Today the BAMS Elections open. As postgraduate representatives, this is a particularly exciting time for us. We know that in a few short weeks we will be welcoming new team members on board to work with us, challenge us and invigorate our ideas. When we came on board in 2018, Helen Saunders and Stephanie Boland were finishing their tenure and Ruth Clemens was in the position we are today, right in the middle of her role. Together, we continued the hard work of Stephanie and Helen and built on the foundations they laid, relaunching the Modernist Review, undertaking a new BAMS Postgraduate Survey and organising a bevy of training days to help members get to grips with modernist studies today. We are further excited by the positions open on the Executive Steering Committee of BAMS and wish everyone running the best of luck.
Whether you are running or not, the election is your chance to get involved and help shape the future of BAMS. The representatives elected this month will undoubtedly have a hand in what BAMS looks like, its engagement with members and the kinds of events we offer. As such, we encourage all readers of the Modernist Review to sign up for BAMS membership and cast their vote. What’s more, you get a range of benefits included with membership.
Though we are only a year into our roles, BAMS has been helpful to our academic careers: the chance to network, to build projects under the auspices of a national association, to work with one another and support all of you. Below are testimonials from Ruth, Stephanie and Helen that we hope will encourage you not just to vote, but consider running next year once we step down.
Sean and Gareth
Ruth Clemens | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018
I was BAMS Postgraduate Representative from 2016 to 2018. It was a great two years, and I gained a lot of experience. Along with colleagues at the University of Leeds, I organized the 2017 BAMS Postgraduate Conference in New Work in Modernist Studies. As well as being a crash course in conference organization, it was incredibly rewarding to bring other postgraduate researchers together for a day of exchange and collaboration. There is a lot of flexibility in the role, and a lot of it involves listening to what the BAMS postgraduate community needs and figuring out creative ways to implement these changes. I launched #ModWrite, the weekly Twitter ‘Shut Up & Write’ session, after a group of PhD students expressed their wishes for a cohesive writing community despite the geographical distances between members. Roused by the Brexit vote and the hostility experienced by some of my colleagues, I reached out to international postgraduates in our community and, with them, developed ways to improve the support we can offer to international colleagues and increase awareness of the problems faced. As part of this, I facilitated a panel by and for international students at the BAMS PGR Networking day in 2018. I think PGRs are often in a position where we have the freedom to be vocal about injustices or outdated traditions within UK HE, and we are often well placed to spot how things could be changed for the better. Please cast your vote for the new PGR Rep and help to shape the future of BAMS.
Stephanie Boland | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018
My time as a BAMS rep was wonderful not only for teaching me so much about the inner workings of academia, but also for providing a chance to network with a huge range of people in modernist studies. Working alongside the prodigiously industrious (and talented!) Dr Helen Saunders, I was involved in a research project designed to canvass the views of PGRs and ECRs, which we then fed into a study of careers and access. There’s a wonderful community of young scholars in and around BAMS, and it was a true pleasure to get to contribute to that community and get to know so many great people’s work. I’m really pleased with how the current reps have taken up the mantle, and look forward to seeing what their successors do, too—I really can’t recommend the post enough.
Helen Saunders | Postgraduate Representative 2016 – 2018
I was a PGR rep from 2016 – 2018. It was a great experience and I’d recommend that anyone with an interest in modernist studies applies for the position. Day-to-day, the role involved administrative duties such as sharing CFPs, managing the website and social media accounts, running the blog and dealing with PGR issues. To this end, I helped run our annual PG conference, New Work in Modernist Studies, and Modernist Life, the 2016 BAMS conference, as part of which we organised a PG workshop. I also helped organise the first survey of our postgrad members, which has now taken the form of an annual survey which helps BAMS identify issues it can help postgraduates with. You’ll similarly have the opportunity to run events and workshops and speak on behalf of BAMS at conferences. (Occasional) travel is reimbursed on expenses and you can fit work in around your own schedule.