6th – 13th April, Jeff Schramm (USA)

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30th March – 6th April, Jeremy Solomons (USA)

We’ve got a new website, where you can find curators’ blog posts as well as more about the project (and requests for your involvement!): www.wethehumanities.org

Welcome, @jcsolomons, who’ll be giving us a glimpse into his research on Anglo-Jewish theatre. Jeremy began his education in STEM and his career since then has taken in teaching, bookshop-managing and theatre. He’s known to 2/3 of the WtH team through the Readibg connection and we’re delighted that he’s submitted to our badgering and agreed to curate. Perhaps we can pester/encourage you to join in too? Find out more here.

My personal blog is called Crossing Borders.  The title originated in secondary school biology class and it is a title that has grown ever closer to my life.  I crossed to the Atlantic to live in Brookline, Massachusetts, 3,281 miles from where I grew up in North London.  Brookline is one of the US towns with the most doctorates per capita, and to do my part I am working on my PhD closer to where I grew up at the University of Reading.  My topic is Anglo-Jewish theatre, which draws together several of the interests I have collected having crossed national, language and cultural borders.

My first job was at an arts centre in Kentish Town working at a Jewish theatre festival, followed by a BSc in Botany atthe University of Durham, then traveling from one end of England and Wales to the other working as a stage manager, actor, and director in theatres large and small, and finally settling into community arts work in Gloucestershire.  When I moved to Boston, I ended up teaching English–literature, writing and some drama–in colleges and universities, and eventually, I studied for my MA in English Literature at U Mass Boston where I became fascinated with literature and poetry in translation.  That is where I thought my doctorate subject matter would come from, but in the end, I settled into my current topic, which feels like coming home. 

I am excited to have the chance to curate @wethehumanities, and I hope we can talk about theatre, how we choose identities for ourselves, and how important the humanities are within and outside academia.  I am sure we will also touch on: books, my last job was as a book store manager; music, including British punk, folk and jazz;and job hunting, my current, and hopefully temporary career. 

Oh, and I am also quite involved in social media.

 I am experimenting in other realms:

23rd – 30th March, Nina (UK)

This week we welcome Nina, who’ll be bringing a perspective on the humanities that’s informed by her own educational experiences and her position as working in a university’s administration.  I’m especially looking forward to hearing her take on academia’s widening participation agendas – something that chimes with the We the Humanities project.
My name is Nina and you can normally find me at @ninabrighton. I love my home of Brighton and I work for the local university in the Philanthropy office. I also study at a vocational college. I am studying towards an Award in Education and Training (previously known as PTTLLS). I will be studying BA Philosophy, Politics and Art from September onwards. I returned to education in my thirties. As a result I am interested in student engagement – particularly engagement with people from widening participation backgrounds and accessibility of education. I had previously worked in finance and I spent ten years trying to get out of it, so I now work in a university spending my days looking at numbers (so I’m gradually getting out!).
I am new to academia. I do wonder if my reluctance to associate myself with academia is due to my inexperience or lack of confidence. I grew up in a household that did not value education because it was not for the likes of us. Class is something I often reflect upon and include in my writing.
I am passionate about art (including how people define art and what people consider art). A trip to a museum and being moved by a video installation inspired me to apply to university. I have a tattoo on my arm inspired by the works of Eyvind Earle and Conrad Roset. I have a tattoo on my thigh based on a Jean Marembert illustration. Art excites me, I remember taking a school trip to an art college when I was twelve and thinking that art students look cool and probably get to travel. Now I am older I realise the student life isn’t all fun and games – but I do remember the feeling that art could open up the world to me.
While curating @wethehumanities I will be tweeting about philanthropy, the highs and lows of my college course and I’ll throw in some images I love to look at for good measure.

23rd – 29th February Adam Whittaker (UK)

This week we turn to music theory, courtesy of @awhittakermusic.  I’ve never heard of Tinctoris, the focus of his research, but I’m looking forward to finding out more (and it feels like a handy name to know for watching University Challenge).  In common with many of our curators, Adam’s interests are interdisciplinary, so even if if music theory is as new to you as it is to me I hope you’ll join us for a week of brain-expanding discussions. 

Hello everyone! My name is Adam Whittaker, and I’m very much looking forward to curating @WetheHumanities on the week beginning 23rd February. You can follow me @awhittakermusic.

