Monday, 18 January 2016

Grand Challenges Part II: This time, it's personal

Yes, I'll be back, Clonmacnoise.
So, as promised, here is the second half of my little chunk of the wonderful Doug's Archaeology 2016 blogging carnival.

First, some news: I have resigned from my job at Andante Travels- yes, the dream job designing wonderful archaeological holidays. In so many ways it was perfect, supportive company, great colleagues, opening up the past to the general public. But I couldn't make it work with a 10 month old and a 90 minute commute. So, that's that.

What happens now?* Well, I'm delighted to say I've been offered a Moore Institute Visiting Fellowship at National University of Ireland, Galway. I'll be there from late March to mid-April, made possible by my parents and husband taking time out to look after Silvia. I'm excited about it, and about the work I'll be doing, as well as the people I'll be working with. Any suggestions for cool things to do in Galway with a toddler much appreciated.

I hope the weather in Galway is this good again, or husband will suffer with a cooped up Silvia!
Apart from that, 2016 is looking like a blur of writing and childcare, with some conferences and talks thrown in. Sometimes the two go together well, sometimes they don't. So that's one challenge: finish the book (halfway through the second draft people!), get half done articles out of my brain and onto some poor reviewer's desk, and keep a demanding young lady happy.

Her challenge is to walk under the Boccanera Plaques, not crawl. FYI, the Etruscan gallery of the British Museum is an excellent place for your baby- the case arrangements are a perfect crawling speedway.

The day-to-day of this is not a problem, keeping the balls in the air- you just do it. She wouldn't sleep last night, so instead of doing my usual 8-11 writing stint, it was 10-1. Then she woke at 3. And 5. Not great, but fine. I'm awake and alert. Just.

Coming to the point at last, my own grand challenge is to carve out a meaningful space for this new woman-in-archaeology-but-also-in-motherhood self. It would be wonderful to be able to link this with a formal position, but if the applications gods are unkind, I need to find a way to be ok with that. To write, to think, to be an archaeologist. Inside or outside the academy**. And I need to fit that with my family.

Doddle, right?


Disclaimer: I AM INCREDIBLY AWARE OF HOW PRIVILEGED I AM TO BE ABLE TO TAKE THIS TIME AND HAVE THIS SPACE TO THINK AT ALL. Just saying. Also, it's a neat little feminist juxtaposition that embracing total dependence on my husband (and the vast majority of housework/childcare) allows me to think and work, albeit not for pay. Hmmm.

*Well, my first commitment that I'm so pleased to be doing is at the Institute of Classical Studies in London on the 9th February. Come along for some Derrida, some Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, and to hear the results of that survey I've been plugging on Twitter. What's not to like?

**Another post needed here on the new independent scholar, I think. With the current over-production of PhDs, we could be a veritable army.

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