PhD Researcher role with Access and Engagement

Please note: This opportunity is for current Birkbeck PhD students only

Birkbeck’s Access and Engagement team are looking for a PhD candidate to conduct some research into the experience of students who have been supported by the Access and Engagement team in their entry or transition into Higher Education. They are looking for candidates who have experience of qualitative research and facilitating focus groups.

This research will help the department to review its activities and ensure that the support on offer to prospective students from groups which are underrepresented in Higher Education is effective and useful.

Full details of the role

A full job description and details about the role are available below and include instructions for how to apply. If you have any questions about the role please email h.gartrell@bbk.ac.uk.

The deadline for applications is Sunday 9 February.

Cumberland Lodge events – bursary places available for PhD students

Faith & Belief 2040: Fostering Social Cohesion Conference – Bursary places available for PhD students.

Opportunities for PhD students to attend a two-day residential conference, Faith & Belief 2040: Fostering Social Cohesion, at Cumberland Lodge on 23-24 April 2020.

This conference explores how the ways in which people identify with faith and belief are changing. Research suggests that the current transformation constitutes the most fundamental shift for centuries, even millennia. In the UK, this change has specific contextual parameters, including, but not limited to: the declining identification by people as Anglicans and growing numbers of non-denominational Christians; the arising diversity in those communities with regard to modes of faith and belief practice; the expansion and growing assertiveness of non-Christian faiths; and the increasing number of people who are non-religious or have no specific faith or belief (a trend that is particularly pronounced amongst younger people). Looking ahead to the likely faith and belief landscape of 2040, this conference aims to prepare decision-makers and practitioners for challenges and opportunities that might arise from these transformations.

Mindful of the scale and complexity of the subject, the conference aims not to define detailed solutions, but to provide a platform to:

  • Explore the opportunities and challenges that result from the current trajectory of change in the religion and belief landscape, in terms of social cohesion, state institutions and community life;
  • Consider what short- and medium-term steps might and could be taken by policymakers, faith leaders and religious communities, civil society actors and others to prepare for historical shifts by promoting shared values and inclusive visions of belonging, and to reflect on possible barriers to taking action;
  • Produce an expert Cumberland Lodge Report with key findings and recommendations, which will be refined at a Consultation and subsequently presented to policymakers, leaders, influencers, civil society and practitioners at a Report Launch in central London.

The conference will start at 10am on Thursday 23 April, and finish at 3.30pm on Friday 24 April 2020. Bursary recipients are expected to attend the whole event.

This Conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule in order to enable frank and productive conversations.

In case you are unfamiliar with Cumberland Lodge, the charity was founded in 1947 and seeks to empower people, through dialogue and debate, to tackle the causes and effects of social division. We convene multi-sector, interdisciplinary conferences, seminars and panel debates to engage people of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives in candid conversations on societal and ethical issues that affect us all. We commission rigorous, interdisciplinary research to guide these conversations, and we refine key themes of discussion into practical, policy-focused recommendations. We actively involve young people in all aspects of our work, to nurture their potential as future leaders and change-makers.

We are pleased to be able to offer five bursaries for this conference, to support PhD students working in relevant fields with the costs of travelling to and from Cumberland Lodge. All conference costs, shared-accommodation and meals will be provided.

To find out more about the conference and to download the bursary application form, please visit our website. The application form can be downloaded on the right-hand side of the webpage. The deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 16 March 2020.

Emily Gow
Programme Officer
Cumberland Lodge 
01784 497781

Dandelion – Call for papers

Submissions are invited on the theme of

Animals

“The main shortcoming of humanistic scholarship is its extreme anthropocentrism”, Edward O Wilson recently claimed, arguing that this was “a major cause of the alarming decline in public esteem and support of the humanities”. The humanities have begun to pay attention to the depredations of the Anthropocene and to our animality, our animal origins, in the work of Donna Harraway and Pierre Huyghe, to give two notable examples. However, it could also be argued that they have narrowed dramatically, to become obsessed with individual human identity, advancing the causes of particular, discrete groups of humans. A position one could say is hyper-Anthropocenic, one following the atomizing, conflict-generating logic of neo-liberalism, which one can in turn relate to an epidemic of self-obsession and narcissism in the mirror-world of the culture at large.

