Confronting a masculine military ideal: the experiences of LGBTQ service personnel 1914–now

AHRC PhD Studentship in collaboration with Imperial War Museums (IWM) and Birkbeck

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD at Birkbeck: “Confronting a masculine military ideal: the experiences of LGBTQ service personnel 1914–now”. This is offered under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme. The partner institutions are Birkbeck and the IWM. The studentship will be supervised by Professor Matt Cook at Birkbeck and Rebecca Newell of IWM. This full-time studentship, which is funded for three years at standard AHRC rates, will begin on 1 October 2018.

The Studentship

Using material from across the IWM’s collection, including the sound collection, and with a particular focus on the museum’s private papers and oral history archives, this project will examine narratives of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning) experience in the military for all or part of the period from 1914 to the present day.

Fifty years ago there was a watershed moment in British history. The 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised same-sex acts between men in England and Wales. However, policy makers in the armed forces agreed that decriminalising such acts in the military would affect discipline and threaten the safety of low-ranking servicemen. As a result they remained punishable by military law, even though they ceased to be illegal for consenting civilian men over 21. For three decades the MOD stood by its decision – creating a climate of secrecy for queer service personnel and the impression of a rather straight military. Fear of dismissal and condemnation prevented most from sharing their experiences. Only recently, as the law and cultural climate have changed, have some have felt able to be franker. Their stories are nevertheless still often modulated by an entrenched culture of discretion and framed by current understandings of liberation and sexual identity. We anticipate that these testimonies – and the complexities of gathering and analysing them – will be at the heart of this project.

New British Army Recruitment Campaign Tells Recruits ‘It’s Okay To Be Gay’ – January 2018

The student will explore existing testimonies and conduct new interviews exploring experiences and perceptions of being LGBTQ in the forces. They will also engage with historical work and ongoing debate about sex, sexuality and gender in the military and draw on expertise offered by the IWM and its partners. Aside from a doctoral thesis and associated publications, it is anticipated that research will feed into a future IWM public programme season on sex and war.

In discussion with their supervisors, the student will be responsible for formulating their research questions and methodology and for defining the period of investigation. Potential areas include:
• Accepted and hidden same-sex and homosocial experiences in wartime;
• The impact of serving in the armed forces on individuals’ sense of identity;
• The differential experience and/or representation of homosexuality in the army, navy and airforce;
• Gender crossings and the experience of trans people in the military;
• A comparison of the experiences of queer men and women;
• Masculinity, femininity and queerness in the forces;
• Narratives and experiences of sanction, tolerance, degeneracy, ‘passing’ and prejudice;
• Military sites/cities and associated local queer networks
• The role and responsibility of museums and IWM as a space and forum for excavating LGBTQ narratives.

These, and/or other questions, will be explored through a range of archives, including at the IWM, The National Archives, the National Maritime Museum, the National Army Museum and Tate, as well as through interviews with current and former service personnel gathered as part of the project.

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, the scholarships cover tuition fees and a grant (stipend) towards living expenses. The national minimum doctoral stipend for 2018/19 has been set by Research Councils UK as £ 16,777 (inc. £2,000 London Weighting) plus £550 additional payment for Collaborative Doctoral Students. For more information visit: http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/skills/phdstudents/fundingandtraining.
Students are also eligible to draw additional funding from a Student Development Fund to support the cost of training, work placements, and other development opportunities that will benefit the student’s doctoral research and future career development.
In addition, the student is eligible to receive up to £1,000 a year from IWM and will be able to apply for internal funding from the University to support archival visits and the delivery of academic conference papers.

How to Apply

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in history or another relevant discipline, and will normally also hold a masters degree. They will need to satisfy AHRC eligibility requirements including Masters-level advanced research training or equivalent.
Applicants must be a resident of the UK or European Economic Area (EEA). In general, full studentships are available to students who are settled in the UK and have been ordinarily resident for a period of at least three years before the start of postgraduate studies. Fees-only awards are generally available to EU nationals resident in the EEA. International applicants are normally not eligible to apply for this studentship.
Applicants should submit via email a curriculum vitae (no more than 2 pages), a research proposal (of 500 – 1000 words)*, a sample of writing, a brief letter outlining their qualification for the studentship, transcripts of undergraduate and masters qualifications, and two academic references to Sian Green (sian.green@bbk.ac.uk) no later than 5pm on Sunday 8 July 2018 . Please note it is the responsibility of applicants to request references from their referees and ensure that they have been received by the Department of History by this deadline. All documents should be submitted in either a MS Word or PDF format. Please ensure the subject line of your email appears as ‘surname, first name – IWM/Birkbeck studentship.’

