Brian McPhee
PhD Candidate

From September 7 through 9, 2017, I and three other UNC Classics graduate students (Bryanna Lloyd, Keith Penich, and Hannah Sorscher) had the great pleasure of attending the 4th annual KCL-UNC Graduate Student Colloquium in London.  We arrived early on the 7th, and thankfully, we had that entire Thursday to get over our jetlag and enjoy the sights.  Even more thankfully still, one of our own, Bryanna, had done her Master’s at King’s College London—had even stayed in the same dorms where we were put up—so the rest of us enjoyed the convenience of a trusty guide.  The city was walked, Westminster Abbey was toured, and delicious curries were eaten at one of the restaurants on Brick Lane.

Colloquium events began the following morning at the British Museum, where, as a tie-in with this year’s theme (“Objects in Narrative”), each of the graduate students gave brief presentations on one of the items on display.  After discussing our pieces and taking in as much of the rest of the museum as time afforded, we reconvened that evening for the keynote address, delivered by our own Professors Baragwanath and Duncan, before a reception and dinner.  We then got the chance to get to know our graduate counterparts over drinks at (one of the many claimants for being) the oldest pub in London, the delightfully-named Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese—a definite highlight!

Early on Saturday morning, it was time for the colloquium itself, which featured graduate papers on a good mixture of archaeological, historical, and literary topics—many very stimulating indeed.  After each paper, faculty respondents launched a rich discussion with prepared comments; I, for one, can testify to having benefited greatly from the process!  A relaxing dinner and round of drinks followed at the end of a long day of presentations.  We thanked our hosts profusely for their warm reception, and we left London the next morning.  All in all, the trip was a wonderfully rewarding experience, and I think all of us would agree that our only regret was having to leave so soon!