Early Career Researchers
Just as I did last year, I wanted to make a post on this blog reflecting on 2017, whilst also looking forward to what’s happening in 2018. I find these kinds of posts interesting for a number of reasons, but primarily as an exercise in accountability (and specifically, for countering inaccurate feelings of ‘I didn’t do anything last year!).
2017 was a challenging but hugely rewarding year. It was a year of many exciting firsts. Travel-wise, it was my first time in America (on fellowships at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale Center for British Art, and the Winterthur Museum), and my first time visiting Sweden, Umeå for the International Society for Cultural History 2017 Conference. I delivered my first lectures as part of Edinburgh’s History of Art 2 course, and I taught an honours course on my own for the first time, having previously taught at pre-hons for a number of years. I was also awarded my first postdoctoral fellowship, at IASH, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, and I received short-term research fellowships from the Harry Ransom Center and the Huntington Library. Perhaps most excitingly, the last few months of 2017 have also seen the acceptance of my first journal article (to be published next year, in the journal Eighteenth-Century Fiction), and, in the last few days (!), my first book (more to come on this asap).
I also taught. A lot. In fact, I taught six courses across three schools, although my teaching load has been massively reduced since beginning my Postdoctoral Fellowship at IASH in September. IASH is a wonderfully engaging and supportive scholarly community, and I’m glad to be there until August of next year.
Indeed, 2018 is looking just as busy as 2017.
In January, I will continue writing and revising an article on collage, masculinity and Modernism, which will also form the basis of my January 10th Work in Progress Seminar at IASH (details here). I’m also delivering a Research Successes Forum workshop on ‘Fellowships’ on January 22nd. January will also see me back to teaching, as I cover Prof. Viccy Coltman’s hugely exciting 4th-year course, ‘From Jacobitism to Romanticism: The (Re)invention of Scotland in Visual and Material Culture’.
Apart from teaching, February to May will see me do lots more writing – particularly for my article, ‘Reflective and Reflexive Forms: Intimacy and Medium Specificity in British and American Sentimental Albums, 1780-1850’, an abstract for which was accepted for Journal18: a journal of eighteenth-century art and culture‘s special issue on ‘Albums’, due late 2018.
I’ll also be writing and revising the remaining chapters of my first book at this time, as well as editing mine and Katie Faulkner’s special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies on ‘Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth-Century’. The submissions we’ve had are hugely exciting, and I’m so looking forward to seeing this published next summer.
In April, our conference Collage, Montage, Assemblage: Collected and Composite Forms, 1700-Present, will be held at the University of Edinburgh. We received over 120 abstracts for the conference, attesting to the vibrant and dynamic nature of this area of research. We’ll be finalising speakers and the programme very soon, and I’ll post that here then.
In June and July, I’m back to America, this time spending two consecutive months away, at the Huntington Library and the Harry Ransom Center, respectively. In August, I’m back to Edinburgh for a final month at IASH, which will provide the perfect opportunity to round things off.
As last year, I’ll have to end my post at a fairly-uncertain-September 2018, but what I know for sure is that I’ll be desperately trying to finish my book at that point, which is due by the end of 2018.
What are your plans for next year? Let me know using my twitter handle @Freya_Gowrley.
Please join us for the next session of this year‘s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar series at the University of Edinburgh. The session will present new work on Enlightenment Europe, and will feature William Swain (University of Edinburgh), who will be speaking on ‘Adam Ferguson, Freidrich von Gentz, and the decline of the Martial Spirit’, and John Stone (Universitat de Barcelona), whose paper is entitled ‘The Cultural Work of the Royal Scots College (Valladolid), 1770-1808: Cosmopolitanism, Diaspora, the ‘National Feeling’ and Library Formation’.
All welcome. Seminars are held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm, and are followed by a drinks reception.
You can also follow the series on its twitter account @ECRS_Edinburgh. We’ll be live-tweeting the papers from that handle.
The CFP for next year’s incarnation of Edinburgh’s Eighteenth Century Research Seminar Series is now live. Read it on the ECRS website or below.
The Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar (ECRS) series invites proposals for twenty-minute papers from postgraduate and early-career researchers addressing any aspect of eighteenth-century history, culture, literature, education, art, music, geography, religion, science, and philosophy. The seminar series seeks to provide a regular inter-disciplinary forum for postgraduate and early-career researchers working on the eighteenth century to meet and discuss their research.
ECRS will take place at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) in Edinburgh on a fortnightly basis from January to April 2017. Each seminar will consist of two papers, one from a University of Edinburgh-based researcher and one from a researcher based in another higher education institution, followed by a drinks reception. Non-University of Edinburgh speakers’ travel expenses will be reimbursed up to £100.
Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a brief biography and institutional affiliation should be submitted in the body of an email to:firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date for submissions is Monday 21 November 2016.
For more information please see our website: http://edinburgh18thcentury.weebly.com/
ECRS is supported by the Eighteenth-Century and Enlightenment Studies Network (ECENS) of the University of Edinburgh.
More information about ECENS can be found at: http://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/ecens/
This is the second part of my series on life after the PhD. This week, I’m discussing the importance of an institutional affiliation, and what that means for how you’ll spend your time post-completion.