Can an increased concern in the humanities with animals and animality, and therefore with nature, and by extension science, offer a way out of this impasse? Animals are still at the centre of our culture; they have always answered out needs, and our attitude to them is as conflicted as it has always been. The anthropomorphism that still dominates our attitude to them often takes on sentimental forms, yet it developed as an entirely utilitarian way to aid hunting in prehistory. When we begin to consider animals and animality we enter a world of contradictions. We spend tens of millions on pet food, but still slaughter huge numbers of animals. We could not have survived the last Ice Age without their furs and skins, and it was increased consumption of their meat that led to the increased brain size that allowed our bipedalism to advance, and thus to the descent of the larynx, and thus language; in short, this almost-cannibalism, this never-ending slaughter, was essential to our becoming human.

George Bataille said that animals dwell in the world “like water in water”, in an unmediated, non-destructive, but utterly determined way, and that humans had also once dwelt in the world in this way. But at some point in prehistory, this changed, and our exploitation of Gaia began. Questions contributors may want to consider are where our differences from animals truly lay?  Where do we find what remains of our animalism? Are there times and privileged circumstances in which we too can dwell in the world ‘like water in water’, and how can we, and should we, create them? How much closer can we come to animals? Is there anything to be said for holding up something programmed to pursue its genetic interests, allowing nothing to stand in its way, without altruism, and beyond good and evil, as a redemptive model? What possibility is there of having genuine access to the umwelt of, and somehow experiencing the full ontological reality of what is biologically different in any case? Can insights about our animality help us exit the Anthropocene without disaster, and not just ensure our survival, but even our self-overcoming, and new way of being in the world?

The word ‘animals’ has many ramifications, various morphologies, histories, and synonyms and antonyms, all of which contributors are free to explore. Topics may be related, but are not limited, to:

  • The Animal, Gender and Sexuality
  • Representations of the Animal and Neurodivergence
  • Animal rights
  • The Anthroposcene/Post-anthroposcene
  • Anthrozoology
  • The post-human
  • The trans-human
  • Humanism and anti-humanism
  • Animal Studies
  • Animalism
  • Beastliness
  • Animal consciousness
  • The Chthulucene
  • The animal as trope
  • Anthropomorphism and totemism
  • The animal and animalism in philosophy
  • Anthropocentrism
  • Animal-human relations
  • The humanoid and the theanthropic
  • Chimeras and monsters
  • The fabular
  • The apocalyptic and the revenge of nature
  • The animal in horror and science fiction
  • Becoming animal
  • Evolution
  • Extinction
  • Human as animal, animal as human

Submission guidelines

We welcome long articles (of 5000-8000 words), or shorter ones (of 3000-5000 words). We also welcome reviews of books, films, performances, exhibitions, and festivals (of around 1500 words).

We also publish interviews that you may wish to conduct with an author/artist, and artwork including visual art; creative writing; podcasts, and video footage (up to 10 minutes).

We would be happy to discuss ideas for submissions with interested authors prior to the submission deadline.

Please send your submissions to mail@dandelionjournal.org by 1st August, 2020

BBSRC LIDo – Teaching Week: February 2020

Current Birkbeck PhD students are invited by the BBSRC-funded LIDo PhD programme to attend events in their multi-disciplinary Teaching Week in February 2020. The sessions are open to all University of London PhD students regardless of their subject area.

This year the week consists of a series of separate day-long workshops on themes of Drug Discovery, Software Development in Biology & Medicine, The Psychology of Wellbeing, Insects in Agriculture and Ethics in Health Sciences .

PhD students should express their interest in attending each event by clicking here and completing a short form, full details of locations (London – UCL) and speaker biographies will follow in the new year.

Places are limited so please let us know as soon as you can.

Drug Discovery: Monday 17 February 2020

  • Translational Genomics in Drug Discovery
  • Data-driven drug discovery
  • AI and Drug Discovery
  • Data mining in Drug Discovery
  • Computer-Aided Drug Discovery

Software: Tuesday 18 February 2020

  • Development and implementation of intelligent patient monitoring systems
  • Information Management in Systems Biology
  • Software Solutions for Research Communication
  • Software Engineering for Research Computing
  • Problems of uncertainty in Sensor System Software 

Psychology: Wednesday 19 February 2020

  • The Impact of Social Identity on Mental Health Outcomes
  • Emotion Regulation and the Brain
  • Psychological wellbeing following atypical prenatal hormone environments
  • Big Data Psychology: measuring well-being in transactional data
  • Impact on brain anatomy of allele risk for mental disorders

Entomology: Thursday 20 February 2020

  • Applied Ecology: making fundamental research relevant to real-world problems
  • Understanding and mitigating arthropod vectors and vector-borne diseases as ecosystem disservices
  • The use of biocontrol as an alternative to pesticide
  • Impact of climate change on vector-borne diseases
  • The impacts of agrochemicals on bees

Ethics: Friday 21 February 2020

  • Ethical Issues in Reproductive Technologies
  • Vaccination Ethics
  • Ethics and Gene Editing
  • The Ethics of Antibiotic Resistance
  • Ethical considerations of emerging technologies

Assessors sought to assess CREST Award projects from 14 to 19-year-old students

The British Science Association’s mission is to transform the diversity and inclusivity of science; to reach under-served audiences and increase the number of people who are actively involved and engaged in science. 

