New CHASE Training Opportunities

The following CHASE training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck, regardless of whether you are funded by CHASE or not.

City Maps

Various dates and venues October 2018 – July 2019, please check the website for details

City Maps is a series of workshops encouraging doctoral students to explore, discuss and experiment with different ways of conceptualising and studying cities in the arts and humanities. The main learning outcome is to equip participants with knowledge, tools and approaches for expanding their horizons and engaging the urban as an object of study in their own research.

In ordinary conversation, we often take cities for granted as distinct and identifiable places. But when the city becomes an object of study, it quickly becomes elusive, layered, interconnected and potentially boundless. A city can be a built environment of myriad structures and infrastructures, its people and their differences, a series of representations or aesthetic impressions, an object of politics or public address, a node for global flows, and many other things besides. Often going hand-in-hand with these disparate aspects of the city are specific disciplinary preferences and domains.

Doctoral students taking workshops within this series will be inspired to rise above narrowly disciplinary or highly attenuated orientations to the city. Each session will approach the urban as an inherently trans-, inter- and pluri-disciplinary object, bringing together CHASE expertise and an invited workshop leader, who will collaborate and develop a format appropriate to the workshop’s focus. This might include site-specific presentations, cases studies, reading discussions, screenings, and hands-on workshops.

The series will comprise five workshops moving from specific urban research cases to how students might situate themselves and seek publication in what has been termed urban cultural studies.

Screen Studies Group: Screen and Film Research Methods Today

Saturday 17 November | Safra Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Strand Campus, King’s College London

Screen and Film Research Methods Today relaunches the Screen Studies Group annual postgraduate training day. The day has two major goals. The first is to bring together all new film and screen studies doctoral students in London and the environs. It will enable network building around shared specialisms beyond your home department. Second, it will provide foundational training in methods that are relatively new to this field and which home institutions often cannot provide.

This is a one-day session presenting research methods for all new and returning doctoral students. We will address a variety of topics that now concern Screen and Film Studies such as online research, dating mining, social media; live television; installation work; music videos, gaming, AvPhDs, production cultures, media industries, creative practice, and live cinema. The day will include a panel on archives now available for under researched or previously excluded cinemas and communities.

Structure in Creative Writing

Various dates cross London and UEA venues, please check the website for schedule

A series of eight seminars by leading academics, poets, prose writers, script writers and script doctors on structure, narrative and plot in creative work. These seminars will be craft-focused and designed to help writers to plot their work and refine its structure. Prescribed texts are available to download below. The seminar leader will guide us through those texts at the seminar. You will be expected to have read the texts in advance and the seminar will be considerably more helpful if you have.
These will be hosted in London and Norwich and are scheduled at 5–7pm on the Wednesdays specified below.

Objects in Space, Subjects in Time: The Material Cultures of Postcolonial History

Various dates and venues across London please check the website for details

Please note the sessions cannot be attended individually and are part of a complete series.

A series of six workshops across the year which explore global, transnational and postcolonial pasts by engaging with material collections and texts or objects in museums and exhibition spaces across London. The journeys of objects or the changing shape and use of spaces can offer a powerful means of unpicking, understanding and then conveying meaningfully and compellingly to a range of audiences the processes and legacies of empires. Encountering the objects and spaces proposed in these workshops emphasizes not only the intellectual perspectives of post-colonial theory upon the past, but also brings to light in the most concrete terms those shadows of empire in the present that post-colonial theory was developed to expose and challenge.

These workshops will include one international conference, four object-based sessions making use of London’s unparalleled collections, and two sessions dedicated to the processes of translating research into different arenas. You will have the chance to examine a range of material and objects in dedicated study sessions with curators and experts, and over the course of the series, you will produce a video, blogpost or other public-facing reflection, drawing on your own research and the materials in these workshops. You will receive training from the Derek Jarman Lab, Birkbeck’s media department, on how to produce an effective media project and have the opportunity to contribute to a podcast with a top broadcaster, as well as present your ideas on the sessions to a non-academic audience.

Birkbeck Intern Blog Post – Aren Roukema

Aren Roukema

Internships Academic Publishing: Working with 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century

I had the great privilege of interning with 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, a well-respected humanities journal hosted by Birkbeck’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. Over the course of helping with three excellent issues of the journal, I gained valuable experience copyediting text and liaising with authors, reviewers and editors, and just generally had an opportunity to get the sense of a casual, yet still quite professional publishing environment.

