Big News I & II (& III, IV… )

This is all terribly behind-hand now, but still important, so let’s get it finally out of the way. The main item was already known to many of those of you I know in person, but when you found out, I was still waiting for vital pieces of paper without which I couldn’t tell people who officially needed to know, so I didn’t want to put it online yet, and then those papers arrived but I had conference reports to do… whine, whine whine. So okay, here we are now and everyone else is saying, “Jarrett, Jarrett, get a hold of yourself, speak English man, what’s the news?” Friends, it is as follows.


Contract of employment offered by Oxford University

'I have in my hand a piece of paper...'

That piece of paper, well, it is a contract from the University of Oxford that makes me a Lecturer in Medieval History in the Department of History and a Career Development Fellow of Queen’s College there for the next three years, starting October 1st. This has arisen because Professor John Blair, of whom of course we have spoken here before, has obtained three years’ research funding and leave and they need someone to take over his teaching. And, well, it’s me.

You can all imagine how I feel about this—exhilarated and overwhelmed at the same time, as this suddenly calls time on a great number of projects that must now be finished post haste, and of course means I have to find a place to live in a city I hardly have time to visit before I need to be a resident there—but though I am really excited about it, I have also got to say how lucky I am to have had a more-or-less steady job at the Fitzwilliam Museum for the last five years, when not everyone has been so lucky; I’ve really enjoyed it, I’ve been involved in some really cool stuff and they’ve been very good to me. I should also recognise a similar ready hospitality from Clare College, whose offer to renew my position as College Research Associate there for next year I have had regretfully to decline, because that’s also been fun. So I shall go with both joy and sorrow from One Place to the Other Place, and you will continue to hear from me here as I’ve had a pleasing amount of enthusiasm about the blog from some future colleagues so I guess it’s OK.

And That’s About It for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

On the other hand, it’s probably just as well I go now. My post at the Fitzwilliam is funded by an organisation called Renaissance East of England, and that is part of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the body that coordinates funding and support of most of the auxiliary institutions of the humanities in the UK and generally does most of the serious judgement and encouragement of preservation of heritage here for the government. And the government have decided to chop it, to save money. The lesser strata will remain, but the coordinating body is going to go. My post currently has six months on the clock (and will shortly be advertised, indeed) but whether there will be any more is very hard to say. I’m told we have a good case for renewal, but we’ve also been told that half the posts thus funded are likely to be cut. No-one knows for sure, of course, because they’re still making this stuff up in Whitehall. Forgive me if I suspect that, though there will be more money in the system for the removal of a tier of bureaucracy, somehow less will actually get spent on people doing work. So, sadly, this is a good time to get out. When your employment prospects are such that you are more secure in humanities academia, well, that’s not a good sign now is it?

The Clerical Cosmos

The keen-eyed may have seen, meanwhile, that I am going to practise being an academic in Oxford ahead of time by presenting one of my bishops at a one-day conference organised by the Faculty of History and the Oxford Centre for Medieval History called “The Clerical Cosmos: ecclesiastical power, culture, and society, c. 900 to c. 1075”, and you will see some fairly usual suspects on the bill there. I have almost the entire Catalunya Carolíngia out on loan from the Cambridge UL while I can still get away with that—I suspect that my own copies of these volumes are going to be early presents to myself in Oxford—and will endeavour not to let the side down despite everything else that’s on, but I imagine it will be worth a look for things as well as my paper if you’re interested and able to be in the vicinity.

Bearded in My Den

Lastly, those who do go there may be surprised by my appearance. Over the course of this blog’s existence this has varied a fair amount, but it’s been pretty steady for the last couple of years, to the extent that at work I could be called on for photos with titles like “Beards of the Coin Room”:

Jonathan Jarrett, Ted Buttrey and Vladimir Nastich in the McClean Room, Coins & Medals, Fitzwilliam Museum

Myself, Professor Ted Buttrey and Professor Vladimir Nastich in the McClean Room, Coins & Medals; a halloo of joyful recognition to anyone who knows what the t-shirt is

You may guess by the past tense that matters have changed. I had been fed up with the beard for a while, I fiddled with it, nobody I wanted to like the way I looked liked it, it has gone. I did toy briefly with the idea of retaining just the moustache…

An arrangement of facial hair that was not passed fit for public use

I have no caption for this: I invite you to provide one

… but quite frankly, ‘lecturer’ is not the profession I think of when I see a moustache like that, and I don’t think I have time to retrain. And, dammit, I still didn’t look like Terry-Thomas and the Naked Philologist’s moustache was still better than mine and she didn’t even have to grow it. So in the end I have reverted to what I am more comfortable with and you will now find me arranged thusly:

Back to the clean shave

Why Dr Jarrett! Without your beard, you're... er... cheerful?

So there you are: you are now fully forewarned and something like up to date. See you next week!

57 responses to “Big News I & II (& III, IV… )

  1. highlyeccentric

    OH WOW! That’s really spiffing for you :D Not the moustache, that was not spiffing. Job, spiffing.

    Thanks for your email, btw, I haven’t even opened it due to an avalanche of Academic Responsibilities, but I shall get onto that in my next round of procrastination. :)

  2. Congratulations on this new job! It sounds exciting and wonderful.

  3. Congratulations on the new job! “Oxford Lecturer” is not a bad title to have in times like these.

  4. Cullen Chandler

    Well, congratulations!

    I am, by the way, still trying to find time to read through EME 18.3. It’s a more hectic time than I had planned for it to be.

    But good news for you!

    • Thankyou! There is hect all around I fear; I haven’t found time to read your new piece either. Let me just get it all trucked to Oxford and on a shelf, then we’ll see, I hope.

