7 December 2022
New Work in Modernist Studies is almost upon us (this Friday!) and elections for the BAMS committee – including, of particular interest to us, the PG Reps – are now open! While we are heartbroken to say goodbye to Emily, we are also so excited to welcome new reps to keep building our postgrad community. As is tradition, we sat down this year to chat about the role and what you might want to know before you apply.
What do you need to be qualified for the PG Rep role?
Hannah Voss: The hard and fast requirement is that you need to be a first or second-year PhD student in any area of modernist studies. I found it helpful joining the team with some knowledge of WordPress and a little bit of editorial experience to bring to The Modernist Review, but those are not necessities by any means! We all learn on the job and complement each other’s strengths, so what we really want is someone who is open to collaboration and is excited to be part of the team.
What does the role involve?
Elena Valli: Collaborating with other PhD students means that the schedule is flexible. On a weekly basis, TMR-related tasks include managing our famous #ModWrite twitter thread on Mondays, answering emails, and keeping track of the articles and reviews we receive. We also go through each of the pieces in pairs, offering feedback and working with the writers until we receive their final version for publication. Around the end of the month, everything comes together as we upload the files to WordPress and get ready to share our next issue! We always make sure to divide work depending on everyone’s availability, so that TMR chores never weigh on our PhD work, and there is always someone ready to help.
What is BAMS’ commitment to diversity in our committee and in the content we publish?
Jinan Ashraf: As part of BAMS’ commitment to BAME scholars, we especially encourage applications from researchers and scholars from across national borders to foreground the significance of global modernist production and international modernisms. We particularly keep an eye out for conversations that challenge hegemonic / Eurocentric narratives of modernist production and foreground conditions of literary and cultural encounters. As a BAME academic, your voice matters to TMR in particular and BAMS more broadly as we invite proposals from and draw editorial responses to ideas, articles, papers, and conferences that straddle the boundaries of modernisms across the world. Issue #35 of TMR was dedicated to transnational modernisms, with articles from scholars whose works speak to the broad ways in which art, literature, and culture reach and develop across borders. Over the coming years, we hope to dedicate more TMR issues that look at the ‘transnational turn’ in modernist studies.
What are your favourite & least favourite parts of the job?
HV: This is going to sound so dorky but there’s something so satisfying about firing off a bunch of emails and getting the inbox cleared, or starting a big organisational project. I also love feeling like I have an all-access pass to the backstage of BAMS – it demystifies a lot of academic processes and makes them a lot less intimidating. My least favourite part is when it’s publication day and we’re so excited to get the issue out but need to spend ages double and triple-checking all the WordPress formatting – it’s so necessary but can be really time consuming.
EV: I love to see what everyone is working on, especially when it comes to fellow postgraduate students. One of the perks of editing TMR is that we get a taste of emerging trends and interests in modernist studies, and we get to learn more about topics different from our own. As much as I love reading each of the pieces, I agree with Hannah that checking formatting and spelling is the least pleasant and most time consuming side of the job, but it gets easier with habit.
JA: The most exciting part about working with BAMS is bringing out issues of TMR – I love writing up the editorial and introducing our readers to what we’ve got in store for the month – whether it’s the latest in the field or little known works in modernist studies. The BAMS community is warm and welcoming and ready to help out with anything – from advice on running TMR to help with funding bids and queries on research, nothing else compares in terms of support! I must say – unlike Hannah – I do not enjoy firing off e-mails (though I guess you could say I’m coming around to it).
What are you most looking forward to next year?
HV: I really want to do a ‘Spooky Modernisms’ issue next October so if anyone is interested let us know… Also I had hoped to collaborate with the Modernist Studies Association postgrads this past year, which didn’t end up being in the cards for us, but I’d really love to do something with them this year!
EV: I look forward to more guest edits (send us your ideas!) and hopefully to turning our upcoming NWiMS conference into an exciting dedicated issue some time next year.
JA: In the coming year, I look forward to fortifying TMR readership and submissions – it would be great to have exciting issues on Spooky Modernisms, NWiMS, and guest edits across a range of fascinating topics. I also hope the coming year brings us fresh, new, and diverse perspectives in the field and hopefully more in-person opportunities to speak about the field, particularly from under-represented perspectives.
What’s been the highlight of the role for you so far?
HV: This year’s BAMS conference (Hopeful Modernisms) was honestly the highlight of my entire academic year. I didn’t even present or chair a panel, I just wandered around and listened to amazing speakers and helped the conference committee when they needed a boost. It was such a friendly space and I met so many cool people — can’t wait for 2024!
EV: It was wonderful to meet everyone in person for Hopeful Modernisms, to hear such a varied range of presentations and to see everyone bonding over their mutual interests and their enthusiasm for modernist authors and ideas. More recently, we got news of a lovely review of TMR in the TLS — that was a pretty special moment too!
JA: Seconding Elena, TMR being featured in an issue of the Times Literary Supplement only speaks volumes about the kind of work we do at TMR/BAMS! Come join us so you can be part of a real dream team — it’s surreal.
How to apply:
Applications for 2 two-year postgraduate representative positions are sought from registered doctoral students in their first or second year of study (or PT equivalent). The elected representatives will join Jinan Ashraf, Elena Valli and Hannah Voss, who are a year into their own two-year terms.
BAMS especially welcomes applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) postgraduate members, and we are firm and unflinching in our commitment to a vision of an inclusive and diverse Exec.
Responsibilities include attending two Exec meetings a year and helping out with PG events and workshops (travel expenses paid). Responsibilities shared between the PG reps include editing The Modernist Review, running BAMS social media, answering info@BAMS.ac.uk emails and sending welcome emails to new members. There are also opportunities to launch new initiatives, and we value and welcome such suggestions from postgraduate representatives.
Candidates are asked to submit a brief biography as well as a 250-word proposaloutlining their vision for the future of BAMS, their suitability for the role, and their envisaged contribution to the association.
Candidates for the Postgraduate Representative positions do not require a nomination from an existing member of BAMS. They must themselves be members of the association. Instructions for joining BAMS can be found on the website: https://bams.ac.uk/join-bams/. The final selection will be made through an online election process open to all BAMS members.
Applications should be emailed to the BAMS Chair, Andrew Frayn (email@example.com) no later than 9am (GMT) on Monday 9 January 2023. If you would like some more information about the roles before applying, please do write to Andrew, Jinan, Elena or Hannah.
Image credit: Mabel Frances Layng, The Café (1925), watercolour on card, Creative Commons 4.0 CC BY-NC-SA