Monday, 13 August 2012

Emma Wells - Archaeology Career Interview

Why did you choose a degree in Archaeology?
I decided upon a degree in Archaeology following a BA in Art History at York University. I found what interested me most during my degree were the analysis of buildings and the intricate iconographies so crucial to their design, and so moved to the department of Archaeology where I undertook an MA in Buildings Archaeology the following year. Throughout my MA I also worked for York Archaeological Trust as a voluntary Finds Processor and had the fantastic opportunity of taking place in the Hungate excavation. After completing my dissertation on the representation of architectural space in the medieval stained glass of York Minster, and discovering the lack of scholarship on the subject, I knew I wanted to go further with the concept and so after a gap year working as an Area Sales Manager, I was determined to draw upon the innovative methodological theories being explored in the discipline and use them in order to examine the way buildings were experienced in the medieval period. Thus commenced a PhD at Durham University in the sensory experience of medieval cult churches - I am now in the process of submitting my thesis 3 years after I started.

Are you planning to work in Archaeology after you graduate/finish your PHD?
As I took a year out between my MA and PhD, I know that Archaeology is the career path I want to pursue and remain in. I am currently applying for academic positions in the discipline as I would love to be able to undertake research for a career whilst having the freedom to create courses in order to expose new students to the exciting methodologies and subject matters that Archaeology offers.

What have been the highlights of your career/studies in Archaeology so far?
I have been fortunate enough to have taken part in many exciting archaeological projects throughout my time in academia, but particular highlights have included working with Time Team, as well as appearing in a recent BBC documentary on the history of the North of England for which I was interviewed in Durham Cathedral on the subject of medieval pilgrimage. Being asked to present at the 2010 British Archaeological Association conference was also a career high, and each time a paper I have authored is published, I still feel an immense sense of achievement.

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