Mission & Context

In recognition of the challenges facing early career linguists in the current climate of precarity, this group supports the progression of a diverse community of scholars. The Group seeks to extend the principles in Vitae’s updated Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers (2019) – designed to increase attention to wellbeing and inclusivity through regular reviews of academic environments – by soliciting contributions from peers, senior colleagues, and the wider discipline regarding good practice in institutional, community, and sector terms. The Group’s goal is the universal uptake of quantifiable actions to improve conditions within an acceptable timescale.

This group champions the interests of Early Career Academics in Modern Languages. Members are self-identifying early career linguists, who are likely to be late-stage postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers, teaching fellows, and new lecturers (usually no more than 5 years into a permanent contract). Organisational partners include the Arts and Humanities Alliance, the Association for German Studies, the Association of British and Irish Lusitanists, the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Academy, the Institute of Modern Languages Research, and the Society for Italian Studies.

The Group will work closely with the Early Career Representative on the UCML Executive Committee.

Key initiatives

  • Six-monthly meetings, involving knowledge-transfer workshops on topics such as applying for jobs/grants, developing career strategies, producing high-quality publications in varied forms, and teaching/designing modules.
  • A nationwide survey into early career experiences in Modern Languages, with results conveyed in a co-authored article.
  • An Early Career Code of Best Practice for universities to incorporate into their environment submission for the Research Excellence Framework.
  • A mentoring scheme designed to support early career academics in two ways: ad hoc support for specific activities (conference papers, grant proposals, book proposals, etc.), and more substantial year-long mentoring. For more details including how to apply see here.
  • A Symposium for Early Career Academics

Upcoming Events

Dr Hilary PotterRoyal Holloway, University of London (until end of June 2021)Co-Chair
Dr Ashley HarrisQueen’s University BelfastCo-Chair
Dr Dominique Carlini VersiniDurham UniversityPrevious Co-Chair
Dr Liam LewisUniversity of LiverpoolUCML ECA Representative
Dr Hannah ScottNewcastle UniversityMentoring
Dr Sara Al TubulyAl Maktoum College of Higher EducationArabic
Dr Caroline LaurentThe American University of ParisFrench
Dr Mavis HoUniversity of EdinburghTranslation Studies
Dr Serena VandiUniversity of OxfordItalian
Dr Cathy McAteerUniversity of ExeterRussian/Slavonic Studies
Maria RoemerUniversity of LeedsJapanese
Brigid LynchUniversity of London
School of Advanced Study
Spanish/Latin America
Hui HuaUniversity of ExeterMandarin

The UCML Early Career Academics Special Interest Group kindly invites you to the first of a series of workshops taking place this academic year to support ECAs in Modern Languages. If you would like the Zoom link for any events, please email Liam Lewis at liam.lewis@liverpool.ac.uk

Past Events

UCML New Research in Modern Languages Seminar Series

On 20th April 2022, we held our first seminar series to showcase the new work of Early Career Academics in Modern Languages, starting with a seminar series on French and Francophone Studies. Recordings are available to watch below.

Adapting Research in Medieval French for Academic and Non-Academic Audiences 

Charlotte Cooper-Davis on her monograph Christine de Pizan: Life, Work, Legacy (Reaktion Press, 2021) 

Liam Lewis on his monograph Animal Soundscapes in Anglo-Norman Texts (D. S. Brewer, 2022) 

Memory, Trauma and Exile in Francophone Literature

Antonia Wimbush on her monograph Autofiction: A Female Francophone Aesthetic of Exile (Liverpool University Press, 2021) 

Multimedia and Contemporary French Fiction  

Ashley Harris on her book project L’Écrivain médiatique: Media Authorship in Contemporary French Literature (Peter Lang, European Connections series) 

Dominique Carlini Versini on her book project Le Corps-frontière: figures de l’excès chez Marie Darrieussecq, Virginie Despentes and Marina de Van (Brill, Faux Titre series, 2023) 

“Understanding the REF”

Our first workshop “Understanding the REF”, was led by Dr Ann Kinzer on 08 December 2021. Ann is an ECA in German Studies and she has been working in Higher Education for several years – as a teacher (for German and Comparative Literature), researcher and as an administrator. She became a REF Impact Officer in 2019 (initially holding this role concurrently with a teaching focused lecturer position). 

As a REF Impact Officer, Ann is contributing to the development of a research impact culture at the University of Kent. She has been working on our impact case studies for submission to REF2021, and post REF continues to focus on facilitating impact development (eg. developing workshops and impact resources, supporting impact funding applications etc.). The recorded talk and the Powerpoint slides from Ann’s presentation are available to download below.

‘Understanding the REF’


Previous members include:

Dr James Illingworth

Dr Karunika Kardak

Dr Catherine Barbour

Louis Cotgrove

The ECA SIG is made up of volunteer members. If you are interested in joining the group or would like to get in touch, please contact the co-chairs of the Group’s Steering Committee, Dr Hilary Potter (hilaryjanepotter@gmail.com) and Dr Ashley Harris (ashley.harris@surrey.ac.uk).