Liz McCarthy 30/06 – 07/07

Taking us into July is Liz McCarthy who’ll be giving us a behind the scenes look at two archives, one that will probably be known to you, the Bodleian Library, and one that you may be less familiar with, The University of Reading’s Museum of English Rural Life.  I (Jess) have seen Liz in action with the Reading Children’s Literature MA students who do a project in the Special Collections’ children’s book archive: she is infectiously enthusiastic about the collections she works with so be prepared to want to book a trip to Reading/Oxford by the end of the week (yes, even if you’re following from Australia!).

Hello hello! I’m Liz McCarthy – @mccarthy_liz in my ‘normal’ life – and I’m thrilled to be your @wethehumanities curator this week! I come from the collections side of things in libraries and museums, but with a key role in helping share and shape academic research.

I’ll be tweeting from two different jobs, bringing you the best of special collections and the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading as well as sharing insight into my role in social media and all things digital for the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford. One of my most important roles in both jobs in finding ways to help others – academic and public – engage with library and museum collections and the research they represent. This might mean introducing a class of undergraduates to the 17th-century first edition of the work they’ve been studying, helping them understand why it’s important to understand the context of its printing and publishing, or it could mean developing a series of blog posts or Twitter and Instagram content for a project or an exhibition we’re working on. Recently it’s been everything from geocaching to Wikipedia to Reddit!

At the University of Reading, we’ve been working hard to build our programme of collections-based research – from PhDs to undergraduate placements – and I hope I can convey the importance of this type of work. Using primary resources provides a great opportunity for crossing disciplines and responds to the ‘material turn’ within humanities research. I’ll also be talking a little bit about projects I’m working on in Oxford – from thinking about ways libraries can engage with Wikipedia to how we measure the impact of special collections.

I’d love to use this week to talk about the ways that collections and cultural institutions can engage with researchers and can help researchers engage with the public. Ask away!


23/06 – 30-06 Maria Xanthou

We’re checking off another country this week with Maria (@MariaGXanthou), who’s a Classics lecturer in Thessaloniki, Greece. With funding a hot topic in academia around the world I’m especially interested to hear about her experiences with the financial crisis and the ways in which it affects research, teaching and day-to-day life in Greece.

Hi to everyone. I am delighted to contribute to the @We the Humanities project, as it provides a unique opportunity for people, both curators and followers, to apply microblogging and share multidisciplinary methodologies in the Humanities.

I teach Classics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Open University of Cyprus. My research interests include Greek lyric poetry, both monodic and choral (Stesichorus, Pindar and Bacchylides), Aristophanic and Attic comedy (5th c. B.C.E.), Attic rhetoric (Isocrates), history of classical scholarship (German classical scholarship of the 19th c.), textual criticism, literary theory, rhetoric, ancient theory of rhetoric (definition and use of asyndeton), e-learning, ICT use for teaching classical languages and integration of ICT methodologies in the curriculum.

I have completed my undergraduate studies at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where I was born and raised. I have moved to King’s College London for my postgraduate studies, and, then, back to AUTh, where I was awarded a PhD in Classics and a second MSc in Teaching Classics through Information and Communication Technologies. During 2013-2014, I held a Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies Fellowship for research on female figures with special emphasis on motherhood, and their representation in Stesichorean poetry, their affinities with Homeric models and their reception in later classical literature.

During my microblogging for @WetheHumanities I shall inform you on various actions regarding Arts and Humanities in Greece, where artists and intellectuals try to respond to financial crisis with inventiveness and innovation.

16/06 – 22/06 Moira Deslandes

’This week’s curation comes from southern Australia, where Moira will be tweeting about language and culture, her humanities studies and her work. She describes herself as a pilgrim and a poet.

I have had a long and extensive career somewhere in the margins and the centre all at the same time!

I have worked at every level from the kitchen table (as a direct service social worker through) to the kitchen table (being a Chief of Staff to a Minister in Government).  I maintain a consulting and facilitating business, am a Director in a specialist project management company and work part-time in policy and advocacy for a membership based service and advocacy agency for unpaid family carers.

The humanities is my home with my undergraduate studies including classical studies and anthropology.  I love poetry and the idea of having a bard in the boardroom.

I notice economic literacy growing; people are more likely to know how to read the currency exchange than to be able to quote Shakespeare or appreciate their decision-making processes have their origins in the Athenian agora.

While curating We Are the Humanities I look forward to conversations in the crevices of ancient and modern cultural and linguistic spaces of 140 characters.

As T.S. Eliot reminds us:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,But neither arrest nor movement.

I am looking forward to the twitter two-step, tango and twist and tap we will make together.

