Tag Archives: interview

Just A Minute With… Dr. Rob Dale

rob daleDr Rob Dale is Lecturer in Russian History, specialising in twentieth-century Russian and Soviet history, especially the late Stalinist period (1945-1953). He studied for a BA in History at York, an MA in History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies and a PhD in Russian History at QMUL. Find him on twitter @DrRobDale

  1. Which famous historian would you most like to meet for a drink, and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of my historiographical heroes for a drink. I’d most like a drink with Elena Zubkova, the historian who almost singlehandedly put the study of late Stalinism back on the map.

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

Never ever go anywhere without a book. You never know when your bus breaks down, the person you are meeting will be late, and ten minutes appear when you could read something interesting.

  1. What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading several. Owen Hatherley’s Landscapes of Communism, which is introducing me to the architecture of parts of the Communist world I’ve never visited, and Sheila Fitzpatrick’s new book On Stalin’s Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics, which is written with her usual wit, precision and deep understanding.

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

The ability to root out the cheapest flights, rail tickets and hotel rooms, and live off a diet of buckwheat, salted cucumbers, and kefir.

  1. What do you enjoy the most about being part of the history, classics and archaeology department at Newcastle?

Interaction with our students. Having taught in a number of institutions, I think the make-up of our student body generates really fascinating discussions. I love working in the Armstrong building too.

  1. What would your perfect day away from work be?

I’d probably still be reading and working, but in the Russian National Library in Saint-Petersburg. I’d spend the day reading different materials in the different reading rooms, but spend lots of time in the tea room and buffet talking to Russian colleagues.

  1. What’s the question you’d most like to have been asked (and why)?

Are you available to keep wicket for England next week? I’m a huge cricket fan, and love keeping wicket.

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

I’d probably want to do something where I could spend more time in the open-air. I like idea of working for the forestry commission in some capacity.

  1. What is your favourite movie quote?

“With great power comes great responsibility.” (Peter Parker, Spiderman)

  1. What’s next for Rob?

I’m about to start working on an article about the upkeep of soldiers’ graves in the late Stalinist period. The material is really exciting, and I think it tells us something important about Soviet War Memory.

Best of luck with the research, Rob. Until next time…!

Just a Minute with… Lauren Emslie

me1Lauren Emslie, 2nd year PhD student in classics, studying religion and theology in the late Roman republic. She is also currently chair of the PGF and organising AMPAH 2016.

She has a self-defined “slight social-media aversion” (although likes meeting people in person!), so it took a while, but we finally got her to sit down and answer a few questions for us…

1. How did you come to be interested in your current area of research? 

From a young age I was fascinated by ‘the Romans’. When I came to university I started learning Latin and from there fell in love with ancient literature.

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

Keep reading!

3. Can you describe your research in three words?

Religion, Gods, and Cicero

4. What book are you currently reading?

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

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

When to use a backpack for your books.

6.  Do you have favourite hidden gems of Newcastle?

It may not be so secret, but the view down the river from the Free Trade Inn on any day is one of my favourites.

7. What is your favourite movie quote?

“For a special agent, you’re not having a very special day, are you?” (Waverly, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015))

Thanks Lauren – see you around here soon!

Just a Minute with… Lucy Cummings

LucyLucy Cummings, our very own Seminar Series Co-Ordinator, is a 2nd year archaeology PhD student studying the henge monuments of the British Isles. Newcastle University ‘lifer’ so far – BA, MA and now PhD here in the department. Currently organising the 2nd NEBARSS conference (https://nebarss.wordpress.com).  Occasionally uses twitter, follow her if you don’t mind archaeology/football related tweets.

1. How did you come to be interested in your current area of research? 

In archaeology: from an open-day session ran by Dr Mark Jackson, which changed my mind from applying for a chemistry degree to archaeology!

In henges/Later Neolithic: From first year UG lectures on monumental space and enclosure of ‘special’ places in the landscape – especially when the functional use was so up in the air! It was very intriguing, and a theme through quite a few of my UG and MA pieces of work, which has now led to my current PhD topic.

2. What is the worst advice you have even been given?

‘Lose your accent to do well’ –Everyone likes the Yorkshire accent – who wouldn’t?

3. What has been the highlight of your week?

Actually ticking something off of my ever-growing ‘To Do’ list!

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

That things are never as bad as they seem after a decent sleep!

5. What do you enjoy most about being part of the History, Classics and Archaeolgy department at Newcastle?

I’ve been here from UG to PGR so I definitely love it here! Everyone is friendly and encouraging, and it is a great department to be in as a student. It’s always good when you can have a laugh with your lecturers!

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

A vet, and then a CSI officer – until I realised I don’t like blood/needles/wounds of any kind.

8. What is your favourite place on earth? 

The Lake District is a favourite area of mine, for the walking, the scenery and also the wild animal park!

Also, skiing (anywhere) – being at the top of a snowy mountain gives you stunning views and is a great way of relaxing and clearing the mind.

9. What’s next for Lucy?

I will be co-hosting a conference here at Newcastle at the end of the month (and giving my first conference paper- scary!), then after that it will be a couple of months of focused reading and data collection to get ahead in my research.

Thanks Lucy! Good luck with the conference!

Just a minute with… Dr James Gerrard

Dr James Gerrard is a lecturer in Roman archaeology here at Newcastle, he studied at Sheffield for his BA in Archaeology and Prehistory, before completing his MA (in Archaeological Research) and PhD (Pottery and the end of Roman Britain: the view from south-western Britain) at York. Check out his project blog: https://blogs.ncl.ac.uk/luftonarchaeology/

After a busy couple of weeks of student inductions, he answered a few questions for us:

1. How did you come to be interested in your current area of research? 

As a child, I was inspired to study the Romans and the end of the Roman period by the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff (Eagle of the Ninth; The Lantern Bearers). I was also lucky enough to grow up in Somerset surrounded by Roman and early medieval sites.

2. What book are you currently reading? 

101 Dalmatians. Seriously. My daughter was reading it and I thought I’d regress to childhood. It’s a great story, charming, serious and in places downright ironic.

3. If you were a biscuit, what sort would you be?

A garibaldi (squashed fly) biscuit, or perhaps a ginger nut.

4. What has been the highlight of your week?

Meeting all the new students!

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

That life is hard but you can survive its ups and downs.

6. What do you enjoy the most about being part of the history, classics and archaeology department at Newcastle?

It’s a great, friendly place with brilliant colleagues and excellent students.

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

An archaeologist

8. Can you describe your research in three words? 

No. Perhaps: End, Roman, Britain

9. What would your perfect day away from work be?

Somewhere wildish – the countryside or coast. It’d need to have no mobile signal and perhaps a nice pub for some food and drink.

10. What is your favourite movie quote?

‘Remember, short controlled bursts’ (Corporal Hicks in Aliens)

Thanks James!