Thursday, 3 May 2012

tales of a tea-lady...

At some point mid-semester, possibly week 6 or 7, the fortnightly gathering of the 'Jane gang' aka Early Modern 'T' [aka those of us wot have Prof Jane as wise and illustrious supervisor] met.  Amongst other topics, the matter of getting organised and having some seminars was raised.  In one of those moments when you hear words coming out of your mouth while simultaneously hearing yourself inwardly shouting 'argh, shut up, just SHUT UP, argh', I heard myself making the suggestion of killing two birds with one stone and hosting a day conference for postgrads of the ecclesiastical history variety [the other bird being killed concerned an annual weekend residential conference for postgrads from the four ancient universities of Scotland, and held in Kinnoul.  This had had been running for years but had latterly quietly died... cue lots of conversations about different formats, how that might work, where, when, etc. but nothing that had quite managed to emerge].
The suggestion made, and taken up, a committee of four of us somehow put it all together, and on Tuesday 2nd 'The History of Christianity' conference was held at New College with a wide range of papers from patristics right through to the present, with said papers presented by postgrads not only from Scotland, but also from further afield.  A late withdrawal from a presenter on Thursday evening saw me taking a deep breath, consulting with supervisor, then hurriedly putting a paper together.  Not quite what I'd planned, as I had put myself down to be tea-lady and general dogsbody; rather a busy day. 
We were really pleased with the response and there was a good positive vibe throughout the day.  The academics involved were pleased with it all and it looks like we may indeed have found a new way of providing what Kinnoul offered: - a friendly, non-threatening environment for postgrads to test their ideas amongst peers and with the encouragement of academics.
Looks like we may have brought about an annual conference.
Delighted with how well it was received.

One particularly nice cherry on top of the week was being introduced to Diarmaid MacCulloch at a 'do' held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh last night - this as an adjunct to the Gifford Lectures, at which DM is the guest speaker this year [link will take you to the filmed lectures].

Wild fortnight, and utterly shattered, but in a good way.  :D
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