Created with Sketch.
R, D and the In-betweens
40 minutes | 3 days ago
Preparing for your (STEMM) Viva
In this episode, guest host Dr. Edward Mills talks to Professor Jon Blount, Director of Postgraduate Researcher in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences about preparing for your viva in STEMM subjects. A couple of claifications on rules and regulations at Exeter: Staff members doing a research degree viva will need two external examiners, not two internal examiners It is not possible to 'fail' your first viva - the outcomes are no corrections, minor corrections, major corrections and resubmission For minor corrections, you have 3 months to complete the revisions not two This is the first in a new series of podcasts on the viva, being developed as part of a suite of online resources by Edward for the University of Exeter Doctoral College. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,260 --> 00:00:15,880 Hello and welcome, R, D And in betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece. 2 00:00:15,880 --> 00:00:32,260 And every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,260 --> 00:00:36,200 And welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:36,200 --> 00:00:44,580 This episode comes to you a little late due to an incident with a microphone cable that sadly is no more. 5 00:00:44,580 --> 00:00:51,170 But I'm really delighted for the first time to bring you guest host for R, D and the In Betweens. 6 00:00:51,170 --> 00:00:55,880 So this week, Dr. Edward Mills, who has been a frequent guest on the podcast, 7 00:00:55,880 --> 00:01:02,960 is taking over and bringing us an episode all about preparing for your viiva 8 00:01:02,960 --> 00:01:08,930 So Edward is working with me to develop some online resources and training about preparing for your viva 9 00:01:08,930 --> 00:01:16,550 and that includes a series of podcasts with different academics and examiners and researchers all about the process. 10 00:01:16,550 --> 00:01:23,480 So this is the first of a new series. And over to you, Edward. 11 00:01:23,480 --> 00:01:27,050 Hello. As Kelly said in her intro, my name is Edward. 12 00:01:27,050 --> 00:01:33,890 I am a postdoc in Modern languages. And this episode of R, D and The In Betweens comes to you courtesy of Jon Blount 13 00:01:33,890 --> 00:01:42,080 director of Postgraduate Researchers in CLES, the College of Life Environmental Sciences here at the University of Exeter. 14 00:01:42,080 --> 00:01:48,110 It's part of a series of interviews that I'm doing with DPGRs and examiners from around the 15 00:01:48,110 --> 00:01:54,260 university as part of the preparation for a new suite of resources on preparing for your viva. 16 00:01:54,260 --> 00:02:03,110 And Jon has very kindly agreed that we can use the long form version of our discussion as part of this podcast series. 17 00:02:03,110 --> 00:02:09,470 So I started by asking, Jonn, as you can probably imagine, whether he'd be willing to introduce himself. 18 00:02:09,470 --> 00:02:13,730 Yeah, sure. So I'm I'm Jon Blount. As you said, I'm a professor of animal physiology. 19 00:02:13,730 --> 00:02:17,720 So my sort of parent discipline is bio sciences. 20 00:02:17,720 --> 00:02:25,220 But in CLES, I oversee, in addition to bio sciences, geography, sport and health sciences and psychology as well, including clinical psychology. 21 00:02:25,220 --> 00:02:29,090 So it's quite a diverse range of subject areas and quite large college. 22 00:02:29,090 --> 00:02:34,160 We've got about five hundred and seventy five students, something of that in that order. 23 00:02:34,160 --> 00:02:37,310 You mentioned the diverse college that you have in CLES 24 00:02:37,310 --> 00:02:46,550 And I was really interested to hear about this during the preinterview chat that we had in that you've got researchers from 25 00:02:46,550 --> 00:02:52,190 areas that say human geography who might be quite close to some of the work that we do in humanities and social sciences. 26 00:02:52,190 --> 00:02:59,670 Then you also have, of course, a lot of researchers who are nearer towards the what you might call the hard sciences and in CLES 27 00:02:59,670 --> 00:03:01,370 Is that right? That's right. Yeah. 28 00:03:01,370 --> 00:03:09,140 I mean, most of most of the theses that are examined in this college would be, I guess, what you would call STEM related. 29 00:03:09,140 --> 00:03:13,730 But as you say, towards the sort of human geography and of the geography spectrum, 30 00:03:13,730 --> 00:03:20,150 we do see PhDs that can be examined, including elements of performing arts, for example. 31 00:03:20,150 --> 00:03:25,760 So, you know, a very diverse range of presentations. Yes. 32 00:03:25,760 --> 00:03:34,940 And certainly we're hoping that the material in this discussion that will be useful to people then has people in STEM and everything in between. 33 00:03:34,940 --> 00:03:37,370 I was wondering if we could start just with me, 34 00:03:37,370 --> 00:03:47,960 asking when you tend to advise these students to start thinking about the viva as a moment in their course of study. 35 00:03:47,960 --> 00:03:55,100 I think this is a conversation that will naturally emerge in the final you know, the final year, let's say. 36 00:03:55,100 --> 00:04:01,640 It should be it should be around the time when you're getting deep into writing up and thinking about the 37 00:04:01,640 --> 00:04:06,740 kind of literature that you should be citing to properly represent the field of work that you're in. 38 00:04:06,740 --> 00:04:13,400 I mean, the choice of examiners will be strongly informed by the experience of your supervisory team. 39 00:04:13,400 --> 00:04:19,700 And I think it's important. You know, it's usually the case that students are aware of who their examiners are going to be. 40 00:04:19,700 --> 00:04:26,120 At some point during the latter months when they're finishing up the up stage and end it. 41 00:04:26,120 --> 00:04:29,330 And it's useful at that stage to kind of, you know, 42 00:04:29,330 --> 00:04:36,070 your audience really to think about who's going to be reading this and what literature they are going to be familiar with. 43 00:04:36,070 --> 00:04:40,040 You know, making sure that you properly represent their own research, 44 00:04:40,040 --> 00:04:46,730 perhaps not just the broader field of literature that they will be most knowledgeable about. 45 00:04:46,730 --> 00:04:53,120 So as a sort of follow up to that, then just to sort of try and demystify the process of it. 46 00:04:53,120 --> 00:05:01,580 Could I ask what you as an examiner will do when you're given a thesis or 47 00:05:01,580 --> 00:05:08,330 approached by one of the supervisors first to ask if it's an area you'd be willing to examine. 48 00:05:08,330 --> 00:05:09,540 Yeah. 49 00:05:09,540 --> 00:05:19,200 Your typically you'd be approached by the primary supervisor who would tell you roughly what the subject area is and what how many chapters there are, 50 00:05:19,200 --> 00:05:23,220 roughly how long the thesis says and what kind of format it's in and so on. 51 00:05:23,220 --> 00:05:30,330 And then you decide, you know, whether you're available and able to do it within the timescale that they will identify for. 52 00:05:30,330 --> 00:05:34,770 You know, they'll say to you, look, the candidates looking to submit around so and so and so we you know, 53 00:05:34,770 --> 00:05:38,390 we'd really like to have this done within two or three months of that date. Is that possible? 54 00:05:38,390 --> 00:05:47,070 And you agree or you decline depending on what what you know, what you've got on your plate at the time and so on when the thesis arrives to you, 55 00:05:47,070 --> 00:05:53,880 it will, of course, come electronically and it should also arrive as hard copy. 56 00:05:53,880 --> 00:05:59,160 If it doesn't, most examiners will request that because it's a lot easier to read a large document, 57 00:05:59,160 --> 00:06:03,810 as we all know, you know, in hard copy than on screen. 58 00:06:03,810 --> 00:06:11,040 And most examiners will have a quick flick through the thing when it arrives and just get a sense of the scale of the task ahead of them. 59 00:06:11,040 --> 00:06:17,690 You know, how much time do they feel that they will need to set aside to read this ahead of the thev viva? 60 00:06:17,690 --> 00:06:25,560 Well, if there is a viva. And then usually, you know what most people will do because we've all got a lot of things going on. 61 00:06:25,560 --> 00:06:37,140 It will normally be put to the side until a week or two before the date of the exam or the deadline for the submission of the report for the viva. 62 00:06:37,140 --> 00:06:46,290 And then they will they will intensively read it over a period of whatever's required, you know, two, three days as required and write the comments. 63 00:06:46,290 --> 00:06:54,030 I, I tend to go through the thesis and mark up the hard copy. 64 00:06:54,030 --> 00:06:56,520 And then after I've gone through each chapter, 65 00:06:56,520 --> 00:07:04,680 I'll then type up my notes and think about which bits of it are actually substantive and need to be discussed in a in a viva or 66 00:07:04,680 --> 00:07:11,790 would need to be presented to the candidate as a something they should respond to could potentially require revision and so on. 67 00:07:11,790 --> 00:07:21,620 So in that sort of post submission pre viva period, how do you typically advise a candidate to prepare for the viva? 68 00:07:21,620 --> 00:07:26,730 OK, so after you submit, obviously, there's a great sense of elation that you've sort of crossed the line and you 69 00:07:26,730 --> 00:07:32,100 tend to put the thing in the top drawer and forget about it for a few weeks, 70 00:07:32,100 --> 00:07:38,500 and that's absolutely the right thing to do. You know, just go away and forget about it, relax and do something else. 71 00:07:38,500 --> 00:07:49,390 But when it, when you when you know the date of your viva, I feel it's very important to make sure that you read the thesis and know its contents. 72 00:07:49,390 --> 00:07:53,560 Well, you know, you you can to a greater or lesser extent, 73 00:07:53,560 --> 00:08:00,010 anticipate the kinds of questions they're going to ask about each chapter and perhaps overall 74 00:08:00,010 --> 00:08:03,920 about how the thesis hangs together as a whole and what it what is its broader significance. 