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ECR/HDR Mentoring Scheme 2022

Hello ECR friends and welcome to 2022! It’s great to be at the top of a new year, ready to jump into the work and opportunities that await us. And yet, the tough times roll on. 2021 did not, unfortunately, magically solve all the problems that dominated 2020, and our sector feels just as unsettled and uncertain as ever. But we had some great things happen in 2021 as well — after being cancelled in 2020, our history community was able to come together virtually for the Annual AHA Conference, making us all very proficient in Whova and Zoom. The Skills for New Historians Seminar Series was a smashing success; supported in particular by the AHA President Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, ECR and HDR members were able to hear from experts in various aspects of academic life. (Remember that most of those sessions were recorded and are available to rewatch by logging into the AHA website!) And in conjunction with HDR Representative Joshua Black, we ran the first ever ECR/HDR Mentoring Scheme, pairing HDR candidates with ECRs, strengthening ties between these communities. We’re thrilled to announce that the scheme will run again in 2022!

Unsure how this works? It’s pretty simple, really! This is a scheme that matches ECR mentors with HDR mentees, creating space for HDRs to ask questions, address and talk through your concerns with a person who’s recently been through the process, who can offer you advice on navigating academia in this tricky climate, and who can (help you) reflect on contemporary approaches to historical research. And for ECRs, this scheme allows you to develop your own mentoring skills (something that was highlighted in the ECR survey at the end of 2020) and hopefully to take those first steps towards future supervision opportunities.

It will run from February to November 2022, and is for AHA members only. Make sure to head to the AHA website if you’d like to renew your membership, or sign up for the first time!

What you have to do: Complete this Google form, making sure you let us know if you’re signing up to be a mentor (ECRs) or a mentee (HDR). The form also asks what areas you’d like to focus on in the scheme — please do let us know what you’re thinking! Examples could include:

  • career development. How do you make the transition from being a candidate (and perhaps on a scholarship) to working in the field, whether that’s through teaching, research assistance, or something else. When should you start looking at postdoctoral fellowship applications?
  • writing help. Need an extra set of eyes on a paper? Would you like feedback on your writing from an outsider? Do you struggle with how to structure an academic article?
  • publishing. How do you start publishing from the thesis? What is the process of transitioning a completed thesis into a book? When should you start approaching publishers? How do you know which publisher is right for you and your project?

The relationship between mentors and mentees will look different from pair to pair. Each mentor/mentee will find their own balance, depending on what a mentor can help with, and what a mentee would like help with. Be as honest as you are comfortable with, so we can make the best matches between applicants and ensure your respective expectations align as closely as possible!

We (the ECR and HDR reps) will then go through the responses to match mentors with mentees. Now that Zoom is now so widespread we are less concerned with where mentors/mentees are located, but if you would prefer to meet in person, let us know so that we can take that into account when making pairs.

Meeting every six to eight weeks is sufficient: this means that, by applying to this scheme, you should be prepared to meet your mentor/mentee at least six times over the year. However, if you find that you’d like to meet more often, please do! This is a self-directed program where you and your mentor/mentee can take the reins and create a schedule and list of discussion points that work for you both. We will be checking in throughout the year to make sure that things are running smoothly, and we are of course available to take questions or to field concerns should anything pop up. Otherwise, we trust both parties to work and communicate with each other.

Applications for this scheme close Monday 31 January 2022, and respective pairs will be notified in February. Feel free, of course, to contact us or Joshua Black (aha.postgrad@gmail.com) if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts. We are always here to help!


Still need convincing? Here’s some feedback from last year’s participants…

HDRs (Mentees):

  • “[Mentor] provided specific and expert feedback on my work. [They] met and exceeded my hopes and expectations.”
  • “Joining the scheme was one of the best decisions I made this year, I hope that you continue to run it and other people get the same benefits from it that I continue to receive.”
  • “undoubtedly, as a PhD student, I’ve learned a lot from [mentor] on how to organise my research article for publication better.”
  • “I strongly support the idea of running this programme in the future again and wish more and more scholars from different areas of history can join it. “
  • “[Mentor] is a highly intelligent and generous scholar whose mentorship was a game changer when I started my first academic position after completing my PhD”
  • “I came away from each session with a deeper understanding of, and more clarity around, each of the topics we covered. I know that I’ll be checking my session notes for helpful tips in the future. I absolutely recommend that this scheme is run again in the future.”
  • “Overall, I found these meetings extremely beneficial for understanding the competitive nature and expectations of the academic world.”
  • “I definitely have benefited from being in this program and heartly recommend this mentorship scheme to other HDR/ ECRs.” 

