Dr Bev Back


I grew up in Washington, Tyne and Wear, and began my career working at a Big Four accountancy firm. I then applied to study as an adult learner at the University of Liverpool, being the first in my immediate family to go on to Higher Education. I undertook a BA Classical Studies (Class I), MA Classics (Distinction), and my doctoral studies at Liverpool. I wrote my doctoral thesis on transgression in Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica. 

I have been teaching Latin since 2007 and until 2013 ran my own successful Language and Classics tutoring business in Liverpool. I coordinated and delivered a suite of over 25 courses to adult learners as part of the University of Liverpool Continuing Education (Lifelong Learning) provision, and worked as a Graduate Teaching Fellow and then a University Lecturer in the School of Classics, Archaeology, and Egyptology throughout my doctoral studies. Until 2012, I was also heavily involved in the University of Liverpool Classics outreach programme, involving schools and colleges around Merseyside and the Wirral, and I took an active role in several events for the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations. 

I arrived at Leeds in 2013, where I took up the position of Lecturer in Latin Language and Literature. From 2013–2018, I was the Classics Admissions Tutor at Leeds, a role from which I stepped down on commencing maternity leave in July 2018. I returned to work in September 2019 after having my son. From January 2020 to January 2021, I held the roles of Classics UG Programme Manager and Classics MRes Programme Manager, making key decisions and coordinating our suite of programmes through the most disruptive stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2023 I took up the role of Classics Study Abroad Officer. I devised, built, and manage the Classics Information Hub, and in spring 2024 once again ran Classics 'Shut Up and Write' sessions for those writing their dissertations.


  • Classics Study Abroad Officer
  • Module Manager for the Classics Major Research Project

Research interests

I am passionate about exploring and interrogating how accessible the study of Classics is for those traditionally viewed (or self-identified) as working-class in the UK, and on how neurodiversity might be explored / accepted in the discipline of Classics. I welcome discussion on these issues. I love working with our students to ensure they have access to support throughout their degree, and am proud to run core modules available across all three years of the Classics suite of undergraduate degrees at Leeds.

My other research focus points are primarily centred around Latin epic poetry, in particular that of the post-Augustan era. I was recently invited to contribute a chapter entitled 'Rocking the Boat: Sentient Technology and Metapoetics in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica' to the edited volume Artifical Intelligence in Greek and Roman Epic (Bloomsbury: forthcoming, May 2024) and am currently working on two further research articles: on H. G. Wells’ fin de siècle receptions of the Argo myth as a conduit for exploring anxieties around technological development; and on eyes, vision, and ocularity in Valerius Flaccus. An ongoing major project is tentatively entitled: ‘Dropping the Pilot: the expendable expertise of the classical literary helmsman’. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA Classical Studies (2006: Class I)
  • MA Classics (2008: Distinction)
  • PhD Classics (2013)

Student education

I am passionate about the student experience at the University of Leeds and this is reflected in personal successes. For example, to date I have been nominated for 6 Partnership Awards for excellence in Personal Tutoring and in the quality of the feedback I offer, with the latest in 2024.

As Lecturer in Latin Literature and Language I teach Latin to all levels, Roman history, Roman and Greek literature in translation (in particular epic, which is my specialism), and topics focusing on classical receptions. Courses I teach are student-focused and student-led. As a specialist in pedagogy, I dedicate every Tuesday to research and scholarship activities. Note: the modules to which I contribute are available to fully enrolled undergraduates and postgraduates at the University of Leeds, and are not open to the public.

My research-led module is on The Voyages of Argo. See the upcoming chapter 'Rocking the Boat: Sentient Technology and Metapoetics in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica' in the forthcoming edited volume, Artificial Intelligence in Greek and Roman Epic (Bär, S., and Domouzi, A (eds), April 2024, Bloomsbury). 

I am happy to discuss supervising Undergraduate and Postgraduate dissertation projects on Latin literature in general (though specifically Latin epic poetry), on elements of Roman history (with careful discussion), civil war literature, ships in ancient literature, metapoetry, consolation, and on Classical receptions. I would be happy to explore the possibility of forming part of the supervisory team for PhD supervision.

Research groups and institutes

  • Classics
  • Classics
  • Classics and Ancient History
  • Language pedagogy
  • PRIA
  • Literary studies
  • Centre for World Literatures