This post is the first in a series in which the academics behind Cerae will introduce themselves and their research, to give a flavour of the diverse people and interests contributing to the running of a burgeoning academic journal.
I’m Kirsty and I’m the social media editor for Cerae, so I manage this blog and our facebook and twitter pages. I’m a PhD student at the University of Southampton in the UK, where my research focuses on motherhood, space, and building in thirteenth and fourteenth century French and English romances. At the moment, I’m working on a chapter about birthing rooms, production of space, and female agency. This means looking at my literary sources from some interesting perspectives, such as Doreen Massey and Henri LeFebvre’s theories of social production of space. Also, some pretty cool images of medieval birthing rooms, with all the men on the outside unable to look in.
I’m also a mother myself, so in any given day, I can be translating Old French texts, potty training my son, getting to grips with Foucault, cooking dinners that will be instantly rejected, searching medieval databases, and reading phonics with my daughter. It’s an interesting balance. I study part-time, partly because I can’t afford to put my children into childcare full-time and partly because the PhD gives me the space to be around while they are little. I have jaw-dropping respect for mothers who work or study full-time with small children, though I hope to join their ranks once I’ve completed my thesis and am looking for that elusive academic job.
I enjoy contributing to the running of Cerae, as I think that open access publishing is incredibly important in the current academic climate. The academics that I respect the most are the ones who work towards creating an inclusive, positive, kind scholarly community, whose research is incisive and important to society and humankind. I like to think that Cerae, as an open access journal founded and run by PhDs and ECRs, is a small part of the good in academia.