Title of PhD
The Realm of Goddesses in Ancient Mesopotamia from the Late Uruk to the Start of the Old Babylonian Period: The Figure of Inanna.
Briefly describe your area of research
My research project aims to explore the role deities and their cult played in ancient Mesopotamia at the time when writing developed alongside the establishment of administrative centres and the foundation of centralised structures of power (roughly from the end of the 4th mill. BC to the beginning of the 2nd mill. BC).
I am particularly interested in the dimension of gender and the issues associated with its interpretation, both at the theoretical level and in the context of the study of ancient Mesopotamian religion and cult.
Why did you select Reading?
The main reason I came to Reading was to work with my supervisor, Professor Roger Matthews, with whom I had worked previously.
I also felt Reading would suit me because I got the impression that it is a very open place offering outstanding support to its students.
What do you enjoy about studying at Reading?
The best part about Reading is having a shared office with four amazing colleagues. I am aware that in my department this is a luxury in comparison with many other universities, so I appreciate having a dedicated space to myself.
For me, space is very important and Whiteknights is an amazing place where I can go for a walk if I feel stressed or bogged down with work, or grab a cup of tea with a colleague to discuss ideas.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting your research?
My research is interdisciplinary, which can be challenging when collecting data and securing collaborations.
My biggest challenge to date has been to secure research visits to several organisations to carry out work on my case studies.
I have had to liaise with the organisations, the lead researchers and funding bodies in order to secure the visits, and I am still working on it!
What advice would you give a new postgraduate researcher?
Don't be afraid to present your work. Networking is one of the key pieces in building both research confidence and expertise.
I believe that many of my breakthroughs came about in conversation with colleagues, exchanging information and learning about what other researchers are doing.
Also, there are many ways to fund travel and research stays, so be imaginative and keep applying.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
Although I want to ultimately work in academia, I might take a few years out working for a consulting firm in order to build up my management skills and experience.
Eventually, I would like to take on a leadership role in academia that brings together research and management expertise.