Big News VI: Leeds for the future

So, I promised something about the hiatus and what was going on in it and this is that post. I made a serious attempt to get back up to date with the blog from July 2014 to Christmas 2014, but then Christmas happened and in that time someone heard me saying that if I was going to get another job after this one I probably needed to heed one academic’s advice and get myself a second book. That someone pointed out that I had been going on about the one I’d write for ages, and would probably be both happier and more successful if I actually got on with it, and they were right, of course, but really the only time I could free up for that was the time I was using for blogging. So I wrote and wrote, hoping that I would still be able to blog on some days, but as you will have seen, that didn’t really work. In any given day I was trying to write a thousand words or so, put in a day at work or teaching, deal with at least the minimum of housework and e-mail and get through the three most immediate three things on my to-do list and, if there was time, read or blog, and basically I never got beyond the three things before midnight. From January to March I was also teaching the fourteenth century for the first time in my life and trying to keep up with the same basic reading I’d set my students. There wasn’t much time spare.

Folie Charles VI forêt du Mans

That said, I did rather enjoy meeting Froissart properly for the first time...He goes on my list of medieval figures I'd like to have a drink with.

Also, I had committed myself to heroic levels of over-achievement rather than fall out of the machine, so that even once there were two sample chapters out for review with a press (about which process I will write separately), I also submitted two articles to journals, went to Catalonia again, then had to consider what I was presenting at Kalamazoo and organise my parts of the travel, and then I was in the USA and then I was giving a paper in Oxford and then it was time to start on the work for Leeds, during which time there was also a big funding bid going in of which I was part. And once I’m done on the Leeds paper, indeed, I’ll be needing to put together one for the week after and then I’m not committed to speaking before an academic audience until September but I do have two chapter-length pieces to write on coins at the Barber… So it’s been pretty busy (and there’s lots to write about).

Jonathan Jarrett standing atop the Castell de Gurb

Me standing on the Castell de Gurb, vainly trying to convey a sense of scale, image used by permission

But also in that time, as you may have noticed if you’re inside the Academy on the British side of the pond, in late January the government’s Research Excellence Framework published its initial results, allowing everyone in the top 30 universities in the UK to claim to be in the top 10 but also allowing them all to guess roughly how much money they might have for the next five years, and there was a consequent deluge of academic vacancies the like of which I have never seen before in this country, pretty much all permanent. So I was also applying for more or less a job a week after that started, and that lasted for two months. In total I applied for seven, I think, and had got some of the way with three other applications when, as it turned out, the first one of all offered me first an interview and then, to my surprise and delight, the post. And thus the real news of this post, already known to many it seems but very much worth announcing even so, is that as of September I will be moving to the University of Leeds to become a Lecturer in Early Medieval History, making up in some way for the retirement of Professor Ian Wood, and that will be my base and job for the foreseeable future!

Jonathan Jarrett plus contract from the University of Leeds

Incontrovertible evidence!

This is obviously really great news. Leeds is a brilliant place to wind up, with many colleagues of like interests and a great deal happening, and I’m really looking forward to it. I now have quite a lot to finish very quickly at the Barber, of course, and I’ve very much enjoyed Birmingham generally in academic terms, it’s been extremely supportive and very good for me as a scholar as well, broadening my comparative range and encouraging me to try for things I wouldn’t have before, as well as much improving certain other crucial details of my life. Still, it’s hard to see what a better outcome could be than this. Neither am I entirely leaving coins behind, not just because of various publication projects ongoing but because of local coin collections whose curators are willing to let me use them for teaching. So it all looks very much like development and success and that all-important security of knowing where one lives for long enough actually to put down roots. Mind you, it also looks like finishing that book, ideally an article or two and starting three new courses all of my own all at the same time; but actually that sounds pretty great too. It has already been suggested to me that I won’t have time to blog any more, of course, by someone who presumably hadn’t checked in in a while and realised I’d stopped already, but I have great hopes of managing it, you know. I may not in fact have blogged last year’s Leeds International Medieval Congress before this one again, I admit. But stay tuned anyway, I’ll be catching up. And now we know what the future holds, who knows what that will cause to happen!

The Parkinson Building, University of Leeds

The most obvious face of the University of Leeds, the Parkinson Building. By Tim Green from Bradford [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

This post was written with the aid of Clandestino by Manu Chao and Maui by Kava Kava.

43 responses to “Big News VI: Leeds for the future

  1. Okay, so a superfluous comment but worth making: Congratulations!
    At least I am still in the middle of my day while it must be late night where you are….

  2. What brilliant news! Congratulations!

  3. Leeds? Excellent! I get to Leeds about once a year, usually between Sept and Feb. It would be fantastic to meet in person! A pint, maybe?

    Also: congratulations!

