Category Archives: PGF

PGF Lunchtime Seminar

The next lunchtime seminar is Wednesday 20th, at 1pm, in Armstrong 1.04.

John Bagnall (History) will be talking to us about :

The New Official History: Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands Crisis

‘Earlier this year, Charles Moore released the second of his three volume official biography of Margaret Thatcher. Moore was given unrivalled access to, not only Thatcher herself, but her wealth of private papers concerning her time as British Prime Minister. His first volume, published in 2013, ended with the Falklands Affair of 1982 and the second volume, picks up from this point and continues until the end of her time in office. The Falklands Affair was a dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands. The dispute garnered international tension when a nine week conflict was fought between the two nations in 1982. Moore’s work uses Thatcher’s own papers and memory of the affair to give a new account of the conflict. As this work was undertaken before the source material was released for public research purposes, it is at the forefront of study of 1980s British Political history.

This paper aims to examine what Moore adds to the existing knowledge of the Falklands Affair in the context of Lawrence Freedman’s two volume Official History of the Falklands Campaign published in 2005. Freedman too was given access to source material from government departments before it was released to the public and produced, at the time, the most comprehensive study of the Falklands Campaign that had been done. This paper compares the work done by Moore to the work of Freedman to highlight what new insights Moore has offered on the Falklands Affair. This paper scrutinises the source material used by each author as well as their methodologies and conclusion to produce an analysis of how much has been added by Moore to our understanding of one of the most crucial aspects of Thatcher’s Britain, the Falklands Affair.’

Come along for discussion, tea, coffee and biscuits!

Just a minute with… Amy Shields

amyAmy Shields a third year history PhD student, and current editor of our postgraduate journal, Pons Aelius. Her research focuses on seventeenth century republicanism in England, Venice, and the Dutch Republic. She is on twitter @ahshields90

  1. What did you want to be as a child?

An Olympic swimmer, an author, and a vet. I think I may have been a bit over ambitious.

  1. What advice would you have for current UG or early stage PG students?

Get involved in as many things as you can! Not only is a great way to meet new people, but you gain new skills and your CV will look great.

  1. What is the most important life skill you learnt whilst being a PGR student?

How to blag confidence and ignore that gnawing feeling of panic that I’m out of my depth. Imposter syndrome is all too common in academia, but if you act like you know what you’re doing and just go for it, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve.

  1. What has been the most significant/memorable moment of your academic career so far?

When I got accepted to give a paper at Berkeley in California. I’d written the abstract just a few days before the deadline, and didn’t really expect to be accepted. I’d also never been to the US before, so that was a really great experience.

  1. If given complete freedom to start over, what profession would you like to do and why?

When I was little, I really wanted to be a vet because I absolutely love animals. I gave up on that dream because I found sciences much more challenging than humanities at school, and also because I’d get upset far too easily! But if I went back now, I wouldn’t let myself give up so easily.

  1. What book are you currently reading?

One Hundred Years of Solitude is sitting on my bedside table right now, but I’m only a few pages in. I have a habit of getting too distracted by a good book – I won’t notice that hours have passed because I’m so hooked! Last week I read the Hunger Games trilogy in four days….and my supervisor wonders why I miss deadlines… (sorry Rachel!)

  1. What has been the highlight of your week?

It was great to see the finished version of the newly renamed E-Journal, Pons Aelius, going live this week. Linda and I spend a lot of hours working on it, so we were really pleased to see it finally published. It also helped that we could celebrate with a few glasses of wine at the PGF party!

  1. Do you have favourite hidden gems of Newcastle?

It’s not hidden as such, but I love going to Intermezzo at the Tyneside Cinema. It’s a great place to while always the afternoon over a glass of wine and a good book.

Thanks, Amy! Hope you have a wonderful holiday period, and we will see you all in the New Year!

Newsletter, week 14.12.2015

It is the last week of term before Christmas, just a couple of things are happening this week, then we are all free! Happy holidays everyone!


Lunchtime Seminar
Thursday 17th December, 1-2pm, Armstrong Building, Room 3.41
Amber Roy and Andrew Marriott (both archaeology)

Research Seminars

Roman Archaeology Seminar Series

Tuesday 15th December, 6-7:30 pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06
Tatiana Ivleva (Newcastle University): ‘Global adornments: glass banlges in Late Iron Age Roman period Europe and Britain’


Wednesday, 16th December, 5-7pm Armstrong Building, Room 1.04
Mark Knights (Warkwick University): ‘Corruption and anti-corruption in seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain’


Newsletter, week 7.12.15

There is a lot going on this week, so here is this week’s events newsletter.  If you would like to promote an event, please get in touch


The Importance of being ‘Visible’
Tuesday 8th December, 6:30pm, Armstrong Building, Room 3.38 Question and answer session on academic life and career perspectives
Ask your own questions beforehand on twitter and facebook #AskThePGF

PGF Christmas party
Friday 11th December, 5.30pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.09 Everyone is welcome

