I found the Charles University-Oxford University visit immensely inspiring and academically enriching. This very positive impression is due to several reasons: first of all, the Oxford HSMT organisers were very warm and welcoming. They provided not only excellent facilities for the workshop but also a rich programme outside it, such as a visit to the Oxford Botanical Garden, the Oxford History of Science Museum, and last but not least opportunities for academic discussions even outside the official programme. For me, someone whose academic interest focuses on the intellectual history of the medieval era, the opportunity to spend time in such a world-renowned centre of learning was wonderful. Walking around Merton College and reminiscing about the ‘Oxford Calculators’, or passing by Balliol College, the home of John Wycliffe, a man who had such an impact on the history of Church reform in Bohemia – it felt like touching history.
From the professional aspect, the programme of the Charles University-Oxford University workshop was very well prepared and the facilities at the History Faculty were outstanding. I welcomed the opportunity to attend so many interesting and varied presentations of doctoral and MA research projects from both Prague and Oxford. I found it inspiring to be able to compare so many methodological approaches, including feedback from our supervisors, and to participate in so many discussions. One particular difference between Prague and Oxford attracted my attention: the difference in approaching the historical context of research. I noticed that the Czech contributions in general tended to present the subject of their research in maximally broad context. On the Oxford side, most contributors focused on the narrow, immediate context, which enabled a more detailed presentation of this aspect of their research.
Although our workshop presentations did not necessarily focus on relations between Oxford and Charles University, this first meeting established the groundwork for more collaborations, and our two academic centres have already developed plans for our two groups to work together.
I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in this initiative and would like to thank everyone not only for the academic side of things but also for a warm and friendly welcome. What is left to add? I am already looking forward to another meeting in half a year in Prague.