  5. Steve Muhlberger

    Heartfelt congratulations on the job.
    Caption for the moustache pic: “Snidely Whiplash.”
    Caption on the bareface pic: “Free at last!”

  6. Congrats for the job.

    It’s only 1/10th of aprisio time, but who knows? It’s gonna be Oxford time…

    • Ah, well, happily I think I’ve recently shown that the thirty-year rule isn’t actually necessary for aprisio :-) On the other hand I’ll have to find an empty office to assart first, which is looking tricky… Thankyou for the congratulations!

  7. James Mitchell

    Rooty-toot-toot and hearty congratulations!

  8. That’s wonderful! Congratulations. Wow.

    Plus, I like the new look :)

    • It’s a reversion to my 2007 appearance, so it’s a bit ‘old is the new new’! But all votes in favour are welcome, however, er, academic… :-) Thankyou for the congratulations.

  9. A hearty congrats man! “Hearty” means it’s Friday and this evening I’ll tip one towards your good fortune (more accurately, just rewards for busting your ass for years) because that’s what we do Friday nights around here.

  10. Congratulations on the new job! That is very wonderful news.

  11. Sarah Rees Jones

    Many, many congratulations! They are lucky to have you.

  12. Hearty congratulations on the Fellowship, job et al. Cool or what!

  13. Huzzah and congratulations, officially! And I like your new look, too!

  14. Well done, Jonathan! You’ve put in the time and energy, in print and online and elsewhere, and now all the hard graft has paid off.

  15. Excellent news! I’m so pleased. And do keep on blogging.

  16. Congratulations, Jonathan! Superb news. Also well done on NOT keeping just the moustache. I’ll keep you posted about any interesting seminars in this part of the world (not far by train from Oxford).

    Hopefully see you at the clerical cosmos day, house redecorating allowing.

    • The moustache, yes, really wasn’t an option. It’d be good to see you if you can make it. As of about ten minutes ago I have a paper, too! Now to footnote it so as to find out how much I made up…

  17. The Rebel Lettriste

    Oh, I am so thrilled for you. Really, it’s a coup. And you will rock!!

    • Now you know, that moustache would have been all right for leading a coup :-) But when I interviewed, I still had the beard. Hope things are going well or better with you, your blog silence was worrying me slightly. And thankyou!

  18. Pingback: CFP: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies conference; also, want my job? « A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

  19. Congratulations on the new job!

    • Thankyou, and also thankyou to Gabriele. Silly thing, WordPress won’t allow comments that are exact duplicates of another’s wording. When all one needs to say is `thankyou!’ this suddenly becomes a problem…

  20. Congratulations, Jonathan!

  21. Many congratulations. Hope you still have time to blog. Re moustache caption; ‘No madam – I am NOT Jimmy Edwards’ – although I fear this dates me somewhat….

    • I aim to have time to blog but we will have to see. I’ve always made it so far except in absolute extremis but I understand that term-time in Oxford is pretty much extremis for eight weeks. It will be a warning to all if I disappear…

      • Are there any universities out there for which term time is not absolute and continual extremis? (If so, I should certainly like to know if they have any openings! ;))

        • I may have been spoilt by my actual, all-year-round, 8:30-5 job.

          • Though I have not had the experience of museum work, such as yours, as someone who drifted back into academia after most of a decade in “industry”, I can confirm that academia is far more work for far less money. But, well, I guess I knew that from the beginning! ;)

            • Steve Muhlberger

              I am curious, Carl, as to why you drifted back.

              • To be honest, for much the same reason I originally drifted away: economic necessity. Post-PhD, I dutifully spent some time seeking academic work … until the money ran out ;) and I found that it was far easier to get a higher-paying “industry” job than a lower-paying academic one. Then a few years ago, I moved to S.America and did a roaring business freelancing for US/EU clients until the financial crisis hit them. Luckily, local conditions are not so dire (relatively) where I am, and graduate degrees of any kind — let alone from fancy 1st-world Unis — are thin on the ground, and, well, I drifted back in to academia via the languages dept. of a small local university. And it is, as I note, a lot more work for about a seventh of what I made freelancing … but didn’t I always want to be a professor? :) So here I am!

            • Well I remember, shortly after you landed that tech writer job when the Viking lectureship opened up in Cambridge, saying, “Well, I should apply. But if I got it, I’d have to think real hard about whether I really want that ten-grand pay-cut.” As you can tell these words have stayed with me…

              • And that was back when the pound was still worth something, too! ;)

                It must be admitted that even if there was currently enough freelance work flowing my way to be full time, the present exchange rate would not leave me laughing quite as hard as pre-crisis …. Though still harder than my local colleagues with academic salaries. Locally, in absolute terms, academic pay is of course not too good along first world earnings (even crisis-era first world earnings). However, *relative* to other local salaries, it’s admittedly very good indeed. Even as a junior tech writer in the UK, I easily out-earned junior lecturers. Here … ooo, I’d need a fancier profession — maybe in law or banking or business — to outearn myself now. So in relative terms, academia here is quite good — but still a lot more work! ;)

  22. Congrats! With the moustache you definitely look like as the typical Oxford lecturer; despite the fact that I have no idea how the typical Oxford lecturer looks like. But it’s surely with a moustache ;) The smile on the last picture is the lecturer’s smile when saying “You received a grade Z, my dear student, but have a nice day anyway!”

    • I think that very few currently favour moustaches, but if I had been going to start a trend, that was not the moustache to do it with :-) Obviously villainous moustaches should be de rigeur though; I just came back from the town today, too, and there was not one maiden tied to the railway tracks. I ask you, Oxford!

  23. Nice Calvert shirt!

  24. Words cannot describe how happy I am for you: well-deserved! Congratulations!

  25. Goodness me, I only just noticed this. Very hearty congratulations!

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