(3) Please join us!

Hortensii is a project that will only work if people join and make it work; if you do, together we can change things, and otherwise we cannot. We are not asking for money, but rather for

1) people to endorse our project by joining us officially and putting their names on this site, and

2) people who can volunteer time and/or expertise. (At present we have no budget, so anything we do has to be done by volunteer power.)

If you are willing to endorse us, please leave your name and a message of support on the home page; or if you can’t do that send an e-mail to E.Dickey@reading.ac.uk with the message you’d like to leave there. It would also be helpful if you could forward the link to other people/groups and encourage them to join: the more publicity the better. If you are willing to volunteer, please send an e-mail saying what you can do and how much time you have when. So far the following have been identified as things volunteers could usefully do:

Publicize this project on social media

Publicize this project in traditional media (print, radio, tv, whatever you have access to)

Discuss with professional associations (e.g. American Philological Association, Council of University Classics Departments) our suggestions for ways those associations could help, and try to get these suggestions implemented (this will be easier for people who have positions in the professional associations); if you want to work on just one of our suggestions that is fine.

Discuss with your own institution our suggestions for how institutions could help, and try to get these suggestions implemented (this will be easier for people who have a solid institutional connection); if you want to work on just one of our suggestions that is fine.

Gather information

Work out which of our goals will need money to accomplish and raise money for them (by applying for grants, by crowdfunding, or by other methods — this will be easier for those with some experience of the chosen method)

Co-ordinate volunteer efforts

Help work out how to implement the suggestions and draw up sensible action plans

Help run/improve this web site

If you can think of something you can do that is not on this list, please offer to do it!

23 thoughts on “(3) Please join us!

  1. Warmest thanks to Eleanor! It’s such an imaginative step to get us looking at this distressing situation not just hopelessly and each in our own corner but together and with a view to action. Her careful and compassionate analysis, and the valuable comments she reports, impel us to address this state of affairs: we certainly cannot end it but certainly can improve it. Long live the Hortensii (longer than Q. Hortensius)!

    • Well done, Eleanor! We certainly cannot depend on our administrative or governmental paymasters to do anything at all about the abysmal situation into which academia has slid. Creative, constructive resistance from within is the only response which offers hope. As someone who was without an academic position for 12 years after the PhD I can well understand the corrosive and debilitating effects of misemployment on scholarship and on the scholar. Simply accepting the situation as it is and is steadily becoming erodes everything we value.

  2. Warmest regards Eleanor and thank you for considering all those in a similar position. I am now on a tenure track position in Sweden, having spent 3 years working on several appointments. Most of my friends are still unemployed, or have left academia. I am sharing this over twitter and hoping for the best.

  3. This is great stuff! Congratulations on launching this, Eleanor. I’m also sharing this over Twitter. With luck this will also reach some other disciplines. I’ve a part-time fixed term post at the moment – I’m happy but thinking nervously of the future.

  4. Thank you so much for initiating this project. I’ve shared it on Facebook and will be encouraging all my students to read it.

  5. Good luck on this project, though I fear the battle will be very much uphill. As a Classics Ph.D. who spent 25 years in the business world before returning to teach at the secondary school level, one of the real challenges is helping academics understand that demand for their skills is not limited to academia — that there are plenty of attractive alternatives to the Ivory Tower.

  6. This looks like an excellent initiative and I’m really glad to have heard about it! I have shared it on Facebook and will spread the word wherever I can.

    Out of interest, is this primarily seeking to address issues for areas falling under the arts and humanities/social science rubric, or also looking out towards the hard sciences? I believe the hard sciences suffer similar-but-different problems; I’m in sociology/East Asian studies so it’s not of personal concern but knowing what the initiative is primarily targeted at would be great.

    • Alison, we are for everyone: there were some insightful responses to the survey from ‘hard’ scientists and it is clear that they have problems too. By all means bring them in!

  7. I would like to join – this sounds great. Have you thought of linking up with History Lab Plus at the Institute of Historical Research? This is definitely something that we would support and could assist. Get in touch!

  8. Many thanks to all the contributors. I would like to join you and I will try to publicize this project in Italy and Germany, too!

  9. Let me add my thanks to Eleanor for taking on this difficult issue in such a positive way. In my capacity as Honorary Secretary of the Classical Association, I might mention that we did two years ago introduce an extra category to the selection of bursaries we offer for attendance at the annual CA conference: recently-graduated PhD students (‘recent’ being defined as within 1 year of a successful viva). We’re very aware that the 1-year rule restricts the help available to only a proportion of those in need, but (a) our funds are of course limited and (b) we couldn’t see a fair way of discriminating between ex-PhD-students further down the line. If former PG students were to remain more firmly related to their institutions (as suggested), it might be possible to re-think our approach here, but at present this seems the best we can do.

  10. as others before me have written, this is an excellent and worthy initiative. I hung on in there for 7 years after my PhD, and I was really very lucky to have been well looked after (by Richard Rutherford at Christ Church) and not exploited. I’m happy to help in whatever way I can.

  11. Thanks, Eleanor and friends, for your work in putting together this informative report as a basis on which to build momentum and work for change. I would like to help in any way I can.

  12. Thank you Eleanor and friends for this great effort to initiate! I will inform my other classical friends this project. It is a general problem for PhDs in humanities not only in the West but also in the East. It is invaluable to have such constructive information on this website and help me to do something for people concerned.

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