Haskins Birkbeck fellowship spawns international collaborations

Monday, 5 March 2018

A successful fellowship to London inspires an MOU with Birkbeck.

A visiting fellowship with the Birkbeck Institute for Humanities has prompted Professor Victoria Haskins, of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and Purai – Global Indigenous and Diaspora Research Studies Centre, to develop collaborative research initiatives between The University of Newcastle and Birkbeck University of London.

Awarded the prestigious fellowship in late 2017, Professor Haskins spent 4 weeks in October/November at Birkbeck. As a result of the fellowship Professor Haskins is currently working with Birkbeck colleagues to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for collaborative research initiatives.

“I am currently in discussions with Birkbeck staff in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology to arrange an international MOU to facilitate shared postgraduate supervisions and collegial interactions,” Professor Haskins said.

While at Birkbeck Professor Haskins hosted a very successful interdisciplinary research symposium Im/Mobilities: Intimate Labour in a Transnational World, bringing together eight scholars to present their latest ideas.

“The theme of the symposium reflected the research interests of myself as a historian of domestic service and colonisation, and those of my sponsors at Birkbeck, Professor Rosie Cox, a geographer of transnational domestic workers, and Dr Julia Laite, who researches a global history of sex trafficking,” Professor Haskins said.

“Our aim in putting together the symposium was to bring together diverse Birkbeck researchers working in this broad area, to connect with each other across different disciplines in the humanities,” she noted. “We wanted to share and discuss ways of approaching the questions around intimate labour in a transnational world, with a particular emphasis on considering the analytical and practical possibilities of the concept of mobility.”

“It was a fabulous day. It highlighted some of the real disciplinary gaps in terms of the way we approach the concept of mobilities – I wasn’t aware of how much it is associated with ideas of personal autonomy and individualism in some of the fields other than history,” Professor Haskins said.

While in London, Professor Haskins also delivered a number of public seminars and talks and worked on developing a new research project entitled ‘Nursemaids of Empire’, uncovering rich material held in the British Library’s India Office records.