75 00:08:03,920 --> 00:08:11,320 So for each chapter, I would encourage candidates to just read it not immediately before the viva 76 00:08:11,320 --> 00:08:15,430 I'm not talking about the day before. I'm talking about maybe a week or two before. 77 00:08:15,430 --> 00:08:20,860 Read the chapter. Make sure you can or are clear in your own mind. 78 00:08:20,860 --> 00:08:26,710 What was the overall aim or question that we were setting out to address here? 79 00:08:26,710 --> 00:08:31,330 What were the what were the major questions and hypotheses that we approach? 80 00:08:31,330 --> 00:08:39,800 What were the major findings? And how do these findings change the way we think about the original question that we set out to answer at the outset? 81 00:08:39,800 --> 00:08:45,520 You know, you can you can if you can answer those sorts of questions in relation to each chapter, 82 00:08:45,520 --> 00:08:50,710 you're going to do absolutely fine, because you're almost certainly going to be asked to explain. 83 00:08:50,710 --> 00:08:55,990 What did you do? Why did you do it? What did you find out? 84 00:08:55,990 --> 00:09:02,980 You want to be all you want to almost be able to explain the purpose or the outcome of each chapter, 85 00:09:02,980 --> 00:09:10,300 as if you were writing a lay summary or or as if you were, you know, explaining to a non-specialist in the kitchen a party. 86 00:09:10,300 --> 00:09:14,540 You know what? Why what do you do? Why did you do that? What who cares? 87 00:09:14,540 --> 00:09:23,080 What did you find out? And in a conversational kind of way, you want to give a fairly pithy answer to those sorts of questions, 88 00:09:23,080 --> 00:09:32,660 because you're almost certainly going to be asked. And that's really I think preparation is the key. 89 00:09:32,660 --> 00:09:40,220 Think about potential weaknesses. It's not your role to hide any potential weaknesses that you're aware of. 90 00:09:40,220 --> 00:09:50,180 It's okay to be open and talk about them, too. The examiner's main job is, as I said before, is to make sure that you wrote the thesis. 91 00:09:50,180 --> 00:09:55,130 So just make sure that you you do remember its content. 92 00:09:55,130 --> 00:09:59,140 Don't put it to one side and then literally don't look at it again for three months and 93 00:09:59,140 --> 00:10:04,050 then go into the room because you're gonna be asked detailed questions about his content. 94 00:10:04,050 --> 00:10:09,050 And you mentioned this sort of writing of reports that takes place before the viva. 95 00:10:09,050 --> 00:10:12,800 Could you say a bit more about that and about the role of different examiners? 96 00:10:12,800 --> 00:10:22,040 Because, of course, there will be more than one. Yeah, there'll be an external examiner and one or more internal examiners. 97 00:10:22,040 --> 00:10:29,510 If, for example, a member of staff themselves went for a PhD, if they didn't have a PhD already, they might do a PhD as 98 00:10:29,510 --> 00:10:33,860 part of their work for Exeter. They would then require two internal examiners. 99 00:10:33,860 --> 00:10:40,070 But, you know, there there are sort of process related things like that that might determine how many people are in the room. 100 00:10:40,070 --> 00:10:46,400 But, you know, there's going to be an internal examiner. At least one of those is going to be one external examiner potentially two external examiners. 101 00:10:46,400 --> 00:10:54,290 If the thesis covers a very broad range of expertise, is that requires a bit more inputs to examine. 102 00:10:54,290 --> 00:10:58,550 And there might be a non examining independent chair whose role is just to oversee proceedings. 103 00:10:58,550 --> 00:11:03,320 They don't they don't read the thesis and they won't contributes the conversation 104 00:11:03,320 --> 00:11:07,340 other than to chip in and sort of bring things back on course if they feel that, 105 00:11:07,340 --> 00:11:13,370 you know, you've overrun the time that's available or something like that. And I think that's actually our requirement, isn't it? 106 00:11:13,370 --> 00:11:19,910 With the new virtual Vivas in the age of COVID, it is a requirement of the online virtual Vivas. 107 00:11:19,910 --> 00:11:26,990 It's not a requirement, typically, unless there's something like, you know, one of the examiners has not examined at the level of the award before. 108 00:11:26,990 --> 00:11:31,800 It might require a non-examiningchair to be present just to oversee, oversee proceedings. 109 00:11:31,800 --> 00:11:35,480 As I say, their role is just to make sure that the regulations are followed really, 110 00:11:35,480 --> 00:11:41,140 and that the candidate has a fair crack, the whip to defend their thesis, as we say. 111 00:11:41,140 --> 00:11:42,800 And obviously the first step, I imagine, 112 00:11:42,800 --> 00:11:50,870 is defending the thesis comes in the form of the examiners producing these reports on what you as a candidate have written. 113 00:11:50,870 --> 00:11:54,920 Could you say a bit more about what goes into these reports at all? 114 00:11:54,920 --> 00:12:02,540 Yes. So that the preliminary reports are written independently by the each individual examiner. 115 00:12:02,540 --> 00:12:12,080 And they will give an abridged version of their overall comments that they've already written up in note form or in longhand. 116 00:12:12,080 --> 00:12:15,470 You know, they would just give a sort of a sense of where they of 117 00:12:15,470 --> 00:12:19,550 what they feel the likely outcome will be on the basis of the thesis that they've read. 118 00:12:19,550 --> 00:12:30,980 They will give a tentative recommendation at the end. I think this is I think this is worthy of the award of PhD 119 00:12:30,980 --> 00:12:35,390 It's subject to perhaps some revisions in the areas that I've outlined above. 120 00:12:35,390 --> 00:12:41,540 That's the kind of the way that that report typically. And and then then then examiners share those reports with each other. 121 00:12:41,540 --> 00:12:47,570 Usually the day before the exam, just so they're aware of the gist of what each other's feelings are. 122 00:12:47,570 --> 00:12:55,490 It's useful to have that for context. And then but you wouldn't modify those reports at that stage, even if you identified differences in your view. 123 00:12:55,490 --> 00:12:58,700 So that's that's quite normal. 124 00:12:58,700 --> 00:13:08,450 But then on that, you know, after the after the viva has taken place, the examiners would then get together virtually. 125 00:13:08,450 --> 00:13:14,990 In the current circumstances or physically, they would get together a room and they would draw up a report, 126 00:13:14,990 --> 00:13:18,710 a joint report where they make their recommendation. 127 00:13:18,710 --> 00:13:26,360 This should be awarded, you know, subject to revisions or whatever the recommendation is, though, they'll state, what their recommendation is. 128 00:13:26,360 --> 00:13:32,380 And then if there are revisions required, they'll list them. That's that's the function of the final report. 129 00:13:32,380 --> 00:13:40,580 The period, of course, when the examiners are doing this before the viva itself starts is one of high tension for the student candidate. 130 00:13:40,580 --> 00:13:53,140 I remember it myself, very well, what advice do you tend to give to PGR is going into the viva about nerves and how to handle them? 131 00:13:53,140 --> 00:13:54,800 I think I think the first thing to say is, you know, 132 00:13:54,800 --> 00:14:00,030 try not to be nervous because you know more about this thing than anyone else does almost certainly. 133 00:14:00,030 --> 00:14:06,570 And that the primary function of the examiners is just to make sure to verify that you indeed wrote this thing yourself. 134 00:14:06,570 --> 00:14:10,850 You know, this is an independent, independent piece of research. And you are the author. That's their primary function. 135 00:14:10,850 --> 00:14:14,330 So, you know, of course, that is almost invariably going to be the case. 136 00:14:14,330 --> 00:14:20,180 So, you know, you should go into this feeling that you're in control. 137 00:14:20,180 --> 00:14:24,600 You know, to us to a greater or lesser extent, that you know more about this than anyone else. 138 00:14:24,600 --> 00:14:31,760 So you shouldn't. Although it's almost impossible. Not to become anxious ahead of a major life event like this. 139 00:14:31,760 --> 00:14:35,850 The examiners are going to want you to do well. And I think it's important that, you know, 140 00:14:35,850 --> 00:14:42,970 that the candidates recognise that good examiners will set you at ease when you walk into the room just by 141 00:14:42,970 --> 00:14:51,210 asking you some rather banal questions about what you've been up to since you submitted the thing or you know, 142 00:14:51,210 --> 00:15:00,190 that just conversation starts ready to break the ice. They might even give you a sense of the likely outcome before that final proper begins. 143 00:15:00,190 --> 00:15:04,110 So everybody wants you to do well. 144 00:15:04,110 --> 00:15:11,290 And in an ideal world, you will be put at ease relatively quickly after the thing starts. 145 00:15:11,290 --> 00:15:18,520 And that's something that's come up a lot, actually, in the discussions I've had with examiners and DPGRs across across colleges that 146 00:15:18,520 --> 00:15:24,130 examiners will often give an indication early on over the way the wind is blowing. 147 00:15:24,130 --> 00:15:24,430 Obviously, 148 00:15:24,430 --> 00:15:32,020 that might not always be the case and you might not get this sort of early indication of whether you're going to pass with major corrections, 149 00:15:32,020 --> 00:15:35,440 minor corrections, no corrections or so on if you don't get that. 150 00:15:35,440 --> 00:15:39,470 Is that necessarily a bad thing from the outset of either place? 151 00:15:39,470 --> 00:15:47,500 So it's sometimes quite difficult to give a precise indication because it may not be cut and dry whether they will want you to make revisions or not. 152 00:15:47,500 --> 00:15:54,520 You know, some of the some of the items that they've, some of the things they've itemised in the provisional list of corrections that 153 00:15:54,520 --> 00:15:58,750 they they want to discuss with you will end up just being put to one side, 154 00:15:58,750 --> 00:16:03,550 having had a discussion. It's the misunderstandings cleared up and it doesn't actually require revision. 