ECRs (Mentors):

  • “These one-on-one mentoring sessions are very important because they enable a safe and honest space to be formed, away from academic performative language or carefully curated/monitored fora. This is where knowledge can be shared with no specific agenda in mind, except but to build one another up with practical tips and advice.”
  • “volunteering is very important. Overall, between emails, zoom, preparation and reading, this may have taken me 15 to 20 hours so it is not onerous but ought to be taken seriously.”
  • “We discussed a range of academic issues, e.g. how to write up book proposals, five-year plans, developing a strong research narrative, and applying for grants. Despite our historical fields being very different, we discussed broader subjects like writing and research methods.”
  • “It was an absolute privilege to mentor [mentee] and an honour to be part of this scheme. I would highly recommend it run again in the future.”
  • “I did not have set expectations about the mentoring program, and this helped to keep the catch ups unstructured and responsive to what [mentee] was working on at the time.”
  • “I think there is benefit to mentoring someone from the same discipline and helping them through the PhD in any way possible. I also learned a lot in the process about how to facilitate working relationships with the mentee, and especially during difficult times.”
  • “I felt I was able to help my mentee with general advice on academia, and as a person with whom they could speak about academia, but who wasn’t directly involved in their PhD.”
  • “I would most certainly recommend this scheme in the future, it’s a fantastic scheme. It gives junior scholars the opportunity to meet ECRs, and builds their network. It’s also an clearly defined opportunity for ECRs to give back to other scholars.”
  • “I did read one of [mentee’s] thesis chapters, and gave [them] feedback on how could rewrite the research as a journal article. Again, [they] planned to speak with [their] supervisor about this, but wanted to use our mentoring sessions to brainstorm ideas in advance. Using this approach, I felt I was able to help [mentee] with specific concerns as they arose during the year, and also provide more informal advice and support from someone who had recently gone through the HDR process.”

AHA Conference: ECR/HDR Day

As we all scurry away working to finish our conference papers for next week (just me?), it’s important to not forget about the great day of events that have been planned for our ECR and HDR communities on the first day of the conference week! Before the opening address and keynote from Shino Konishi beginning at 5pm AEDT on Monday 29 November, there’s a whole bunch of sessions for us to jump into — make sure to log into your Whova account and add these sessions to your agenda to start planning your week!


9am — 10.15am AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Digital Archives: What and How

Chair: Imogen Wegman

Speakers: Richard Neville, Tim Sherratt, Nick Schapowal and Alana Piper

Get the low-down on the latest developments in the world of digital history. What is available? Where is it located? How do you access it?

11am — 12.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE History Work Outside the Academy

Chair: Georgia McWhinney

Speakers: Peter Hobbins and Cathy Perkins

We know our history degrees can be applied to so many jobs… but what possibilities are there?

1pm — 2.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Publishing in Popular Media

Chair: Chelsea Barnett

Speakers: Georgina Arnott, Frank Bongiorno, Alecia Simmonds, and Alan Vaarwerk (Kill Your Darlings)

Disseminating our work to non-academic audiences has always been important, but the current climate has only exacerbated this need. This session is organised by your ECR co-representatives in line with the successful Skills for New Historians Seminar Series. In it, we speak to both emerging and established scholars who have forged a path in this space, as well as Alan Vaarwerk, an editor at Kill Your Darlings, to talk about what editors really want from contributors.

3pm — 4.15pm AEDT | ROUNDTABLE Publishing in History Australia

Chair: Kate Fullagar

Speakers: Editors of History Australia

Hear from the editors of History Australia about the ins and outs of academic publishing.

or… | ROUNDTABLE Bursary Meeting

Chair: Tim Rowse

If you were one of the lucky recipients of the AHA/CAL Bursary, head along to to this session with Emeritus Professor Tim Rowse for discussion and feedback!

AHA Conference: Social Catch-Ups

Hi pals! We’re right in the middle of November (um, how?) which means that the 39th AHA Conference is only a few weeks away! After a Covid-cancellation last year, and a Covid-delay this year, we are itching to hang out with our history community and listen to some ace papers. Of course, check out the conference website for the schedule and program!

While border closures and Covid uncertainties have meant that the conference is running virtually, easing restrictions in each city mean that we’re able to catch-up in person in each capital city … and we’re so excited to be able to see each other again! With the help of some generous people in our HDR/ECR community we’ve managed to organise social events in each city. Check out the details below … and also, keep an eye on the Conference Whova app, as all the details are listed there (and you can RSVP, too!).

