Dear Members and Contacts of the Birkbeck Graduate Research
We are delighted to share with you a call for papers for our
interdisciplinary AHRC Midlands4Cities-funded virtual seminar series, ‘Culture,
Things, and Empire’. We will be hosting 5 online Zoom seminars (20-minute
papers and 40 minutes of discussion) and 1 masterclass for all registered
participants surrounding issues and themes such as race, gender, class, and
materiality in the fields of imperial, colonial and global studies. The series
will take place between November 2020 and April 2021. Registration to attend
the seminars will also open soon here: https://culturethingsempire.wordpress.com/
I am a mature student, just beginning the second year of my
PhD in Early Modern History, so I am currently preparing my first research
chapter for my upgrade from MPhil to PhD. My research focuses on accuracy and
the value of accuracy in seventeenth-century English news sources, with
particular reference to the period between 1649 and 1685. It was always work
that was going to have some resonance in the 21st century; “fake
news” is very definitely not a modern invention.
One of my main topics looks at the 1665 Great Plague and the
Fire of 1666. I am interested in whether both producers and consumers of news
approached accuracy any differently when dealing with natural disaster as
opposed to news about political, civil and military strife, of which there was
a good deal in the seventeenth century. When I decided, with my supervisor (Dr
Brodie Waddell), to make this my first research chapter, neither of us had any
idea that I would be working on it during a 21st century pandemic
and a national lockdown….. and that archive access might be a bit trickier
than normal. So many thanks are due to Brodie for advice on how to deal with
that and to all the archives and their staff that have re-opened in the past
At the start of lockdown in March 2020 I decided to keep a “Covid
journal” prompted by a number of academics I follow on twitter. I used to be a
journalist and I am trying to be a social and cultural historian, so I figured
that keeping a diary might give me some insight into those diary keepers,
commonplace book authors and letter writers whose news consumption habits I was
trying to understand.
Historians should be rightly cautious about making
comparisons between the past and the present, so I am very careful about
drawing direct comparisons.
However, despite the considerable advance in medical science
and news technology in the last three hundred and fifty years, the search for
reliable information and the debates about how to act on that information have
a familiar ring.
People in seventeenth century London tracked the weekly
Bills of Mortality, as we have all followed the graphs at the daily government
news conferences. The efficacy of shutting people up in their houses once a
case of plague was discovered was debated from the street to the medical
journals. News came at the seventeenth century citizen from a huge range of sources,
orally from neighbours, business partners, customers, from Authority – the
King, Parliament and the City Authorities, from newspapers, which as well as
editorial content, ran huge numbers of adverts for all sorts of plague cures
Those citizens of seventeenth century London, who remained
in the city, had to juggle a lot of conflicting information, with the need to
maintain daily life and work, and if I have learnt one thing in the last six
months it is to have considerable respect for how they managed to do that.
The Public Engagement Team provides advice, opportunities, and funding for engagement with research. The team was established to support Birkbeck’s commitment to making research results available to society. By working together with researchers, external partners, and organisations, we aim to create opportunities for knowledge exchange.
We would like to let researchers know that applications for our annual Public Engagement Awards are now open. This award recognises the inspiring public engagement work undertaken by Birkbeck researchers at various levels of their career, including doctoral researchers.
The team will be attending a research networking event hosted by the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research on Thursday 6th February, 12-2pm (G04, 43 Gordon Square) if you’d like to speak to them in person. You can contact email@example.com for more details or to reserve a seat.
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.
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
Dunlop Green Flash, adidas Samba, Puma States, Reebok Classic, Nike Air Max, or Yeezy 350 … how many would hear in this list the echoes of the broad sweep of global history, from the mid 19th to the early 21st Century? In a recent Research Blog post, a Birkbeck PhD alumnus recounts his long walk from his first pair of adidas in the mid 1980s to a book deal in 2015, via a global industry valued in the billions.
Self-styled sneakerhead, Thomas Turner researched his beloved sports footwear against a changing landscape of society, sport, fashion, industry, and technology – graduating in 2013 with a PhD in History from Birkbeck. To trace the footsteps in history of one of the most culturally rich and economically significant products of our time, the humble sports shoe, step over to the trail on the Research blog:
On Thursday 2 May, Birkbeck doctoral students took part in the 2019 Three Minute Thesis Competition. Gabriella McGrogan was the overall winner and received a £500 prize.
2019 3MT Competition
On Thursday 2 May around 70 people attended the Birkbeck Three Minute Thesis Competition. This competition honed and tested the presentation skills of the PhD students who took part, and provided an exciting tour of a diverse range of our current doctoral research. Despite only having 3 minutes for each presentation, contestants (representing all Schools at Birkbeck) were able to convey their research in an insightful and meaningful way, and the event provided both celebration and insight arising from their achievements.
This event, which was held in the Clore Lecture Theatre, was the third time the Three Minute Thesis competition has been run at Birkbeck.
Winner: Gabriella McGrogan
During the exciting series of talks from Birkbeck PhD students, Gabriella McGrogan (Department of Law) was chosen as the overall winner for her compelling presentation ‘Against our Community Standards’- “Outsider” Witnessing of Atrocity and Social Media Censorship’. Gabriella is in her first year as a doctoral researcher in Criminology.
Gabriella told us her reaction on winning the competition:
“It was actually quite a shock! I went last, and had spent the short break prior to the competition repeating what I wanted to say over and over. I was a little overwhelmed by the brilliant calibre of all of the other contestants.
Not only was competing an excellent opportunity to practice public speaking (which I find daunting) but winning, and the conversations invoked afterwards, has helped to give me confidence that my work is interesting to a wide audience and may prove important. It has definitely encouraged me to consider how I can present it for public engagement again in the future.
Whilst competing is a little terrifying, the training and support of everyone at BGRS makes the experience much more comfortable – definitely have a go! It has helped me to condense a plethora of ideas and research into a manageable and coherent explanation. It’s also so enjoyable to engage with students from other departments and made me very proud of the diversity and innovation happening at Birkbeck.”
The overall winner and runner up were chosen by a panel of 5 Birkbeck experts (one from each of Birkbeck’s Schools) but the audience also played a key role and were asked to use their votes to choose a People’s Choice winner. The People’s prize was awarded jointly to ‘Lexter Woodley’ (Department of Geography) for her talk ‘An exploration on how female breadwinner couples experience and manage their home lives’
and to Pernelle Lorette (Applied Linguistics and Communication) for her presentation ‘How do you think they feel? Cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perception of emotion’.
2019 3MT Talks
A list of all the competitors and their talks is provided below.