155 00:16:03,550 --> 00:16:13,150 So I think I wouldn't be at all concerned if you're not given an indication of the likely outcome is is quite often 156 00:16:13,150 --> 00:16:20,680 difficult to be definitive before you've actually heard the candidate speak and wants to do the questions in. 157 00:16:20,680 --> 00:16:27,820 So once we're into the meat of the viva, if you like, past the initial introductions, those those early questions. 158 00:16:27,820 --> 00:16:34,270 Is there anything that you as an examiner like to see that gives you confidence in the 159 00:16:34,270 --> 00:16:38,380 candidate that you examine in confidence that the candidate knows what they're doing, 160 00:16:38,380 --> 00:16:42,400 knows what they're talking about? I mean, you're you know, you're an examiner. 161 00:16:42,400 --> 00:16:47,050 You're looking for a thesis, a thesis that's well, well presented and has been proofs 162 00:16:47,050 --> 00:16:49,210 Read 163 00:16:49,210 --> 00:16:59,230 It makes the task of examining so much more enjoyable if you feel that the candidate has taken care over the presentation and then the proofreading, 164 00:16:59,230 --> 00:17:01,660 you know, there's really no excuse for it to be littered with typos. 165 00:17:01,660 --> 00:17:08,470 And it sets the tone in the wrong direction from the outset because you're creating a 166 00:17:08,470 --> 00:17:13,660 great deal more work for the examiners if you haven't had time or bothered to do that, 167 00:17:13,660 --> 00:17:20,800 work yourself. You know, similarly, you want to see a good you want to be easy to navigate. 168 00:17:20,800 --> 00:17:28,350 So you want see a good context content section so you can find all the different bits easily and cross-reference things when you need to. 169 00:17:28,350 --> 00:17:33,940 You're to make sure that the literature is appropriately cited. We've touched on that already. 170 00:17:33,940 --> 00:17:40,450 And the other thing I suppose to say here is I think it's important to make sure 171 00:17:40,450 --> 00:17:44,950 that you deal with all all the revisions that you're given at the end of it. 172 00:17:44,950 --> 00:17:49,360 You know that the final report that you receive at the end of viva will 173 00:17:49,360 --> 00:17:54,760 potentially have a list of things that the examiners want you to correct or amend. 174 00:17:54,760 --> 00:17:59,590 And, you know, occasionally candidates don't agree with all of those things. 175 00:17:59,590 --> 00:18:03,080 And and they might then choose to sort of argue the point. 176 00:18:03,080 --> 00:18:11,890 And I would strongly advise against that, because it doesn't it just doesn't end well for the candidate, because it just draws out the process. 177 00:18:11,890 --> 00:18:19,410 And basically the examiners are highly unlikely to. To back down on an amendment that they've asked for. 178 00:18:19,410 --> 00:18:28,890 So that's a really interesting point, Just to check are you referring specifically to amendments that are proposed post Viva or to the kind of 179 00:18:28,890 --> 00:18:35,280 discussions that you'd have in the propositions made by the examiners during the viva itself? 180 00:18:35,280 --> 00:18:36,180 No. No, 181 00:18:36,180 --> 00:18:44,220 During the discussion, I mean, it's absolutely fine to sort of argue, argue the point and perhaps not argue, but of robust discussion about something. 182 00:18:44,220 --> 00:18:50,160 If if the examiners ask you to change the way some piece of statistical analysis is done or something and you don't agree, 183 00:18:50,160 --> 00:18:56,260 then it's absolutely your prerogative to figure out why you feel that they're wrong and they may well be wrong. 184 00:18:56,260 --> 00:19:00,000 I mean, that could be an example of a potential amendment that they then just scrub 185 00:19:00,000 --> 00:19:03,810 out off the list because they realise that they misunderstood or something. 186 00:19:03,810 --> 00:19:10,800 But at the end of the process, if there are amendments or corrections requested, it will come in the form of a list. 187 00:19:10,800 --> 00:19:15,810 And, you know, you've basically just got to do what you've been asked to do at that stage. 188 00:19:15,810 --> 00:19:21,480 There's no point arguing candidates occasionally will feel that they want to do that. 189 00:19:21,480 --> 00:19:26,790 But it's a pointless exercise would be my advice. 190 00:19:26,790 --> 00:19:29,010 Yeah. Thanks for clarifying that. 191 00:19:29,010 --> 00:19:38,620 Actually, I think that resonates with a lot of what people have heard in HASS subjects as well about the need to engage in this robust discussion, 192 00:19:38,620 --> 00:19:44,700 during the viva itsel on that topic, actually, of a sort of robust discussion. 193 00:19:44,700 --> 00:19:52,130 How do you tend to encourage candidates to reach that stage? 194 00:19:52,130 --> 00:19:59,060 Well, one thing that I've heard before from a lot of people is the value of not getting too defensive in the viva 195 00:19:59,060 --> 00:20:08,130 Yes. I think, you know, you got a break. You got to recognise that. You know, exams will vary and some examiners are just human beings, 196 00:20:08,130 --> 00:20:14,810 right so they will have different demeanours and ways of approaching things and different manners of asking questions. 197 00:20:14,810 --> 00:20:21,930 But as a candidate, whatever you're presented with, you've just got to stay cool and listen to the question carefully. 198 00:20:21,930 --> 00:20:26,190 And, you know, above all, don't don't don't argue. 199 00:20:26,190 --> 00:20:32,580 Just take your time. Listen to it. Ask. Ask for a clarification if you don't understand the question properly. 200 00:20:32,580 --> 00:20:37,200 Once you do understand what they're getting out, you know, whatever it is. 201 00:20:37,200 --> 00:20:47,100 Just give a calm answer. This is the best advice really is absolutely no point folding your arms and arguing. 202 00:20:47,100 --> 00:20:51,930 So when you say don't argue. It sounds like a kind of demeanour thing. 203 00:20:51,930 --> 00:20:55,890 Almost. Don't don't snap back. Just keep your cool. If that makes sense. 204 00:20:55,890 --> 00:21:03,000 Very often in in STEM subject areas that, you know, there will be multiple ways of doing something. 205 00:21:03,000 --> 00:21:07,770 And the examiners may have their own particular preference of how something should be done. 206 00:21:07,770 --> 00:21:09,870 And they may say to you, I think you should do it like this. 207 00:21:09,870 --> 00:21:20,280 And it say it's absolutely fine to try to reason with the examiner why you feel the way you've done it is it is an alternative or adequate approach to. 208 00:21:20,280 --> 00:21:25,500 And, you know, a good examiner, a good board of examiners would accept that they'd listen to and accept that. 209 00:21:25,500 --> 00:21:28,860 And actually, that will sort of bolster their confidence that you are in command of this. 210 00:21:28,860 --> 00:21:32,940 And as I said, it is your PhD. And you know more about this to anyone else. 211 00:21:32,940 --> 00:21:37,950 And in many cases, examiners will simply say, that's absolutely fine. 212 00:21:37,950 --> 00:21:44,400 And drop the point. You will occasionally get situations where examiner is absolutely adamant that they want something done in a particular way. 213 00:21:44,400 --> 00:21:51,990 And you very strongly disagree. And that's the sort of bit where the internal examiners role really comes to the fore there, 214 00:21:51,990 --> 00:21:59,370 because they ought to be experienced enough to, you know, recognise a point when, you know, we've exhausted this. 215 00:21:59,370 --> 00:22:05,130 Now let's move on. And they will potentially intervene and say, I think we think we've covered this now. 216 00:22:05,130 --> 00:22:06,120 We'll move on at the end. 217 00:22:06,120 --> 00:22:12,660 And then, you know, yet when you see the report, the and you'll find out what the decision has been as to what they want you to do. 218 00:22:12,660 --> 00:22:19,830 But that's the point at which you there's no point arguing, just jumping back slightly, if that's okay. 219 00:22:19,830 --> 00:22:25,350 One thing that you mentioned earlier was the importance of signposting and there being a clear structure throughout the thesis. 220 00:22:25,350 --> 00:22:32,820 And another thing that came out of our discussion before I hit the big red record button was this notion of the results chapter, 221 00:22:32,820 --> 00:22:42,240 which sounds in some ways that's quite a specific STEM thing for listeners who are a maybe HASS subjects. 222 00:22:42,240 --> 00:22:50,790 Would you be able to say a little bit more about what you mean by that and how that might apply more generally, this notion of results chapter? 223 00:22:50,790 --> 00:22:57,060 So the typical structure of a PhDthesis in STEM would be an introductory chapter, 224 00:22:57,060 --> 00:23:04,230 which might be a sort of a literature review type chapter that sets the research questions in the context of the existing 225 00:23:04,230 --> 00:23:11,550 literature and identifies the gaps in knowledge that you're going to address that may or may not be publishable units, 226 00:23:11,550 --> 00:23:17,910 if you like, in its own right. It might end up being a review article in in in in the STEM literature, 227 00:23:17,910 --> 00:23:25,230 or it might just serve the purpose of being part of the thesis that sort of bookends the results chapters which are in the middle. 228 00:23:25,230 --> 00:23:32,370 So after your introductory general introduction, you would typically then have a series of, you know, what we call results chapters. 229 00:23:32,370 --> 00:23:38,730 So each of those will have its own introduction methods, results, discussion, reference list and so on. 230 00:23:38,730 --> 00:23:49,740 They may or may not have been submitted for publication, as you know, individual publishable units at the point by which you have the viva. 231 00:23:49,740 --> 00:23:51,060 If they have been published, 232 00:23:51,060 --> 00:23:57,630 it's very often the case that you'll just have an interesting chat about the contents of it and what we found out about it. 233 00:23:57,630 --> 00:24:02,100 You know, what was the main question? How did you address it? What were the main findings? 234 00:24:02,100 --> 00:24:07,380 How does this change the way we view the world? You know, but they won't nit pick about details. 235 00:24:07,380 --> 00:24:11,820 And why did you do your analysis in this way? Did you think about doing in a different way? 236 00:24:11,820 --> 00:24:16,460 Because it's already been subject to peer review and and it's published. 