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Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Research Funding and Strategic Initiatives
 

Introducing the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Early Career Researcher Assembly 

Join us for the launch of the AHSS ECR Assembly on Friday 1 March, 4-6pm, @ CRASSH. Register here

What is the Early Career Researcher Assembly? 

  • Starting in January 2024, an Assembly for early career researchers at the University of Cambridge in Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS ECRs). Supported by the Schools of Arts & Humanities/Humanities & Social Sciences, and hosted by CRASSH, the Assembly aims to address the isolation and detachment often felt by ECRs. 

Why has it been created? 

  • To enhance support for Early Career Researchers, providing opportunities for AHSS ECRs to form communities beyond their home departments. The Assembly seeks to advocate for issues like career progression and reward. 

What will it do?  

  • The Assembly offers a space for AHSS ECRs to meet, discuss development needs, and raise concerns. It identifies challenges, proposes resource improvements, and contributes to implementing external frameworks. School representatives act as a direct link between the Assembly and executive bodies. 

How does it work?  

  • The Assembly meets termly, offering occasional development activities. It has its Teams channel for easy communication. School Reps (appointed in Nov/Dec for the following calendar year) attend Council and Strategy Group meetings, ensuring AHSS ECRs' voices are heard. 

Why should you consider joining? 

  • Joining the Assembly enhances peer support and engagement with concerns like REF, promotion, teaching, and collaboration. Serving as a School rep provides leadership development, career enhancement, and support from the Postdoc Academy. 

Do I need to enrol? 

  • All AHSS ECRs will receive an invitation to join automatically. Enrolment in the Teams channel is encouraged for discussions. University Teaching Officers are also welcomed to participate. Self-enrolment via AHSSResearchStrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk is also welcome!

  • If you are interested in becoming a School Rep in 2025, please register your interest with AHSSResearchStrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk. School reps attend Council meetings, contribute to strategy reviews, and receive an end-of-appointment allowance. 

What happens next? 

  • Let's build a stronger AHSS ECR community together. Sign up for the Assembly, consider being a School Rep in 2025, and engage with these new opportunities. Stay connected, share your thoughts, and actively participate in the Assembly's activities.   

  • To join the Teams channel for the ECR Assembly and be part of emerging conversations, please email AHSSResearchStrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk with ‘Join ECR Assembly’ in the subject line and you will be added manually. Alternatively, find our channel directly in Teams and request to join. **Sign up to the ECR Assembly Teams Channel** 

Background  

  • Support for Early Career Researchers is a key development priority for both Schools and for the University as a whole. The Schools are keen to provide more opportunities for AHSS ECRs to form communities beyond their home Department, and to develop advocacy for issues that are important to them, such as reward and career progression.  
  • ECRs often express a sense of detachment from the decision-making process at Cambridge, and a sense of isolation as many are in lone-scholar teams. The Assembly seeks to address both of these issues.  
  • The Assembly will provide a space where AHSS ECRs can meet for peer support, discuss development needs and raise issues or concerns to executive level (via School representation).  
  • The Assembly will be asked to identify challenges encountered by AHSS ECRs, and to bring forward proposals for how resources can be better structured to meet their current needs and career aspirations, and to recognise contributions to teaching and research. This could include mobilising existing facilities and structures or proposing new activities. The Assembly will also contribute to localised implementation of relevant external frameworks such as the Researcher Development Concordat and DORA.  
  • For all queries, please contact AHSSResearchStrategy@admin.cam.ac.uk 

Get involved!  

  • Feel free to contribute, attend events, and share your ideas within the Assembly. There's no long-term commitment required - participate to the extent that suits you. The doors are always open for collaboration and knowledge exchange. 

 

About the ECR Assembly Representatives 

Dr Georgina Wilson (Jesus) 

School of Arts and Humanities

About me:  

  • I teach English Literature at Jesus College, Cambridge, and I'm currently writing a book called Paper and the Making of Early Modern Literature.  I am editing a special issue of the Journal of Early Modern Studies on 'The Politics of Book History: Then and Now'.  

Research: 

  • My research interests include surface reading, Michel Serres, 'folded time,' and book modification. I’ve organized events like 'Horizons of Books' and 'From Sweaty Socks to Shakespeare,' exploring the intersection of literature and material culture. I’m committed to fostering dialogue between academia and creative practice, and I co-convened the 'Paper and Poetry' symposium at the Paper Foundation in Cumbria, bringing together literary scholars, creative writers, and paper artists. 

Why I joined: 

  • I joined the Early Career Researcher Assembly because I'm interested in how institutional structures create our academic landscape. This question forms part of my research - how do books, libraries, and literary canons create ways of reading and writing - but it also translates into urgent questions about how universities, faculties, and research cultures shape how we work and think. The ECR Assembly exists to ask in what kinds of environment AHSS Early Career Scholars teach and research at the moment, and what changes the community would like to see in order to maximise not only our potential but our enjoyment of what we do.

Dr Josh Fitzgerald (Churchill) 

School of the Humanities and Social Sciences

About me:  

  • As the Rubinoff Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College, I’m exploring ideas of 'art as a source of knowledge,' particularly in the context of Mesoamerica/Colonial Mexico. This is a multidisciplinary engagement:  I’m affiliated with the Faculty of History, McDonald Institute of Archaeological Research, and Centre for Latin American Studies. Within the History Faculty, I've lectured and supervised both undergraduate and MPhil students, focusing on Nahua (commonly known as 'Aztec') modes of learning and learning environments spanning from 1300 to 1700. 

Research: 

  • My publications and interests include indigenous visual and material culture, food-archives, gender studies, and the portrayal of Mexican heritage in museums and video games. 

Interdisciplinary initiatives:  

  • In Cambridge, I've spearheaded interdisciplinary projects, co-convened research networks, and facilitated public engagement opportunities across Humanities and Social Sciences and Social and Political Sciences. I'm particularly involved with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, as a researcher, exhibition content specialist, and public-engagement contributor, notably participating in the 2023 Being Human Festival. 

Why I joined: 

  • In my role as the HSS Assembly Representative, my primary objectives are to enhance communication, foster more meaningful researcher outcomes from workshops, and provide guidance for navigating successful futures in Humanities-related careers.