St Cross Talks: Alumni Panel

Our alumni panel brings together a diverse group of St Cross alumni to discuss their time at St Cross and where their careers have taken them.

We are delighted that the following alumni are joining us:
Professor Julia Bray
DPhil Oriental Studies, 1974

After graduating from St Hilda’s, University of Oxford with a degree in Oriental Studies, Julia became one of the first graduate students at St Cross, in the days of the Wooden Hut. She wrote her DPhil on medieval Arabic poetic criticism at the same time as working part-time for the British Academy Oriental Documents Committee on the archives of the British Political Agency in Kuwait.
Julia then taught Arabic and a bit of everything related to Arabic at Manchester University for four years on short-term contracts. When that job fell through, she was self-employed for a year and edited a volume of the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature. Julia then worked for Edinburgh University teaching contemporary newspaper and broadcast Arabic, which is a standard part of Arabic degrees now, but was a new subject then. She taught herself on the job and published the first description and textbook, Media Arabic. Five years off the career ladder for family reasons were followed by seven years at the University of St Andrews (overlapping with Prince William and Kate Middleton) and nine years on the chalk-edge at Paris 8—Vincennes-Saint Denis. Julia became the first female Laudian (now AS AlBabtain-Laudian) Professor of Arabic at University of Oxford in 2012.

Dr Abi Tompkins
DPhil Archaeology, 2011

Abi Tompkins completed her DPhil in Archaeology at St Cross earlier this year, having been awarded her MSt from the college in 2012. Abi’s research focused on the emergence of polities or ‘proto-kingdoms’ in the wake of the post-Roman collapse in Britain in the 5th century AD. Her work explored how material culture and patterns of landscape use could be used to understand the development of distinct groups of people and, particularly, how areas between them became places of contact and coalescence. During her studies Abi worked for local government archaeological and museum services, she taught British Archaeology modules, and consulted on the deposition of a major local, community archaeology project in east Oxford, to name but a few. Today, Abi continues to work in local government archaeology, working with West Berkshire Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

The portfolio career of an archaeologist: building your toolkit.
The university recommends that “full-time graduate students on a taught course do not undertake more than 8 hours’ paid work each week” and “students on research courses are advised that any paid work should still allow them to spend at least 40 hours per week…on their studies”. Take into consideration any working restrictions and consult with your supervisor and you can find work which will help set you up for life post-St Cross. Using my own experiences, I want to talk to you about making opportunities and capitalising on your time in this dynamic city.

Dr Marco Haenssgen
MPhil Development Studies, 2010

Dr Sony Pellissery
DPhil Social Policy, 2002

The talk will be followed by a drinks reception, open to all.