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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Weikert

Research in a Time of Covid

It's the end of April 2021. We've all been in varying forms of lockdown, and probably scared, for more than a year now. Those of us who are lucky enough to be in post in higher education or employed in some sense in the sector have probably been also trying to help and support students alongside our own fear, and maintaining our teaching and administration loads.

How are we getting along?

I find, weirdly, that I am overloaded. That moment when I thought that I'd have time to do things has long passed. Somehow, blindly, at the beginning of lockdown way back in March 2020, when we thought this might take a few weeks to blow over, this translated into a summer of getting to do a lot of writing.

To some degree it was, and there's a lot that I've gotten on with that I've, surprisingly, completed. To count it's two chapters for edited volumes, with two more that need finishing (and no word of a lie, I haven't even started one, sorry, Charlie). Three funding bids gone in, with two small ones successful. An article for the popular press coming up, and a book proposal going in.

At what cost, don't ask.

I'm hopeful in the months to come, as we can, that more good stuff is out there. We can finally move around; a research trip to Canterbury that's been on delay for twelve months might get to happen (hey, Charlie!) I might get to try to start making more selective decisions about what I can reasonably do both in terms of Covid restrictions and my own time.

I love this part of what I do. I love being curious, that feeling of getting so far stuck in your own brain that you've got an overwhelming sense of ideas and thoughts coming together - I've got a great memory of the final throes of writing what became my essay in Barbara Yorke's festschrift sitting in a beat-up Ikea wing-back chair in the corner of my living room, surrounded by papers and books all over the floor, and feeling that that gif of Charlie from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.'

Maybe that time will come again.

In the meanwhile, I'm going to go think about the 'everyday' in the medieval west, and putter about with some thoughts about Queen Matilda and Empress Matilda and 1141. Here's to hoping to get stuck in again.

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