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 ECA SIG at UCFL seeks representatives from a range of areas to boost our representation of languages and pedagogic disciplines. We regularly release calls for new reps via our social media and subject mailing lists. However, if you believe there is an urgent case for representation in an area we do not currently cover, please do let us know. 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 Ashley Harris (harrisa6@tcd.ie), Dr Olivia Glaze (o.f.glaze@exeter.ac.uk), and Dr Llewelyn Hopwood (hopwoodl@caerdydd.ac.uk).

The Role of our Reps

Our Reps have 3 primary roles, which help the SIG to remain proactive and representative of the field. These are:

  1. Collaboration with co-chairs on the organisation of events and resources to the benefit of ECA and PGR academics. 
  2. Communication with ECA SIG and advertising our events to contacts and networks. 
  3. Reflecting on the strategic and future directions for the ECA SIG, and writing these in meeting reports.  
Dr Ashley HarrisTrinity College DublinUCFL Exec Committee ECA Representative and Co-Chair
Dr Olivia GlazeUniversity of Exeter
University of Oxford
Co-Chair (Portuguese)
Dr Llewelyn HopwoodCardiff UniversityCo-Chair (Welsh & Celtic)
Alexandra ShaitanBirkbeck College, University of LondonLanguage Teaching (Japanese)
Noemie JolletUniversity of StrathclydeFrench and Language Teaching (Scotland Area)
Jessica Lubini-HamptonUniversity of LiverpoolLinguistics
Martina DelfinoUniversity of LiverpoolPortuguese
Dr Hui-Hua LuUniversity of EdinburghTranslation Studies
Dr Serena VandiUniversity of OxfordItalian
Dr Peter Haysom-RodríguezUniversity of LeedsPortuguese
Dr Cathy McAteerUniversity of ExeterRussian/Slavonic Studies
Dr Maria RoemerUniversity of LeedsJapanese
Dr Matthew HinesUniversity of CambridgeGerman
Mona HabebILCS School of Advanced Study, University of LondonMiddle Eastern
Lama AloqiliUniversity of LiverpoolMiddle Eastern
Gefan WangKing’s College LondonEast Asian
Yang ZhangGoldsmiths, University of LondonEast Asian
Dr Kate FosterKing’s College LondonMentoring
 Laura AlbertiniUniversity of St Andrews
University of Leicester
Language Teaching (Italian/Scotland Area)
 Dr Brigid LynchUniversity of London
School of Advanced Study
Spanish/Latin America
Dr Jayne DuffQueen’s University BelfastNorthern Ireland Area
Dr Fransiska LouwagieUniversity Council For LanguagesVice Chair, External Engagement and Communications

Key initiatives

  • Frequent 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

The UCFL Early Career Academics Special Interest Group will be holding two online workshop socials per term in 2023/24. These will address important topics with guest speakers including funding for ECAs in Languages, careers beyond lecturing, and outreach.

Past Events

Virtual Event for ECAs and PGRs in Languages: Jobs Beyond Lecturing

On Friday 27 October 2023, Dr James Illingworth and Dr Fiona Dakin spoke about their experiences of using their skills and interests from a Languages PhD in jobs beyond traditional lecturing roles. We were reminded of the wide range of transferable skills gained during a PhD, given some good advice on job hunting and interviewing, and the priority to seek joy.

An image from the event of common career pathways for those with a PhD in Languages:

UCFL Careers for ECAs in Languages Event

On 12th June 2023, we hosted an event on Careers for ECAs in Languages. This highly attended online session included sessions on ’10 tips for interviews and applications’, ‘Finding a Permanent Lectureship’ and ‘Rethinking your skills’ with a Careers Consultant. The recording can be viewed below:

UCFL 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 Hilary Potter
  • Dr Liam Lewis
  • Dr James Illingworth
  • Dr Karunika Kardak
  • Dr Catherine Barbour
  • Dr Dominique Carlini Versini
  • Dr Louis Cotgrove
  • Dr Joanna Raisbeck
  • Dr Caroline Laurent