Research Grant
Funding for Local Chapters
Past Grant Recipients
2017: Dr Sonia Pertsinidis
2016: Elizabeth Stockdale
2015: Michelle Negus Cleary
2014: Leanne Michelle Campbell

Research Grant

Since 2013 (for 2014), Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies has offered an annual research grant. In 2017 (for 2018), we offer $1000 AUD, double that of previous years.

Funding is available only to members, and we welcome applications from members at all stages of their careers. The award will be announced in early February 2018 at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Australasian Society of Classical Studies in Brisbane.

Funding for Local Chapters

Limited funding is also available for local chapters to support events such as lectures and symposia. If you are a local chapter head and would like to apply for funding, please complete this form. If you have any questions, please email to socawaws [at] Your application will be reviewed at the next scheduled executive committee meeting.

Past Grant Recipients

We are pleased to offer reports from previous years’ successful research grant applicants.

2017: Dr Sonia Pertsinidis, Australian National University

Sonia Pertsinidis

Congratulations to ANU’s Centre for Classical Studies’ Dr Sonia Pertsinidis, the recipient of the 2017 Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies Research Grant. Sonia will use the funds to publish an academic article on the ‘Life of Aesop’, a Greek novel from the second century CE. Sonia has also secured a contract with Routledge for her forthcoming book on Theophrastus’ Characters. A University Medalist in Ancient Greek and an alumna of the ANU, Sonia has taught a number of courses at the CCS, including Traditional Grammar, Advanced Ancient Greek, and Classical Mythology. In 2016, Sonia was the recipient of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies Early Career Award.

2016: Elizabeth Stockdale, Macquarie University

Why Homer? Homer has been part of my life since I started university. My first friend at university was a Greek Australian, Greek Cyprian to be exact, who in an act of φιλοξενία invited me to her home and introduced me to her family. There in a special room her mother was weaving a tapestry; it was scenes from Homer. I have never forgotten the tapestry, her mother’s loom, and the quite pride she had in her daughter learning Ancient Greek. In a sense, I came to Homer because of friendship, hospitality, women and weaving. Weaving: a skill that women have excelled in and been admired for in association with knowledge, since Homer.

I would like to thank the AWAWS Selection Committee for awarding me the 2016 AWAWS Research Grant. Throughout 2016 the grant provided me with support to travel overseas to present papers at two significant conferences, and also to conduct research there.

The first conference was in May, at the Feminism and Classics VII Quadrennial Conference held at the University of Washington. As a Homerist it was a wonderful opportunity and a privilege to meet and talk with Ruth Schodel and Olga Levaniouk. Both women are well established and respected in the field; they gave me supportive feedback, and later correspondence. Classical Feminists such as Ruby Blondell were helpful and were interested in my work. This particular conference is organised by the American Women’s Classical Caucus; ‘the big sister’ if you will, of AWAWS. It is a very large conference, which drew a breadth of academic experience from established Professors to Early Career Fellows and Post-Graduates. As a result of giving the paper as this conference, an article is in the process of being sent to a journal. Through meeting fellow Homerists at the conference I was also made more aware of the Homer Multi Text Project conducted at the Centre of Hellenic Studies, at Harvard University.

washingtonUniversity of Washington, Seattle.

In early November I was invited to give at paper at the Australian National University in Canberra. The intent was to promote and draw attention to AWAWS and promote membership for the Canberra chapter. The other focus was naturally on Homeric studies. I would like to thank the Centre for Classical Studies at the ANU, Fiona Sweet-Formiatti, my friend, colleague and fellow Homerist for her hospitality, and Professor Elizabeth Minchin, Australia’s leading Homerist, who always makes the time, no matter what, even if the phone rings, and who always remembers everything.

In early December, I gave a paper at the Paths in Antiquity Conference held by the Excellence Cluster Topoi at Humboldt University in Berlin. This conference focussed on both physical and philosophical journeys and the acquisition of knowledge. The people I met at Humboldt were very interested, thoughtful and reflective of my work. My research is on Helen and the Homeric value systems which involves semantic analysis of key words in Homer. The conclusion of the conference resulted in an offer to write a book chapter for Topoi. This conference also gave me the opportunity to meet and talk with established scholars about the philosophy of language, and current development in comparative epic, particularly ancient epics. This was valuable as it gave me supportive and directed ideas for post-doctoral research.

humboldtHumboldt University, Berlin.