Sydney

General Event

When: Thursday 2 December, 6.45pm AEDT

Where: Camperdown Memorial Park, Newtown

Contact Person: Lisa Ford and Conference Organising Committee

ECR/HDR Event

When: Thursday 2 December, 7.30pm AEDT

Where: Burdekin Hotel (rooftop), 2-4 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Contact Person: Chelsea Barnett / Jarrod Hore

Melbourne

When: Thursday 2 December, 8pm AEDT

Where: Fathers Office, 249 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

Contact Person: Hannah Viney

Brisbane

When: Thursday 2 December, 6pm AEST

Where: The Ship Inn, Cnr Stanley & Sidon Sts, South Bank 

Contact Person: Tristan Moss

Canberra

When: Tuesday 30 November, 6.45pm AEDT

Where: King O’Malley’s Pub, 131 City Walk, Canberra

Contact Person: Laura Rademaker / Joshua Black

Adelaide

ECR/HDR Event

When: Friday 26 November, 11am ACDT

Where: Food Lore Café, ground floor of the UniSA MOD building, North Terrace adjacent Morphett Street Bridge, Adelaide, (across from the City West tram stop)

Contact Person: Jade Hastings

General Event

When: Monday 29 November, 4.30pm ACDT

Where: Room 10.2, Flinders University Victoria Square Building, 182 Victoria Square (to watch Conference welcome and Shino Konishi keynote), followed by dinner at Treasury 1860, 2 Flinders Street, Adelaide, from 6.15pm ACDT

Contact Person: Romain Fathi

Perth

General Event

When: Monday 29 November, 3.30-5pm AWST

Where: University Club (verandah), Hackett Drive, Crawley (cash bar)

Contact Person: Jane Lydon

Hobart

When: Monday 29 November, 10.30am AEDT

Where: University Club, Dobson Road, University of Tasmania Sandy Bay Campus

Contact Person: Imogen Wegman


We hope to see you there!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Reviewing Books, Films, and More

We are so pleased to be able to bring you the next instalment of our seminar series! Don’t that if you’d like to check out any of our previous seminars that you may have missed, head over to the AHA website: log in, and then head to “Member Resources” and then “Seminars” — all the recordings are there for you!

One of our intentions with these seminars has been to explore and shed some light on the different tasks that working historians complete, especially when those tasks aren’t widely discussed. This next seminar really hits that nail on the head. Reading, engaging with, and reviewing other scholars’ work is a crucial part of the historian’s job, yet it’s not something we often discuss in detail. How do you write a thoughtful, thorough, and useful review of a monograph, in (usually) no more than 800 words? How do the reviews you write differ according to the publication you are targeting? How do you engage with other forms of history-making (ie, films, museum exhibitions, or something else entirely) to interrogate its meaning while honouring its form? Our expert panel will speak to these questions and more:

  • Dr Zora Simic (UNSW): on writing book reviews for academic and non-academic publications
  • Dr Charlotte Greenhalgh (University of Waikato): History Australia book reviews editor
  • Dr James Findlay (University of Sydney): History Australia “history off the page” reviews editor

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: Reviewing Books, Films, and More with Dr Zora Simic, Dr Charlotte Greenhalgh, and Dr James Findlay
  • Tuesday 24 August, 3–5pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register:
    • Log into the AHA website
    • Go to Member Resources / Seminars
    • Scroll down to Seminar #6 and click through to the Google Form, and complete!
    • Registrations close Monday 23 August

Having problems logging into the Members Only section of the new website? Contact Bethany, the AHA’s executive officer, at executive@theaha.org.au

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership, or become a member for the first time. The seminars will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Non-Academic Careers

Our seminar series continues! We are so glad that you all are loving these seminars as much as we are! A huge thanks, of course, to the guest speakers we’ve asked to be part of them each month, but also huge thanks to our audience, who come along and ask such interesting and thoughtful questions every time.

Before we announce details for the next seminar, some exciting news! In case you missed it, the new AHA website is LIVE! It looks great, is super user-friendly, and has taken a lot of work to get here. What is especially exciting is that the recordings for past seminars in this series are now available on the website! If you’d like to catch up on our past sessions on Digital Histories, Book Proposals, or the Peer Review process, you can now access them to watch back. Simply log into your member account, and then go to “Member Resources” and then “Seminars” on the dropdown menu. 

Now, for the next seminar!