237 00:24:16,460 --> 00:24:22,470 You know, what's the point of changing a part of a thesis that's already in the public domain as a published article? 238 00:24:22,470 --> 00:24:27,900 So most examiners won't ask you to revise published chapters. 239 00:24:27,900 --> 00:24:31,620 It can happen, but it's it's relatively unusual. 240 00:24:31,620 --> 00:24:37,180 They're more likely to spend more time talking about the aspects of the thesis which are potentially publishable, 241 00:24:37,180 --> 00:24:41,460 i.e., the results chapters which have not yet been submitted for peer review. 242 00:24:41,460 --> 00:24:46,690 So they'll be doing the job of external peer review is at that stage. 243 00:24:46,690 --> 00:24:54,540 And actually, that conversation that happens in the Viva is really, really helpful for you for when you come to write those papers up for publication, 244 00:24:54,540 --> 00:25:00,480 submit them, because hopefully with all of that expert opinion you've already had about this piece of work, 245 00:25:00,480 --> 00:25:02,920 you'll have covered many of the issues that the. 246 00:25:02,920 --> 00:25:11,110 The reviewers might might have picked up and how helpful is it, at least in in STEM specifically to compartmentalise in this way? 247 00:25:11,110 --> 00:25:17,610 I mean, I'm assuming most reviewers will take it in a relatively chapter by chapter like fashion. 248 00:25:17,610 --> 00:25:23,100 They will actually, in this subject it's actually the most common format for these conversations will be to let's start with 249 00:25:23,100 --> 00:25:30,060 chapter one and then two and three and so on you can you can approach this and examine other ways entirely up to you, 250 00:25:30,060 --> 00:25:35,940 how you approach it. But with the agreement of all the examiners, you could go it in a very much wider way. 251 00:25:35,940 --> 00:25:40,050 And just and just start with the really broad questions about, you know, what have we learnt? 252 00:25:40,050 --> 00:25:46,530 How does this how does this how does the findings of your thesis change the way we think about the original questions you set out? 253 00:25:46,530 --> 00:25:53,400 And then just sort of pick up on individual bits of it as you as you sort of navigate through that conversation. 254 00:25:53,400 --> 00:25:59,970 And that might be the more appropriate way to do it. If, for example, as exceptionally to be fair, but if, for example, 255 00:25:59,970 --> 00:26:07,110 the candidate had already published all of their results, chapters in the peer reviewed scientific literature, 256 00:26:07,110 --> 00:26:15,930 then it might be appropriate to have a slightly different style of conversation in the viva, where you just go at it from a much broader perspective. 257 00:26:15,930 --> 00:26:20,010 I was going to ask actually on that subjects, would you recommend, therefore, 258 00:26:20,010 --> 00:26:30,180 at least in STEMM subject that candidates try and sort of publish as much as possible prior to their PhD just to give themselves that insurance? 259 00:26:30,180 --> 00:26:34,610 I wouldn't say recommend because it's so project specific. You know, some it's some projects. 260 00:26:34,610 --> 00:26:38,760 The results only come towards the end. It's just a necessary part of it. 261 00:26:38,760 --> 00:26:44,460 You know, if you're working on a longitudinal study of a mammal in the wild or something, 262 00:26:44,460 --> 00:26:49,920 you might only get all of your data in the final year and so on. So it's almost impossible to publish as you go. 263 00:26:49,920 --> 00:26:56,160 But, you know, in in this subject area, we are we're all obsessed, if you like, 264 00:26:56,160 --> 00:27:01,590 in our careers are judged on the numbers and quality of the publications that we produce. 265 00:27:01,590 --> 00:27:09,420 And so, you know, all all supervisors will be encouraging you to look for opportunities to publish as you go. 266 00:27:09,420 --> 00:27:14,510 Based on that, then, would publication make you untouchable in a viva on a given chapter, 267 00:27:14,510 --> 00:27:18,540 or is that, as I suspect, something of an oversimplification? 268 00:27:18,540 --> 00:27:25,290 It's an oversimplification, but, you know, the role of the examiners is to make sure you have been examined. 269 00:27:25,290 --> 00:27:31,350 You know, it'd be remiss of them just to have a laid back conversation if you just because you've published everything, 270 00:27:31,350 --> 00:27:37,710 they would be looking to test you on your thoughts about what are the most significant parts of what you've found. 271 00:27:37,710 --> 00:27:42,990 And, you know, why should we care about what you've found and how could this apply to fields, you know, 272 00:27:42,990 --> 00:27:48,240 outside of your immediate gaze and subject area and so on, mean they will as experienced academics, 273 00:27:48,240 --> 00:27:51,360 they will want to make you feel like you've had an exam, 274 00:27:51,360 --> 00:28:02,510 although a constructive and enjoyable conversation that just for the final part of our conversation, I was wondering if we could look at little bit more. 275 00:28:02,510 --> 00:28:07,950 Are some of the outcomes. We've briefly touched on these already. 276 00:28:07,950 --> 00:28:10,230 But just to begin with the basic points. 277 00:28:10,230 --> 00:28:17,910 Am I right in thinking that the standard outcomes od pass with no corrections, with minor corrections, major corrections, 278 00:28:17,910 --> 00:28:27,370 that sort of range of outcomes and of course, other ones alongside that are broadly consistent in STEM subjects as well as in HASS? 279 00:28:27,370 --> 00:28:29,100 The potential outcomes are the same. 280 00:28:29,100 --> 00:28:36,150 And at the end of the viva of the examiners will send you out of the room, you know, physically or figuratively speaking, 281 00:28:36,150 --> 00:28:40,770 if it was a virtual viva and they'll have a conversation about what their recommendations are going to be, 282 00:28:40,770 --> 00:28:44,700 then they'll call you back in and they'll tell you verbally what the recommendation is. 283 00:28:44,700 --> 00:28:50,700 Of course, if it's no corrections, it's just a case of, you know, slapping each other on the back and wishing you well. 284 00:28:50,700 --> 00:28:54,960 If it's if the recommendation is for major or minor corrections, 285 00:28:54,960 --> 00:29:02,400 then they'll explain to you why they feel that's justified and what you're required to do for the award. 286 00:29:02,400 --> 00:29:09,020 And then you will be sent the written up report once they've conferred and actually got it down in writing. 287 00:29:09,020 --> 00:29:17,100 You will be sent that within a few days usually, and you'll be given a period of time in which you need to turn it around and resubmit it. 288 00:29:17,100 --> 00:29:21,300 And then once the revisions are received back at the university administrative hub, 289 00:29:21,300 --> 00:29:29,900 they will be sent to the internal examiners whose role is just to go through and check that you've done all that you were asked to do. 290 00:29:29,900 --> 00:29:35,160 And if there's any uncertainty in their mind about that, they will confer with the external examiner. 291 00:29:35,160 --> 00:29:39,600 But in most cases, the external examiner isn't consulted at that point. 292 00:29:39,600 --> 00:29:47,970 And it the case in sciences as it is in, has subjects that you're not allowed to contact your examiners for further feedback. 293 00:29:47,970 --> 00:29:54,060 No, it's really important you don't contact the examiners. It compromises their position. 294 00:29:54,060 --> 00:29:57,420 They won't welcome the approach and it and it contravenes our rules. 295 00:29:57,420 --> 00:30:04,310 And regs so potentially would render the examination invalid and you'd have to do it again. 296 00:30:04,310 --> 00:30:10,170 There is that the option of going through your supervisor. But that can only happen once. 297 00:30:10,170 --> 00:30:15,090 As I understand it. Yeah. I don't know about the frequency, whether it once or whatever. 298 00:30:15,090 --> 00:30:22,270 It's some it. It's not generally considered to be a good idea for any one to confer with the examiners would be my advice. 299 00:30:22,270 --> 00:30:27,520 You can go back to the internal examiner would be that the supervisor could approach the 300 00:30:27,520 --> 00:30:32,880 internal examiner and ask for clarification about the wording of something that would be okay. 301 00:30:32,880 --> 00:30:39,490 Yeah. I think that would be fine once. And what is the distribution curve, if that's the right term? 302 00:30:39,490 --> 00:30:46,330 Look like what percentage of candidates will get no minor major correction. 303 00:30:46,330 --> 00:30:52,870 So in our college, minor corrections is the most common outcome. 304 00:30:52,870 --> 00:31:00,160 Something like 80 percent of submitted theses will get minor corrections, no corrections, 305 00:31:00,160 --> 00:31:12,070 about 10 percent major corrections or other potential outcomes like a fail or award of a lower degree and MPhil or that sort of thing. 306 00:31:12,070 --> 00:31:20,760 That would be, you know, in the single figures. And how do people tend to react to all of the different outcomes that they might achieve? 307 00:31:20,760 --> 00:31:25,410 I went into my viva I remember hoping for minor corrections. 308 00:31:25,410 --> 00:31:28,930 Is that sort of the attitude to take, would you say? I think so. 309 00:31:28,930 --> 00:31:32,410 I mean, if you if you've prepared the thesis, you know, 310 00:31:32,410 --> 00:31:38,170 if you've if you've had it read by your supervisors and you've gone through rounds of revision and so on, us, 311 00:31:38,170 --> 00:31:43,570 as should be the case, then everyone should feel reasonably confident that the point that which is submitted, 312 00:31:43,570 --> 00:31:47,480 that this is going to get a pass with no no major difficulties. 313 00:31:47,480 --> 00:31:53,830 That's why major corrections or a fail or award of a lower degree is that is a relatively rare outcome. 314 00:31:53,830 --> 00:32:00,060 Yes. Can I ask first what constitutes minor corrections as opposed to say no corrections? 315 00:32:00,060 --> 00:32:08,320 Yeah. So minor corrections is typically could just be a list of typos, you know, or very minor things. 316 00:32:08,320 --> 00:32:13,240 Like I think you should reference this additional area of literature, which you haven't mentioned. 