The AWAWS grant has not just been of financial assistance, but also of an academic and personal support. Having been a teacher for over fifteen years before coming back to university, I have a different perspective on academic life, and life in general. AWAWS recognises that for many women post-graduate education may not occur straight after their Bachelor’s degree, or indeed after their Honours degree. There are many demands on women in society, and instead of trying to ‘have it all,’ life for many has become a series of ‘chapters.’ AWAWS raises an awareness of this and an acceptance of this; that for some women their dreams and directions of their lives may take them to further travels, motherhood, a different career, or partnership. Their academic life may intertwine part-time or full-time with these life directions, or it may be a completely different life chapter.

In light of this, I would like to thank AWAWS for not only the financial assistance of the research grant for 2016, but for the organisation’s larger scope in highlighting and strongly supporting the multi-faceted nature particularly of women in academic life.

2015: Michelle Negus Cleary, University of Sydney

mnc-1Surveying in the forest zone: (left to right) Giorgi Chilingarashvili, Nikoloz Tskvitinidze
and Michelle Negus Cleary. (Photo courtesy of Jessie Birkett-Rees.)

In 2015 I was fortunate to receive the AWAWS research grant which provided me with vital support to conduct archaeological fieldwork overseas. My project has a focus on gender issues in the ancient world through the Landscape Archaeology of Georgia (LAG) project. This is a collaborative endeavour between five early career researchers who are archaeologists with diverse skills and research interests. This group provides the opportunity for individual researchers to collect data for various specific research purposes and operates under the umbrella of the University of Melbourne and Georgian National Museum GAIA expedition. The LAG survey project employs landscape methodologies including the use of remote sensing, GIS, intensive and extensive archaeological survey techniques. Its aim is to locate, record and study the human occupation of the various highland zones in this frontier area and to analyse how these changed over time due to political, economic and environmental fluctuations. The AWAWS grant gave me the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and to collect data for the LAG project, but also allowed me to gain crucial information for the development of a new post-doctoral application.

My research focus is on spatial and settlement analyses with a key research aim being the consideration of gendered spaces and landscapes. Landscapes are imbued with social meanings. Through the identification of activity zones in the material remains of settlements, monuments, mortuary and production sites, associations with particular gender and social groups such as families or children may be understood. Eurasian mobile societies were often more egalitarian in their social and political hierarchies and women had more social and economic freedom than in other contemporary sedentary societies. The ancient and medieval agro-pastoral societies of Georgia provide an opportunity to investigate gender in pastoral landscapes.

Our fieldwork conducted in June/July 2015 focused on several areas of the highland valleys and mountain-sides in southern Georgia near the town of Chobareti. We documented 136 sites and features including the important multi-period site of Varneti. This comprises a hillfort with artificially terraced areas below, an exposed archaeological deposit, a tell-type settlement mound and various other stone features. This site appears to have been a focus for episodic settlement from the Middle Bronze Age to the medieval period. We are in the process of obtaining absolute dating information from this site and are planning further work in order to understand how ancient people inhabited this place at different points in time. No previous archaeological work has been conducted at this site prior to the LAG project.

Our surveys also targeted several high elevations and yayla mountain pastures. We documented four large, terraced enclosure sites and several new stone burial mound complexes. One of these enclosures is a stone circle that may have had a ceremonial or ritual purpose. This site is part of a monumentalised landscape of stone embankments, mounds and kurgans situated at the top of the yayla. Remote sensing of this area suggests that there may be Bronze Age or later settlements and further detailed investigation of this area is needed. Geophysical or sub-surface investigations could provide further opportunities to consider gender and domestic aspects of the social organisation of the ancient highland inhabitants.

A publication is currently in preparation to report on the results and provide further analysis of these landscape features. This fieldwork also provided me with the opportunity to assess several enclosure sites for the preparation of a post-doctoral application.

The AWAWS Research Grant provided much needed support for my family in allowing research funding to go towards important logistical issues, such as child care, that are very necessary for researchers who are primary carers and need to travel overseas for their work. Most other research funding sources do not consider the role of family or researchers as parents in the scope of their grants. The support provided by AWAWS and its recognition of these issues has been invaluable to me both financially and, perhaps more importantly, for its recognition of the difficulties facing female researchers and those with young families. Academia needs more of these values expressed and AWAWS is making a vital contribution towards this end and I thank them whole-heartedly for their support.

mnc-3Surveying amid the sheep: the abandoned medieval settlement of Gogo-tubani with
Damjan Krsmanovic (left) and William Anderson (right).

mnc-4Stone embankment on the high yayla.