You can find me @MoiraDes


09/06 – 15/06 Rachel Moss

We’ve again got a reason to thank this week’s curator as they’ve stepped in at fairly short notice due to an unavoidable schedule change.  Rachel has been drafted in with serendipitous timing though, as she’ll be running a Gender Day during her curation, which (judging from past discussions) might interest some of our followers.  She’ll also be well-ensconced in marking and saying goodbye to her finalists, which might give a taster of academia to those not familiar with it and some support for those that are!

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel Moss, and I’m thrilled to be part of We The Humanities. As someone with a strongly interdisciplinary background and whose work deals at least in part with the idea of identities, the inclusive, wide-ranging nature of this project really appealed to me. I hope to share a little of my world with you this coming week, but also hopefully to interact with you, too! Like teaching, twitter works best when communication is less of a lecture and more of a conversation.

Having studied for my PhD in Medieval Studies at the University of York and holding a postdoctoral position in Paris, I’m currently employed by the University of Oxford as a lecturer in late medieval history. This sounds like a glamorous pedigree, but I have had my share of early career uncertainty! One of the most popular posts on my blog, Meny Snoweballes, was about the challenges facing early career researchers in today’s tough higher education market . While We The Humanities celebrates our fields, I think it can also be a useful place to reflect on where we can improve, and handily my week’s curation coincides with Gender Equality Now!, a day I’m co-organising that is intended to produce a manifesto for working toward gender equality in higher education in the UK. I’ll be livetweeting the event with the hashtag #genHE on my regular account @menysnoweballes, and I’ll also be sharing some of our discussion on @WeTheHumanities. Diversity is still an issue within the academy – in Britain, a staggering 92.3% of academic professionals are white, and the median gender pay gap is 16.2% [source] – and so I hope my curation will provide an opportunity to explore some of these issues.

As for what else I might be tweeting about: you’re likely to get some discussion of both medieval studies and the value of interdisciplinary research! My past and current research reflects a varied but interconnected series of interests related to the social, political and literary cultures of later medieval English society. Within these broad areas I am particularly preoccupied by: gender and sexualities, especially masculinities; the household and family; Middle English romance and its audiences; and reading and writing culture. Last year I published my first book, Fatherhood and its Representations in Middle English Texts (D.S. Brewer, 2013). From October I’m a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow and will be working on a new project on homosociality in medieval England.

While most of my teaching has wrapped up for the term, the end of the academic year tends to make me thoughtful, and so I might reflect a little on my experiences of teaching – especially as I have a farewell dinner with some of my finalists on Wednesday! This week I will also have a big batch of exam scripts to mark… And what better way to avoid that than tweeting for you all? I look forward to procrastinating with you all over the next week, and hope you’ll talk back to me as much as I talk to you.

02/06 – 09/06 Kieran Fenby-Hulse

Regular readers will know that we’re always grateful to our curators for the time and energy they give us. This is even more the case this week as Kieran’s helped us out of a tight spot as we weren’t able to contact our scheduled curator. And despite the tight timescales he’s written us a fabulous introductory post all about the grey margins of academia. We hope you enjoy this different take on the humanities and the conversations he’s got in store for us this week.

I often feel I sit somewhere at the margins of academia, a grey area that people don’t quite understand. But I quite like grey areas – as it provides a place in which you are afforded the opportunity to rethink, challenge, and critique knowledge paradigms, traditions, and orthodoxies.

As the Researcher Development Officer at Bath Spa University, I am primarily responsible for delivering and developing research development workshops and online training materials to support researchers that are predominately from the arts, humanities and social sciences. To support my researcher development role, I currently undertake research in two distinct areas. The first is concerned with the notion of creativity and how to best support and undertake practice-led research and creative research projects. The second explores notions of impact and the relationship between technology, cultural value, and audience with a particular focus on digital platforms. The diversity of people with which I work at Bath Spa enables me to think about my research from multiple perspectives. The constant challenge to think beyond my discipline means that I am able to make connections between and across disicplines. This then informs the way in which I not only think about my research but also the way I research, design, and deliver training sessions.

In a way, I feel that both my role and my research occupy academic grey areas. My research sits between disciplines and my role blurs the boundaries between professional service role and research positions. As this week’s curator of We The Humanties I hope to generate discussion on grey areas and spaces at the margins of academia. Through the day, I’ll try to give you a taste of what a researcher development officer with a predominantly arts and humanities focus does and how this relates to (and is underpinned by) my own research interests. By evening, I’ll talk more about my research, my current projects, and what I’m currently up to and the intersection (and tension) between humanities research and creative approaches to research.

My twitter account is @drkfenbyhulse and I blog at