By Stephen Campbell
With thanks to the financial assistance of the St. John’s Student Opportunities Fund, I was able to travel to Laramie, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado from the 9th–21st in November 2018. As the trip took place during the final year of my PhD in the Department of Theology and Religion, this trip was very important regarding my career opportunities post-PhD. Therefore, the trip had many aspects.
First, upon arriving in the States, I drove to Laramie, Wyoming where I discussed my research with a group of undergraduate students from the University of Wyoming. While there, I also lectured in an M.A. module at the WEST Institute, a program for training future church ministers.
Seeing old friends and meeting new ones
Secondly, after my time in Wyoming, I returned to Colorado, where I attended three consecutive academic conferences in the field of Theology and Biblical Studies. As with any conference, one of the main benefits and joys is seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Both personally and professionally, this opportunity to network was very successful.
Thirdly, I had a chance to present my research at one of these conferences – the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR). I had the honour of presenting during the Emerging Scholars on the Old Testament section at IBR conference (pictured sitting at the panellists’ table). In order to present in this section, my PhD supervisor had to nominate me, and the chair of the session had to approve my participation. For many years this section has been one of my favourites at the annual meeting of IBR, and it was a genuine pleasure to participate as a presenter this year. Having this opportunity was a real high point in my PhD career that I will cherish.
Fourthly, I spent a great amount of energy promoting a conference that I am organising with two fellow theology PhDs (both members of John’s) in collaboration with Ushaw College, the Centre for Catholic Studies, and the Centre for the Study of Jewish Culture, Society, and Politics. The conference brings together an exciting group of international speakers to address a wide audience on the subject of Hebrew Bible Poetry. I really enjoyed this aspect of my conference participation as it allowed me to meet many new people and learn about their own research.
One of the more ambitious goals of my time in Denver was to secure a publishing deal
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, though the promotion of the above mentioned poetry conference was important to the overall project, one of the more ambitious goals of my time in Denver was to secure a publishing deal for this poetry conference. I am happy to report that the conference papers will indeed be published. Lexham Press in the United States was excited about the conference and wants to publish the papers that will be presented. The other two editors will be Richard Rohlfing (a fellow organiser and member of John’s) and Richard Briggs (Prof. at Cranmer Hall).
In retrospect, my time in the States last November was one of the most important and memorable research-related trips that I’ve taken in my 4 years at Durham. Both tangibly and intangibly, the trip was a success. I am thankful for the John’s community and especially the leadership of John’s which continues to believe in and support the research efforts of its students.