WCC-UK |

WCC UK ECR Research Dissemination Workshop

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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.

WCC UK Resolution on the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The WCC UK passed the following resolution at its April 2020 AGM. We will be sending a copy of the resolution to the relevant learned societies and other Classics organisations, and encourage members and supporters to keep in touch with us about what is happening at their institutions. A PDF copy of the resolution is available for download.

The Women’s Classical Committee UK notes the extraordinary impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the education sector, both the direct impact of the pandemic itself and the social and economic consequences of the response to it. In the short-term, during the current lockdown:

  • We note that disproportionate burdens have fallen upon those with significant caring responsibilities and those managing existing illnesses, and that the distribution of these burdens tends to be gendered; while some departments have acknowledged this, others continue to place unrealistic demands on academics working from home.
  • We call upon departments and institutions to be explicit in recognising the additional work and emotional labour (also often gendered) undertaken by so many academics at a time when all were facing intense disruption in their own lives.
  • We encourage departments to be mindful and realistic of the very different working conditions that staff and students will be under in terms of their access to technology, space and security.

We note the economic consequences of the shutdown and their disproportionate impact on the already precarious, the hourly-paid workers in higher education and those supporting their studies and/or their academic employment through part-time and hourly-paid work in other sectors. We note the likely consequences for employment in the sector and the probable reduction in opportunities for those already in precarious employment or hoping to enter the job market. 

  • We also note the particular stress faced by those approaching the end of fixed-term studentships and fixed-term contracts at this time, as well as those who have recently been made redundant, and would urge institutions to explore the government’s Job Retention Scheme and all other available possibilities to extend those contracts. 
  • We urge all Classics departments to find ways to support colleagues and students through the release of any discretionary funds for travel and research expenses that cannot now be spent as intended, as we have done with our own funds.
  • We encourage our members to advocate these policies within their own departments as far as possible, particularly those in permanent employment and senior management roles.
  • We commit to continuing to arrange events on-line, and when it becomes possible again, in-person, to enable our members at all levels of study and career to develop.
  • We urge all Classics organisations and learned societies to consider what steps they can take to support doctoral students and early-career scholars over the coming years, through funding schemes, affiliation and access to library and on-line resources.
  • We also urge all Classics departments and institutions to begin a realistic, transparent, consultative and humane process of contingency planning for the autumn 2020 teaching semester and beyond.

We thank those departments, organisations and individuals who have stepped forward to provide support to students and to staff.

Approved at the WCC UK 2020 AGM, held electronically via Zoom on Friday 24th April 2020.

For further queries or to share examples of best or worst practice, please contact us via womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.

WCC AGM schedule, April 24th 2020

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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.

Spotlight talks will be available on our YouTube channel from Tuesday 21st April – we will circulate a link to access the videos. Please watch these in advance of the AGM if possible, and leave questions or comments to begin the discussion! (You will need a Google/Gmail account in order to comment on videos).

Schedule

10-10.30: Keynote: Judith Mossman, ‘Grass roots, Green shoots . . . is everything in the garden lovely?’ (live talk, to be recorded for later sharing on YouTube)

Abstract: This is a hard time for all minority subjects, and even for some we do not think of as such. Classics has the advantage of having had to fight for its survival for the best part of a hundred years – we are old hands. There are reasons for optimism in the growth of classical subjects in non-traditional institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary level, and in the continuing interest our subject, including new areas of its study, holds for the public. Complacency, however, would be fatal in the current climate. This talk will briefly survey some upsides – and some potential pitfalls, and invites further discussion on how to preserve and enhance the glory of the garden.

10.30-11: Keynote Q&A (questions to be submitted via the Zoom chat)

11-11.30: Discussions of spotlight talks

11.30-12: Breakout groups:
* Carers
* Early career researchers
* Remote working and mental health

12-1: lunch break

1-1.45: Consult the experts on shifting teaching online: Magdalena Öhrman and Ursula Rothe (live talks and discussion)

1.45-2.15: tea break

2.15-4.15: business meeting

WCC UK Emergency Grants April 2020

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK has, like many organisations, transitioned to online meetings for the foreseeable future. This means thatfunds earmarked for travel bursaries for postgraduate and early career researchers, and event catering will not be spent as planned.

We propose to make this funding available as emergency grants to precarious members and colleagues. At the moment, we have a limited pot from which we can offer up to 10 emergency grants of up to £100 per applicant to UK-based applicants. We are aware that what we can offer is unlikely to match the needs arising from the crisis, but believe that this is the best way to disburse funds intended to support students and precarious colleagues.

We will prioritise unfunded and unsalaried 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. Early-career researchers, WCC UK members and those who have contributed to our work will be given priority in this initial round of grants, but we encourage any classicist in need to apply, including those working in classics-related creative arts and performance.

We will aim to run a further round of this scheme in the year, targeted at those whose employment or funding has ceased at the end of the 2019/20 academic year.

To apply for this funding, please email carolatack at gmail.com by April 13th 2020 with the following information (although we hope to make some initial allocations at the end of this week):

  • Your current or most recent institutional affiliation or course (if you are a WCC UK member, we may well have this information already).
  • 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’.

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. You are welcome to apply to this scheme as well as to that run by New Classicists, although we are likely to prioritise those not covered by that scheme (i.e. those who aren’t graduate students).