They are looking to recruit CREST assessors within the fields of: STEM, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences and Economics. The CREST Awards is one of their flagship programmes for young people. CREST inspires and engages young people aged 5 to 19-years old with project-based STEM activities.

CREST Assessors sought

  • CREST assessors help to develop students’ interest and attitudes towards science, along with their scientific and project skills. They do this by assessing Silver and Gold projects against the CREST assessment criteria, providing constructive feedback and encouragement, and sharing their STEM expertise with young people. Often, project assessment is the first time students’ work is seen by someone other than their parents or teachers. Students value the opportunity to share their work with someone with expertise and/or a career in the STEM sector. 
  • Assessing projects can be done on a voluntary or paid basis paid (£4 per Silver Award assessment and £6 per Gold Award assessment), with approximately 5 hours’ worth of assessments per month. All assessment and feedback are carried out via our online platform. 
  • Assessors are trained how to assess projects and give effective feedback. Also, assessing CREST projects count towards STEM Ambassador volunteer hours.  

Further details

Please see the complete details for the role here.

Those interested should register their interest in this form and will be contacted shortly afterwards. If you have any questions, would like to know more about CREST Awards or have any thoughts on who else might be interested in the CREST assessor role, please contact Claudia Linan, Education Officer: t. +44 (0)20 7019 4969

Call for participation; Chinese follows English

Are you a Chinese student? If so please consider helping one of our Birkbeck Research students who is looking for participants in the UK for a project which aims to look at the relationship between languages and life in the UK.

Get in touch by filling out one of the questionnaires below – it takes 15 minutes to complete. There are 3 versions of the questionnaire: English, traditional Chinese, and simplified Chinese so you can choose the one that suits you best.

Thank you very much for your help!

Highlighted CHASE Training Opportunities

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.

Performing Theory Series – Nuclear Hallucinations

Thursday, 24 October 2019 | 17:00  20:00

Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW
MRB Screen 1

This event inaugurates a new academic year for those of us doing Screen related research, by hearing from practitioners about the relationship between their ideas and their images.

Fathima Nizaruddin will be here to screen and discuss her 2016 film,  Nuclear Hallucinations.

Discussion and reception to follow.

Find out more and register here

Translation x Creative Writing

Various dates from 28 October | 1400-1600 | University of East Anglia

This series of masterclasses is by translators of creative writing for creative writers and is designed to provide insight into these acts of translation that many if not all creative writers engage with. The sessions are small group and are led by the world’s leading translators – including two Booker Prize nominees and one Booker winner. Sessions will be craft focused. Session leaders include Jeremy Tiang, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Duncan Large, Daniel Hahn and Marilyn Booth who will share their expertise and insights exclusively on the topic. Each masterclass will explore from a different perspective the relationship between translation and creative writing – which, although inextricably connected, are rarely considered together.

Find out more and register here

CHASE Latin for Medieval and Early Modernists 2019/20

4-8 November & 1-5 June 2020 | University of East Anglia

The CHASE Latin for Medievalists and Early Modernists course is a series of workshops and residential weeks designed to provide Latin tuition from beginner to intermediate levels, as well as facilitate the discussion and development of Latin methodologies and research practice. A grasp of Latin is essential to cutting-edge work in medieval and early modern studies but tuition is often hard to come by – we aim to provide CHASE scholars with the necessary skills to produce top-quality research and to form a network of Latin scholars throughout the academy.

Find out more and register here

FACT///.Mapping Feminists Coding Practices Symposium

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 | Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex

‘Mapping Feminists Coding Practices’, a one-day symposium at the Sussex Humanities Lab, University of Sussex, is the first in a series of events that explore feminist coding practices and the historic context of feminism and technology. It explores some of the affordances and resistances of computational technology. Its aim is to develop a wider understanding of current practices and research which make positive interventions into and within computation, in its widest possible interpretation, from a feminist perspective. 