The position is largely self-directed, though the one-year internship at 19 is modeled on the adeptship of martial arts films — for the first six months you work and train with a more experienced intern who has already been in the position for at least one issue; for the last six months you’re the master. In reality this equates to learning and adjusting to situations together, as there’s always a new problem to solve, or at least a new twist on an old conundrum. That said, the support from the full-time editors at 19 was tremendous. I particularly benefitted from training and assistance with copyediting. I’d had some experience with this previously, but my time working with the 19 editors gave me an intense commitment to proper grammar and punctuation that I’m not entirely comfortable with with which I’m not entirely comfortable.

Though generally solitary, the internship could be quite social. During regular meetings with 19 staff and with faculty and students involved with the Centre, interns were frequently encouraged to share ideas for the future of the journal and other Centre activities. Internships like this one can be demanding on the already short supply of time available to a PhD student, but I encourage all who are interested in an academic career or a future in any aspect of publishing to apply. The position was fairly remunerated and provided excellent opportunities to develop skills related to both publishing and the critical evaluation of academic work.

Images taken from http://www.cncs.bbk.ac.uk/ 

Birkbeck Intern Blog Post – Shijia Yu

Shijia Yu

I have thoroughly enjoyed being an intern at Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies. Already a subscriber to the Centre’s newsletter and blog before applying for the PhD programme, I learned about this opportunity through the Centre and was lucky enough to be selected as event officer intern. Most of my responsibility lies in assisting the organisation of various Centre talks, lectures and conferences, and I also manage the blog and social media platform of the Centre, as well as sitting in Centre meetings and taking minutes.

The internship has been a rewarding, eye-opening and inspiring experience. As I am in frequent liaison with Birkbeck as well as external PhD colleagues and established scholars over the Centre’s everyday running, I have made many contacts in the field of nineteenth-century studies, which is where my PhD research lies. Communicating research with them helps me keep exploring new perspectives in my work.

Assisting the organisation of various events for the Centre is of great benefit for both my academic and employment prospects. Organising academic events is now expected from a PhD student, and part of the everyday life of a researcher in academia, which is what I aspire to be. Hence my experience from the internship will certainly help make things easier when it is my turn to devise an event.

In a way this is already proven true, as I have been most generously supported by the Centre, but most of all by its co-directors, in organising two events for Birkbeck Arts Week 2018: Paper Peepshow: Make Your Own, and Paper Peepshow: Peep into the Rabbit Hole. During my preparation for the two Arts Week events, they were very generous in their help, from giving guidance on my funding application to coming to the events on the day to show their support. The events have helped me address methodological issues that I have encountered during my first-year research, and also brought more attention to my research subject.

Apart from helping me during the Arts Week, the co-directors have also made sure that I have all the support needed on my daily work on the role, including providing me with handover notes, training me on skills such as minute taking, and maintaining the website. They also encourage me to develop my own working style and help me establish protocols and standards in my work. Indeed, this support can be felt with everyone in the Centre, and even my predecessor, who has long left the position, has come to my help again and again with admiring patience.

I find the internship a great opportunity for Birkbeck PhD students, and would definitely recommend it to others. In particular, the flexibility given to me on this role is incredible: I could finish 80% of the work at any time of my choice, hence integrating the internship into my PhD study nicely, instead of having it disrupting my research.

Shijia Yu, Research Student

Birkbeck Intern Blog Post – Elena Shampanova

Elena Shampanova

From September 2017 to July 2018 I embarked on an internship with Peltz Gallery at the School of Arts at Birkbeck. The position was advertised through the BGRS regular emails, and immediately caught my attention. Having worked and managed events in an arts gallery before, I have never worked in a gallery in an academic setting, and saw this as a chance to apply my existing skills to the new environment, and learn more about the way Peltz Gallery operates and public engagement events are run. I applied and was very excited to have been offered this internship together with two other PhD students.

At our induction meeting we were given an overview of the Peltz Gallery annual plan, and exhibitions coming up. We were invited to support the install and de-install of exhibitions as well as some of the events, however, the focus was very much on what we were interested in doing, and what we wanted to try our hand at.

