We held our first Graduate Workshop in Israel Studies on 14 April 2016, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. EAIS Chair Alan Craig said, “I want to thank all the academic advisors for giving their time and expertise. This workshop is part of the EAIS’s commitment to supporting early career researchers”.  

Graduate students participated from a variety of disciplines  – their doctoral dissertations engaged with the study of Israel. They presented aspects of their research and received feedback on their research from peers and a panel of established academics.

The day-long workshop featured presentation and discussion on methodological, theoretical, practical and ethical issues arising from the graduate-level study of Israel. 19 participants travelled from France, Poland, Israel, Germany and the UK. 

The workshop benefited greatly from the contributions of the academic panel members which included Prof. Colin Shindler (SOAS), Dr. Alan Craig (Leeds), Dr. Yair Wallach (SOAS), Dr. Lior Libman (UCL) and Dr. Jacob Ericsson (York). All gave their time freely. 

Workshop organisers Claudia Prieto Piastro and Rob Pinfold reflected “As doctoral researchers, we both benefited tremendously from the opportunity to organise and run a workshop, bringing us together with like-minded colleagues from all over Europe and Israel. As a group, we covered a range of topics – from methodology to theory and practice, providing vital training for doctoral researchers in the field of Israel Studies. We’d like to thank the EAIS for their generous support and guidance, without whom this would not have been possible.”

Feedback from participants included “It’s hard to organise an inter-disciplinary workshop (but) I found this one very interesting…… I was positively surprised by the informal format …… you’ve done a great job.”

Suggestions for improvement included more time for discussion and feedback; more focus on methodologies; more focus on issues and problems; assign each academic to comment in depth on 2 or 3 papers; perhaps having a key note speaker at the end.

The workshop was closed by Jacob Eriksson, EAIS postgraduate membership secretary, who observed, ‘Doctoral research can feel like a lonely, isolated endeavour, so I think it is important to bring research students together to build an academic community of common interest. All research students are grappling with the same basic issues surrounding methodology, theoretical frameworks, research questions, and case studies, so I think there’s a lot to be learned from these discussions of common problems.’ 

 Participants ended the day with a meal at a central London venue.

Colin Shindler said “ I am delighted to see so many new faces here, evidencing the growing status across Europe of Israel Studies as a field of academic enquiry”.

We are planning to repeat the event in 2017