Research Seminars

Roman Archaeology Seminar Series
Tuesday 8th December, 6-7:30 pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06 David Mason (Durham County Council): ‘Research excavation at Binchester Roman fort and extra-mural settlement’

Classics and Ancient History:
Monday, 7th December, 5-7pm Armstrong Building, Room 2.50 Hector Williams (UBC): ‘Goddesses, Whores, Vampyres and Archaeologists: Excavating Ancient Mytilene’


Further School Events

Archaeology Careers Fair
Wednesday 9th December, 4pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06
Archaeology drinks
Wednesday 9th December, 5:30pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06

Newcastle University Public Lectures

9th December, 5:30-6:45pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building
Baroness Altmann (Minister of State for Pensions) ‘Pensions and ageing society’


Newsletter, week 30.11.15.

Apologies for the delay, this week’s newsletter is now here.  If you would like to promote an event, please get in touch

Research Seminars

Thursday 3rd December, 4-5pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06 Audrey Horning (Queens University Belfast): ‘Worlds in Motion: archaeological exploration of early modern identity in Ireland and America’

Classics and Ancient History:
Wednesday 2nd December, 5-7pm Armstrong Building, Room 2.50 Phillip Horky (Durham University): ‘The spectrum of animal rationality in Plutarch’

Wednesday 2nd December, 5-7pm Armstrong Building, Room 1.04
Sean O’Connell (Queens University Belfast): ‘Looking beyond the Troubles: social memory in Belfast’s docklands’


Further School Events

Night at the Museum
Thursday 3rd December at the Great North Museum from 6-9pm


Newcastle University Public Lectures

1st December, 5:30-6:45pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building Naveed Sattar (Professor of Metabolic Medicine, Glasgow University) “Cholesterol, statins and heart attack risks: the truth of the matter”

3rd December, 5-30-6:45pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building Karen Sands-O’Conner (Professor of English, Buffalo State College, New York) “From abolition to Zephaniah: a brief history of literature for the Black British child”

Five Tips for… Organising a Conference

OneOne. Create a timetable

One of the best things we did in the lead up to the conference was create a to-do list and a timetable for completion. This really helped us to stay on track, and made sure we didn’t forget anything. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when organising a conference and having a well-planned schedule allowed us to stay on track making the whole process a little smoother.

Delegates at the NEBARSS conference

TwoTwo. Don’t worry if something goes wrong
No matter how organised you think you are, there will always be something you haven’t thought about. But it is Ok. Our delegates were a particularly amenable group, but really anyone will appreciate that there are little details that may go wrong (like the microphone in our case!) and that it is not the end of the world.

ThreeThree. Acquire some free pens: freebies mean everything!

Of course, they don’t, not really, but everyone appreciates a good

the NEBARSS conference pack
the NEBARSS conference pack

selection of items in their conference packs. It is also a very good way of making contacts within larger organisations and businesses, local or national. It is a good way of obtaining financial support for your conference. The earlier you start this process, the better. You are far more likely to get support if you ask in advance. Organisations often have deadlines for funding, so do your research. Some publishing companies are also really keen to hear what universities are up to. In fact, on account of this our conference report is being printed in ‘Past’, the Prehistoric Society magazine.

FourFour. Enjoy the day!

Even though there was a lot of work leading up to the day, and a lot of running around and frantic organising on the day itself, it pays off! Every one of our delegates came up to us at the end of the conference and thanked us for the day for organising it so well. This was of course so thoughtful, but well-received and valuable feedback which made it all worth it!

FiveFive. Don’t buy too many biscuits!

Incredulously, there is such a thing as too many biscuits! Don’t panic though, they are a welcome, if fleeting, addition to the office… That is until everyone blames you for tempting them.


Events Newsletter, week 16.11.15

Here is this week’s newsletter.  If you would like to promote an event, please get in touch

Research Seminars

Roman Archaeology Research Seminar
Tuesday 17th November, 6-7:30pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06
Nick Hodgson (Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums): ‘WallQuest Community Archaeology and the discovery of the fort baths at Wallsend (Segedunum)’

Classics and Ancient History:
Wednesday 18th November, 5-7pm, Armstrong Building, Room 2.50
Edward Harris (Durham University): ‘Trials in Thucydides and Xenophon’

Wednesday 18th November, 5-7pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.04
Katrina Navickas (University of Hertfordshire): ‘Protest and the Politics of Space and Place, 1789-1848’

Further School Events

Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Research Student Symposium
20th and 21st November
Keynote lecture by Dr Chris Fowler 20th November, 5:30-7pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06 ‘The powers that be’ and powerful events: ontologies in Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain and Ireland
Student Symposium on 21st November, 9am – 4:30pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.06
If you would like to attend either the keynote lecture or the actual symposium please get in touch the with the organisers Lucy Cummings and Mareike Ahlers at
Please find futher information at