*for guidance on formulating a research proposal see: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/student-services/admissions/phd-applications

Cathy Rogers: Why I took part in the 3 minute thesis competition

Before doing my PhD, I spent two decades working as a TV producer, with a particular interest in science programming, so over the years I interviewed a lot of scientists. They used to drive me nuts! They would be working on such interesting projects and seeing the world through a completely fresh lens – but they were often just awful at talking about their research, at least in a way anyone could understand. They were unable or unwilling to say anything with certainty, they always insisted more research was needed and in the worst cases they even wore their inability to ‘dumb things down’ as a badge of pride.

So now I am on the other side. In some respects, I can appreciate more viscerally scientists’ stance. As you learn more and more about a subject, you appreciate more and more of its complexities and sometimes you feel you fully understand less and less. Saying things with certainty requires a 100% that science, with its 95% benchmark, will never (or very rarely (see there I am giving the caveat)) meet. But I still believe that if you can’t explain the essence of what you are doing and why you are doing it in a way that anyone interested can understand, then either you don’t understand it yourself, or it isn’t worth doing.

 

To me, that’s what the 3 minute thesis competition is all about. Going back to the big questions of your research – why do you care? Why should anyone else care? And how are you going to go about inching forward knowledge with that bigger picture in mind.

 

Cathy Rogers (Department of Psychological Sciences) was awarded runner-up and a £250 prize for her talk “Freedom and control: how do children achieve their creative goals?”

You can watch her full talk here.

Women in Psychological Sciences Lecture Series

Prof Clare Elwell
From PhD Student to Professor – Part Time

4pm 12th June 2018
B01 Clore Management Centre
Torrington Square
Birkbeck, University of London
WC1E 7JL

Drinks Reception to Follow

Clare Elwell is a Professor of Medical Physics in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at UCL, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. She is Director of the Near Infrared Spectroscopy Research Group in the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory at UCL and develops novel optical systems for monitoring and imaging the human body. Her research projects include studies of acute brain injury in adults, children and infants, autism, migraine, malaria and sports performance.

Her most recent project is the use of near infrared spectroscopy to investigate malnutrition related brain development in rural Gambia, resulting in the first functional brain imaging of infants in Africa. She started the Globalfnirs Initiative (www.globalfnirs.org) to support the application of NIRS in global health projects. She currently leads the Brain Imaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) project which is developing brain function for age curves for Gambian and UK infants from birth to 24 months of age with the aim of informing targeted interventions to improve long term neurocognitive outcome. She is a founder member and President of the Society for Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy, and President of the London International Youth Science Forum.

Clare has won the UCL Provost’s Public Engagement Award, Medical Research Council Science Suffrage Award, Inspirational Teacher Award at the UK Inspirational Awards for Women, and the Women in Science and Engineering Research Award. Most recently she was awarded the UCL Engineering Engagement Outstanding Contribution Award and a British Science Association Media Fellowship. She is Founder and Trustee of the charity Young Scientists for Africa (YoSA, www.yosa.org.uk).

She has two children and has worked part time for a total of 18 years. Clare is a keen advocate for supporting women in STEM.

Free open basic introduction to critical realism with Priscilla Alderson

On Wednesday 27 June (11.00 am – 5.00 pm) and Thursday 28 June (9.00 am – 12.30 pm) Priscilla Alderson PhD will be delivering a basic introductory course to critical realism based on the books and doctoral seminars of Professor Roy Bhaskar (the founder of critical realism) at the Institute of Education UCL main building.

Free and open to all, the course will include: problems and contradictions in social science; how basic CR concepts help to resolve them; structure and agency; connecting macro and micro, qualitative and quantitative, local and global research; researching transformative change over time.

Critical realism can be applied to any methods and topics of social research. There will be time for students to discuss their own work during the programme.

To register for this exciting course please contact Bob: r.gist@ucl.ac.uk

 

Winner Keith Jarrett on Three Minute Thesis Competition 2018

There is one question in particular I dread: What’s your PhD on? It usually follows the other eye-rolling what do you do? I know it should be simpler, much simpler; I know the person asking doesn’t want my life story; I know why colleagues make up answers at random, and I nearly always regret not making something up too, or at least having a more straightforward project.

I’m what’s called an interdisciplinarian, that rare species who doesn’t feel fully at home in one department or another, who can’t remember if he should be using MHRA or Harvard referencing – the two departments are at odds with each other over this – and, worse still, whose practice-led research provokes shouts of You get to write a NOVEL for your PhD?! (Two other impossible questions follow: What’s your novel about? How many words have you written?)

