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.