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.
We are thrilled to be opening Assemblywomen: the Video Journal of the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) for the first Call for Pitches. Please find further details about the journal and the types of submissions below. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries you may have.
Assemblywomen is the video journal of the Women’s Classical Committee (UK).The Women’s Classical Committee was founded in 2015 in the United Kingdom with the following aims:
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.
Assemblywomen furthers the general aims of the WCC by providing an innovative platform for the open access publication of research on women and gender in the ancient world. We will accept submissions that focus on women, or take feminist or gender-informed approaches to the ancient Mediterranean world, work that undertakes comparatives studies between the Mediterranean world and global cultures or which examines global cultures in relation to the ancient Mediterranean. While we are actively working to create a platform in which we can accept work that does not have a connection with the Mediterranean world, at this point in time we do not have the sufficient breadth of knowledge in order to do this.
There are three types of submissions currently being accepted.
Video Essays: these are our peer reviewed submissions. These may undergo several stages of peer review depending on the submission, including review of the pitch and the final script. Video essays should present original research and be between ten and twenty minutes in length (around 2000-4000 words, depending on speech patterns).
Work in Progress Shorts: these are not peer reviewed, but undergo the same pitch development process with an editor as video essays. They should present original research, but as the name suggests this will likely be ‘work in progress’ and does not need to present firm conclusions. These should be between 5 and 15 minutes in length (1000-3000 words approximately).
Review or Response videos: These videos will vary in length but should be no longer than 15 minutes. These are videos that either:
Review a body of work (more like a review essay than the review of a single book). These may take the form of ‘state of the field’ type essays, and should make some general observations about the place of each of the books/articles/videos within the (sub)discipline more broadly).
Videos that respond to another Assemblywomen video or to an article or book. The original author will usually be given an opportunity to respond also. Please note: these are not places for criticism, but for constructive critique and/or dialogue. These may take the form of “here is another example that illustrates this point”, “this responds well to X methodology”.
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.
Following this year’s election, we are delighted to announce that Dr Cora Beth Fraser and Dr Emma-Jayne Graham have been elected to the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK.
We would like to extend our thanks to all of the excellent nominees, and to the many members of the WCC who participated in the election. During such a turbulent year, it was wonderful to see so many members enthusiastic to participate in the running of the Committee.
Dr. Fraser and Dr. Graham will officially assume their positions in the Steering Committee at the AGM on Friday 14th of May. We look forward to welcoming them and congratulating them in person!
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.
Elections are now open for two positions on the Steering Committee of the WCC UK for April 2021 to April 2025. The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and overseeing future development of the WCC UK. Committee members serve for four years, and may stand for a second consecutive term. Five members of the WCC UK have been nominated to stand for election to the Steering Committee. A short CV and statement have been provided by each candidate for review by members of the WCC UK prior to voting.
Voting opens on 10th February and will run until 1st March 2020. The elected members will be announced shortly afterwards, and will assume office at the AGM in April. If you are a member of the WCC UK in good standing, you will receive an email with a link for voting online. If you do not receive an email or have any questions, please contact the Elections Officer, Thea Lawrence (TLawrence[at]Lincoln.ac.uk).
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.
We would like to circulate a second callfor nominees to run for election for 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 Monday 1st February 2021.
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 8th February and run until Monday the 1st of March 2021. The elected members will be announced shortly afterwards, and then 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 atwomensclassicalcommittee[at].gmail.com