I sign up to the Three Minute Thesis competition mostly because I’ve been challenging myself do things I’m not comfortable with. Explaining Oneness Pentecostalism and its migratory journey from the US via the Caribbean into London, and the subsequent effect on cultural and religious identity in the capital is one such thing. There’s jargon to unpick and I struggle to get to the point.

The point I’m trying to get to now is that it takes effort to communicate succinctly, especially when you’re in the middle of a PhD that completely takes over your life.

In the workshop, all participants are told to create a three-point story of our research. I listen to the fascinating work my colleagues are doing, colleagues who are also passionate, who also want to be able to share their world with wider audiences. I feel proud to be part of this community of student researchers. There are three whose work is so compelling to me – and completely unrelated to mine – that I read further about it. Later, at the competition, I see how they’d developed their stories into presentations, engaging with an audience who want to hear what they do, as much as I do. I was surprised to win, elated.

I hope even more PhD students get involved in the competition next year. I recommend it for everyone, as we all need to be able to present in from of mixed audiences. I’m also looking forward to following the competition, looking at more of the other videos from participants around the world.

 

Keith (Department of English and Humanities) was named overall winner for his entry, “The migration of meaning: writing a new London Caribbean culture”.

You can watch the full video for his talk here.

Careers and professional development training

The following CHASE Career and Professional development training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck (regardless of whether you are funded by the AHRC/ CHASE).

Further details about each of the sessions below, and information about how to register, is available here.

 

Creating (and) the Critical
The critical component of practice-based PhDs

14 June 2018, Goldsmiths, University of London

What is the relationship between the creative and critical strands of practice-led PhDs? How should the critical commentary be thought of, when should it be written?

This CHASE training event will consider this relationship and the questions, challenges and, sometimes, anxieties that it causes, both for students and supervisors.

Join for a day of discussion, debate and reflection, open to all research students but especially aimed at those involved in creative practice.

 

Find out more and register here

 

 

Critical Excursion: Remapping the Arcades Project
25 & 26 June | Glasgow

This two-day critical excursion, organised by the Space, Place and Time Research Group and led by researcher Sam Dolbear will consist of workshops, walks and film-screenings that focus around Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project (1927-40).

This short course will aim to give a panoramic sense of this panoramic text. The first day will cohere around the themes of history, historiography, temporality, and methodology. The morning will explore these themes through a workshop, followed by a walk and a screening of films on related themes. The second day will follow the same structure, but the focus will shift to the spatial configurations of the city: to processes of urban generation and regeneration, the subterranean spaces of the city, the notion of the threshold, the street and the interior, as well as building materials and construction techniques.

Travel and accommodation will be organised by Space, Place and Time group.

 

Find out more and register here

 

 

Feminist Research Ethics in Practice
Thursday 12 July | University of East Anglia

This free one-day event provides an opportunity for researchers to discuss the process of building safe, productive spaces for both researchers and participants and asks what can institutions do to best support them. In so doing, this training event seeks to build a community of support, share experiences and document best practice.

Places are limited – Find out more and register here

 

 

CHASE writing summer school workshops and residential

Monday 16 July | SOAS, University of London
Behind the mystique: what academic writing is, and how to get better at it
This one-day workshop is for any student who wants to write more clearly and stylishly within their discipline. It strips down academic writing to its fundamentals.

Tuesday 17 July |  SOAS, University of London
Story time: how to create a narrative through your literature review
This one day workshop helps students to create a narrative by heightening their awareness of their relationship with the reader.

Thursday, 19 July | SOAS, University of London
Reaching out: writing about your research for non-specialist audiences
Many postgraduate students struggle to explain complex research, in writing, to people outside their discipline, or outside academia.

Thursday 26 July to Friday 27 July  | Birkbeck, University of London
Thinking, Writing, Advancing: a 2 day, residential writing retreat for mid- to late stage PhD students
This two day, residential retreat offers a breathing space for PhD students, allowing them to air writing issues with their peers, share best practice and re-examine their writing process. Day 1 tackles common writing problems and gives students exercises to stimulate creativity and help them gain perspective on their project. In the evening, there is a communal dinner and networking. Day 2 is a chance to write in a quiet and supportive atmosphere and to have one-to-one consultations with two successful professional writers.

 

Find out more and register here

Birkbeck Three Minute Thesis & Poster Competition

On Wednesday, BGRS hosted the second annual 2018 Three Minute Thesis and Poster Competition at the lecture theatre and foyer within the Clore Management Centre. There was a great atmosphere of interest, enjoyment and celebration among those who attended and took part.

Keith Jarrett (Department of English and Humanities) was named overall winner for his entry, The migration of meaning: writing a new London Caribbean culture by the panel of judges, which included representatives from all five Birkbeck Schools.

Cathy Rogers (Department of Psychological Sciences) was named runner up, for her talk Freedom and control: how do children achieve their creative goals? and Pavni Kohli (Department of Geography) and  Raul Valdivia (Department of Cultures and Languages) were named joint winner of the People’s Choice Award for their talks Looking beyond fear in Delhi: Mapping women’s everyday life, and Picturing Utopia: Photography against the odds in a Peruvian sunset, respectively.

The Poster Competition was won by Ajitesh Ghose (Department of Psyhcological Sciences) for a poster titled Grounded Semantics: A Neural Network Approach.

The full News Item for the event can be found here.

Videos of the talks will be coming soon. In the meantime, you can watch videos from the 2017 competition here.

Additional CHASE Careers and professional development training

Careers and professional development training

The following CHASE Career and Professional development training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities research students at Birkbeck.

Further details about each of the sessions below, and information about how to register, is available here.

 

Designing and delivering effective presentations
  • 3rd and 4th May, Open University Camden campus, room 2BC (3rd May) and room 1 (4th May) [two full days]
Hands-on media training
  • 8th and 9th May, Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building, room 307 [two full days]
Being an effective tutor
  • 10th May, Birkbeck, Malet Street, room 415 [one full day]
Mock academic interview session
  • 14th May, SOAS, Room G51 [afternoon] and 23rd May, SOAS, Room 4429 [morning]
Impact and research communication skills
  • 22nd June, Birkbeck, Malet Street, Room 253 [one full day]

Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference: ‘Age of Distraction’

Age of Distraction

Graduate Conference

8 + 9 June 2018

This conference explores distraction and all its meanings and implications. Distraction is commonly thought of as a growing concern or even a sickness of modern society and digital culture. From mindless scrolling to heavy consumerism, the pursuit for entertainment and satisfaction is insatiable, leaving us vulnerable to ruling corporations. Does our lack of control transform us into a conformed mass that is susceptible to tabloid media and the rise of populism? On the other hand, distraction is not necessarily steeped in negativity. In fact, it has had a long and fascinating history. Its German equivalent, ‘Zerstreuung’, comes from the idea of dispersion. At the start of the twentieth-century, Walter Benjamin defined the term as ‘floating attention’, where experience is caused by chance rather than concentration. Does lack of focus in fact allow a sense of freedom and inspiration?

Confirmed speakers include:

Food and refreshments will be available.

Call for papers (extended deadline 7 May)

Please send a 200 word abstract for papers of 15 minutes and a 50 word biography to bisr@bbk.ac.uk

Topics may include:

  • History of distraction
  • Distraction and its oppositions
  • Distraction and/in Education
  • Distraction and madness
  • Modes of Extremism: online or in reality?
  • Democracy, populism, and online social networking
  • Freedom of speech v. government and/or regulatory control
  • Misinformation and fake news
  • Dystopia/ an Orwellian society
  • Distraction and creativity
  • Escapism, dream and day-dream
  • Feigned ignorance or ‘Turning a blind eye’
  • Emotional responses
  • Procrastination, boredom and solitude
  • Wandering and ‘killing time’
  • Inspiration, chance and serendipity

Free tickets for Birkbeck Arts and Humanities PhD students: Frames of Representation 2018 @ The ICA, 20-28th April

F

CHASE is delighted to be academic partner with The ICA for Frames of Representation 2018, a global documentary cinema festival. As part of this partnership, we have arranged two exciting seminars featuring CHASE academics in conversation with film-makers whose work is showing at the festival.

We also have tickets for a one day symposium on April 28th featuring, amongst others, Oscar winning sound editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now).

CHASE has been given a number of free tickets for the week of events and screenings. These tickets are open to all arts and humanities PhD students at CHASE institutions and will allocated on a first come, first served basis. Have a look at the programme here and request your free tickets here.

Now in its third year, FoR is a global documentary cinema festival. The theme this year is landscape and the festival features a number of UK and European premieres, as well as masterclasses with film-makers. We have also arranged two CHASE seminars that will feature CHASE academics in conversation with film-makers whose work is screening at the festival.

Free tickets are available for ALL film screenings and masterclasses throughout the festival as well, of course, as the CHASE seminars and a half day symposium on the theme of landscape on the closing weekend of the festival. Regardless of your research interests, you are bound to find something, if not many things, of interest.

Any queries, please email enquiries@chase.ac.uk