Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology
Martin found his exchange with colleagues in Ireland very rewarding, with discussions about not only teaching, but also potential joint research collaborations. The most challenging thing is to find a possible time for the exchange that suits both you and your colleagues.
Hello Martin. What is your department and your subject area?
I am an associate professor and senior lecturer in historical archaeology at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History. My research often concerns questions about how people and buildings have interacted in the landscape. In particular, I have worked a lot with medieval castles. I mainly teach in our courses in building archaeology.
You have taught abroad on several occasions. You have particularly strong roots in Galway, Ireland. Tell us more about it and how the collaboration started.
For the past ten years, I have been part of a network for research on medieval castles in Europe, which meets every two years in different parts of Europe. I have made many contacts, including with Professor Kieran O'Conor of the National University of Ireland (NUI) in Galway, who has research interests similar to mine. Our discussions led to ideas for future collaborations in both teaching and research. I had been to NUI Galway twice, and Kieran has been to Lund once, before the exchange was interrupted due to the pandemic.
Has it been difficult to apply for Erasmus+ teaching staff mobility on these occasions?
No, I wouldn't say that. It is a pretty simple procedure, once you have an agreement with the university you want to go to.
What course components have you taught at the host university? What were the student groups like and how do you think it worked?
I have taught undergraduate and Master's level courses, where I have been able to give the students in Galway perspectives from other parts of Europe on what they are studying at the time. This has included medieval castles in Scandinavia compared to other parts of Europe and methods of landscape and building archaeology. I have lectured, held seminars and participated in field trips with students, but also held seminars for their doctoral students/researchers. Some lectures were for groups of 50–75 students at the undergraduate level, at other times it was about small groups of about ten students in their Master's programme. In the latter cases, there was more personal contact with the students. On the whole, it has worked out better than expected.
Looking back on your recent exchanges, do you find any particular differences or similarities with your teaching in Lund?
It mostly felt similar to what we do at home in terms of course structure. However, I noticed that it seems that there was more teacher-led time in Galway compared to Lund.
What do you think you have gained from these exchanges and collaborations, in terms of research, teaching and personal experience?
The pandemic interrupted the regular exchange I had with Galway, and since I have an assignment as head of department, it has been difficult to find time to resume the contacts. But I have definitely broadened my horizons, seen many interesting places, and started discussions about future research collaboration and more developed student exchanges.
What has been the best part of your exchange periods?
It is always rewarding to gain insight into other environments and meet colleagues with similar interests.
What has been the most challenging?
Finding time during the semester when you can go, as you have to do your regular work duties at the same time. It has been difficult to balance schedules at home and away.