Experiencing the History of Emotions

Catherine-Rose Hailstone is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of York, UK. She recently spent June 2018 with CHE (UWA) working with Professor Andrew Lynch on an Employability Project (REP), which was required and funded by her research sponsors the AHRC White Rose College of Arts and Humanities. In what follows she provides a summary of her experiences at CHE.

The University of Western Australia campus
The University of Western Australia campus.

This post is something of a hybrid. It is part diary, part report and part reflection on the time I spent with Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions at The University of Western Australia (UWA) in June 2018. In what follows I record and reflect on the skills and experiences that I gained while working at CHE. It is my hope that this post will serve a dual purpose, both as a thank you to everyone who made my time at CHE so fantastic and as an encouragement for future doctoral and post-doctoral students to approach CHE for study or professional development opportunities.

What was life at CHE like?

Life at CHE is vibrant, supportive and extremely welcoming. The month I spent there has been an unforgettable experience, one I would highly recommend to others. CHE in Perth is situated in the Arts Building on the beautiful UWA campus. It is surrounded on the outside by huge trees and lawns and on the inside with houses the New Fortune theatre, gardens and resident peacocks.

The New Fortune Theatre
The New Fortune Theatre in the Arts Building, UWA.


The staff were hugely welcoming. Besides giving me a new range of skills and experiences, they also provided me with my own office, Keep Cup and invited me to regular coffee mornings. They helped me out when I ended up in a pickle over transport on my first day and surprised me with a goodbye speech, card and gifts at what was otherwise Katrina O’Loughlin’s leaving lunch. The staff are what give the Centre its tangible community vibe. Without them, my experience at CHE would not have been as good as it was. To that end, I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Andrew, Katrina (Tap and O’Loughlin), Pam, Tanya, Erika, Giovanni, Joanne, Jane, Susan and everyone else who made me feel like part of the team and made CHE a fantastic place to study, be challenged and learn new skills.


My temporary office at UWA.
My temporary office at UWA.


EHCS: learning the ropes of journal editing

Over the course of June, I participated in several activities which gave me a new set of skills and knowledge. The foremost of these was my experience working on the editorial side of the SHE journal, Emotions, History, Culture and Society. I worked alongside the journal editors – Andrew Lynch, Katie Barclay and Giovanni Tarantino – to help get the third issue ready for final submission to Brill. My first task was to do the final proofreading for several of the articles and book reviews for the upcoming issue. Corrections had to be made in accordance with the style guide requirements of the journal, but I also had to learn to stop at the point of making corrections that would have required further authorial input. I was then included in an editorial board meeting with Giovanni, Andrew and Katie. Items for discussion included the contents of the next issue, advertising, potential topics for future journal forums and deadlines for submission, reviewers and proofreading. This meeting was particularly beneficial because it enabled me to gain a much deeper sense of the complexities involved in the editorial process. Delegation is crucial as is communication and access to an online database that can file and organise all emails, articles, reviews, calendar deadlines and tasks for each issue.

The largest tree on the UWA campus
The largest tree on the UWA campus.

In the last 10 days of my journal experience I learnt how to review an article that had been submitted for publication as well as how to produce two different types of book review: one for a work by a single author the other for an edited collection of essays on one theme. The experience of these three tasks has taught me that there are subtle differences between the three types of review. The reviewer of an article for publication, for example, has a little more freedom to recommend tweaks that will help the article to meet the requirements necessary for publication. The reviewer of a published piece must expound more on what the text does, how and to whom it will be useful now that it is print. Reviews for a published work by a single author, I have learnt, also require a different approachto that needed for a review of an edited volume. Reviewers of an edited book must concentrate more on the themes and connections that bind the book together, devoting less space to the finer details of each chapter than a reviewer of a single-authored work can focus on.

Emotions and Place: PATS

Alongside the meeting of the EHCSeditorial board, I also participated in a Postgraduate Advanced Training Seminar on ‘Emotions and Place’. This seminar attracted a wide range of scholars from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and academic status. It was guided by the talks of Professor Jeff Malpas (University of Tasmania) and Assistant Professor Chen Yang (Tongji University), and explored the relationship between emotion, time, space and place. The concluding plenary established that emotions and place could not be separated from one another because emotions, the self, time, space and place cannot be taken out of one another. They are a whole and thus to investigate emotions, be they those built into a Chinese garden or written into a sixth-century bishop’s texts, is to also investigate the self, time, space and place.

Conference: ‘The Future of Emotions: Conversations Without Borders’

The 'Future of Emotions' Conference Program
The ‘Future of Emotions’ Conference Program.