I am currently a PhD student at Birmingham Conservatoire, working on a project on medieval and Renaissance music theory. My PhD focusses on the fifteenth-century music theorist, Johannes Tinctoris (c. 1435–1511), who is a key figure in music theory from the end of the fifteenth-century. My research engages with the wider history and traditions of music theory, and I have a particular interest in music theory from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, as well as medieval and Renaissance music more generally. I’m also interested in opera and jazz, and work as a conductor.

During my curation week, I hope to have fruitful discussions about the role of music theory, things that it can tell us about musical cultures of the past, the value of digital manuscript repositories, and many other things medieval and Renaissance. I also hope to have discussions about interdisciplinary research, being a PhD student and look forward to many interesting conversations over the week!

16th – 23rd February – Jennifer Rushworth (UK)

This week we return to the UK to meet @JFRushworth who currently holds one of the hotly-contested JRF posiitons at Oxford University.  Proving once again that the humanities won’t sit still in one pigeonhole, she’ll be discussing interdisciplinarity as well as what it means to be a post-doc in the UK.  I’m also hoping she’ll chat about her experiences of studying at Oxford and I’m looking forward to hearing about her take on public engagement.

Hello! My name is Jennifer Rushworth, and I am excited to be taking over @WetheHumanities this week, which I usually follow from my own account @JFRushworth.

I am a Junior Research Fellow in Medieval and Modern Languages at St John’s College, Oxford, and typically work across comparative literature and (perhaps) reception studies. My DPhil thesis (completed 2013) was entitled ‘Discourses of Mourning in Dante, Petrarch, and Proust’. My current project is provisionally named ‘Transformations of Petrarch from Sade to Proust’ and considers the reception (‘transformation’) of Petrarch in nineteenth-century French culture, particularly through translation, biography, criticism, poetic rewriting, and novelisation. I am torn between a passion for modern French literature (in particular, as is evident, Proust) and a fondness for the distant medieval world of encyclopaedic knowledge and courtly love.

During my curation I hope to ask questions about topics including: the role and future of comparative literature; interdisciplinarity; studying canonical authors; making the transition from graduate to post-doc; the rewards and challenges of public engagement. I look forward to a productive and interesting dialogue with many of you.

26th January – 2nd February – Mahriana Rofheart

This week we’re welcoming Dr Mahriana Rofheart, who’s a researcher based in Georgia (USA).  As well as discussing Senegalese literature and culture she’ll be giving us a blast of science fiction chat (an often-maligned branch of literary studies).  I’m especially looking forward to her discussion of the relation between the researcher and the subject and the extent to which interest and enjoyment of the area intersect.

My name is Mahriana Rofheart (@MRofheart), and I’ll be curating @WetheHumanities this week. I am an Assistant Professor of English at Georgia Gwinnett College, located in Lawrenceville, Georgia near Atlanta. I teach courses in composition and world literature, though my tweets will not address my job directly. All thoughts and opinions will be my own and not my institution’s. I may discuss teaching practices and interests in general, however.

I have a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in New Jersey. My book Shifting Perceptions of Migration in Senegalese Literature, Film, and Social Media was published by Lexington Books last year. That work, which came out of my dissertation research, examines novels, films, and hip-hop videos about emigration from Senegal to Europe. Since then, I have been looking at works of speculative and science fiction from Africa and the African diaspora. As a long-time fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am excited about the ways that my current project intersects with topics I enjoy on a personal level. I might tweet a bit about the extent to which humanities researchers do (or do not) “love” the works that they study and what that means.

I am planning to share information about works of speculative fiction, science fiction, and Afrofuturism, particularly from African and Afro-diasporic writers and artists. I am also looking forward to discussing digital art and humanities, possibilities for African languages on the internet (Wolof in particular), African literature more generally, and anything geeky (video games? comic books?) that I can fit logically into my curation.

12th – 19th January Mona Nasser

This week we’re being curated by a dentist! We’ll, not quite but read in and you’ll see what I mean. We’re cozying with the sciences again as serial-curator Mona Nasser takes the reins. She’ll be talking health information, history of medicine and interdisciplinarity as she tells us about her engagement with the humanities in her work on clinical epidemiology and evidenced based dentistry.

Hi, my name is Mona Nasser (@monalisa1n) and I am looking forward to be curating @WetheHumanities this week. I have a mixed background. I studied dentistry. During my high school and university time, I worked as a journalist, illustrator and translator in Iran, mostly for a journal called Vekalat (which in Persian means Lawyer) – a Journal on Law, Culture and Literature published in Persian.