317 00:32:13,240 --> 00:32:21,610 If that list of very minor issues becomes increasingly very long and pervasive throughout the thesis, 318 00:32:21,610 --> 00:32:28,300 then potentially that could in itself swing it towards major corrections because it would require longer than, 319 00:32:28,300 --> 00:32:34,750 you know, just two months to fix sort of thing. It's it's a wholesale rewriting that could potentially constitute major corrections. 320 00:32:34,750 --> 00:32:42,370 The more common justification for the requests of major corrections is if there are aspects of the analysis, 321 00:32:42,370 --> 00:32:48,420 i.e. the data analysis in STEM that require doing again. 322 00:32:48,420 --> 00:32:53,740 And that could potentially also the interpretation, because the results are not known, 323 00:32:53,740 --> 00:33:01,060 because the analysis hasn't been revised and might not require more data gathering. 324 00:33:01,060 --> 00:33:06,360 Or would it be a question for major corrections of reinterpreting the data they already have? 325 00:33:06,360 --> 00:33:12,670 If it required more data to be collected, that would almost invariably constitute a recommendation of major corrections. 326 00:33:12,670 --> 00:33:14,980 Because you can't predict what the outcome of that would be. 327 00:33:14,980 --> 00:33:21,670 That would in fact probably be the sort of thesis that might be failed and would be, you know, 328 00:33:21,670 --> 00:33:25,880 you're asking a student to do more work, substantially more work and then try again. 329 00:33:25,880 --> 00:33:30,610 That that would that would be major corrections. But it's typically it's typically, you know, 330 00:33:30,610 --> 00:33:35,890 examiners might not like the way that the statistical modelling has been done and they feel there's 331 00:33:35,890 --> 00:33:41,260 a reasonable chance that it could render a result that you think is statistically significant, 332 00:33:41,260 --> 00:33:46,840 being non significant, or it could be that they think there's more to this story, 333 00:33:46,840 --> 00:33:50,530 that your analysis hasn't done it justice and, you know, you should do it in a different way. 334 00:33:50,530 --> 00:33:57,010 And that, almost by definition, is is going to result in a recommendation of major corrections. 335 00:33:57,010 --> 00:34:02,350 Presumably, the simple fact of there being more can be done in a given area would not be enough to constitute corrections, though. 336 00:34:02,350 --> 00:34:06,410 It's more to do with your individual project. Yes. 337 00:34:06,410 --> 00:34:14,770 And will more to be done to properly interpret the outcomes of the results that you've posed and the results from your studies? 338 00:34:14,770 --> 00:34:19,210 This has nothing to do with the fact that you may not have covered all the different things you might have done. 339 00:34:19,210 --> 00:34:23,110 That's not their role, but that's not their role to assess. 340 00:34:23,110 --> 00:34:29,740 And how the candidates usually respond if they come out and provide them with major corrections as opposed to, say, minor corrections. 341 00:34:29,740 --> 00:34:36,640 It's usually apparent by the end of the discussion that, you know, if if a thesis is going to get a recommendation of major corrections, 342 00:34:36,640 --> 00:34:41,140 I think the candidate would come out of the viva pretty much expecting that outcome. 343 00:34:41,140 --> 00:34:47,680 It wouldn't typically be a surprise. They'd be told at the end. You know, we're recommending major corrections for the following reasons. 344 00:34:47,680 --> 00:34:55,450 But I think because of that, the nature of the conversation that they've had for the last whatever is two and a half to four hours, 345 00:34:55,450 --> 00:35:02,380 then they would they would have a rough idea of what way the wind is blowing by the end of it. 346 00:35:02,380 --> 00:35:07,340 How do people tend to respond to that? Is it sort of disappointment, acceptance somewhere in between? 347 00:35:07,340 --> 00:35:14,260 Well, I think in acceptance. I mean, most of us, you know, we some people some people will submit a thesis where they know there are issues, 348 00:35:14,260 --> 00:35:20,890 you know, they expect there to be conversation about one ot Two aspects of that already have an inkling that they're going to be asked to do revisions. 349 00:35:20,890 --> 00:35:23,260 It's just a question of how much they're asked to do. 350 00:35:23,260 --> 00:35:29,980 And I don't think it's it's not usually a surprise some people will hand in a thesis in a wishing 351 00:35:29,980 --> 00:35:36,340 they'd had an additional two weeks to polish all the little bits which that could otherwise have done. 352 00:35:36,340 --> 00:35:38,300 And so they'll be expecting some revisions. 353 00:35:38,300 --> 00:35:45,170 But it's just down to the judgement of the examiners really to decide whether it's whether they want revisions and whether it's major or minor. 354 00:35:45,170 --> 00:35:47,020 There are a couple of other points I'd make. 355 00:35:47,020 --> 00:35:56,290 One is that, you know, if it were a recommendation of no corrections doesn't mean that the thesis is absolutely polished and there are no typos in it. 356 00:35:56,290 --> 00:36:02,530 It it's it's at the discretion of the examiners to make a recommendation of no corrections if they feel that it's. 357 00:36:02,530 --> 00:36:06,010 I mean, clearly, it's you know, it's really top notch work. 358 00:36:06,010 --> 00:36:14,260 They just they don't want to burden you with going through and fixing the fact that you you've missed a Full Stop on page 116. 359 00:36:14,260 --> 00:36:19,270 You know, that that's that's the sort of thing the recommendation. No correction doesn't mean there's absolutely nothing wrong. 360 00:36:19,270 --> 00:36:24,850 It just means they've taken the view that you've done far away enough for the award. 361 00:36:24,850 --> 00:36:31,540 So just to conclude, could I ask what your advice would be to somebody who comes out of viva specifically with major corrections, 362 00:36:31,540 --> 00:36:36,400 whether they expected it or otherwise? Well, you know, 363 00:36:36,400 --> 00:36:41,020 take a minute to digest what's being asked of you and the scale of the task of what you need to do and 364 00:36:41,020 --> 00:36:46,420 then confer with your supervisory team and come up with a plan about how you're going to tackle this. 365 00:36:46,420 --> 00:36:55,060 And the timeline of when you're going to achieve this and so on. I think it's worth the risk worth reflecting on the fact that a recommendation 366 00:36:55,060 --> 00:36:59,560 of major corrections or minor corrections or whatever the recommendation is, 367 00:36:59,560 --> 00:37:03,550 it is down to the examiners in their judgement to come up with this view. 368 00:37:03,550 --> 00:37:09,220 But but that decision is also checked by two other senior experienced academics. 369 00:37:09,220 --> 00:37:12,370 It's checked by the college director of postgraduate research. 370 00:37:12,370 --> 00:37:23,420 So every single examiners recommendation that gets submitted back to the PGR administrative team then gets referred to the college director of PGR. 371 00:37:23,420 --> 00:37:32,590 So me in CLES and I go through and I'm specifically looking to see whether I feel the list of recommendations that they've come up with. 372 00:37:32,590 --> 00:37:39,250 Sorry, the list, the list of revisions or amendments that the examiners are requesting justifies the 373 00:37:39,250 --> 00:37:44,560 recommendation that I'm looking for correspondence between the recommendation of major minor, 374 00:37:44,560 --> 00:37:48,960 no corrections and so on. And the revisions are being asked for. 375 00:37:48,960 --> 00:37:55,240 And I and I will sometimes challenge the examiners on that and occasionally I'll overturn it. 376 00:37:55,240 --> 00:38:04,460 But it's usually it's usually the case that I agree with the recommendation after the college director of PGR is checked, 377 00:38:04,460 --> 00:38:08,320 that it then gets referred to the dean of the doctoral college as well. 378 00:38:08,320 --> 00:38:18,460 So to two other people have checked this. And so it should be a sort of a robust recommendation. 379 00:38:18,460 --> 00:38:23,710 Thank you very much to Jon Blount there for taking the time to discuss these questions with me. 380 00:38:23,710 --> 00:38:33,750 It's certainly been really interesting for me from a predominately humanities perspective to get a STEM view on these questions of the viva, 381 00:38:33,750 --> 00:38:38,590 and that would nevertheless hopefully be useful for people from all manner of backgrounds. 382 00:38:38,590 --> 00:38:43,060 I hope it is a useful topic to discuss. 383 00:38:43,060 --> 00:38:45,540 If you're preparing for your own viva yourself. 384 00:38:45,540 --> 00:38:53,290 And I also hope that this interview that we had has done double duty effectively as an episode of R, D and in betweens 385 00:38:53,290 --> 00:38:59,790 Thank you very much to Jon again and thanks for joining me. 386 00:38:59,790 --> 00:39:04,620 And that's it for this episode. Forget to like, rate and subscribe. 387 00:39:04,620 --> 00:39:31,531 Join me next time. We'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
26 minutes | 18 days ago
Mentoring and Coaching with Dr. Kay Guccione
