Postgraduates in Modern Languages and Cultures are highly mobile and travel the world as part of the doctoral research. Ailsa Peate, who is exploring the hybrid nature of Cuban and Mexican detective fiction, has been as far away from Liverpool as Havana and Culiacán, has recently been just off campus, working at the World Museum in Liverpool’s city centre.
Ailsa is at the World Museum as part of the University of Liverpool’s LiNK Scheme, which encourages postgraduate students to work with various institutions in the city in order to develop their research skills outside of their normal academic framework. Ailsa has been on a placement at National Museums Liverpool (NML), which is an umbrella museum organisation which recognises the inherent controversy of dealing with politically-loaded subjects and the representation of potentially problematic materials. One of Ailsa’s tasks at the World Museum has been to help organise this year’s annual Federation of International Human Rights Museum (FIHRM) conference, an event which promotes discussion concerning the ethical challenges facing the museum sector, and promotes different approaches to diplomacy agendas within museum settings. As part of this task, other than focusing on the practicalities of event organising, she explores issues concerning maintaining relations with museums in countries whose ethical approaches may not be in line with those of NML.
One part of my placement is to map NML’s international activity, which means that in future, reports can be easily run for external funders and trustees. It’s good to know I’ll have left something useful behind once the placement is over!
Ailsa has had a highly successful year as, earlier this spring, she was awarded the prestigious Harold Blakemore prize, awarded by the Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS), the UK association for the study of Latin America. This prize is named after scholar Harold Blakemore (1930-1991) who played a key role in the foundation of SLAS in 1964 and throughout its early period. Since 1991, the prize has been awarded to the best essay submitted each year by a postgraduate student in Latin American Studies. Its monetary value is £600, and the winner is invited by the Editors to submit his or her essay to the Bulletin of Latin American Research.