After graduating from dental school, I got involved in Clinical Epidemiology and systematic reviews. During this time, I also worked with historians in Oxford two projects around medical history in Iran. The articles were part of a bigger project called the James Lind Library, investigating the history of fair test and clinical research. My two articles are on Ibn Hindu and Ibn Sina, two historically known medical researchers from Iran. I continued my work in clinical epidemiology (specifically systematic reviews) in Germany.

In Germany, I worked on appraising the quality of evidence to inform writing evidence based information for the public. The project, not only looked at the evidence that needs to be communicated in the health information, but also on research how to write and communicate health information to the public. During this time, I also worked on an international project looking at the evidence based policy making process in the health care system in UK, Germany, France and Australia to inform related discussions in USA.

Later, I got a position in UK bringing together my work as a dentist and systematic reviewer together as the Clinical Lecture in Evidence Based Dentistry. I continue to work with a historian, political scientist media anthropologist and several psychologists and artists in two of my current research projects:

Cognovo :CogNovo is an Innovative Doctoral Programme, funded by the EU Marie Curie initiative and Plymouth University, to foster research training in the emerging field of Cognitive Innovation. CogNovo offers transdisciplinary training that combines scientific studies of the neural correlates and mechanisms of creativity, with investigations into the role of creativity in human cognition, and their application in sustainable technological and social innovation. I am involved in the overall discussions and developments of the project; this includes several workshops and symposiums to explore how to make interdisciplinary discussions possible. As part of the project, I co-supervise, Agatha Haines PhD who is working on Ideas Exchange: Understanding the human object. As an artist and designer, she brings a new perspective looking at objects in dental environment.

Cochrane Agenda and Priority setting Methods Group: The project looks at how researchers, funders, academic organisations and other stakeholders in the research system decide what questions are most worth addressing through research. As part of this project, I work with a political scientist to develop methods to engage with policy makers working in health care in four countries to understand what their questions and concerns are and which of them are the most important one to address in a research project.

I would like to tell you about some of my research projects but also raise discussion around “how we can make an interdisciplinary project between artists, humanities and scientists work” and “how would a training programme to support such a project look like”. As part of the discussion, I will share some of the resources and discussions we developed and had in Cognovo. I also work on systematic reviews which are scientific approaches to cumulate evidence to answer research, clinical or policy questions. Researchers in sociology, education, criminology and other fields attempted to adapt the systematic review methodology to their field and introduced different approaches like meta-ethnography, meta-narrative or realists reviews. I would like to tell you about our methods to review the literature, ask you about approaches that you use to review the literature in your discipline and finally what are the implications to review the literature in an interdisciplinary research project.

If you spend lots of time on twitter, you might know that I also curated @realscientists and @wepublichealth before.

5th – 12th January 2015 – Lydia Pyne

Kicking off the 2015 for us is Lydia Pyne, who’ll be chatting about history, science, anthropology and archaeology from parts of the world that this account hasn’t touched on yet.

Hi, my name is Lydia Pyne (@LydiaPyne) and I’m most excited to be curating @WetheHumanities this week. I am a writer and historian in Austin, TX.
My writing interests focus on the history of paleoanthropology, archaeology, museums, collections, and material culture. My fieldwork, archival research, and writing projects have ranged from South Africa, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and Iran, as well as the American Southwest.

I am currently working on two humanities-based book projects. The first, Famous Fossils, Hidden Histories, traces one hundred years of fossil hominin discoveries – sketching the stories of the fossils as they move from scientific circles to iconic cultural objects. My second book project, Bookshelf, is part of the Object Lesson series from Bloomsbury Press.

I am a contributing editor for The Appendix and I review history, anthropology, and other literary nonfiction through NewPages and The New York Journal of Books. My history of science, archaeology, and paleo blog features posts about some of the texts I work with.

I am excited to talk and tweet about history of science, material culture, and writing – I am looking forward to awesome discussions this upcoming week!

15-21 December, Emilie Oléron Evans

This week’s curator comes to us from across Europe, representing France, the UK and Germany at least! Emilie is particularly interested in the interdisciplinary nature of the humanties, and I look forward to her take on this very relevant debate.

Hello, my name is Emilie Oléron Evans (@bringyourownsun) and I am an academic Inbetweener. I am currently working my way in-between countries, statuses, jobs and disciplines. I very recently completed a joint PhD, achieved at Queen Mary University, London, and at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III. I am a French native, originally a student of German, gravitating more and more towards the topic of art historiography.

