Liam Preston, Bob and Sandy Jessett PhD Scholar

PhD Classics and Ancient History

Research Progress:

I am now into the final few months of my PhD and am happy to report that I am currently on track to submit by the end of October 2021. Since the last update, I have been working hard on the editing of my chapters as well as the building of the surrounding parts of the thesis (contents, bibliography, abbreviations). This editing will be an ongoing task right up until the submission of the thesis. In my last update I also indicated that I had to write an introduction and conclusion, and both of these are now written in draft form. I will continue to work on them as they are subject to change as I edit the other chapters. It is pleasing to see a ‘full’ version of the thesis and to be able to read through the entire work in order; this reading is also what I am currently doing as part of the editing as I want to get a sense of how the work flows and knits together as one piece of work.

I have also presented a paper (online) at the Institute of Classical Studies in London and my paper has been accepted to be published as part of an edited volume born out of the proceedings of the conference. The experience was fantastic as I have not been able to speak at as many conferences as I would have hoped during the PhD due in part to the lockdowns and pandemic. Unfortunately, I was unable to take up the opportunity for the research stay which I had been accepted for in Geneva (as I explained in the last progress report) due to Switzerland’s restrictions on entry from the UK, but there may be the opportunity to stay there again in the future.

Milestones Achieved and Experience Gained:

I have been able to gain experience over the past six months in teaching Latin to some younger students. The opportunity has been a fantastic one and I enjoyed every minute of helping the students to progress towards their exams. It has made clear to me that I do really love teaching Classics as well as researching within the community and it has increased my desire even more to remain in academia once my PhD has been submitted. I will also, for the coming academic term, be teaching for the University of Exeter on the ‘Greek Philosophy’ module. I will be leading the seminars for second year undergraduates, and I am extremely excited to finally be able to teach some philosophy. I had three teaching aims when I started the PhD and these were to teach a language, to teach philosophy, and to teach on Homer and Vergil and I will now have achieved all three of these aims.

Benefits of Funding:

The numerous benefits of the generous funding which you have provided cannot be restated enough. I feel extremely fortunate to have not had financial concerns during the lockdowns and pandemic, meaning that I have been able to have some level of security whilst others have not been so lucky. I have been able to continue to focus on my thesis and the relief of this cannot be understated. The funding also helped me to purchase some texts needed as they have not been accessible during the closure of all libraries, and this has actually helped the doctorate more than I had initially thought. I no longer had to worry about returning the books or not being able to access them.

Next Steps:

As stated above, I have now completed a draft of the entire thesis including the introduction and conclusion and other pages. I am currently editing the entire thesis, and this will be ongoing right up until the submission at the end of October. I also have to edit the article for submission for the edited volume from the Institute of Classical Studies conference and am also in the process of applying for postdoctoral positions at various universities. I will hopefully be successful in one of these applications. This will enable me to continue to work and research in academia after the completion of the PhD. I am happy to currently be on track to finish within just over three years of PhD level study.

Thank You:

I would once again like to thank you for the support you have given me and to reiterate that I would not have been able to continue to work on this project without your support. I hope that you and your family continue to stay safe and well. I very much hope that, once my PhD is submitted, we could be able to meet either face-to-face or virtually at some point. This project would not have been possible without your support and I would like the opportunity to emphasise this in person (or at least via a webcam!).