Newcastle Early Modern Forum Symposium
Wednesday 18th November, 6pm, Percy Building
Italian Exchanges: Venice and Rome in Renaissance English writing and its perception
Caitlin Phillips (Durham University): ‘Protest, Magic and the Reformation’
Amy Shields (Newcastle University): ‘Why Venice? Plato Redivivus and the Role of the Noble Venetian’
Megan Holman (Northumbria University): ‘Men may construct things after their fashion: Reading Graphic Novel Shakespeare’

Newcastle University Public Lectures

Wednesday 18th November, 5:30 – 7pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building
Celebrating Student Research Scholarships and Expeditions 2015

Thursday 19th November, 5:30-6:45pm, Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building
Amanda Vickery (Professor in Early Modern History, Queen Mary University): Mutton dressed as lamb (British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Patron’s Lecture)

Northern Bridge Autumn School – October 2015

A number of our AHRC funded PhD students attended the Northern Bridge Autumn School, hosted by Queens University Belfast.

We set off from Newcastle Airport with the weather forecast to rain, rain, rain, with a little more rain scheduled for Belfast for the next few days. We were pleasantly surprised to land in a slightly grey but DRY Belfast. We had time to wander around the city of Belfast, to see some of the street art, the infamous ’Big Fish’, the Ulster Museum and we even squeezed in a visit to Maggie May’s Café, which was as nice as people had reported, and so we pass on the recommendation (see photo below)!

Belfast side streets & artwork (left & top right); Maggie May's milkshake & ice cream sundae after a trip to the Ulster Museum! (bottom right)
Belfast side streets & artwork (left & top right); Maggie May’s milkshake & ice cream sundae after a trip to the Ulster Museum! (bottom right)

The main aim of the Wednesday timetable was to give this year’s newly funded students a chance to talk and get to know each other, and to hear about their research topics; whilst for the 2014/2015 group it was a chance to catch up with each other’s progress and adventures since the Newcastle event in June 2015.

While the new starters were perfecting their ‘elevator pitch’ (ie. Sell yourself to a prospective boss in the time it takes you to climb 7 floors in a lift!), we spent time reflecting on the advantages of being part of the Northern Bridge partnership. We also highlighted areas in which more could have been made as a new starter, and this was the spark for the afternoon session, which we were to run for the new cohort. This ‘Peer Feedback’ session also included a pitching session for possible training events to be run and organised through Northern Bridge by us, the students. The focus of the afternoon was careers and employability; we heard from a Northern Bridge student who had undertaken a placement that had benefitted her research and provided a possible career path post-PhD. It certainly gave us some food for thought!

The day was concluded with a drinks reception in the wonderful Great Hall of Queen’s University followed by a meal at an Italian restaurant (also followed by a visit to the nearby pubs and bars for some!).

The Great Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast.
The Great Hall, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Thursday’s sessions included thematic-based interdisciplinary group networking, followed by a Keynote lecture by Professor Richard Clay (Newcastle University) titled “from coins to Internet in 45 minutes(ish)”. Professor Clay outlined some interesting ideas about the use of marks, graffiti and prints to change perception and re-code public space using examples through history—from early coinage to modern-day street art.

The closing session focussed on ways of disseminating research via the media, discussing ‘being Mary Beard’ – an academic who regularly presents her research interest to the public through documentaries, radio programmes, and her blog, alongside her academic publications. This session also brought up very current issues regarding gender and the representation of academics (women academics, in particular) within the media. It was a short but thought provoking session which raised questions about women in academia and in the media, and how we can move to change these stereotypes. This is obviously an issue which is currently being scrutinised and addressed by academia and the wider public alike.

The autumn conference was a great introduction for the new starters, and provided some food for thought for those of us in stage 2 of our PhD projects – How will we disseminate our work? What road will be taken, an academic or non-academic path? What makes my CV stand out from all the others?

Time to start planning!


Events Newsletter, week 9.11.15

This week’s newsletter, once again!  If you would like to promote an event, please get in touch

Research Seminars

Archaeology Research Seminar
Tuesday 12th November, 6-7pm, Armstrong Building, Room 1.05
Paddy Gleeson (Newcastle): ‘Building kingdoms and ruling landscapes: practices of kingship in the Atlantic World’.

Further School Events

Field trip organised by Dr Susanna Phillippo (please get in touch with her if you are interested)
Sunday 15th November: Hadrian‘s Wall trip (Walltown crags, Thirlwall castle, Greenhead)
• Walltown crags, Thirlwall castle, Green head
• An introduction to the Wall: a circular walk along the highest and one of the most dramatic stretches of the Wall, perched on Walltown Crags, with impressive views (weather permitting!) to Scotland and the Pennines.
• Walk from Greenhead village to ruins of Thirlwall Castle (with its legends of buried treasure and a magical dwarf!) ad past site of the Roman fort of Carvoran/Magnis.
• Visit to Roman Army Museum (also a wet weather alternative!)

Newcastle University Public Lectures

10th October, 5:30-6:45, Herschel Building, Curtis Auditorium
Eric Cross (Dean of Cultural Affairs, Newcastle University):  ‘One hundred years of Bach performances’.