Student Activities at CBOMGS

Students in the Centre have a very active student society that organises research seminars, conferences and an online journal:

Photo of Stavros tou Agiasmati medieval church, Cyprus

Gate to the Eastern Mediterranean (GEM)

A Byzantine tree, logo of GEM, Gate to the Eastern Mediterranean, Student Society of CBOMGS

GEM was created in the academic year 2012-2013 and is the postgraduate student society for the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies.

The aim of GEM is to create a platform for interaction, exchange of ideas and communication of research projects and findings for the students of the Centre.

GEM is run mainly by Postgraduate Research Students, but also serves as a platform that aims to bring together Postgraduate Taught students with Postgraduate Research students. Moreover, it promotes Postgraduate Research studies for undergraduates enrolled on degrees in subject areas related to Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies.

GEM provides an identity for the students of the Centre, as we are students in one field of study that shares a geographical context  but spans a period that spans over 1,500 years – from 1000 years of Byzantium until the present day.

Another important aim of GEM is to improve interaction and awareness of research with student societies in Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies at other universities in the United Kingdom and abroad.

GEM showcases postgraduate research at the University of Birmingham and creates opportunities for interaction and exchanges under the auspices of the Centre while it also encourages collaboration with other societies and departments within the School of History and Cultures at the University of Birmingham and beyond.

GEM events and activities are open to students and staff across the university.

GEM Forum

The focus of the GEM forum is on professional and academic development. Sessions were initially a space for students to present, chair and receive feedback on their work from groups of postgraduate students and staff in an informal and friendly environment with very active Q&A sessions taking place after the presentation of the papers.

Also held in the year 2012-2013 was a very successful Byzantine Studies outreach event organised by, Alex Feldman, a society member. The session was attended by several PGs from the department where refreshments were provided and a general introductory talk to Byzantium was offered before UG attendees and PGs had a chance to mingle and chat.

In developing the forum sessions for the year 2013-2014, a variety of activities were held, including debate sessions with pre-released reading and key questions. The Society members are exposed to activities requiring different skills: chairing, identifying an interesting and relevant discussion topic, running a workshop or an excursion.

The schedule also incorporated excursions to the Mingana Collection at the Cadbury Research Library and the Coin Room at the Barber Institute. Such activities allow promotion of the resources the university offers and make students aware of what they do have access to.

Additionally the programme now includes workshop-style sessions to further support professional development and certain practical skills involved in academia such as how to plan and run a colloquium, as well as the tasks involved in being a journal editor.

The forum is wholly student-led and open to attendees from both inside and outside the university.

The GEM Forum currently meets bi-weekly in the Whitting Room in the Arts Building at 5.15pm on Wednesday evenings.


Launched in January 2014, Diogenes (ISSN 2054-6696) is an open-access and peer-review online journal edited by the postgraduate students at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham.

The journal provides a venue at which postgraduate students can further develop their research ideas and communicate them to a general audience.

The unique combination of research interests at the Centre brings together the often separate fields of Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies. We look forward to any article that actively engages with any of these fields, from students at universities in the UK and abroad.

It is published twice a year: in April and October. 

To view the past issues and Call for Papers, please see here.

If you have any questions regarding getting involved in Diogenes or submitting articles or reviews, please contact the editors: