Solace in the Cracks: Drawing Weeds Ecology, Art History, Practice – a Material Witness Zoom Webinar

Friday 19 June 2020, 3-5pm

Scourges of gardeners, foes of council workers armed with tanks of glyphosate, trampled, neglected, ignored: weeds are despised, yet they flourish, succeeding where other plants fail. Tracing its etymology from Old through Middle to Modern English, the OED defines a weed as ‘Any herbaceous plant not valued for its usefulness or beauty, or regarded as a nuisance in the place where it is growing.’ Gardeners generally consider plants that grow where they are unwanted to be weeds, however much they are appreciated by the insect community.

Material Witness normally focuses on material things made by people, and how we interpret them by practical, theoretical, and historical means. This session switches emphasis, beginning with nature: the ecology of the pavement cracks, the roadside verge, the railway tracks. How have artists recognised the usefulness and beauty of weeds? How can we make the most of their vigour, tenacity, and ubiquity during this unprecedented lockdown?

This two hour webinar will begin by exploring the deep art history of weeds through medieval herbals, the plant-filled borders of books of hours, and Dürer’s extraordinary ‘Great Piece of Turf’, and some interconnections with contemporary artists’ practice. Our focus will then turn to drawing weeds, using a variety of strategies and with a view to creating expressive observational drawings.

This workshop will focus on using materials that you have ready to hand. You can use any paper, and any mark-making implements that you have to hand.

Find more and register here

BEI Research seminar series

The Department of Business, Economics and Informatics is running a series of research-focused webinars over the summer term on a weekly basis until Friday 26th June.

To attend, please join using this Collaborate link at least 10 minutes before the start of the session. This link will be used for each seminar in the series.

Schedule for upcoming talks in the series:

Friday 29th May, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Muthu De Silva, “Does affective evaluation matter for the success of university-business collaborations? A sentiment analysis of university-business collaborative project reports”.

Friday 5th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Pam Yeow with Dr Danielle Tucker (Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Essex), “Rethinking, ‘Rethinking Ethical Consumerism’”.

Friday 12th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Rebecca Whiting, “Digi-Housekeeping: The invisible work of flexibility”.

Friday 19th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Prof. Alex Poulovassilis, “Managing missing and uncertain data on the UK Museum sector”.

Friday 26th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Prof. Almuth McDowall, “The show must go on – career penalties and work-life balance in the performing arts”.

Opportunity: Researchers In Schools

Researchers in Schools (RIS) offers PhD researchers a unique funded route into teaching that is deliberately structured to make the most of their abilities, knowledge and experience.  RIS are looking to place trainees in schools from September 2020. To support your development as a teacher and to help you make your PhD accessible to your pupils, the programme offers several features and opportunities: 

  • Gain nationally-recognised teacher training qualifications by the end of the first year 
  • Complete our Research Leader in Education Award, a fully-funded, three-year programme of professional development designed around the PhD skill set 
  • Take one day of protected time each week to work towards the RLE and deliver Uni Pathways, a university-access intervention based on your PhD, aimed at increasing target pupils’ chances of attending a highly-selective university  
  • Receive honorary academic status at a research-intensive university, providing access to research facilities and a network of academic support  
  • Benefit from a dedicated programme officer who will provide you with one-to-one mentoring and coaching throughout
  • Receive competitive financial support, including generous funding options for your training year

Find out more and apply via the website.

BGRS Conference – Postponed

As a result of the current situation we have had to postpone the BGRS Conference which will no longer take place on 22-23 April. However, we do intend to find an alternative date for the event later in the year and will confirm this once available.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all who had helped to shape the conference through contributions by email, discussion off line, by attending any of the BGRS conference meetings, or by volunteering to take part in the student sessions on methods/ disciplines or the poster competition. Many thanks too to speakers who had agreed to take part.

Thanks in particular to those of you who have been active in the conference steering group and who had until recently been choosing and inviting speakers and helping to set things in place. I’m hopeful that we will be able to build on the work done so far and deliver an exciting event later in the year.

BGRS Conference Poster Competition announced

Poster competition – entries now open

All current Birkbeck PhD students are invited to enter the BGRS Conference Poster Competition which will provide a fantastic opportunity to share your research interests and successes with doctoral students from across the College.

How to take part

If you are a current Birkbeck PhD student and would like to take part in this Poster Competition please complete this brief form by 31 March. All those who enter will be able to claim back up to £30 for poster printing costs from the BGRS.

Prizes

Judging of the posters will take place on day 2 of the conference (23 April) and you will be asked to attend your poster in order to answer questions while judging takes place. The following prizes will be awarded:

  • £300 for the winner
  • 3 x runners up prizes of £100 each

BGRS Conference: A call for student methodology talks

We hope you will have seen that as part of the BGRS Conference (22-23 April) there will be a session where PhD students are invited to give brief presentations (around 10 minutes each) about a methodological aspect of their research project. The aim of this session is to provide opportunities for attendees and contributors to find out about methodology they are not currently familiar with, or to hear from doctoral researchers who have an interest in a similar or related methodology.

We would like to encourage all current Birkbeck PhD students to contribute to this session in order to make it a success. We think this session will be both useful and interesting for the following reasons:

  • You will have the opportunity to present your work to your fellow students and to respond to questions in a supportive environment.
  • If you haven’t yet given a presentation on your research this would be a great opportunity to do so.
  • If you have previously given a presentation on your methodology in another setting you are welcome to use that as the basis of your talk or repeat it.
  • The session will provide the chance to engage with doctoral researchers from across Birkbeck and to receive useful feedback.
  • You would be contributing to the success of the conference and helping to build connections between research students across departments at Birkbeck.

Please do use this brief form by 24 March if you would like to take part in this session.

PhD student members of the BGRS Steering Committee

CHASE Training opportunities for all Arts and Humanities PhD Students at Birkbeck

The following events and opportunities are available via the AHRC funded CHASE Doctoral Training Programme. All of the opportunities below are open to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck, regardless of whether they are funded or self-funded.

Future Pathways in Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Academia and Beyond

Friday, 6 March and Friday 27 March

The aim of these two workshops is to explore the possible pathways that medieval and early modern studies can open up for future careers. Both workshops will host a group of speakers with PhDs in various aspects of medieval and early modern studies that have since pursued a wide array of careers. Their personal knowledge and experiences will provide the springboard for informal roundtable discussions and exercises. These events will encourage current postgraduate students to reflect critically on the ways in which one can communicate and curate research and teaching expertise, while they will also offer opportunities for new connections to be made with a variety of individuals, institutions and sectors.


Frames and Transitions

20 & 21 March | Birkbeck, University of London

FRAMES – Friday 20 March
The annual TRANSITIONS symposium has been extended with FRAMES, a day of workshops for CHASE researchers. The workshops are Graphic Medicine with Ian Williams and Comics as Research Practice with Nick Sousanis.

The workshops are focussed on comics and arts as part of the research process, but are open to all research students affiliated with CHASE institutions.

The day is divided into two workshop sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning session is Graphic Medicine with Ian Williams. The afternoon session is Comics as Research Practice with Nick Sousanis.

TRANSITIONS – Saturday 22 March

Transitions: New Directions in Comics Studies is an annual one-day symposium promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study  of comics / comix / bande dessinée / manga / and other forms of sequential art. The Transitions symposia have been a fixture on the UK comics scholarship landscape, with a focus on new voices and novel approaches in comics research. The programme emphasises a range of approaches in research, and especially invites participation from research students and early career researchers.



Critical Race Studies and the Premodern: Archive and Seminar

8 & 9 June | University of Sussex

Decolonising the Curriculum (Practical Funded by the CHASE Consortium, the Universities of East Anglia and Sussex are hosting two postgraduate training workshops on critical race studies and the pre-modern. This, the second of two events, will be held at The University of Sussex, 8-9 June 2020, and will focus on research. The event is designed to develop students’ professional skills. We invite expressions of interest from all postgraduates working in the Humanities (giving papers, designing and chairing sessions, attending).

Call for papers: Talking about feelings in gender and sexuality research

Friday 5 June 2020 Birkbeck, University of London


This cross-disciplinary conference provides a forum for researchers in gender and sexuality studies to discuss how we deal with feelings and emotions, including our own.

After a keynote panel discussion and a series of paper presentations, we will gather into smaller groups for discussions. Current research students at Birkbeck are invited to propose a 15-minute paper presentation or a topic for discussion, which might focus on one or more of the following:

  • Theoretical models for perceiving and interpreting emotions;
  • The methods we use to access information about emotions in texts, archives, interviews, and in the field; and how our research methods may have succeeded, failed, and produced unexpected results;
  • The interplay between research ethics and our emotions;
  • The sometimes-radical and emotionally-charged roots of our research areas (including, for example, the women’s movement and the gay liberation movement);
  • Emotionally challenging or affirming/pleasurable encounters and experiences in our research;
  • How it feels to research gender and sexuality in various institutional contexts (including, for example, universities, archives, and libraries), and at different career stages;
  • How the conditions for researching gender and sexuality may have changed over time and may vary between places (for example, national, regional or institutional contexts);
  • The more and less tangible barriers we might face and perceive as researchers in this field.