In this episode I talk to Dr. Kay Guccione, Senior Lecturer in Academic Development about her work, research and expertise in mentoring and coaching for researchers. During the podcast Kay mentioned a resource about Choosing, Recruiting and working with a mentor which is available online. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,230 --> 00:00:13,640 Hello and welcome to R, D and The Inbetweens. 2 00:00:13,640 --> 00:00:32,180 I'm your host, Kelly Preece, and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,180 --> 00:00:39,980 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and The Inbetweens. In this episode, I'm going to be talking to my colleague, Dr. Kay Guccione. 4 00:00:39,980 --> 00:00:47,840 Kay, I've known for a few years because of her expertise and amazing work in mentoring and coaching for researchers. 5 00:00:47,840 --> 00:00:53,570 So I wanted to invite Kay on the podcast to talk about why it's important to have a mentor. 6 00:00:53,570 --> 00:00:59,630 What thebenefits are also about how she sets up mentoring schemes for researchers. 7 00:00:59,630 --> 00:01:04,910 So, Kay, happy to introduce yourself. My name is Kay Guccione. 8 00:01:04,910 --> 00:01:09,860 I work at Glasgow Caledonian University and I work in academic development. 9 00:01:09,860 --> 00:01:18,920 I lead on things like professional recognition through HEA accreditation, but also on mentoring and community building for our staff who teach. 10 00:01:18,920 --> 00:01:26,030 So the reason we want to chat today was about the kind of mentoring and coaching aspect of the work you do. 11 00:01:26,030 --> 00:01:34,790 And I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about how how you became interested in this area, because you've done a huge amount work in it. 12 00:01:34,790 --> 00:01:41,750 Yeah, I. You know, I never had a mentor until really recently or really anybody who's played a role. 13 00:01:41,750 --> 00:01:47,360 Anything in my development, like mentoring is, as we understand it now as a professional practise. 14 00:01:47,360 --> 00:01:49,500 And really, my undergrad and PhD looking back, 15 00:01:49,500 --> 00:01:57,590 I really have made use of that kind of thing because as a person who likes to sound things out makes up my mind by doing that sort of, 16 00:01:57,590 --> 00:02:02,840 you know, talking it through, seeing what comes out and then making sense of that. 17 00:02:02,840 --> 00:02:06,200 I could have used that kind of development myself. 18 00:02:06,200 --> 00:02:14,720 But my first encounter with mentoring was when I moved out of postdoc and I was a science postdoc and I moved into being a postdoc developer. 19 00:02:14,720 --> 00:02:23,920 So research developer and one of the projects on the long list of things to do for postdocs just said you're mentoring programme as as the Concordat 20 00:02:23,920 --> 00:02:27,770 did in that days. You know, it just it said postdocs should have some mentoring. 21 00:02:27,770 --> 00:02:32,360 So it was a really blank canvas open to whatever we made of it. 22 00:02:32,360 --> 00:02:35,390 Really, I don't know anything about mentoring. I never experienced it firsthand. 23 00:02:35,390 --> 00:02:41,930 So I popped over to Sheffield Hallam University to meet Paul Stokes in the mentoring and 24 00:02:41,930 --> 00:02:47,240 Coaching Research Unit down there and to get the support of that team really in terms of, 25 00:02:47,240 --> 00:02:51,050 you know, what's a programme? What does it look like? What is happening? What was mentoring? 26 00:02:51,050 --> 00:02:56,060 What the mentor supposed to do? So very naive. Which went along and ask some experts. 27 00:02:56,060 --> 00:03:00,410 I suppose that's a particular skill of mine. Go and ask someone who knows. 28 00:03:00,410 --> 00:03:06,440 And we started the programme and it immediately became my favourite piece of work. 29 00:03:06,440 --> 00:03:13,780 You can see the transformation happening and mentoring is really rich learning and it's personalised to each individual mentee that comes in. 30 00:03:13,780 --> 00:03:20,990 And because it's contextualised as it helps them do the things that they want to do, it has really immediate impact. 31 00:03:20,990 --> 00:03:30,040 And people were raving about it, about the quality of the conversations that they were having with their mentors and what it was enabling them to do. 32 00:03:30,040 --> 00:03:33,830 It became just a dream to work on. So over time, that programme grew. 33 00:03:33,830 --> 00:03:39,200 It became massive. It went to institutional level and then spun off into smaller programmes like thesis 34 00:03:39,200 --> 00:03:45,080 mentoring and the mentoring for researchers who want to get careers outside the academy. 35 00:03:45,080 --> 00:03:51,060 And then from that into a suite of new programmes supporting people across the University of Sheffield. 36 00:03:51,060 --> 00:03:57,800 Alongside that, I'd done a Masters is a master's in education with a coaching and mentoring specialism through the University of Derby. 37 00:03:57,800 --> 00:04:04,760 So I have imbibed all experience at programme development level and then all the training that underpins it. 38 00:04:04,760 --> 00:04:14,810 I was able to make a case very during a team restructure that there should be a role dedicated to mentoring, coaching in communities. 39 00:04:14,810 --> 00:04:20,750 And I did that role in Sheffield from 2012 to 2019. They want to move to GCU in 2019. 40 00:04:20,750 --> 00:04:26,970 That sort of work, again, became a large part of my role because it works, you know, because it's something we can put into place. 41 00:04:26,970 --> 00:04:31,670 It's I mean, it's personalised and we see the results within six months of what is going on. 42 00:04:31,670 --> 00:04:41,480 So that's fabulous. You know, you said just that, you know, how much you enjoy that work and how quickly you see the impact and the benefits. 43 00:04:41,480 --> 00:04:52,160 I mean, making that case for a dedicated role to look at mentoring, coaching, it's not it's not an easy thing within. 44 00:04:52,160 --> 00:04:59,000 A higher education. But could you talk a little bit about some of the impact and benefits that you see? 45 00:04:59,000 --> 00:05:07,590 Yes. And I think the thing the thing was that helps me making that case when the role is that mentoring isn't the way I see is. 46 00:05:07,590 --> 00:05:14,400 Mentoring isn't a project has very limited reach. If it's seen as something that is a project, you know, alongside, 47 00:05:14,400 --> 00:05:19,140 we do this kind of training course and that kind of network and this kind of mentoring programme. 48 00:05:19,140 --> 00:05:23,880 If you see mentoring as something systemic, you know, and you think in systems of mentoring. 49 00:05:23,880 --> 00:05:26,370 So we've got the senior academics mentoring the junior academics. 50 00:05:26,370 --> 00:05:31,630 They're mentoring the postdocs, postdocs mentoring the PGR as PGRs are peer mentoring with each other. 51 00:05:31,630 --> 00:05:38,460 And, you know, it's if you see as something that cascades out and understand the difference that can be made, 52 00:05:38,460 --> 00:05:44,850 if everybody has this skill set and everyone can apply that skill set not just to a mentoring programme, 53 00:05:44,850 --> 00:05:48,940 but, you know, in small group teaching, you can use these skills as a line manager. 54 00:05:48,940 --> 00:05:52,290 You can use these skills as a PhD supervisor, you can use these skills. 55 00:05:52,290 --> 00:06:03,840 So once I became to see it as a systems of work, it was much easier to show what impact it would have at that organisational level. 56 00:06:03,840 --> 00:06:07,940 And in terms of the individuals that that's where it starts, you know, the impact on this person. 57 00:06:07,940 --> 00:06:14,340 So I guess at its most basic level, mentoring is a confidential space where someone can sit down, 58 00:06:14,340 --> 00:06:18,750 think out loud, check things out and just find out how stuff works. 59 00:06:18,750 --> 00:06:23,410 So even at that basic one to one level, there's probably something in it for everyone, 60 00:06:23,410 --> 00:06:30,420 because the questions that you have and the things you want to talk about a personal to you coming into that mentoring programme, 61 00:06:30,420 --> 00:06:36,990 the mentors, they're you know, they help you make some time and some space to actually sit down and think about yourself for a change. 62 00:06:36,990 --> 00:06:40,560 Think about where you go in. We don't often get to do. A real privilege. 63 00:06:40,560 --> 00:06:48,420 And I think the quality of the plans we put into action are probably represented by the quality of the thinking that went into them. 64 00:06:48,420 --> 00:06:56,660 So being able to find our feet and find our way forward is something that's a key impact of those mentoring kind of conversations. 65 00:06:56,660 --> 00:07:00,180 You know, if it depends what people are looking for, it's a chance to be heard and really listened to. 66 00:07:00,180 --> 00:07:03,240 That's not very common in pressured competitive environments, 67 00:07:03,240 --> 00:07:10,890 particularly suited to the research environment, I think, to make that space to be heard and be listened to. 68 00:07:10,890 --> 00:07:16,920 And, you know, if we understand how something works, the game of academia, what the rules are, how to navigate it with them, 69 00:07:16,920 --> 00:07:26,370 building confidence to try things out and building confidence in ourselves as researchers and ask people who have something to contribute. 70 00:07:26,370 --> 00:07:30,450 If you're kind of person, who needs a bit of a push or some accountability to say, get your papers written. 71 00:07:30,450 --> 00:07:36,810 A mentor can help with that. If you're someone who needs, you know, at a time where they need a get support and a sympathetic ear. 72 00:07:36,810 --> 00:07:41,220 Mentors can offer that. If it's just a, you know, case of what next. 73 00:07:41,220 --> 00:07:44,470 I don't know what the options are on where to go. Mentors can offer that as well. 74 00:07:44,470 --> 00:07:49,000 So whatever you bring to it, that's what you work on. 75 00:07:49,000 --> 00:07:56,610 And I think if people see it really as an arena for doing a piece of planning rather than for solving a problem particularly, 76 00:07:56,610 --> 00:08:01,500 you can start to see how it fits into into everyday work and everyday life. 77 00:08:01,500 --> 00:08:08,010 And we've all got things on the horizon we need to think about. Let's do that thinking in a systematic way with someone who wants to help us. 78 00:08:08,010 --> 00:08:11,870 And I think it gives us that time to do what you know, 79 00:08:11,870 --> 00:08:20,670 we we don't have time to do so often at higher education, which is to take a step back and reflect and plan. 80 00:08:20,670 --> 00:08:26,700 And I know in in my role as a researcher developer, which obviously, you know, you've done that as well. 81 00:08:26,700 --> 00:08:31,320 And now as a senior lecturer working in academic development, 82 00:08:31,320 --> 00:08:38,250 you know that the time and the facility for that just feels like it's dwindling as a 83 00:08:38,250 --> 00:08:45,180 kind of academic workloads and expectations and outputs and everything kind of grows. 