During my interview for the internship we spoke about my experience of developing evaluation frameworks for arts projects, so when I started I suggested creating one for Peltz Gallery. The idea was welcomed by the team, and I went through a series of questions with them to shape the aims of evaluation. Based on that I developed a framework and tools for collecting data throughout the year, and now I am in the process of analysing it, and writing up the report. Throughout the year evaluation process received support from all the team as it was the first pilot year, and everyone is looking forward to seeing the results. I was pleased to see that my initiative was taken on board at all levels – by peer interns and the gallery team.

Overall, I feel that this internship is a unique way to gain hands-on experience of running a gallery in an academic setting – from shaping a yearly plan of exhibitions to learning all the technicalities of lighting and sound in the space, as well as organising and running public events. I learn best by doing, so this was just right for me, and will be beneficial for my future work in academia as it gave me a lot of ideas on how my research can be presented to public in an engaging way. Being part of an interdisciplinary team and working alongside my peers, who are coming from different research backgrounds enriched our dialogues and boosted ideas – it is amazing, how you can approach a similar subject from a range of angles and disciplines. So if you are considering taking on an internship, go ahead, you will learn so much, meet new people, and will most likely see your own research in a new light.

I would like to thank everyone, who I worked with, for their professionalism, guidance, knowledge and ideas sharing, support and encouragement.

Elena Shampanova, Research Student. 

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.

 

From Field to Page: Core Skills in the Medical Humanities

Thursday 5 July & Thursday 8 November

Birkbeck, University of London


From Field to Page is two training days, which map the core skills required of medical humanities doctoral research and support doctoral researchers as they undertake their projects.

 

Medical humanities continues to emerge as a live and transforming field of enquiry.  The core work of this field seeks to explore and critique biomedical science and its histories through the various critical frameworks of the humanities disciplines.  Medical humanities research presents scholars with the particular challenges of transdisciplinary research undertaken across the radically different domains of medicine and the humanities’ academic disciplines.  Across the CHASE institutions there is a diverse cohort of medical humanities doctoral researchers that incorporates students from both clinical and non-clinical, humanities backgrounds. As such the cohort represents a broad range of skills-sets, work, academic and training experiences, and previous exposure to the critical methods central to the humanities disciplines. Clinicians come into the field of research with substantial situated knowledge of the real-life settings and practices of medicine and surgery but often with the need to acquire, through training the requisite skills of critical thinking and writing.

Conversely, non-clinicians and humanities’ scholars are much better versed in critical practice and inquiry, but lack the grounded, lived experience of clinical practice. The range of research projects undertaken in the field is markedly diverse, ranging from practice-led (examining the nature of clinical practice), to practice-based (using clinical practice as research), to purely analytic (discursive analysis) modes of inquiry but all undertake to situate medicine, disease, patient experience, clinical practice and medical education within socio-cultural and/or historical contexts in such a way that critical analysis and discursive understandings may be produced. The aims of medical humanities theses may, or may not, have the avowed intention of contributing to the practical fields of clinical practice, delivery of healthcare or medical education. All medical humanities theses must adhere to the core methodologies and practices of the humanities disciplines and this means that critical thinking and writing skills are key requirements of the medical humanities doctorate.

Find out more and register here

 

Getting Ready for Submission: Editing, Strengthening & Polishing Your Thesis

3-5 August | Cumberland Lodge, Windsor
Accommodation and dinner is provided on Friday evening, but the workshop starts at 10am on Saturday. Attendees are welcome to arrive from 6pm on Friday.

 

Are you close to a full draft of your thesis? Does it resemble a baggy monster that needs taming? If so, this two-day residential workshop is for you. Through activities and tutorials, you’ll learn techniques for getting your thesis into shape. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have a perfectly polished chapter and a clear strategy for tackling the rest of your thesis.

 

Find out more and register

The Viva and Beyond: Planning, Preparation & Performance


5-7 October | Cumberland Lodge, Windsor
Accommodation and dinner is provided on Friday evening, but the workshop starts at 10am on Saturday. Attendees are welcome to arrive from 6pm on Friday.

Have you submitted your thesis, or are you close to completion? This two-day workshop is designed to guide you through the process of preparing for your viva and to help you plan what happens post-PhD.

Through activities, discussion, and short training sessions on Day One, you’ll learn lots of techniques for successfully defending your thesis. We’ll also stage some mock vivas to get you used to the format in a supportive environment.

