever remains, and seriously harm planned innovation, such as new programmes in development, including a new MA in Environmental Humanities, due to launch next year. They will also harm the reputation of the University, demonstrating that it does not hold its own Arts and Humanities departments in high enough regard to provide adequate funding and support to them. As an organisation focusing on women inClassical Studies, we have been impressed by the equality of gender representation among Classics and Ancient History staff, and fear that these cutsrun the risk of damaging this balance, thus negatively affecting the University’s ability to claim the Athena Swan Bronze Award.
We understand that the present global situation is exceptional and puts Higher Education Institutions in a volatile position, and that management have a responsibility to the whole university community. Nevertheless, we strongly urgeyou to reconsider your plans and continue to support your excellent Arts and Humanities colleagues in their highly impressive and successful work. We look forward to hearing from you on this issue.
Laurence Totelin and April Pudsey WCC UK Co-Chairs On behalf of the members of the WCC UK
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.
things to consider in turning a (section of a) PhD chapter or a conference presentation in a journal article
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)
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)
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
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)
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.
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!
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.
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):
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of the topic you wish to write about and a time frame for when you expect to complete the post.
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) 188.8.131.52: 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