WCC UK Steering Committee Elections Update

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We are delighted to announce that we have two nominees for election to the Steering Committee, Dr. Ulriika Vihervalli and Dr. Victoria Leonard.

The Steering Committee has taken the decision to allow a short period of time for any final nominees to be put forward who wish to compete for the positions – nominations will be accepted until Tuesday 14th April 2020 and should be sent to womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com. Should no more nominations emerge, the election will be considered uncontested.

Thea Lawrence, Elections Officer

Positions available on the WCC UK Steering Committee

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In the circumstances of the current pandemic, it has become all too clear just how important our networks are, both within our families and our wider communities, personal and professional. It may feel like a strange time to share opportunities to join the WCC UK, particularly in a period where UK higher education has already been taking its toll on all of us with the stresses of precarity, unmanageable workloads, and rising stress levels. It often feels like nothing can be done to change things. However, the work of the WCC UK does make a difference, whether in getting like-minded people together, advocating for better policies, or leading the conversation in UK classics around equality issues. You don’t have to be in a senior academic position to take on a role, and our steering committee members have found being involved an empowering and helpful experience. We hope that our members and supporters will consider these opportunities for getting involved and for making UK Classics a better place for us all.

If you are interested in taking on any of these roles or would like to find out more, please drop us a line at womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com!

Treasurer: this is one of the major roles on the steering committee and is held for a position of five years. Our current treasurer is due to stand down at the next AGM, but has agreed to manage a handover. The role description includes taking charge of bank account and membership administration, some fund-raising, supporting events, and handling our small grants scheme. This position would suit someone involved in higher education who knows the language of grant bids, as writing them is a significant part of the role. It might suit a retired member who has had previous financial experience.

Ethnic minorities liaison: one of our ethnic minority liaison posts is currently vacant. This liaison is responsible for making sure issues concerning BAME classicists are heard on the steering committee. We are currently reviewing support for this role since we recognise the considerable amount of work that it involves, and that much of that often falls on junior, precarious colleagues. This is a voluntary position lasting two years and would begin at the AGM.

PhD liaison: our current liaison will step down at the AGM (as she hopes not to be a PhD student for very much longer!). The PhD liaison is responsible for making sure the voice of PhD students is heard on the steering committee. This is a voluntary position lasting two years and would begin at the AGM.

Social media team: we are looking to grow our group of volunteers who oversee the website, the Twitter account and our Facebook page. This is a role which can take as much or as little time as you wish to give to it; the team is open to more members as soon as they’re ready to join.

Administrator: this major role will fall vacant at the 2022 AGM, so we are now starting the process of asking for expressions of interest from people who are interested in taking on this role, to enable some shadowing to take place in advance. It is held for five years. A draft role description is available on request.

WCC UK AGM 2020 – update

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Due to the current guidance from Public Health England recommending social distancing to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the Women’s Classical Committee UK 2020 AGM has taken the decision that it will no longer take place physically on 24th April 2020. The host of this year’s AGM, Manchester Metropolitan, remains open but is suspending hosting such events until at least 30 June.  

The WCC UK Steering Committee are currently exploring how best to move the AGM to a virtual format, in particular learning from the recent Naked Soul conference run by the Sportula Collective. So please do keep the date free and watch this space for more information about what shape this event will take. 

The WCC UK has an explicit child-friendly policy for our events; this will apply to the virtual AGM, and we anticipate many attendees will need to balance participation with child-care. We will do our best to take this into account in our planning.

CFP: Spotlight talks for 2020 AGM

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is pleased to announce its 2020 Annual General Meeting, ‘Green Shoots in Classics‘, on Friday 24th April 2020 at Manchester Metropolitan University. The full programme will be announced later this month.

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’s aims. We are particularly interested in talks that address the AGM’s theme of green shoots in classics; 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 Laurence Totelin (totelinlm at cardiff.ac.uk). The deadline for expressing interest is 5pm on Wednesday 18th March.

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.

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

Child-friendly policy

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

Additional nominations to the REF sub-panel by the Women’s Classical Committee UK

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We note that the the Research Excellence Framework 2021 has invited nominating bodies to make further nominations to REF sub-panels. 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 27th March 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

Candidates may familiarize themselves with the role and duties of sub-panel members, including the workload and provisional timetable, available at https://www.ref.ac.uk/panels/nominating-panel-members/ and https://www.ref.ac.uk/publications/roles-and-recruitment-of-the-expert-panels-ref-201703/.

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.

Forms will be circulated to our Steering Committee for comment, before a final nomination decision is made by a small sub-committee formed from current SC members. A full list of SC members and liaisons can be found on our website. We do not intend to publish the list of those nominated by WCC UK.

AGM 2020: Save The Date!

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2020 AGM of the Women’s Classical Committee UK

Friday 24th April

Manchester Metropolitan University

The AGM is a chance for the members of the WCC UK to discuss our plans for the next year and meet other members; we have speakers to talk on the AGM, and also have discussions about current issues for women in Classics and related fields. Anyone is welcome to attend if they support the aims of the WCC UK.

We are working on a schedule and will be sharing more about the theme, the programme and registration details in due course. In the meantime, save the date – we look forward to seeing you there!

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