  4. Wonderful news! Though I confess I keep hoping we might get you over on this side of the ocean for a bit.

    • We can hope for visiting fellowships, I suppose! But my family is here and likely to remain so, and now I have much less reason to need to move. Thankyou for the high estimation and kind words though!

  5. Congratulations to the new job! Who knows, if I make it to Leeds for next year’s IMC (on the wish list) I might actually say hi to you in person.

    • It would be grand to put a face to the name. It always seemed a little perplexing that we never met in Oxford, it seemed as if we should have been in the same seminars here and there. Maybe we were and never knew…

  6. Congratulations! This is excellent news. And, continuing the conversation started in comments on your last post, in the next year I will be working on book dealing with literary treatments of money, so once in awhile we might get within shouting distance of each other’s interests.

  7. notofgeneralinterest2

    Congratulations on your new job! Like Dame Eleanor, I read your blog but don’t comment because I’m so far out of field that I’d have nothing useful to say.

    • Yes, we mainly cross at digital resources, don’t we, but I bet that’s a conversation that’s not going away… Thankyou for comment and congratulations both!

  8. Congratulations!

  9. Kiera Naylor

    Congratulations on the job!

  10. Congratulations! That’s indeed big news and I hope to have big news for me, too, in the near future. Also I hear you thinking and writing on multiple fronts. Academic blogging is a field I was thinking about lately, besides writing some abstracts for workshops/conferences and struggeling in a very non-academic field to survive.

    • Well, I would counsel caution. I don’t know that academic blogging has done me any favours on the job market. It has many other advantages, but when you consider that it takes a lot of time, that it has always seemed to be publications and lecturing that have got me interviews when before none had come, and that I was looking for a permanent job for only very slightly longer than I have been writing this blog, at the very least one has to question whether it helped

      • Indeed, thus I concentrated on the “classic” fields of publications and lecturing, although my magister thesis was published in an online journal and I recently wrote for a well positioned community blog. My impression is that blogging can help, as you said before, on content and discussion, but caution is the word I looked for.

  11. Hi, I am a non-academic lurker and just wanted to de-lurk to congratulate you.

    I stumbled on your blog when trying to work out whether the books I’ve read and personal interest in various niche medieval subjects would mean I could keep up with a weekend at IMC. (I live in Leeds so I don’t have the excuse of it being too far and I’m planning to go next year.) I’ve occasionally dipped into older posts and continued reading; I am always glad when you manage to find time to write here.

    Anyways, congratulations on job security and a new challenge. Welcome to the city. :)

    • Thankyou! Once I’m actually moved there everything will seem easier… As for the IMC, I would have to say it’s often fairly hardcore, and potentially quite isolating if you don’t know anyone (because so many other people clearly do that it can seem as if it’s really only ‘for them’). I might test the water with a smaller conference to see whether you get anything from it, and maybe use that to make contacts to bridge that gap?

  12. Steve Joyce

    Simply brilliant.

    • I’m quite pleased, aye! :-)

      • Steve Joyce

        Quite pleased? You, sir, have been selected to fill the shoes of the Mighty Wood. If that had happened to me, I would, only now, be found wandering the trackless desert with a pair of “Life of Brian” underpants, clutching an empty bottle of single malt, and singing “Jerusalem”. You do realise you may now have to leave your “Spanish Fancies” and enter a “blessed arrangement” with early medieval Britain and Ireland? Sadly, won’t be at Leeds to buy you a pint or two this year, but in ’16, it’s on! ;)

        Seriously though, well done and well deserved.

        • Fill his shoes? I could never. Say, rather, that I have been invited to place my shoes where his have been wont to rest, not least because his will still be treading the corridors to support his current graduate students for a while yet. But thankyou :-) And yes, in fact I haven’t had time to organise a proper celebration because of all these damn commitments but when I do single malt will hopefully feature. Your other suggestions I take under advisement… But I’ll take those pints and return others, when you can :-)

          As for Spain, and those bits of the peninsula that aren’t, that does seems to be one of the things I could offer that they wanted, but my teaching will not initially reflect that, you’re right. I’ve stayed out of Britain for this coming year, except some mild numismatic flirtation, but it can’t continue long, not least because if I never at least teach Anglo-Saxon England again, there’s about a third of my academic library that becomes wasted money! Not to mention the Picts, I mean! etc.

  13. Great news. Congratulations.

  14. Congratulations. “Not to mention the Picts”: I hope you do, frequently.

  15. Michael Drout

    Congratulations, Jonathan! Great news!

  16. Congratulations! That is well-deserved good news. I hope you have a long and fruitful career there.

  17. Brilliant, brilliant news and many congratulations! I raise my mug of tea to you!

    One of these days I might get back to blogging…

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  19. notofgeneralinterest2

    I am just catching up with your (always interesting) posts and hadn’t seen this before. Congratulations on your well-deserved new job!

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