My thesis tackles the cultural transfers in the life and career of the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) and shows how his work played a major part in the progression of the history of art and architecture to the status of an academic discipline in the United Kingdom from the 1930s and 40s onwards. I did not go as far as to say that Pevsner introduced the concept of Zeitgeist in British culture for lack of evidence, but he did use it a lot ‘before it was mainstream’. I have always been interested in where cultural representations come from, and in my future (ahem) research I want to focus on verifying the intuition that the richest and most prominent components of cultural discourse originate from a dialogue with other cultures. The anglo-german dialogue is a fascinating field of study, in line with the current development of interdisciplinarity in academia.

The future and the challenges of the interdisciplinary approach are questions that I would very much like to discuss as curator of @wethehumanities. How much dialogue between the disciplines is possible as long as these disciplines dictate the structure of university departments and degrees? I am really looking forward to contributions from specialists in comparative and translation studies regarding the direction in which they wish to see their ‘interdisciplinary discipline’ evolve.

I would be happy to share my (very) fresh experience of taking two vivas, one in the UK and one in France. Feel free to ask any practical questions you might have. I would like to present the concept of joint degrees and to show that it is an idea with a lot of potential. International mobility is another subject I intend to talk about in this context: how best to navigate between academic traditions? I hope this discussion will attract some comments from the French contingent of Twitter academics (the ‘Nous les Humanités’ branch of our big, beautiful family).

8 – 15 December, Kim Biddulph

This week, we have Kim Biddulph, director of Schools Prehistory. She will be talking about prehistory in relation to contemporary research, schools and teaching whilst bringing in other voices from the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Charles Darwin Trust. It’s sure to be a fascinating and inspiring week! I’m (Emma) really looking forward to it! 

Hi, my name is Kim Biddulph and I’m curating @WeTheHumanities this week in my capacity as director of Schools Prehistory (@schprehistory though I also tweet at @kimbiddulph). I set this business up to support schools and museums to get to grips with changes in the primary school history curriculum in England, particularly studying prehistory. The prehistory of Britain and north-west Europe was my main focus of study at under- and post-graduate level, and since university I have been pursuing a career in museum education, so the new curriculum was like a special gift just for me.

I have found, with surprise, that the term prehistory itself is not widely understood so I will spend Monday defining that term and exploring the history of research into the pre-literate communities of Europe and the British Isles through archaeology, studying the objects that people left behind. I like to tease my historian friends by saying history is just a subsidiary part of archaeology, as written texts are objects too. They usually object! I’d like to discuss what you think about the relationship between the two approaches to studying the human past.

On Tuesday I’ll move on to exploring how academics, museums and commercial organisations interact with teachers and students to support them to develop new topics. The change to the primary history curriculum in England was contentious and many teachers felt like this change was thrust upon them without much preparation. Is it ethical that my company seeks to make money to help teachers with this topic? I’ll talk about my struggle to sell services commercially when I’m used to working for government organisations or national museums and providing advice to teachers for free, and how I have come to terms with it.

On Wednesday I’ll start showcasing some of the work my team and I have done for various organisations and schools, for instance writing for the Teaching History in 100 Objects website from the British Museum, and where we’d like to develop. I’d like to hear about other great initiatives that aim to popularise your particular subject in the humanities and maybe we can bounce ideas off each other on how best to go about it.

By Thursday I’d like to move on to sharing the topics and themes that interest me in prehistory and what it is that schools would like to know about. I’ll be meeting with old colleagues from the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History to talk about developing a couple of new workshops for them, so I’ll tweet some of our ideas. I also have a particular interest in the lives of children in prehistory and people’s appearance – but is there enough academic research out there for me to develop some resources for teachers to use? Who directs the course of academic research? Which topics go in and out of fashion? Can a change in school curricula open up new avenues for research?

On Friday I am meeting up with some old colleagues at the Charles Darwin Trust, who I first got involved with when I developed an education programme at Darwin’s home, Down House in Kent, for English Heritage. I’ll use the opportunity to talk about the links between the humanities and science, especially in the area of evolutionary biology and human evolution, but also in literary scientific writing, which I think Darwin was a master of.

At the weekend I am away visiting family so may not be quite so busy on the account. Who else is freelance or maybe doing loads of unpaid work in their free time? How do you manage your work/life balance? How do you manage to be a working parent? I’d like to hear from any men who find children impact your work or career, only because it seems such a rare thing but I am willing to be proved wrong! I’ll also take the time to promote the work of other people working in my field and the long tradition of women working in archaeology through the Trowelblazers project, which I am a contributor to.