84 00:08:45,180 --> 00:08:52,740 But actually, it's those conversations like you're talking about those plans that planning, that time for reflection, 85 00:08:52,740 --> 00:09:00,590 for strategic thinking about what comes next, that's actually going to help us to do the productive aspect of it. 86 00:09:00,590 --> 00:09:07,800 Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's there's very famous cartoon where there's a sort of a cave dwelling person pushing 87 00:09:07,800 --> 00:09:12,870 a cart with square wheels and there's the developer there offering them round wheels and they say, 88 00:09:12,870 --> 00:09:19,410 you know, I haven't got time for this. I'm too busy. And you figure this would really help with what you're trying to achieve? 89 00:09:19,410 --> 00:09:23,760 And I think absolutely, we cannot deny that workloads have rocketed. 90 00:09:23,760 --> 00:09:28,680 There's not enough staff in universities. Everybody's doing at least a job and a half right now. 91 00:09:28,680 --> 00:09:33,540 And I think as somebody who designs programmes and designs mentoring conversations, 92 00:09:33,540 --> 00:09:39,750 even just having the chance to go and meet a mentor is being pushed out. 93 00:09:39,750 --> 00:09:43,530 So it's a cases and, you know, how else can we get these conversations into things? 94 00:09:43,530 --> 00:09:46,980 How can we make them part of peer observations or peer review? 95 00:09:46,980 --> 00:09:51,450 How can we make them part of team meetings or annual appraisal systems and. 96 00:09:51,450 --> 00:09:55,590 How can we we get these. The quality of conversation. 97 00:09:55,590 --> 00:10:03,540 Two things people are obliged to do, even if they can't find time to sort of, you know, sit down for the hour. 98 00:10:03,540 --> 00:10:10,740 What can be done and trying to find ways to fit it in a simple cost is for postgraduate and early career researchers. 99 00:10:10,740 --> 00:10:18,870 I wonder if you could say something about maybe the benefits of engaging in mentoring and coaching at that stage of your career. 100 00:10:18,870 --> 00:10:29,800 But also why it's something that they should make the time for, because they're not necessarily part of those kind of line management type structures. 101 00:10:29,800 --> 00:10:36,750 to a certain extent. I think it is about readiness because mentoring is a piece of work that researchers do. 102 00:10:36,750 --> 00:10:42,330 You know, it's not it's not a magic fix. It's not a case of going off to meet somebody and then receiving the answers. 103 00:10:42,330 --> 00:10:53,640 It is a piece of self evaluation. It requires you to be open and be honest with yourself, at least about where it is you want to go. 104 00:10:53,640 --> 00:10:59,610 And where you're at right now. So I would say firstly, if people really believe it's not for them and don't want to, 105 00:10:59,610 --> 00:11:05,070 that's absolutely fine, because it does require a certain amount of energy and input from the researcher. 106 00:11:05,070 --> 00:11:09,110 But if you are ready for that and you're thinking, you know, who do I choose and how? 107 00:11:09,110 --> 00:11:14,130 I'm happy to pass on a whole resource that I've got about how to consider that. 108 00:11:14,130 --> 00:11:21,540 I'll make sure that that gets passed over. Linked to the main things to think about are who do you. 109 00:11:21,540 --> 00:11:28,500 Who do you want to work with? Who would you like to speak to? And the people who you might identify as being really appropriate mentors, 110 00:11:28,500 --> 00:11:33,180 people with big CVs, lots of publications, you know, big research teams, actually. 111 00:11:33,180 --> 00:11:39,510 Are they the best mentors? You know, we're looking at mentoring. As I said, is a specific skill sets. 112 00:11:39,510 --> 00:11:42,960 It's an education based skill set, is an interpersonal skill set. 113 00:11:42,960 --> 00:11:49,530 So look around for the person who everybody thinks is a good, you know, a good supporter. 114 00:11:49,530 --> 00:11:53,100 Look at that. Their PhD students. Their postdocs. The research teams. 115 00:11:53,100 --> 00:11:57,180 And you can ask, you know, of a good person to speak to. 116 00:11:57,180 --> 00:12:02,700 And then when you approach a mentor, I would say it's good to tell them who you are, what you might be aiming for, 117 00:12:02,700 --> 00:12:11,610 what you might want from them, where you're aiming to go, perhaps, and then what you've seen about them that you think you could benefit from. 118 00:12:11,610 --> 00:12:20,100 And I think if we start off together on this understanding that mentoring is a piece of work that the mentee does, the mentor is the support for that. 119 00:12:20,100 --> 00:12:20,910 And in order to support, 120 00:12:20,910 --> 00:12:28,740 they've got to have these these great skills were probably in the right mindset for understanding if mentoring is for us right now. 121 00:12:28,740 --> 00:12:33,280 If you are thinking about try and out, but you're hesitating a bit. 122 00:12:33,280 --> 00:12:39,120 I mean, just give it a go. What's what what could happen. You know, you might think, actually, I picked the wrong person. 123 00:12:39,120 --> 00:12:45,990 Never mind. Let's just say thanks and move on or I don't really see what I've got out of that that I couldn't have done on my own. 124 00:12:45,990 --> 00:12:50,970 That's perfectly fine. Some people like to work, you know, in as as an individual on paper, in the heads. 125 00:12:50,970 --> 00:12:54,750 That's fine. It's a skill set. And you can self coach and self mentor. 126 00:12:54,750 --> 00:13:02,040 Once you know these kind of self-analysis tools and ways of thinking, you can ask yourself coaching questions as well. 127 00:13:02,040 --> 00:13:08,470 If there's nobody available to you around, you could get together with peers, talk to friends, have a little coaching session. 128 00:13:08,470 --> 00:13:13,080 You know, there's there's always some way to do the kind of reflection that I'm talking about. 129 00:13:13,080 --> 00:13:19,290 So start small. Build up. Decide if you like it. If you don't know where is in that. 130 00:13:19,290 --> 00:13:28,130 All of this is the schemes that you've run. And I know at Sheffield that the the volume of them kind of in the end was huge, 131 00:13:28,130 --> 00:13:33,810 are there kind of really tangible benefits that you saw from people going through that scheme in terms of 132 00:13:33,810 --> 00:13:39,710 kind of how they move forward with their careers or research completion publication that that sort of thing. 133 00:13:39,710 --> 00:13:42,810 Yeah. I would say when you're evaluating mentor or you want to look first, 134 00:13:42,810 --> 00:13:49,200 they experience people have because that will give you that will give you a sense of what might happen in the future. 135 00:13:49,200 --> 00:13:56,070 Now, with mentoring programmes, you know, can be short just in a few months, six months, say what we probably aren't expecting. 136 00:13:56,070 --> 00:14:00,820 And that time is for someone to get five publications out just because of the timelines that research and publishing 137 00:14:00,820 --> 00:14:10,070 and those kinds of indicators of academic esteem work on different timelines to mentor and obviously so on the. 138 00:14:10,070 --> 00:14:15,920 On the programmes I've worked on, I've always asked people, you know, did this make a difference to your sense of belonging to the university? 139 00:14:15,920 --> 00:14:22,040 Did it make a difference to your confidence? Did it make a difference to the strategies and plans you've put into place? 140 00:14:22,040 --> 00:14:25,850 And then what we see is further down the line that we see the tangible benefits of that. 141 00:14:25,850 --> 00:14:32,130 So we might get the person who gets the fellowship. We might get the person who gets a different job, decides what career they want to move into, 142 00:14:32,130 --> 00:14:39,290 gets their publishing done, gets involved in the kind of outreach or public engagement work that they want to do. 143 00:14:39,290 --> 00:14:41,210 The goals are personal to the individuals. 144 00:14:41,210 --> 00:14:50,480 But if we start with the support, the confidence and the planning, those more tangible or hard benefits will tend to come after that. 145 00:14:50,480 --> 00:14:59,960 And I think that's the key for me in so much of the development work that we do as a researcher, academic people would have a developers. 146 00:14:59,960 --> 00:15:07,190 Is that, you know, sometimes because because of the nature of H-E and the kind of culture of the speed of it, 147 00:15:07,190 --> 00:15:10,600 the level of workload, there's a kind of desire for a quick fix. 148 00:15:10,600 --> 00:15:15,320 There's a kind of okay, but I need something that's gonna give me a very tangible, very clear output now. 149 00:15:15,320 --> 00:15:20,750 So, you know, I have it when people come to workshops. So, you know, we're going to workshop or writing your literature review. 150 00:15:20,750 --> 00:15:24,800 They kind of want to leave. Being able to sit down and write the literature review immediately afterwards, 151 00:15:24,800 --> 00:15:28,420 whereas it's not what we're dealing with is something more complex and that a 152 00:15:28,420 --> 00:15:32,810 more reflective that gets you to kind of work towards being able to do that. 153 00:15:32,810 --> 00:15:37,400 And. And I think I can really see that in what in what you're saying, actually, 154 00:15:37,400 --> 00:15:43,020 it's it's not gonna give it's not necessarily going to give you that immediate kind of. 155 00:15:43,020 --> 00:15:46,890 OK. You've had a meeting. Here's a tangible thing that you can take away. 156 00:15:46,890 --> 00:15:48,920 And you've got output or you've got you know, 157 00:15:48,920 --> 00:15:54,890 you've got something you can write on a CV or look up on a screen or hold in your hand or whatever it is. 158 00:15:54,890 --> 00:16:01,220 It's actually accepting that the benefit that the tangible or the kind of hard benefits, 159 00:16:01,220 --> 00:16:05,700 as you call them, of this tend to come in the long term rather than the short term. 160 00:16:05,700 --> 00:16:09,230 Yeah, absolutely. So this is kind of a transformative process. 161 00:16:09,230 --> 00:16:13,820 And, you know, you might get a person coming into mentoring who's already got all this skills. 162 00:16:13,820 --> 00:16:19,670 They've got all of the aid is there ready to go. And all they need is somebody to say, yes, you can do it, you know? 163 00:16:19,670 --> 00:16:22,430 And then you get to see a very immediate benefit. 164 00:16:22,430 --> 00:16:27,380 But you might also get somebody coming into the same mentoring programme who's just starting a journey. 