4 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE: BAVS Postgraduate Elections 2016-18

FOUR DAYS LEFT TO VOTE for the new BAVS Postgraduate Representative, 2016-18. Please note that ONLY current postgraduate and early career (3 years post-PhD) members of BAVS are eligible to vote. 

Voting ends on 20th October.

Cast your vote here.

Read the candidates’ statements below:

Briony Wickes

I am a third year PhD student in the English Department at King’s College London. My thesis, provisionally entitled ‘Fur, Feathers, Fat, and Wool: Animals, Global Trade, and Settler Colonisation in Victorian Literature’, argues that animal bodies are integral to the conceptual and material work of nineteenth-century settlement in the New World. Aiming to relocate the animal within Victorian expansionist culture, my thesis is organised around different literary representations of settler colonial animal industries, specifically sheep-herding, the fur trade, the feather industry, and whaling. As I approach the final stages of my PhD, I am now looking to accept new responsibilities and to broaden my experience in academia by taking an active role on the BAVS committee and sharing my enthusiasm for Victorian studies.

For two years, I have been a part of the organising committee for an international nineteenth-century studies partnership between King’s College London and the University of North Carolina. This post has also seen me co-organise a trip to the UNC Chapel Hill campus, a London-based conference, and a series of virtual seminars between the two institutions. A key challenge of the role has been to coordinate colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic, requiring me to identify points of connection between a diverse group of scholars to create an inclusive programme of events and foster a lasting research community. I am also a founding member of The Still Point Journal, an AHRC-funded print and online publication, and I manage the journal’s WordPress blog and social media, including the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. This summer we organised our first week-long online symposium on the theme ‘Digital Selves’ which involved curating a series of blog posts and live-responding to comments in order to stimulate a vibrant online dialogue.

As a BAVS member, I have been particularly impressed by the quality and variety of events on offer for postgraduates and I want to carry on the good work of Emma, Abby, and Jo by overseeing activities that will continue to develop the skillset of a PhD candidate. The job market is a key priority for many postgraduates and I would like to take advantage of the professionalisation workshop at the annual conference to organise further sessions on publication, public engagement, and also alternatives to academia. I’d be interested in running a ‘Meet the Editors’ publication roundtable, as well as an informal ‘speed-dating’ style event to help PGR students network with curators and directors of cultural institutions and practice pitching ideas. Outside of the annual conference, I would also like to organise a series of events that explore and unpick the current theoretical trends in our field. How we study the Victorian era and why is an ongoing, pertinent conversation for BAVS postgraduates to be a part of, and could be discussed via a reading group, an online colloquium, in a ‘masterclass’ with leading academics, or through a series of blogs to be published on The Victorianist.

Above all, I want to be a dedicated and approachable representative for PGR members of the society. I am committed to improving the postgraduate experience. In a time of casualisation, gender pay gaps, funding cut-backs, and Brexit, undertaking a PhD is a daunting prospect and as a research community, I believe that we must be supportive, open, and communicative with one another in order to address the challenges that our postgraduate students, in particular, must face.

Lois Burke

My name is Lois, and I’m a second year PhD candidate at Edinburgh Napier University. My research focuses on the untold experiences of Victorian pubescent girls, through studies of life writings, contemporaneous conduct literature, and little-studied literature from the mid- to late- nineteenth century. My research on manuscript diaries focuses on the juvenilia of Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, held at the Women’s Library in LSE. My fiction research ranges from the works of Charlotte Yonge to Charles Dickens and Walter Scott. I currently teach on the undergraduate module ‘Narratives of Social and Sexual Deviance: Re-thinking The Victorians’, and I have had reviews published in The Journal of neo-Victorian Studies and Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies.

My work combines various disciplines and approaches: Victorian studies, gender research, girl studies and archival studies. I have come to appreciate outward-looking research practice in my role as a collections volunteer and exhibition assistant at the Museum of Childhood, as I have seen just how successful relationships between the postgraduate researcher and the heritage organisation can be, particularly when working with objects. For me, this belief was buttressed at the BAVS 2016 PGR/ECR workshop on ‘Victorian Illustration’ which allowed us to get hands-on with our source material; something which can often seem just out of our reach. As a BAVS postgraduate representative I would like to plan more of these events which cultivate a feeling of inquisitive excitement. I would aim to organise a series of material culture workshops for postgraduates which establish links in the wider community with other organisations, and encourage multi-disciplinary thinking about nineteenth-century studies. I have recently organised the launch event of the Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland, which will unite gender researchers working in any discipline in any Scottish institution. I would apply my experience of planning this event to secure support and attendance for these BAVS postgraduate workshops.

In terms of taking on the responsibility for The Victorianist’s social media presence, I have recently produced blogs for BAVS, Mslexia, The Museum of Childhood, and wrote a report for the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers annual conference. I share tweeting responsibilities for both Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Literature and Writing (@CLAWEdinburgh) account, and the Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland (@PGRNScotland), which I co-founded with colleagues from the University of Edinburgh. As such I have experience of using social media as a platform to share research and successes within the postgraduate community. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Neo-Victorian reviews section on The Victorianist blog, and I would like to see that continue if I were elected as the postgraduate representative.


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