Find out more and register here

Fifty Years of Skinner’s “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas”

Friday, 29 November – Saturday, 30 November 2019 | University of Sussex

This programme takes the opportunity of the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most influential article on intellectual-historical methods, Quentin Skinner’s “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” (1969), to introduce doctoral participants to the methodological commitments within the field, engaging them in cutting-edge critical reflection on method. Participants will gain a thorough foundation in the available methods in the history of ideas, engage in debates regarding method, and participate in the critical evaluation of such methodologies, considering possible alternatives. 

Find out more and register here

If you have any questions about the above training, please email enquiries@chase.ac.uk

Digital Inclusion: Bridging Divides Conference – Bursary places available for PhD students

14 November

We have been made aware of a opportunities for PhD students to attend the Digital Inclusion: Bridging Divides Conference at Cumberland Lodge.

The Digital Inclusion: Bridging Divides Conference brings together academics, policymakers, future leaders, the private sector, civil society and community practitioners in order to explore innovative and effective ways of promoting equal access to high-quality digital education and political participation across society. Conference participants will investigate how intelligent technology can foster a greater sense of community and inclusion in a digital world, and increase social and political opportunities.

The Conference will start at 10 am on Thursday, 14 November, and finish at 4 pm on Friday, 15 November 2019. Participants are expected to attend the whole event.

Conference costs

Attendance at this conference is supported by their charitable funds and includes overnight accommodation at Cumberland Lodge on 14 November and all meals during your stay.

Registrations of interest in attending are incited, but attendance will be by invitation only, to ensure broad and balanced representation. If you would like to be part of this conference, please click on the ‘Make Enquiry’ button on the event webpage to let them know how and why you would like to contribute.

Travel bursaries available

They are pleased to be able to offer five bursaries for this conference, to support PhD students working in relevant fields with the costs of travelling to and from Cumberland Lodge. All conference costs, accommodation and meals will be provided free of charge.

To find out more about the conference and to download the bursary application form, please visit their website. The deadline for applications is Monday 14 October. 

Open Access Week 2019

Throughout 21-25 October Birkbeck PhD students are invited to attend events organised by the Birkbeck Library as part of International Open Access Week.

These events will let you learn about developments which are of increasing importance to your current and future research. The programme includes the following events – registration is via the following links.

Changes and challenges in transformative open access agreements

Monday 21st October, 11.00-11.30, Library Training Room

This session will give an overview of the changes and challenges in publishing models, for libraries with the move from traditional subscriptions, to a hybrid of subscriptions and open access, to transformative agreements which seek to offset article processing charges (APCs).

Data Management Plans for students

Tuesday 22nd October, 11.00-12.30, Library Seminar Room

This is an interactive 1.5hour long session. There will be discussion and opportunities for questions.

This session is aimed at Postgraduate Research Students including Doctoral and Masters Research Students, who are creating or reusing data, or who may require ethical approval, and would like to create a Data Management Plan (DMP) to help guide them through their project.

These plans are also important documents for funded research, with many funders requiring them as part of a bid. Being familiar with the process of creating DMPs is therefore a useful research skill.
We will use example plans and online tools to create DMPs, and look at how to improve them.

Research Data Management and Open Access – drop in session

Wednesday 23rd October, 13.00-16.00, MAL 420

If you have questions about open access publishing, where you should put your research data, what Plan S is and what it means at Birkbeck, then pop in to this session to find the answers. David McElroy is our Research Data Support Manager and Paul Rigg our Senior Assistant Librarian (Repository & Digital Media Management) and they will be on hand to talk through any queries that you have. This is an open session, no booking required.

If you have questions about open access publishing, where you should put your research data, what Plan S is and what it means at Birkbeck, then pop in to this session to find the answers. David McElroy is our Research Data Support Manager and Paul Rigg our Senior Assistant Librarian (Repository & Digital Media Management) and they will be on hand to talk through any queries that you have. This is an open session, no booking required.

Plan S – what is it and what does it mean for Birkbeck?

Wednesday 23rd October, 16.00-17.00, Library Seminar Room

Plan S aims to significantly shake up the current Open Access publishing ecosystem. This session will give a brief overview of who’s behind it, what the “plan” is, what the “S” actually means, and how it could affect us.

Making the most of Scopus

Thursday 24th October, 11.00-11.30, Library Training Room

Come and get an overview of some of the analysis tools (journals, search results, authors) in the database Scopus.

Open Access board game

Friday 25th October, 12.30-13.30, Library Training Room

open access board game

Come and play the Open Access board game to get a better understanding of what Open Access is and how it works. You are welcome as a team of up to 4 people or as an individual to join others.