Congratulations to Agata Zielinska who has recently completed her LAHP-funded PhD at UCL

‘In October 2020, I completed and handed in my doctoral thesis, titled ‘Territorialization, the Papacy, and the Institutions of the Polish Church, 1198-1357.’ In December, I passed my viva voce examination. The experience of finishing my PhD during the pandemic was certainly not what I expected back in 2016, when it all started!

My thesis looks at how territorial thinking and behaviours influenced how institutions – mostly ecclesiastical, but also lay – developed. While the bulk of my research took place at the British Library, my PhD journey was certainly much more than that. Thanks to the support of LAHP, I was able to attend and speak at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This is the largest international conference dedicated to all things medieval in Europe, and an invaluable opportunity to meet with fellow graduates and ‘the giants’ alike, in a diverse and democratic setting. Working on medieval Poland in the UK, this was particularly important for me as it offered the space to meet Polish medievalists.

One of the highlights of my PhD was a 3-month stay in Paris, at the École nationale des chartes, which is one of the most prestigious places anyone, but perhaps medievalists in particular, can go to study paleography, diplomatic, and codicology. This was enabled by LAHP’s Research Support Fund and the French language classes I was able to take through the Research Training Programme. I think it is important to stress that it was not just the classes I was able to audit in Paris that were beneficial – it was also the opportunity to experience attending a new institution and living in a new city. Those aspects of academic life have a huge impact on how we do our research, and make it all the better’.  

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