A much belated roundup of a conferences trip to Durham
I was preparing to submit a travel fund claim for some conference speaking I did up in Durham a couple of months ago. A requirement of them giving students the money is, not unreasonably, 'conditional on you providing a report on the event . You may also be requested to provide some information for the SHARE student blog'. That being so, I thought that I'd write the report up as a belated blog post on the visit, and submit that in fulfillment of the requirement.
This March, I had the fortune to have two abstracts accepted for different conferences being held in the same week in Durham.
The first was for the UK Punic Network Graduate Workshop, hosted by Dr Mark Woolmer and Mr Luke Evans at Collingwood College, Durham University on 18th March. My paper, entitled ‘Cato the Génocidaire?Rethinking Straightforward Narratives of the Annihilation of Carthage’ was very well received, with the ensuing discussion showing much more acceptance of argument than I was expecting! It was an tremendous opportunity to receive valuable feedback from specialist in Punic and Phoenician studies. I made some useful contacts, and it was a positive experience to demonstrate my knowledge and research to an audience including a mix of postgraduate researchers and some very well established academics. My experiences coordinating the SHARE with Schools outreach project put me in good stead to engage fully and vocally with a roundtable discussion on a putative Phoenician Exhibition at Durham University’s Oriental Museum. This discussion has enabled me to develop my ideas and approaches to doing and talking about my own outreach activities.
The second paper was for the Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History (AMPAH), on 21st March, speaking about ‘Agency, deditio infidem & the forced relocation of Volsinii and Falerii’. The audience, due to the nature of the event, was less knowledgeable about this area of research. The audience engagement was therefore good but at a much lower academic level than the Punic workshop had allowed. Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity to disseminate my research and research methodology at a vital conference and the key gathering for postgraduate researchers in my field in the UK. As with conference earlier in the week, it was a great chance to network with doctoral students and other scholars working on similar topics. Engaging with some different perspectives has helped my understanding of some areas of Greco-Roman history and will feed in to later thesis work.
Both of these events were great opportunities to present the results of my second year of Ph.D. research, to develop my skills as an academic speaker and to network with others working in my field and on similar topics.
They were a lot of fun too, helped by the inherent medieval beauty of Durham, the friendliness of my hosts who put me up for the several nights, and the sparkling and erudite people that I met from all over the world. Oh and I got to see the eclipse poking between some cloud over the rather nice hotel that treated myself to for one night in the middle.