PhD entry (2018) under SGSAH scheme

The School of Classics at the University of St Andrews encourages applications for PhD entry in September 2018 under the SGSAH (Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities) scheme.

The SGSAH is run by a consortium of eight Scottish universities. Students from the UK and the rest of the EU are eligible for scholarships. Successful applicants will benefit from fees, stipend (UK residents only) and significant additional funding for their doctoral training. Students from EU countries other than the UK are eligible for a fees-only award; the UK government has confirmed that the funding award, for EU students starting in 2018, will cover the duration of their course, even if the UK leaves the EU in that period.

The first step is to apply for the PhD programme at St Andrews. The deadline for applications to Classics at St Andrews under the SGSAH scheme is  20 DECEMBER 2017, but candidates are encouraged to contact potential supervisors as soon as possible in order to leave time to refine the application to the SGSAH.

The University of St Andrews has various additional sources of funding for PhD students:

  • Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships, the deadline for which is 15 November 2017.
  • St Leonards Interdisciplinary PhD scholarships. These are for projects involving more than one School at St Andrews. To be considered for this award you should submit a PhD application by 5 November 2017.
  • St Leonards Scholarships (International Fees). These will cover the difference between home and international fees. To be considered for this award you should submit a PhD application by 25 January 2018.

For each of the three schemes above the first step is to apply for a PhD place at St Andrews.

Further sources of funding will be announced later in the academic year.

We invite potential applicants to consult individual members of staff about their proposed research topics.

For more information on the School’s research visit http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/research/

For enquiries, please contact Dr Alex Long (Director of PG Studies, agl10@st-andrews.ac.uk) or Professor Jason König (Head of School, jpk3@st-andrews.ac.uk).

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Congratulations to James Crooks

James Crooks has been awarded funding by CAPOD for his “Nearly Experts” podcast series, in which he hosts PhD students from a variety of subjects and backgrounds. In each interview, the postgraduates introduce their research to the public, talking about their thesis and the work that goes into it.

Follow “Nearly Experts” on:

Christopher Smith returns to St Andrews

Christopher Smith, Professor of Ancient History, returns to the University of St Andrews to take up a Leverhulme Major Research Grant after eight highly successful years leading Britain’s largest overseas research institution for humanities and the fine arts, the British School at Rome.

BSR highlights since 2009 include work at dozens of archaeological sites across Italy and the wider Mediterranean basin; the concluding conference and exhibition of the AHRC-funded beacon project Transnationalizing Modern Languages: Mobility, Identity and Translation in Modern Italian Cultures, featuring Derek Duncan (School of Modern Languages); a major international conference, Rome and Persia, with Prof. Ali Ansari (School of History and President of the British Institute for Persian Studies); a joint keynote lecture celebrating the UK’s role in MilanExpo 2014 by Lord Stern, President of the British Academy, and Wolfgang Buttress, award-winning architect of the British pavilion; one of the last public events by Seamus Heaney; and a presentation of William Kentridge’s acclaimed installation on the banks of the Tiber, Triumphs and Laments.

Christopher led a €2million building refurbishment which significantly reduced energy costs in the beautiful but notoriously leaky Lutyens designed building which is home to hundreds of researchers and artists every year, and celebrated the beginning of its second century in 2016 wind- and water-tight for the first time in decades. It won the first Premio Hassan Fathy in 2017, awarded by the Ordine degli Architetti di Roma, for the combination of sustainable technology in listed buildings.

Christopher was from 2012 to 2017 the elected President of the Unione Internazionale degli Istituti di Archeologia Storia e Storia dell’Arte in Roma, the body which represents more than thirty foreign and Italian research institutes. The Unione in this time established an annual festival of culture in Rome, signed a concordat with Italy’s Research Council, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, and oversaw the creation of a library research portal, URBiS, giving access to over two million books, periodicals, photographs and other items for the study of Rome and Italy from antiquity to the present day.

Christopher has been elected a corresponding member of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, a member of the Association for Studi Etruschi ed Italici, and a member of the Accademia Etrusca di Cortona (founded in 1726!). He has also been elected a member of the Academia Europaea, and in 2017 received from the Mayor of Rome the Premio ‘Cultori di Roma’ , on the 2770th birthday of Rome on the Capitoline Hill.