The ‘Future of Emotions’ conference on Thursday 14June and Friday 15 June questioned what future directions the history of emotions might move towards. There is not the space here to delve into all the proposed responses to this question in detail, but it suffices to say that over the two days there were a wide array of thought-provoking contributions from scholars including Jeff Malpas (University of Tasmania), Andrew Lynch (UWA, Katie Barclay (The University of Adelaide), Michael Champion (Australian Catholic University), Anne-Sophie Voyer (University of Ottawa), Charles Zika (The University of Melbourne), Gordon Raeburn (State Library of Victoria), Juanita Ruys (The University of Sydney) and Adam Hembree (The University of Melbourne), to name only a few. My own contribution, in which I proposed a new take on the ‘emotion script’, applying the term to a new methodology in which the historian works touncover and document how late antique and early medieval contemporaries understood each of the emotions that they recorded within their texts, received considered responses.The concluding plenary, asking the question ‘what do we want the future of emotions studies to be?’ provoked arguments for greater public impact, more focus on political emotions, exploring emotions within the concepts of time and space and even whether the label ‘history of emotions’ is still useful.

This conference marked both the central part of my time at CHE and the high point of the networking aspect of my project. The lunches, dinner and breaks after each of the panels provided perfect opportunities for interacting with people as well as valuable time to allow delegates to go and recharge by the riverside.


The Riverside at UWA
The Riverside at UWA.


The atmosphere of the conference was also very intellectually supportive, something that I found to be invaluable as this conference marks the first time I have presented at another institution outside my home one. When I wasn’t networking or presenting, I helped Jo publicise the conference proceedings through twitter using #FutureEmotions.


Digital Humanities Workshop

On Saturday 16 June I attended a Digital Humanities Workshop that gave me a completely new set of skills for using different types of digital technology to publicise and conduct research. In the first of four sessions, James Smith (Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute) showed us how to use different types of GIS and online Story Maps for quantifying data and identifying patterns. In session two, Deborah Thorpe (Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute) and Stephen Smith debuted their new technology the ‘Digitising Quill’ which can track how and how fast medieval scribes could write and how quickly a scribe with tremors, such as the Tremulous Hand of Worcester, would have been able to write. Although the quill has been tested by a calligrapher manually replicating the Tremulous Hand, I was the first person to try the quill with a new device that made my hand tremor as I wrote. The difference the device made was remarkable. The tremor barely impeded my writing ability when my hand was connected to the page but when I lifted my hand to start a new line, the tremor made it increasingly difficult to recommence writing.

The third session by Jane-Heloise Nancarrow (UWA) showed the advantages of using 3D photogrammetry to enable a wider online audience to access otherwise inaccessible heritage sites and manuscript material in a 3D format. The final session, by Carly Osborn (The University of Adelaide), took us through the development procedure for the new history of emotions Game: ‘The Vault’. Carly highlighted the complex procedures and intense collaboration involved with translating emotions research into a format that children and adults alike could understand. Overall, the workshop not only fostered new knowledge on the innovative ways that different areas of expertise can combine to produce publicly accessible emotions research, it also gave me new ideas for turning some of my own research into a digitally accessible format and basic skills in the some of the online tools that I might use to do this, such as Storymap JS or Autodesk.

Communications and Media Management

I learned the ropes of CHE’s social media and communications management hub. Here Joanne showed me the behind-the-scenes aspects of managing the blog, Facebook and Twitter media platforms, as well as how to edit and publish podcasts using Adobe editing software.

Leaving gifts
Leaving gifts.


My time at CHE has enabled me to grow as both a researcher and a person. It has had a profound impact on my research, my professional skills and my own perceptions of the world we live in. I have greatly expanded my network of contacts and my networking skills as a result of the conference, workshop, training seminar and just being a visiting member of staff at CHE. I have improved my employability skillset by participating in, and gaining insight into, the editorial processes that go into publishing an academic journal. I have acquired new skills in reviewing articles for publication and already published pieces. Furthermore, I have learned a great deal about how to publicise research as part of academic outreach and gained an entirely new body of knowledge and skills in the digital humanities field. Most importantly, however, I have gained a better understanding of another culture and a new group of colleagues, friends and intellectual sparring partners. This project has been an invaluable experience and I can only thank CHE one last time for allowing me to be a part of their community.


The serpent fountain in the Shakespeare inspired garden behind the New Fortune Theatre.
The serpent fountain in the Shakespeare inspired garden behind the New Fortune Theatre, UWA.


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