All posts by Charlotte Mathieson

Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century English Literature, University of Surrey

UKSG 2019 conference plenary

Yesterday I was delighted to have the opportunity to give a plenary talk at the UKSG annual conference in Telford. UKSG is an organisation connecting the scholarly communications community, and the annual conference brings together over 900 delegates from sectors including publishing and university libraries.

My talk was in a session titled “Sleepwalking into the future“ and I focused on “How publishers and librarians can support early career researchers in a changing publishing landscape”. I spoke primarily about the changing context of higher education and the pressures that this places on early career researchers, and how this impacts the environment in which they are publishing and researching. I offered some initial suggestions as to how publishers and librarians can – and indeed are already – provide support. Some examples of best practice that I gave included web resources from Wiley, Palgrave MacMillan, and the Royal Historical  Society. My slides from the talk are here.

As a newcomer to this conference I was unsure as to how my talk would be received but was really heartened by the warm and enthusiastic response; it struck me (and, I think, many in the audience) that much more dialogue is needed between researchers and publishers, librarians, and others involved in scholarly communications, and that there is real value in understanding the pressures on all sides. I’ve previously had the opportunity to be part of similar discussions hosted by Wiley and Taylor and Francis, and have similarly found these to be productive forums in which to develop understanding of the broader and intersecting contexts. Many thanks to UKSG for inviting me and I hope this will be the start of more conversations.

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Registration open: Generating New Perspectives on ‘Mobility’

Generating New Perspectives on ‘Mobility’: Problems and Paradoxes of Interdisciplinary Practice

10th July 2019

Drysdale building, City University of London

How do concepts and practices of mobility and mobilities ‘travel’ across the disciplines of humanities and social sciences? What language(s) do academics, students, practitioners use when discussing such wide-ranging ideas in their everyday work and social worlds? And to what extent are we discussing the same things when we use the term ‘mobility’?

These questions, and others, are the focus of the symposium, which aims to foster a critically-informed and vigorous cross-fertilization of the dynamic concept of ‘mobility’ as it works within and across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Through discussing what conceptual, practical, and theoretical work ‘mobility’ does within the academy, cultural sector, and policy we will address how the concept is put to work or stretched beyond its usefulness.

Full programme and further details of registration, including bursaries, can be found here: https://www.city.ac.uk/events/2019/july/generating-new-perspectives-on-mobility-problems-and-paradoxes-of-interdisciplinary-practice

Keynote: “Wonders of the deep”; Sea treasures in nineteenth-century literature

I’m delighted to be giving a keynote talk on ‘“Wonders of the deep”; Sea treasures in nineteenth-century literature’, at  Becoming treasures of the sea: Epistemological constructions and marine resource regulation, an interdisciplinary conference  organised by 3ROcean on human-marine interactions, taking place at the University of the Azores next week (12th-14th September).

I will be contributing a paper on the perspectives on ocean ecologies afforded by 19th century literature, examining the literary and cultural “becomings” of the sea in the nineteenth century by way of setting up discussion of the contemporary situation. Building on my work in  Sea Narratives: cultural responses to the sea, 1600-present, in which I argued for a co-productive relationship between the sea and cultural production, I’m interested in not just what was known, but how that knowledge was brought into being through the cultural sphere; that is to say, less with the details of scientific exploration and study of the oceans in the 19th century, and more with the ways in which that knowledge was mediated, constructed, and relayed through the cultural sphere to the common reader. Moreover, I’m interested in the broader conceptual frameworks within which understandings of the sea as a valuable resource, or “treasure”, are situated; a variety of discursive approaches and understandings of the sea, which inform upon, contextualise, and contour this central theme.

My enquiry thus centres upon understanding what was known about the sea, how it was being made known, and crucially, tracing the co-productive relationship between the sea and cultural production/narrative form, as it impacts upon and resonates through the formation of knowledge about the sea. This paper aims not only to historicise human-marine interactions, but also to think about broader discursive frameworks within which marine resources are situated historically and to the present.