In putting together this series, we knew we needed to acknowledge the very tough climate that the Arts, and the University sector more broadly, are currently in. It’s never been easy to secure an academic job, but with Covid-19 keeping international students away, and reduced government funding meaning job cuts, now seems an especially difficult time. It’s becoming increasingly common (and necessary) to move from the PhD or the postdoctoral fellowship to different kinds of work. But this doesn’t have to mean giving up on research, publishing, or keeping in touch with your academic community. It also doesn’t mean forgetting all the skills you developed and honed during your PhD. This month, then, we’re focusing on work outside of – or, perhaps, alongside – the academy, and speaking to people who have successfully secured these kinds of positions in three different fields: university administration, the public service, and the GLAM sector. These recent grads will tell us all about their work in these fields, how they secured their positions, and if/how they balance continuing to publish and engage with their academic communities:

  • Dr Emma Gleadhill, Faculty of Arts Research Officer at Macquarie University
  • Dr Emma Sarian, NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority
  • Dr Mariko Smith, First Nations Assistant Curator at the Australian Museum

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: Non-Academic Careers with Dr Emma Gleadhill, Dr Emma Sarian, and Dr Mariko Smith
  • Friday 16 July, 4—6pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please note the new process!
    • Log into the AHA website
    • Go to Member Resources / Seminars (see the pictures above!)
    • Scroll down to Seminar #5 and click through to the Google Form, and complete!
    • Registrations close Thursday 15 July

Having problems logging into the Members Only section of the new website? Contact Bethany, the AHA’s executive officer, at executive@theaha.org.au

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a new member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. The seminar will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Peer Review

Friends — thank you so much for making this seminar series such a wonderful event! We’ve so far had three amazing seminars on Digital Histories, Book Proposals, and the DECRA, and each of them have been led by generous scholars and attended by an enthusiastic and curious group of ECRs and HDRs. We’re thrilled to announce our fourth seminar, which will follow in the same vein!

Peer review is a fundamental part of the academic experience — our papers, grant applications, and books get sent to unknown (to us) readers, who pore over these texts to decide whether you get published, funding, or a good review. It’s fundamental … and yet can be a personal, intimate experience too, as we often pour so much of ourselves into our writing. A good review can be elating, whereas a bad review can be debilitating. There are few formal guidelines or frameworks through which to approach reviewers’ reports, and dreaded Reviewer 2 can strike at any moment. How do we go about this process? At the same time, there are no formal lessons on how to be a good reviewer. How do you give constructive, thoughtful, helpful feedback … without becoming Reviewer 2 yourself? Our next seminar will explore all things peer review from both sides of the table, with two experienced speakers:

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: Peer Review with Professor Kate Fullagar and Associate Professor Lisa Featherstone
  • Tuesday 1 June, 3–4.30pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email executive@theaha.org.au by Monday 31 May

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a new member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. The seminar will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: The DECRA

We are pretty excited to announce the next instalment in our “Skills for New Historians” seminar series! We’ve already had two great sessions on Digital Histories and Book Proposals, with generous speakers giving valuable information to our attendees. Thanks to all those who have participated so far! If you’d like to catch up on the sessions, they’ve both been recorded and will be uploaded to the new AHA website, to be launched soon! Stay tuned — we’ll announce when the the website is ready and the recordings are able to be viewed. (Note: member log-in required.)

For our next seminar, we’re turning our attention to another part of ECR life that we all hear a lot about and know is important, but can be difficult to navigate: the DECRA. Yep, we’re talking ARC funding. You may have read the posts on this blog about “Dismembering the DECRA“, but want even more information, more transparency. Just what is the DECRA? How do you get one? Why is it so important? Who are the College of Experts, and what do they do? Our panel of speakers will share their perspectives to answer these questions and more:

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: The DECRA with Professor Bronwen Neil, Professor Amanda Nettelbeck, Dr Emma Gleadhill, and Dr Tristan Moss
  • Friday 30 April, 3–5pm AEST (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email executive@theaha.org.au by Thursday 29 April

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. This seminar will not be recorded.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Skills for New Historians Seminar: Book Proposals

The first seminar in the recently-established “Skills for New Historians” series for ECR and HDR members of the AHA was held last week, and what an afternoon it was! Huge thanks to Alana Piper and Tim Sherratt for giving us an insight into the world of digital histories. It was two hours chock-full of information, tips, and resources, and was a great way to kick off the series. We’ll be adding a recording of the seminar to the new AHA website (to be launched soon!), so stay tuned — we’ll announce when it’s up and ready to be viewed! (Note: member log-in required).

