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Introducing: Indira Huliselan

Indira Huliselan recently joined the Institute for History as a PhD candidate within the research project 'Roman Fake News? Documentary Fictions in the Roman Empire'. Below, she introduces herself.

On September 1, 2023, my PhD journey began in the Ancient History section. Over the next four years, I will be working on my dissertation on the strategic use of official documents in Christian polemics during the time of Emperor Constantine the Great, also known as the first Christian emperor.

I began my academic career in the Social Sciences with the propaedeutic degree of Psychology. But soon, the allure of history, linguistics, and art became too strong to resist. I decided to switch to the bachelor of Classics, covering all my interests in one. The choice to change studies to something that made people constantly ask 'So, what can you do with it?' proved to be an important moment for me. Looking back on it now, it was a moment of 'living in the moment', as you will, but also of trusting that if you do what you love, you will find your path. This may all sound a bit spiritual, but in a way this outlook has guided all my doings, especially when it comes to my academic trajectory. In addition to Classics, I began studying Art History, after which I continued with the research master's in Ancient History.

Since I started my master's during Covid, it was behind a laptop screen when I first met Rens Tacoma, during an interview for a position as research trainee in a project in preparation for the one I am working in now. The research traineeship opened many doors − from publications and presentations to an internship at the National Museum of Antiquities. Just like then, I am still in awe that I get the time to read, absorb knowledge, dive into debates and form my own opinion about ancient subjects. I do not think that feeling will ever get old.

Beyond the desk-bound research, I wear another hat − coordinating outreach activities for the project. A role that fits well, thanks to my past as a public service manager at the RKD - Institute of Art History. Green as a leaf when I started, I emerged with newfound confidence, a touch of toughness, and insights into the intricate dance of office dynamics. It taught me something about the ‘real’ world, an experience I value highly.

So, to conclude this introduction, it might be time to actually state something about me − work and education aside. I was born and raised in Alphen aan den Rijn, near Leiden. I have a mixed background, as my grandparents are from the Moluccan Islands, Indonesia, Italy and the Netherlands. So yes, I grew up with amazing food. And yes, the high standard has made me a critical eater. Perhaps paradoxically, I hardly ever cook, simply because I just cannot compete with my partner's cooking skills. Just another random fact: I am allergic to almost all animals, so you will never see me petting a dog or cat. However, this had not stopped my closest ones in their affection for animals, and next to their pets, my greatest loves are my family's two Friesian horses.

I recently left my apartment in Leiden and moved to Utrecht with my better half. On weekends, I enjoy the social life in the city or cocoon on the couch with a mountain of blankets, a good book, or a binge-worthy series. Call it cliché, but I really appreciate my me-time. Balancing between work, sport, a social life, and me-time might sound like a Herculean feat, but aside from my infamous iron discipline, I think the solution is simply to do what you love when it feels like the right time to do so.

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