Registration open: CENTENNIAL REFLECTIONS ON WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE AND THE ARTS

CENTENNIAL REFLECTIONS ON WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE AND THE ARTS Local : National : Transnational

An international, multi-disciplinary public conference
University of Surrey, UK, 29–30 June 2018

Keynote Speakers:

  • Irene Cockroft, author of Women in the Arts & Crafts and Suffrage Movements at the Dawn of the 20th Century
  • Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland

 

The 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act (6 February 1918), which granted the vote to many women in the UK, yields an ideal opportunity for sustained critical reflection on women’s suffrage. This conference seeks to explore the artistic activities nurtured within the movement, their range and legacy, as well as the relationships between politics and art. In striving for an inclusive, transnational reach, it will at the same time seek to move beyond traditional emphases on white middle-class feminism and explore the intersections between the regional, national, and global contexts for women’s suffrage with specific respect to the arts.

Registration is now open and a provisional program available on the conference website:

https://suffragecentennial.wordpress.com/

A limited number of bursaries for students is available to facilitate attendance at this event – please see the website for details of how to apply.

You can also follow us on Twitter @Surrey_suffrage and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SurreySuffrageCentennial/

 

REF 2021: update for ECRs

This post provides an update to my previous blog post on “REF 2021 and ECRs: the current situation” in which I outlined the key decisions and remaining areas of uncertainty (mostly the latter) surrounding the next Research Excellence Framework.

Today, quite a few of those uncertainties have been clarified by the publication of “Decisions on Staff and Outputs“. I will soon update my earlier post to reflect this latest document (and offer a few more interpretations of the ECR implications), but in the meantime here is a brief summary of the key points of relevance for ECRs that have been announced today:

Staff eligibility: this latest document confirms that the Stern recommendation that “all staff with significant responsibility for research” are returned will be implemented. 6.a of the document outlines the core criteria (which broadly follows that of REF 2014), but there is more detailed guidance this time on what constitutes “significant responsibility” in paras. 11-13: “those for whom explicit time and resources are made available to engage actively in independent research, and that is an expectation of their job role.”

100% of staff defined in this way are expected to be returned. Meanwhile, teaching-only contracts with no research element won’t count as returnable under these guidelines; neither will RAs employed on project work (see Independent Research, paras. 14-15) nor those without a “substantive connection” to the submitting HEI. This seems to accord with what was suggested previously (see section 3 here); although I’d add that, while the intention here is to offer a more rigorous approach as to who is submitted, there does still seem to be a large amount of flexibility as to how “significant responsibility” will be determined.

Decoupling: the proposed decoupling of staff from submissions (see my previous explanation of decoupling in section 4 here) is going ahead, as described in paras. 25-29, with the numbers of outputs now confirmed: a minimum of one per researcher; a maximum of 5; an average of 2.5 per FTE, across the submitting unit. That means that as an ECR you will need at least one output, and more than that would be beneficial as the submitting unit will be looking for 2-3 per person.

The big change here from REF 2014 (although it is one which we’ve been expecting) is that there is no “ECR discount” that would be deductable per person; instead, the average and min./max. figures account for this across the whole submitting unit (as previously the expectation was 4 per person, so the average is lower). There are guidelines to account for exceptional individual circumstances (paras. 30-32), thus addressing earlier concerns that circumstances such as substantial periods of parental leave/ illness etc would not be acknowledged; deductions for individual circumstances will be applied to the total number of outputs required of the submitting unit as a whole. ECRs without exceptional circumstances, however, need to work to the minimum/average figures.

Portability: (background context in section 5 here). After much talk of the non-portability of research we have clarification as follows (paras. 33-36):

We will implement a transitional approach to the non-portability of outputs in REF 2021, whereby outputs may be submitted by both the institution employing the staff member on the census date and the originating institution where the staff member was previously employed as Category A eligible when the output was demonstrably generated.

*Added note: see para. 34 for the definition of “demonstrably generated”:  “for REF 2021 ‘demonstrably generated’ will be determined by the date when the output was first made publicly available.”

This means that if you publish while at institution A, and you move to institution B, your output can count at both institutions. This has been a big area of concern for many ECRs and I’m relieved to (finally!) see a clear decision on the issue, and one which recognises and prevents the potentially disastrous consequences for ECRs that non-portability may have had.

Open Access: the latest guidance (paras. 37-40) seems to align with what has been suggested for a long time now about Open Access requirements for REF 2021: “The policy will require outputs to be deposited as soon after the point of acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after this date (as given in the acceptance letter or email from the publication to the author) from 1 April 2018.” There are some further exceptions outlined in the next paragraph (39). As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re at all confused about OA requirements then I would suggest that you familiarise yourself with your institution’s OA support and get in touch with the relevant team if you have any queries and concerns about the process.

