What was the focus of your work?
The title of my fellowship was ‘Motherhood on ice: fertility, choice and responsibility’ and this project allowed me to continue works undertaken during my PhD which explored women’s use of a new form of fertility extension technology often referred to as ‘social egg freezing’. My fellowship enabled me to maintain research and publishing momentum in my area of expertise, helping me further publish from my doctoral research. It also provided the time to develop new ideas and pursue new areas of work and research activity beyond that undertaken for my PhD, including a small scoping study and the submission of a new funding application.
During my fellowship I submitted for publication two sole author and two joint author journal articles, secured a book contract, and made significant progress on the preparation of my monograph. I also wrote a number of reviews for publishers such as Reproductive Biomedicine Online and ‘Bionews’, published two short media articles on the website ‘The Conversation’, gave several invited talks, and presented at three international conferences. Throughout this fellowship I also developed significant new skills in presenting research to different and diverse audiences, including working with the media. I was interviewed live on radio and television programmes including Radio Four ‘Woman’s Hour’ and ‘World at One’, as well as BBC News and Sky News. I also wrote for, and was quoted in, several media outputs, including the Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Huffington Post and others. I also co-organised two British Sociological Association events and was appointed external examiner at the University of Winchester.
What did the Mildred Blaxter fellowship offer you that you would not otherwise have been able to do?
The fellowship provided me a year’s teaching buy-out from my role as a lecturer, and enabled me to undertake timely work in publishing key findings from my PhD. It also allowed me to pursue opportunities for research funding, media engagement and the preparation of other media outputs and reviews that I may not have been able to pursue alongside a full teaching load. Without this fellowship I am certain I would not have had the time to prepare my research monograph for publication.
What are you doing now?
I have been fortunate enough to continue my work with the Centre for Reproduction Research at De Montfort University and have returned to my role as senior lecturer at the same institution. However, the year-long buy out period I enjoyed during my fellowship has enabled me to secure more time for research alongside my teaching, and I have been able to obtain internal funding to pursue new work. My fellowship provided me with the opportunity to expand my research networks and improve my profile and level of research expertise in my field, which has since resulted in my joining esteemed editorial boards and committees, and has seen me receive multiple invitations to speak to a variety of audiences including academics, professionals, policy makers and wider publics. I am also now prepared for inclusion in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, and have begun to develop a potential impact case study for the following REF cycle.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for a Mildred Blaxter fellowship?
I would definitely recommend the Mildred Blaxter fellowship to those considering applying. I would advise them to think carefully about what they want to achieve during the year and how the fellowship can help them build their CVs and profile in their area of work, as well as to consider how the time the fellowship provides can help them develop new networks and relationships in academia.
After the award…
- Baldwin, K. (2018). Conceptualising women’s motivations for social egg freezing and experience of reproductive delay. Sociology of Health and Illness 40(5): 859-873.
- Baldwin, K. (2018). Review of ‘Eggistentialism’ by Joanne Ryan at the Arcola Theatre, London. Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online 5: 119.
- Baldwin, K. (2018) Review ‘The Egg Rumour’ by The Brewmakers Theatre Company, Birmingham. Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Onliney 6: 55-56.
- Baldwin, K. Culley, L. Hudson, N. and Mitchell, H. (2018). Running out of time: Exploring women’s motivations for social egg freezing. Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology 12: 1-8.
- Baldwin, K. and Culley, L. (2018). Women’s experience of social egg freezing: perceptions of success, risks, and ‘going it alone’. Human Fertility in press.
- Baldwin, K. (forthcoming) Egg freezing, fertility and reproductive choice: negotiating hope, responsibility and modern motherhood. Bingley: Emerald.