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Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities

The University of St Andrews is offering three fully-funded scholarships for students starting a PhD programme in September 2018. Students working in history, literature and languages – including those of the ancient world – are eligible to apply. Students thinking of applying are encouraged to contact the Director of Postgraduate Studies and/or a prospective supervisor as soon as possible.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 15 November 2017.

Further information: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/study/pg/fees-and-funding/scholarships/wolfson-postgraduate/

Application deadline for British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships at the School of Classics

The School welcomes enquiries about applications to the British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme. Anyone interested in applying should contact the Director of Research (Dr Emma Buckley, eb221@st-andrews.ac.uk) or Head of School (Professor Jason König, jpk3@st-andrews.ac.uk) as soon as possible with an outline of the proposed research project.

Please submit draft full applications by Friday 8 September.

An Inclusive Approach to Organising Conferences: ‘Visualising War’ with a blind participant

By Dr Alice König

The School of Classics recently hosted a two-day conference on ‘Visualising War: Interplay between Battle narratives across Antiquity’. As its title suggests, discussion revolved around images as well as texts. In fact, speakers had been specifically asked to explore interplay between different media and genres, so papers looked at Classical inscriptions, Hellenistic sculpture, Roman mosaics, engraved sarcophagi, triumphal columns and arches, Renaissance-era paintings and even modern photographs, alongside historical narratives, epic poetry and a host of ancient technical treatises – many of which included detailed diagrams showing battle formations and camp layouts. This was a conference with a heavy emphasis on sight, in other words.

I’ll be honest: my first reaction on discovering that we had a blind attendee was to gulp. How could we make this image-focused conference inclusive enough? Happily, I found several key sources of advice and support from around the University, in particular Paresh Raval, who manages the University’s Alternative Format Suite. His advice helped me liaise with our blind attendee to identify the best way of sharing handouts and presentation materials ahead of the conference: not via braille, it turned out, but via searchable pdfs and screen-reading technology. He also helped me put together a useful list of “do”s and “don’t”s for our conference speakers: e.g,, do announce and identify any foreign language material before it crops up; do offer detailed descriptions of images, diagrams, tables, etc; don’t say ‘as you can see here…’.

Also key was funding. One of our postgraduate students (whose mother is visually impaired) kindly offered to act as a sighted assistant during the conference. The Classics Head of School found some surplus in the School budget so that we could pay her for this work. That formalised the arrangement, making it easier for us and our attendee to discuss the support he would need, without worrying about imposing on our PG’s good nature. Having a paid sighted assistant made a huge difference to me as conference organiser: I was able to delegate many of the additional logistics (route-finding, food-guidance, care of the incredible guide dog, etc) and concentrate on the more routine aspects of conference management (missing speakers, IT malfunctions, the supply of biscuits…). Crucially, our postgraduate assistant was already experienced in this work; it was her expertise above all which made things work so well.

Of course, our blind attendee played a major (and very good-humoured) role in advising us, and he was generous in his praise for the efforts we went to: it sounds as if few conferences try as hard as we did to be inclusive. While some speakers struggled to provide handouts and powerpoints as early as requested, the majority made it; and all speakers took pains during delivery to embrace non-sighted as well as sighted listeners. In fact, many said that they had learnt a lot from the experience. I certainly confronted paper-giving habits of mine (e.g., the flashing-up of large chunks of text on screen, to be absorbed while I race on with the talk itself) which I would do well to overcome, whether or not my auditors are sighted!

What else did I learn? That there’s no advice like expert advice (having people like Paresh and our PG to turn to makes all the difference); that your first and last port of call for guidance should be the attendee him/herself; and that Universities should routinely make funding available for the kind of logistical support we were able to provide. It was a steep learning curve, as we evolved new procedures to make our conference more inclusive, but an important and rewarding one. It was also very much a team effort, involving administrators and School managers, as well as AV experts and academic staff. We did pretty well, I think; but we could always do better.

Hallvard Indgjerd wins Fitch Bursary Award

HallvardHallvard Indgjerd has been awarded the Fitch Bursary Award for 2017-18 from the British School at Athens. Hallvard is working on a study of Late Roman and Byzantine pottery from Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades in Greece, and the award will help fund his petrographic analysis at the Fitch Laboratory in Athens. By looking at thin-sections of ceramic samples through a polarising microscope, we can gain knowledge about clay composition, provenance, production technology, and intended use of the pottery.

Congratulations Hallvard!