A couple of final points: the census date is now confirmed as 31st July 2020; and more detailed guidelines on the above are expected mid-2018.

***

That summarises most of what I’ve read so far; I’ll potentially add to / clarify these points in coming days and if helpful, offer further guidance on ECR implications and what to do next; but for the moment, it looks like the outline framework is fairly clearly in place and ECRs can now start planning accordingly.

CFP: Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts, 29-30 June 2018

CENTENNIAL REFLECTIONS ON WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE AND THE ARTS

Local : National : Transnational

 An international, multi-disciplinary public conference

University of Surrey, UK, 29–30 June 2018

Keynote Speakers:

  • Irene Cockroft, author of Women in the Arts & Crafts and Suffrage Movements at the Dawn of the 20th Century
  • Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland

Conference website: www.suffragecentennial.wordpress.com

The 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act (6 February 1918), which granted the vote to many women in the UK, yields an ideal opportunity for sustained critical reflection on women’s suffrage. This conference seeks to explore the artistic activities nurtured within the movement, their range and legacy, as well as the relationships between politics and art. In striving for an inclusive, transnational reach, it will at the same time seek to move beyond traditional emphases on white middle-class feminism and explore the intersections between the regional, national, and global contexts for women’s suffrage with specific respect to the arts.

While proposals addressing any aspects of women’s suffrage will be welcomed, this conference will focus upon three strands:

  1. Women’s suffrage in/and the arts
  2. Women’s suffrage in Surrey and the surrounds
  3. Transnational networks and flows of texts in relation to women’s suffrage

20-minute papers are invited on any aspect of these strands, including but not limited to:

  • Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women’s writing on suffrage;
  • Political reflections on the arts and the cultural sphere, e.g. in music;
  • Transnational networks and mobilities of political texts and ideas, incorporating suffrage movements in other countries;
  • Politically active individuals with strong links to Surrey (particularly in relation to the arts) e.g. Mary Watts, Dame Ethel Smyth, Gertrude Jekyll, Marion Wallace Dunlop;
  • Networks such as Ferguson’s Gang, Surrey Hills Group, Surrey Pilgrimage Group, and women who organised suffrage marches;
  • Sociological theories of women’s suffrage;
  • Contributions of women of colour to suffrage movements in Britain and globally;
  • Art (both historical and contemporary) inspired by women’s suffrage.

Proposals for panels of 3–4 papers (1.5–2 hours) are also warmly welcomed, as are proposals for one-hour roundtables of 3–5 participants. We encourage proposals from postgraduate students and independent scholars in addition to institutionally-affiliated established academics.

Planned activities include a panel discussion featuring artists who have been active in performing and creating works based on women’s suffrage and some of its key figures; a recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth; and a visit to the nearby Watts Gallery. We envisage that an edited publication will be developed from papers presented at the conference.

Abstracts of not more than 300 words should be e-mailed by 26 January 2018 to suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk. Decisions will be communicated to speakers by 23 February 2018. A limited number of student bursaries may be offered to offset costs of attendance.

Conference Committee: Christopher Wiley, Charlotte Mathieson, Lucy Ella Rose (co-chairs)

Enquiries: suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk

The conference is supported by the University of Surrey and Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK & Ireland

Sunburn and tanning in 19th century medicine and culture: next steps

I blogged earlier this year about my emerging research project on sunburn and tanning in nineteenth-century medicine and culture, and this is now the focus of my research activity for the next two years thanks to the award of a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant. I am delighted to have been awarded this funding which will significantly advance the archival work underpinning the project, and contribute to future publications including a planned monograph on the topic.

The archive work focuses on maritime, tropical and military medicine, travel writing, and public health artifacts, bringing these into dialogue with my existing work on literary and cultural representations. I’m starting – tomorrow – with the National Maritime Museum’s archives, and then moving onto a number of others including the National Archives at Kew, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Leeds University Special Collections and Leamington Pump Rooms where I did some preparatory work earlier this year. I’m also going to be developing the conceptual frameworks around this – thinking about developing my previous work on embodied mobilities, networks, and ideas of nation and empire – and I’ll be writing more about this as I go.