We are delighted to be able to announce the second seminar, now open for registration, and it’s a big one. The Book Proposal. Just how do you write one? What are publishers looking for? How do you choose the best publisher for your work? This upcoming seminar will feature a panel of three speakers immensely qualified to address these questions and more:

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: Book Proposals with Professor Melanie Oppenheimer, Dr Nathan Hollier, and Dr James Keating
  • Tuesday 30 March, 3 — 5 pm AEDT (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email executive@theaha.org.au by Monday 29 March

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time. The seminar will be recorded and the recording made available to AHA members.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Announcing: “Skills for New Historians” Seminar Series 2021

Now that we’re well and truly into the 2021 grind, we are so pleased to be able to announce another new initiative for 2021. Responses to the survey we circulated last year indicated that the ECR and HDR communities are searching for more development and guidance on the different elements that make up the life and work of an academic. We know ourselves that, both during and after your PhD, you can suddenly find yourself in the middle of conversations about postdocs, DECRAs, book proposals, grant applications … it can feel like learning a new language. This blog has a wealth of information about these various topics in the back catalogue (and we of course recommend you take the time to explore past posts!) but we also wanted to provide a forum where ECRs and HDRs alike can engage with the latest information about all these different branches, as well as a space where we can check in regularly with each other.

With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce Skills for New Historians, a new monthly seminar series for ECR and HDR members of the AHA that will offer advice and guidance on academic life, and the various things we as emerging historians need to think about as we move into this new phase of our careers. You can expect seminars on developing your skills in relation to grants, publishing, and book proposals, to name just a few seminars we have planned … but we’ll also be thinking about careers and pathways outside of/adjacent to academia too. We’re thrilled as well that this series has the support of the Executive Committee of the AHA, and that our president Prof Melanie Oppenheimer will be coming along to them throughout the year! This is a great opportunity to get advice from not only experts in particular areas, but to meet and get to know a leading Australian historian who is the head of our representative body.

We’re kicking things off with a seminar that is important generally but especially timely right now: Digital Histories. Our limited travel abilities in the age of COVID have only emphasised the importance and possibilities of the digital world. Whether engaging with digital archives or using digital tools to analyse archives or promote research, the digital research landscape is an exciting and ever-shifting space that offers countless opportunities for historians. We’re delighted, then, to have two of the best researchers come and lead a seminar/workshop about the digital terrain: A/Prof Tim Sherratt (University of Canberra) and Dr Alana Piper (UTS).

Details:

  • Skills for New Historians: Digital Histories with A/Prof Tim Sherratt and Dr Alana Piper
  • Friday 5 March, 4 — 6 pm AEDT (via Zoom)
  • To register: please email executive@theaha.org.au by Thursday 4 March

Skills for New Historians is open to ECRs and HDRs who are members of the AHA. If you’d like to join in and aren’t a member, head over to the AHA website where you can renew your membership or become a member for the first time.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. We’re looking forward to seeing you at our first seminar for 2021!

ECR/HDR Mentoring Scheme

Welcome back, ECR friends! It’s a new year and we’re really excited to kick off 2021 with a new initiative for ECRs and HDRs.

Responses to our ECR survey indicated that ECRs are looking to develop their mentoring skills to, amongst other things, start preparing for future supervision responsibilities, and to forge stronger links with the HDR community. With that in mind, we’ve been working with HDR representative Joshua Black to develop a new mentoring scheme that will take place in 2021. This scheme will pair ECRs with HDRs in a mentor/mentee relationship, creating space for HDRs to ask questions and get advice from somebody who has successfully completed their doctoral study in this recent, challenging environment, and for ECRs to offer advice about how they navigate the various elements of academic life.

This will be a scheme that runs from February to November 2021, and is for AHA members only. (Remember to head to the AHA website if you want to sign up for new membership, or renew it!)

What you have to do:

Complete this Google form, making sure you let us know if you’re signing up to be a mentor (ECRs) or a mentee (HDRs). The form also asks what areas you’d like to focus on in the relationship: so, ECRs, do you think you can help with publishing, for example? Or career development? HDRs, would you like help with networking, for instance, or how to look for funding? Let us know.

We’ll use these responses to match people together; the now widespread use of Zoom means that we’re less concerned with where people are located, although if you and your mentor/mentee are geographically close (and relevant Covid restrictions allow), do feel free to meet in person.

We think that meeting every six to eight weeks is sufficient; at minimum, that means that you should be prepared to meet six times by the end of the year. However, if you both find that you’d like to meet more often, then please do! This is a self-directed program, where you and your mentor/mentee can really take the reins and create a schedule that works for you both. We’ll be checking in throughout the year, and of course are here to take questions should you have any, but otherwise will trust both parties to work and communicate with each other.

Applications for this scheme close Sunday 31 January, with respective pairs to be notified in February. Shoot us an email or contact us on Twitter if you’ve got any questions!