The hillfort site of Varneti.

2014: Leanne Michelle Campbell, University of Melbourne

Leanne Campbell Image 3

I would like to thank the AWAWS Selection Committee for awarding me the inaugural AWAWS research grant in 2014. You have made a significant difference to my year, not only financially, but also academically, emotionally and intellectually. I would like to convey my deep appreciation for your values and for your academic as well as your financial support.

It is December, as I write this, and I have just returned from the ASOR – American Schools of Oriental Research – Annual General Meeting and Conference, which was held in San Diego for 2014. This was my first international conference, and also the first time I presented a paper to an international audience. My paper was well-accepted, generated a lot of interest, and kind as well as stimulating feedback, which I very much appreciated, and there were around 40 to 50 people who attended my presentation. I feel that this world has really opened up to me, and I very much look forward to participating in more such rewarding collegial and scholarly life in the future. I would not have been able to attend if not for the support and encouragement of my Supervisors, at the University of Melbourne, as well as AWAWS.

Leanne Campbell Image 2

I am currently working on my dissertation in Bronze Age Aegean Archaeology, encompassing Egyptology and Art History. For my PhD, I am conducting comparative analyses of portrayals of human representations, which will inform my conclusions in order to further our understanding of cultural, social, economic and political developments in the Late Bronze Age. My methodology includes detailed art historical analyses of sixteen selected artefacts from the iconographies of ancient Egypt’s Amarna period, the Minoan, and the Mycenaean cultures. I am closely examining the roles of these representations in the constructions of socio-economic, gender identity, and cultural and political conclusions. My methodology is somewhat diffusionist and interconnections and regular interactions between these neighbouring societies are recognized through the archaeological evidence, including seasonal trade and gift exchange, and resulting in a broad range of communications. My analyses of the iconographic evidence will also demonstrate the transfers of artistic and cultural exchanges and influences.

In order to improve and validate my close comparative analyses of the stylistic, anatomical, artistic and material details of these artefacts, and to add legitimacy to my conclusions, it is very beneficial to my studies to examine the statues and paintings in-person. To be in the physical presence of these sculptures, paintings, statues and statuettes allows immense artistic and analytical insight into visual investigations and resulting conclusions. Of those that I have already had the opportunity to study in person, the academic contribution and influence on my analyses has been inestimable: after the hundreds of hours I have spent considering these artefacts from two-dimensional written and photographic viewpoints, to experience being in their physical presence and to study them in three dimensions has been immeasurably expansive, academically and intellectually as well as artistically and spatially, to my work.

I made private appointments and met with the Curator of Egyptian Antiquities, Monsieur Christophe Barbotin, at the Musée du Louvre, who generously gave me his time and his wisdom in discussions and allowed me his personal introductions and study of the Henry Salt statue of King Akhenaten, as well as several other artefacts of the Louvre, ranging from the Colossi to significant statues, reliefs, and statuettes from the Amarna era such as that of the Lady Touy. I also visited and studied, amongst other artefacts, the Princess Fresco, and the sculpted portrayal of the Amarna Royal Family known as AN1893.1-41.75 in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. I still plan to visit, amongst others, the statuette of Queen Nefertiti known as DDR 21263 in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, and the frescoes at the Minoan site of Akrotiri on Thera (Santorini), as well as the Ivory Triad 7711 in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, and the Palaikastro Kouros in the Siteia Museum, eastern Crete. During 2015, I plan to complete my dissertation, and I am currently in the writing-up stage, and continue to work on my conclusions, to which these in-person analyses and three dimensional studies will contribute immensely.

I did not come to university until the age of 30, after quite some tragic detours, including having been a victim of serious crimes twice-over, and continuing to suffer debilitating symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder amongst other injuries. In addition to graduating with first class honours, and currently working on my dissertation, my university journey and experiences have changed my life, transformed me and, indeed, helped me to survive those traumas. I very much hope that others, in future, who have been victims, or those vulnerable in our society, will continue to be able to access such educational opportunities.


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