Day Two is all about what happens next. We’ll explore the jobs market and use some strategies for working out what career you’d like to pursue. The final session is dedicated to turning your thesis into a publication. We’ll look at the options, what’s involved, and also draft a book proposal.

 

Find out more and register

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

Close Reading + Digital Humanities: A Dialogue (20 April)

Close Reading and Digital Humanities: a dialogue

20 April, 2-5pm

Erik Ketzan

Digital practices in literary studies have been at the forefront of recent debates about what it means to ‘read’ at scale. Meanwhile, conventional literary studies has followed the modernist paradigm of ‘close reading’, insisting on close textual attention.

On April 20, 2-5pm, Birkbeck School of Arts will host an afternoon event, Close Reading + Digital Humanities: A Dialogue. Space is limited — please register to attend.

This afternoon brings together scholars of close reading and digital humanities to investigate how one can inform the other, chart common goals and navigate potential tensions and anxieties. By discussing the tradition of close reading in literary studies alongside emerging digital approaches to text — such as corpus-based analysis (analysis based on electronic collections of text), detecting text re-use (automatic detection of text that appears in two texts, or multiple times within one text), semantic analysis (automatic classification of the meaning of words), automatic collation (comparison of texts, for instance variants of fiction)  — we hope to identify new research topics and find new ways to tackle old problems.

Each speaker will present for 25 minutes with Q+A, followed by a panel discussion.

Professor Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing
Birkbeck, University of London

Erik Ketzan

PhD Candidate: Digital Humanities
Birkbeck, University of London

Dr. Richard Robinson

Associate Professor, English Literature & Creative Writing
Swansea University

Dr. Gabriele Salciute Civiliene

Teaching Fellow in Digital Humanities Technologies,
Department of Digital Humanities
King’s College London

Erik Ketzan is a PhD Candidate in Digital Humanities, Birkbeck.

Thesis Boot Camp experience

Thesis Boot Camp experience

Mara Arts

Over the course of three days early April, a group of Birkbeck PhD students were able to participate in a ‘thesis boot camp’, organised by the CHASE consortium. Thesis boot camps originated in Australia and are designed to give PhD candidates a concentrated period of time to focus on their writing, and produce as many words as possible.

The boot camp was hosted by the University of Sussex on the Feltham campus, and the event was expertly facilitated by writing skills trainer Dr Catherine Pope. Around 30 doctoral students attended the whole weekend, hailing from seven different institutions.

We started at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, with introductions and a few words from Catherine to display some persistent writing myths. We were reminded that the aim of the weekend was to produce as many words as possible, and not to craft perfect prose or fully edited chapters. Catherine also taught us the ‘Pomodoro technique’ of doing 25 minutes of concentrated writing, followed by a short break. This was going to prove very useful over the course of the weekend!

Then it was time to get writing. We started with telling another student what we were hoping to achieve that session, which was followed by five minutes of ‘freewriting’ on the topic ‘What do I want to achieve this weekend?’ Freewriting is writing whatever comes into your head, non-stop, without any regard for spelling, grammar or punctuation. It helps to get the writing juices flowing. The rest of the evening, until 8pm, was spent writing.

We had two big classrooms at our disposal: one ‘writing room’ where each student had a desk, and where we were asked not to talk to create a good working environment. The room next door was the break room, which had a constant supply of drinks and snacks, and which we could use whenever we wanted to chat, relax, or play games. Lunches and dinners were also served in the breakroom. Having all meals catered for, and being away from the demands of your domestic environment, really helped to stay focused on the research. As most participants were staying in the same hotel (also generously funded by CHASE) it was easy to unwind together over a drink in the evenings.

On Saturday and Sunday the schedule was much the same. We started at 10am each day with telling our ‘accountability partner’ what that day’s goal was, and then did a bit of freewriting to get going. The rest of the days were split up in sizeable chunks of writing time. Participants could also request a one-to-one session with Catherine to discuss a particular issue they had with their research. On Saturday there was a guided walk in the fields adjacent to the campus, to get some much-needed fresh air. We also spent some time in group discussions each day, to share common PhD student problems such as tricky supervisors or managing work-related stress; and to swap writing tips.

When we finished at 4pm on Sunday, Catherine gave us some tips on how to keep our writing momentum going. Although everyone was pretty worn out after so much hard work, many participants were hoping to attend another boot camp session soon. They are a great way to get over tricky writing hurdles and start good writing habits.

Mara Arts is a PhD student in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck.