Lucy Busfield (DPhil Theology) pitched a palaeography public engagement project at the summer school in 2015. She received £250 to carry out her project, which was supplemented by a further £190 from the AHRC-TORCH Graduate Fund. Here, she reflects on her experience of the summer school and plans for her palaeography project.
My current DPhil research into early modern English Protestantism, which involves significant use of manuscript sources, inspired me to pitch this project idea at the summer school. I received funding to organise and run a series of workshops on how to read sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English handwriting. These will be held at three county record offices outside of Oxford (Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Essex) over the next few months.
The first workshop at the Gloucestershire Record Office.
Gloucestershire Record Office, in Gloucester.
A number of other Humanities doctoral students and early career researchers from the faculties of English, History and Medieval and Modern Languages are helping to deliver these workshops (Daniel Smith, Emily Jennings, Emily Mayne, Katie McKeogh, Matilde Malaspina and Victoria Van Hyning). I have established relationships with these three record offices and they are very happy to provide us with a space to hold our events, allow us access to their collections for teaching purposes and help us to publicise the workshops online and in local publications. We hope that these workshops will be of particular interest to individuals who are carrying out local and family history research and who want to be able to access the wealth of primary source material available to them in their local archives. In the future, we are also keen to develop parallel sessions aimed at inspiring children and families.
The 2015 summer school was very well planned and organised, with each day themed around an important aspect of public engagement. I really enjoyed taking part in the various activities, hearing from a range of interesting speakers and having the opportunity to pitch my ideas in front of other students and the panel of judges. I was very pleased to receive funding for my project at the end of the summer school. This money will cover the travel costs of student volunteers, allowing us to deliver these workshops in all three locations.
By Lucy Busfield