One year of Gorffennol: some reflections

This year Gorffennol, the History and Classics student research journal, has become established in the department. It has two issues you can find on this site. Additionally, we have a blog about the research which takes place in the department, which has had contributors at undergraduate, MA, PhD, and staff level.

As was intended, the two issues from the journal have covered a wide range of topics, including essays submitted for Egyptology modules, as well as Ancient History, Medieval History, Early Modern History and Modern History modules. This is great as it displays the variety of options that students have. As we continue to publish issues of the journal, an increasing number of modules will have an essay somewhere in the journal. It is exciting how many topics that are still to be covered!

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Part of the editorial team, a bit daunted at the first training session

To me, the journal hasbeen particularly useful for two main purposes. The first of these is giving students an idea of what a first class essay looks like. It can be difficult to comprehend how to achieve a first in an essay and anything which can aid this is generally well received. The second purpose is to give high achieving student somewhere to display their work. Having work published is something mainly reserved for historians further advanced in their careers, yet the journal gives the option to undergraduates. This is useful for us students as it is something to be proud of in its own right, but potentially can make you stand out, particularly if you wish to pursue further study.

The journal also has a research blog. These are some things which are widely debated in a wider academic context, and there are many groups and individuals within the department, but the journal offers a central place for posts to be published. The posts typically give a taste of research currently being completed, whether for an essay, a dissertation or a publication. I personally believe the research process itself should be interactive and these posts facilitate that. Beyond this, it is essential that the work historians do is shared. Making historical discoveries is great, but it is brilliant when other people can see them too.

Party after the launch

Party after the launch

The editorial team for next year will consist of a mixture of continuing editors and new editors. I think it is great to bring fresh ideas in, but also to have people who have experience of editing the journal. One of the things I am most pleased about from this year are the efforts to make the journal possible to sustain. There are new students interested in becoming editors, students who want to get their work published in the journal and lecturers who encourage students to engage with the journal. The journal has become established in the Department this year. I have heard many stories throughout the year from students in other departments who wish they had such a thing.  I’m excited to see how the journal develops next year and the new ideas that people have, after a really exciting and successful first year.

Goodbye, from one editor sad to be leaving the journal!

Written by Emma Garland