We are currently building up our roster of mentors, so that we can offer help where it’s needed. If you are interested in acting as a mentor, please fill in this form.
This is an opportunity for working-class classicists of all descriptions to mentor or be mentored by someone from a similar class background. Someone who might have faced similar problems, performed a similar ‘assimilation’ dance, smoothed out a similar accent, been silenced in similar meetings. Conversations in the Network have revealed class-based anxieties around issues like job applications, grant proposals, promotion documents, conference attendance, networking, teaching a large group, teaching a small group (to give just some tip-of-the-iceberg examples) – we believe that a scheme of mentoring relationships will help with these. Mentors can give you the benefit of their experience and expertise, or help you troubleshoot, or just be there with a sympathetic ear (and never mind your accent!).
Who you mentor and who you have as mentor are up to you. We are very much aware of the need for intersectionality in any discussion of class, and so mentees can request support on multiple axes of inequality. A working-class woman can request the support of another working-class woman, for example. The relationships can be more traditionally hierarchical: a senior academic might want to mentor those in the early stages of their career, for example; a graduate student might need advice about job applications from someone in steady academic employment. Or they can operate on a co-mentoring basis: a form of reciprocal mentoring that doesn’t presuppose one of the pair being more experienced or employed at a higher grade than the other but matches people at similar stages in their career. This can be a great way to establish support networks – and that is what working-class classicists have been lacking. We need to be able to see each other, to contact each other, and to support each other. The Old Boys’ Club needs its antidotes. The 93% Club is doing wonderful work to this effect from within the student body, and its local branches are making waves wherever they land. But we need more targeted kinds of support and solidarity, and that’s what we hope to achieve through the NWCC mentoring scheme.