If you are a current research student at Birkbeck, please send your proposal to Ralph Day (r.day@bbk.ac.uk) by Sunday 15 March 2020.

If proposing a 15-minute paper, please send an abstract of 150-200 words together with a short biographical statement.

If proposing a topic for discussion, please send a brief explanation of the topic together with a short biographical statement. You are invited to lead the discussion session with a short reflection on the topic and to facilitate the discussion.

This conference is funded by the Birkbeck Graduate Research School. There will be no registration fee for this conference, and we expect to be able to cover domestic travel costs for participants delivering paper presentations or leading discussion sessions.

Registration now open: A celebration of 100 years of the Birkbeck PhD: Past, Present and Future

We are excited to announce that registration for the Birkbeck Graduate Research School Conference, ‘A celebration of 100 years of the Birkbeck PhD: Past, Present and Future‘ on 22-23 April, is now open. This exciting event will bring together doctoral researchers and PhD alumni from across the research student community at Birkbeck. Further details will be announced over the coming weeks including a poster competition with prizes.

As part of the conference we are opening a call for current PhD students to contribute – we are looking for volunteers to describe their research focus and methodological approach, with an aim of exposing the range of approaches available, and facilitating discussion on the ways that methodology could be viewed from an interdisciplinary perspective. If you are willing to give a talk please complete this brief form by 24 March. We will endeavour to provide as many opportunities to present as we can but please note we may need to select speakers in order to represent the range of methods.

Register here

BGRS Conference 2020

A celebration of 100 years of the Birkbeck PhD: Past, Present and Future

DAY 1 – Wednesday 22 April (18.00 – 21.00)

OPENING NIGHT: The Birkbeck PhD – Past, Present and Future

  • A history of the Birkbeck PhD

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, where she has taught since 1992. She is a Fellow of the British Academy. Joanna will speak about the history of the first doctoral research at Birkbeck.

  • Highlighted current doctoral research at Birkbeck

Some of our current PhD students will present their winning Birkbeck 3 Minute Thesis talks.

  • The future of PhDs in the UK

Dr Stephen Hill, Director of Research at Research England, will speak about the future of PhDs in the UK.

Paulette Williams, Founder & Managing Director of Leading Routes, will talk about the ‘Broken Pipeline’ report into representation and diversity at PhD level study, and the implications for doctoral research and beyond.

  • Drinks Reception

Talks will be followed by a drinks reception to celebrate the opening night of the conference.

DAY 2 – Thursday 23 April (09.30 – 19.00)

On the second day you will be able to attend a range of panels and other sessions organised by the conference steering group, which is made up of current PhD students. Sessions will involve Birkbeck staff, alumni and current research students.

SESSION THEMES

  • Methods and Disciplines

This theme will provide the chance to find out more about research methods and disciplines and will include PhD students giving brief presentations on their research methodology or an aspect of it. PhD students willing to give a talk should complete this brief form by 24 March.

  • Research impact

Discover about research impact in the context of doctoral studies and continuing research after a PhD.

  • The PhD and Beyond

This session will provide the chance to hear from former Birkbeck PhD students and staff who will speak about their careers and work beyond their PhD. 

Post-doctoral vacancy – SHaME (Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters)

Professor Joanna Bourke has asked us to make current PhD researchers aware of a three-year (full time) post-doctoral position at Birkbeck, starting in October 2020.

This position supports the SHaME project, which brings together an interdisciplinary team to investigate the medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence, including rape and sexual abuse.

Working in close collaboration with the team, the postdoctoral researcher will undertake research on any aspect of sexual violence that involves the medical and/or psychiatric professions.

The Fellow’s research should be linked to at least one of five research streams: medicine and the law of sexual violence; the role of medical professionals (including police surgeons, FMEs, nurses, physicians, psychiatrists, forensic scientists, and so on); psychiatric classification systems (sexual violence as conceptualized in psychiatric texts); psychiatric aftermaths of abuse; and child sexual abuse.

Please view the job listing if you are interested in this role. The application deadline is the 1st of May, for an interview date of the 8th of June.