Amy Clayton

Please tell us a bit about yourself and tell us why you wanted to study MA Race and Resistance at Leeds.

I moved to Leeds in 2016 to study my undergraduate degree in Ancient History and History. After graduation, I decided to stay on and continue pursuing my interests in history through an MA degree in Race and Resistance. When exploring which MA degrees were offered at the University of Leeds, Race and Resistance particularly stood out to me when I spoke to the tutors at the Postgraduate Open Day. I was also highly recommended this course by friends who were studying on it at the time.

Having studied at Leeds for three years previously I was not ready to leave. My dissertation allowed me to gain a greater understanding of what it means to study history through visiting archives and forming my own project, and this is something I was keen to continue. I not only enjoyed the work I did for my undergraduate degree but I also enjoyed the city and the University itself. Although the University is within the city, it also has a wonderful campus feel where everything is nearby which I loved. I knew that if I was to continue my studies, I only wanted to do it in Leeds.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I am particularly interested in gender history and in particular women’s history. This interest developed through my undergraduate degree and particularly my dissertation, and has been something I have been keen to continue. This course has also introduced me to the issues surrounding knowledge production which has become a key part of my postgraduate dissertation. 

MA Race and Resistance allows each student to develop their individual interests through introducing a variety of topics in the module covering approaches to race. This course has introduced me in greater depth to archives through both seminars in the approaches to race module as well as the researching race and resistance module - through which we went on an archival field trip. This is something that has been of great interest to me as I have enjoyed studying how archives present their research and how some voices have been marginalised.

Furthermore, this course also allows for some optional modules to be chosen. My interest in archives has been furthered through the optional module cover archive collaboration, which involves a practical element and has allowed me to assist with developed a collection giving me valuable insight and experience into archives behind the seen.

What would you say about the support from staff and the learning facilities in the School of History?

The University of Leeds has many great facilitates. There are numerous study areas which enable a quite space to work is always available including a dedicated postgraduate study space in the modern Edward Boyle Library. Furthermore, the specific help provided within the School of History through the tutors' office hours is always excellent allowing you to drop in with any questions or queries if required. This is especially useful in the run up to deadlines.

Dr Kate Dossett has been really supportive throughout this course. She has always provided me with excellent guidance when I have visited in her office hours with issues relating to my assessments.

My dissertation is currently being supervised by Dr Claire Martin. Although Claire does not teach on the Race and Resistance course, she was kindly willing to supervise me as she is an expert in my chosen topic. Throughout the research and planning process I have recently been going through, Claire has been so helpful and has also provided me with excellent guidance throughout.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

Leeds University Union provides an amazing range of societies! Through my undergraduate degree as well as postgraduate degree I have been a keen member of LUU Dancesport club, a ballroom and latin dance society. During my undergraduate degree I was also involved in Leeds Celtics Cheerleaders and LUU Sign Society where I learnt conversational sign language. 

Outside of the university clubs, during my postgraduate degree I have also taken up running. Parkrun, a 5k which is held by volunteers every Saturday morning across the world, is a great community activity. The closest parkrun to the university is at Woodhouse Moor. Also, Hyde Park Harriers running club meet weekly for their long run outside The Edge gym on university campus. Both of these are a great way to stay active and get involved in communities outside of the University.

What do you plan to do when you’ve finished your course?

Although I don’t have a clear idea of what I want to do in the future, the University has allowed me to explore some of my options. As I have mentioned the practical archival module has allowed me to experience the heritage sector which I am keen to further explore. Furthermore, during my undergraduate I enrolled on a module which allowed me to experience working as a high school history teacher, something which I may also be interested in.

Whichever route I chose, my MA degree has enhanced my skills and will allow my CV to stand out. The University provided great guidance through the Careers Centre if and when you are ready to think about future careers.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

MA Race and Resistance is an amazing course which really opens your eyes to what it means to study an international history. You will definitely find something that interests you and there is so much support available when the time comes to further develop your interests and ideas.