Dr. Amy Bryzgel tells us about her role as a Senior Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture and her many other roles in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture. 

Tell us about your role at the University

I wear a number of different hats in my role: as a researcher, I work on performance art from Eastern Europe—this is visual art wherein the artists create live artworks with their bodies, as opposed to painting and sculpture; I am co-chair of the Athena SWAN Committee in my School, Director of the MLitt in Film and Visual Culture, and also Director of the George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, which aims to provide a robust public engagement programme of research-led arts and cultural events.

How do you usually start your day?

With a large cup of coffee! Seriously, though, each day starts differently. One thing I try to do, however, is to not start my day by checking my email, but rather to focus on lecture preparation, writing or reading texts or articles, or other more creative tasks. The reason for this is that I find that teaching and research tends to require a lot of intellectual energy, and the pressures of task completion sometimes depletes that energy. Advice on productivity I’ve read states that prioritizing emails prioritizes other people’s work, rather than your own. So, rather than giving others work to do first thing in the morning (by sending emails) or doing their work (by responding to them), I prioritize my work first. I still read and respond to emails, just at a different time of the day—I feel that this makes me more productive and efficient.

What brought you to the University of Aberdeen?

I saw an advertisement for a position as a lecturer in Art History (I moved to the Department of Film and Visual Culture from Art History two years ago), and the job specification included individuals whose focus was on art from Eastern Europe, so I applied. Turns out it was the best decision of my life, because I’ve found that Aberdeen has a lot of connections with my field of research, and it is a great place to be to do what I do!

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I enjoy many aspects of my job. I also really enjoy working with students and seeing them grow and develop through the duration of a course or their entire studies. I also enjoy working my colleagues in the School of Language, Literature Music and Visual Culture, and find the camaraderie there stimulating. But I suppose the aspect of my job that I take the most pleasure in is writing.

What are your work priorities at the moment?

In terms of my research, I have just completed a major research project that was published as a book, Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960 (Manchester University Press, 2017)—the first complete monographic study of the subject. Now that it’s in print, I am starting a new research project, which is always exciting! I plan on looking at contemporary re-enactments and re-performances of performances from the 1960s and 1970s. Also, our School is focused on revising our Athena SWAN application for submission in April, and I am also looking to revise the MLitt programme in Film and Visual Culture, to make it more practice oriented; I’ve implemented some of those changes this past year, and the students have responded positively.

How do you like to relax outside work?

My partner and I have just moved to Laurencekirk, into our first home, with our very first garden. I love working in the garden—planting flowers, vegetables, even weeding and tending, and caring for the lawn (which we grew from seed!). My garden is an oasis and my sanctuary!