The Institutional Affiliation
Before I begin, I should say that this advice is in no way meant to deride the significance and contribution of independent scholars, many of whom produce important, innovative work whilst unaffiliated with a particular academic institution. Given the current state of the job market, alt-ac routes are becoming an increasing – and often exciting – reality for many, offering valuable alternatives to the traditional academic route I’m discussing here. For the time being however, I want to draw attention to a few of the benefits of maintaining your affiliation following your postgraduate degree.
Affiliation means having an institutional email address, access to on-campus facilities (e.g. teaching and research rooms, common staff areas, the library, university special collections), and often a healthy printing budget, the benefits of each of which should be self-evident. If teaching at a local institution is not an option, enquire as to the possibility of a non-stipendiary fellowship in your awarding institution/department.
Teaching, which will provide you with said affiliation, a viable way of supporting your research whilst simultaneously adding lines to your CV. Many of you will have taught during your PhD, and if possible, I’d recommend keeping that going, as your familiarity with the courses you’re teaching on will really help you to limit the time you devote to preparing. Beyond this, (time permitting) I’d also recommend seeking out teaching in other departments in your PhD’s host institution – I ended up teaching on courses in four departments and three schools, which, although challenging, has been an unparalleled source of income and pedagogical development. You might also want to think about local alt-ac teaching opportunities – for art history this might include ventures such as The New School of Art – as well as tutoring on subjects related to your discipline.
Being part of a HEI can also provide crucial access to the funds and venues necessary for organising all manner of events, something that can be important both in terms of contributing to current debate in your field, or simply as a way of fostering a continued sense of belonging (which can be particularly significant in the period post submission). The possibilities of what you could organise vary wildly, but between organising a conference relating to your postdoctoral research, a panel at a disciplinary conference, a public engagement event, a seminar series, a reading group, or a postgraduate or early career researcher focused event, there’s bound to be something to suit your needs and the specific demands on your time. I organised a research seminar series – Edinburgh’s Eighteenth-Century Research Seminar Series, which is about to go into its second year – as well as a panel at this year’s Association of Art Historian’s Annual Conference. Organising the seminar series was beneficial in a number of ways: it allowed me not only to meet emerging scholars in my field, but to engage meaningfully with their ideas; it improved my skills in applying for and securing funding; and it encouraged me to build relationships with the Series’ host institution, Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.
Perhaps more significantly, organising our AAH panel allowed me to think through some key ideas for my postdoctoral research, the development of which I’ll discuss in my next post in this series, which will examine starting your second major research project.
An illustration of Polyporus beatiei, from Mary Banning’s The Fungi of Maryland.
My object of the week is an image from Mary Banning’s The Fungi of Maryland, a lush volume with 175 hand-painted watercolors accompanied by extensive descriptions. Banning was a fascinating and highly productive mycologist, whose dedication to fungi – as opposed to flowers – marked her out amongst amateur botanists. A short history of Banning’s life and work can be found in Alicia Puglionesi’s article for Alta Obscura.
The Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830 symposium, which examines Rhode Island-made furniture, its makers and its social contexts, and accompanies the exhibition of the same name, on display at Yale University Art Gallery from August 19, 2016 until January 8, 2017.
The CFP for the New Perspectives on Parisian Haute Couture (1850-present) conference.
James Clifford’s lectures on ‘Museum Realisms‘ at the Research Center for Material Culture, available online here.
The CFP for the Making Memory: Material and Visual Cultures of Commemoration in Ireland, c.1800-2016 conference. The conference develops ideas and expands the chronology of the earlier Making 1916: Material and Visual Culture of the Easter Rising conference, the proceedings from which were published by Liverpool University Press.
The online exhibition Artisans and Craft Production in Nineteenth-Century Scotland. Created as part of the University of Edinburgh’s Leverhulme-funded ‘Artisans and the Craft Economy in Scotland, 1780 to 1914’ project, the exhibition explores both the materiality of craft-making for those working in artisan trades, and the cultural landscape they and their work inhabited.
The CFP for the fascinating-sounding CAA panel, Modernism’s Craft Discourses. The session examines the ways in which modernists have historically understood their own work in painting, sculpture, photography, or collage as craft practices, asking ‘how have the discourses defining craft—notions of process, medium, labor, and reform—contributed to the development of modernist art and its criticism?’ These questions are particularly relevant to my postdoctoral project on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collage, or, what I’ve previously thought of as collage ‘before modernism’. I’m interested to see how the conversations deriving from this panel colour my perceptions of modernism’s relationship with craft, and how this in turn might inform my own reading of collage before 1912.
The CFP for the Collecting & Collectibles Area of the Popular Culture Association, 2017 conference.
Last week also saw the publication of Lord Stern’s review of the REF, the results of which have real implications for Early Career Researchers. See the report here. Matthew Shaw and Charlotte Mathieson have also compiled an initial bibliography of literature on the review, which provides a list of essential reading on the subject.
As ever, the blog Notches: remarks on the history of sexuality is an endless source of fascination. Claire Hayward’s post ‘Queer Terminology: LGBTQ Histories and the Semantics of Sexuality’, and Ania Ostrowska’s think-piece on the The Institute of Sexology exhibition held at The Wellcome Collection, are recent highlights amongst a wealth of fascinating articles and interviews.