165 00:16:27,380 --> 00:16:30,110 And it's got to figure out a lot. A lot of things. 166 00:16:30,110 --> 00:16:37,250 You know, they it takes time to have ideas, to develop ideas, to draught writing and to to develop that writing. 167 00:16:37,250 --> 00:16:45,230 I think we absolutely have to look where people come in and where they where they finished mentoring programmes, 168 00:16:45,230 --> 00:16:49,860 you know, the objectives that they set for themselves at the beginning. How far along did they get those? 169 00:16:49,860 --> 00:16:58,370 And some of that's in setting smart objectives, you know. Is it about having 10 papers at the end of this programme or is it about figuring out 170 00:16:58,370 --> 00:17:03,070 one good place to publish and really understanding what that journal is looking for? 171 00:17:03,070 --> 00:17:10,550 We've got different, different people coming in at different stages of their thinking, different stages of their understanding. 172 00:17:10,550 --> 00:17:12,950 And that's why we have to work at the individual level. 173 00:17:12,950 --> 00:17:19,000 We have to make sure that the support that's received is tailored to where that person's at and where they want to go. 174 00:17:19,000 --> 00:17:22,940 You know, I, I know from myself, when I've gone into mentoring, I've gone into it and gone. 175 00:17:22,940 --> 00:17:27,160 I know I need somebody to talk to you, but I don't have any idea what I'm aiming at 176 00:17:27,160 --> 00:17:30,680 And that's that's the most mentees I've worked with. 177 00:17:30,680 --> 00:17:37,440 We don't all turn up going. Here is my goal. You know, sometimes it's like I think something's wrong, 178 00:17:37,440 --> 00:17:42,920 but I'm not sure what it is or I think something could be better or I don't understand what is expected of me. 179 00:17:42,920 --> 00:17:51,500 And these are normal reactions to have at work. You know, it's complex and figuring out different work relationships and figuring out, you know, 180 00:17:51,500 --> 00:17:59,750 what's possible for you and how you'd like to approach that is something that we all go through and a mentor can most definitely help with. 181 00:17:59,750 --> 00:18:06,750 So you mentioned earlier that. You know, a lot of this is is it is an eco system. 182 00:18:06,750 --> 00:18:13,790 Yeah, it's the kind of the senior professors mentoring the senior lecturers, mentoring the kind of newer academics, 183 00:18:13,790 --> 00:18:17,510 mentoring the postdocs, mentoring the PGRs you know, who are mentoring each other. 184 00:18:17,510 --> 00:18:22,970 So it is that kind of top down or bottom up, which is where you want to look at the ecosystem. 185 00:18:22,970 --> 00:18:26,240 And I wondered if you could talk a little bit about how that. 186 00:18:26,240 --> 00:18:37,370 How that kind of looks and operates and the benefits of that kind of level of an engaged mentoring culture amongst academics. 187 00:18:37,370 --> 00:18:45,620 Yeah, so I would say how it looks now is not how it looks when you start it, you don't have to do all in the first instance. 188 00:18:45,620 --> 00:18:51,980 It's not a case of, you know, assembling 10000 people and making a culture of mentoring. 189 00:18:51,980 --> 00:18:59,840 On day three, it's how it started. It started with 12 people, six pairs. 190 00:18:59,840 --> 00:19:06,440 So six academic volunteers and six postdocs is where it started. 191 00:19:06,440 --> 00:19:11,660 And I think if you focus at that point on making sure everybody has a good experience and making 192 00:19:11,660 --> 00:19:16,040 sure at the end of it you understand what's made that a good experience and what the outcomes were, 193 00:19:16,040 --> 00:19:22,190 those people will then start to do the work for you because the postdocs will tell other people this was great. 194 00:19:22,190 --> 00:19:26,780 Get on board with it. You know, if I go back to the mentors and say, would you mentor for us again? 195 00:19:26,780 --> 00:19:30,650 And also can you recommend a colleague? And we started we sought to double up. 196 00:19:30,650 --> 00:19:35,720 So there comes a time when people are experienced as mentors say you got your 197 00:19:35,720 --> 00:19:39,650 most senior academics and they will come to you and start asking questions. 198 00:19:39,650 --> 00:19:49,460 You know, I want. They might say I would like my Masters course to have a mentoring component with industry, or they might say, 199 00:19:49,460 --> 00:19:58,100 I want all of my first year to do peer mentoring conversations with each other as a formative assessment before they get into their four, 200 00:19:58,100 --> 00:20:01,910 they get into their summative assessments and you start to help with that and that. 201 00:20:01,910 --> 00:20:07,310 And so you start to see that the mentors who've had a really good experience want more of it. 202 00:20:07,310 --> 00:20:12,730 They're trying to bring it into the departments for, say, new new academic starters on probation. 203 00:20:12,730 --> 00:20:14,570 They're trying to bring it into their taught courses. 204 00:20:14,570 --> 00:20:18,860 They're trying to bring it in with the people they supervise because they've had that good experience. 205 00:20:18,860 --> 00:20:25,610 They can see the benefits. And then is a case of saying, you know, we've got a lot of people now, postdocs, for example, 206 00:20:25,610 --> 00:20:31,750 who've experienced having a mentor and why shouldn't they have the same skills? 207 00:20:31,750 --> 00:20:35,570 You know, why shouldn't they also be able to apply this? We've got all these PGRs 208 00:20:35,570 --> 00:20:42,500 So, again, it's more recruiting, piloting, trying to understand what's going on, thinking what what do people need to get done? 209 00:20:42,500 --> 00:20:46,160 They need to get their theses done. What have postdocs already done? 210 00:20:46,160 --> 00:20:49,670 They've written their thesis. So here we've got a hook to hang mentoring on. 211 00:20:49,670 --> 00:20:53,960 We say, you know, this is not just about generic career support or career mentoring, 212 00:20:53,960 --> 00:20:58,140 which I actually think PGRs are very well served for most universities now. 213 00:20:58,140 --> 00:21:01,670 But saying what targeted thing can we achieve with mentoring here? 214 00:21:01,670 --> 00:21:07,460 So postdoc thesis mentors was where I went next, coming out of thesis mentoring. 215 00:21:07,460 --> 00:21:14,060 People were saying, I wish I'd had this earlier. I really wish I hadn't left it to the last six months of my PhD to have a mentor. 216 00:21:14,060 --> 00:21:22,330 Fantastic. So what can we do at an early stage? And I'm looking then at a confirmation review which might be called upgrade of first year vivas 217 00:21:22,330 --> 00:21:29,510 But that piece of written work. Students have to do in order to remain on their doctoral course. 218 00:21:29,510 --> 00:21:35,000 And then on the other side of that, recognising that. So having a day, a year, you know, 219 00:21:35,000 --> 00:21:40,310 there might be a national or international mentoring day or other event in the calendar 220 00:21:40,310 --> 00:21:44,690 for your university where you want to highlight all of the good stuff that's going on. 221 00:21:44,690 --> 00:21:51,480 So really championing that and saying, you know, we've had 100000 mentoring conversations at the university in the last year or. 222 00:21:51,480 --> 00:21:56,030 And these are all the different kinds of groups we've served. These are all the different kinds of outcomes. 223 00:21:56,030 --> 00:22:01,580 We have and making sure that's very visible and it's very seen, of course, the university. 224 00:22:01,580 --> 00:22:08,720 But all that grows over time. So, you know, pick your six PGRs and start there and give them a good experience. 225 00:22:08,720 --> 00:22:13,070 And it proves itself and it will grow from there. 226 00:22:13,070 --> 00:22:21,920 Yeah, I think really inspiring and and that's the importance of kind of start small and let people appreciate the benefits. 227 00:22:21,920 --> 00:22:25,750 And then that will in and of itself, in and of itself, do the work for you. 228 00:22:25,750 --> 00:22:32,840 Yeah, absolutely. I was really interested in what you were saying there about the thesis mentoring, because I think one of the things that I, 229 00:22:32,840 --> 00:22:38,720 I find when I talk to PGRs is that as a mentor, they don't think they've got anything to offer. 230 00:22:38,720 --> 00:22:48,560 So they they they sort of would love to have, you know, be a mentee and have a mentor who either are most more experienced senior PGR or an academic, 231 00:22:48,560 --> 00:22:53,900 but they don't see in themselves what they have to offer as a mentor. 232 00:22:53,900 --> 00:22:59,060 I find that really just really challenging sometimes because I think particularly with peer to peer stuff 233 00:22:59,060 --> 00:23:04,340 One of the barriers that that certainly I feel that I have in the research community 234 00:23:04,340 --> 00:23:09,110 is that that it's they don't see the experience they have to offer. 235 00:23:09,110 --> 00:23:17,420 Yeah. And we know PGRs and that's incredible, isn't it, because we see that the huge amount of value that they bring to universities, I mean, 236 00:23:17,420 --> 00:23:22,310 really smart people who've achieved throughout their academic careers, 237 00:23:22,310 --> 00:23:31,220 who've come into a PhD as like independent thinkers and scholars, very proactive people, very engaged people, very smart. 238 00:23:31,220 --> 00:23:35,390 There's very definitely something people can can offer there. 239 00:23:35,390 --> 00:23:38,960 But I think. Because mentoring and the skills of mentoring. 240 00:23:38,960 --> 00:23:47,840 I talked about before this very person centred philosophy. The skills don't rely on the mentor having all the answers they rely on the mentor, 241 00:23:47,840 --> 00:23:54,230 having the appropriate skills to question, to listen, to facilitate and to support other people. 242 00:23:54,230 --> 00:23:58,070 And those are learnt skills. That's not something you just have to have or don't have. 243 00:23:58,070 --> 00:24:02,150 So, you know, every mentoring programme should come with some training for the mentors. 244 00:24:02,150 --> 00:24:10,610 And if you ask me, the mentees. But, you know, as as programme designs and programme owners, we should definitely be preparing mentors, 245 00:24:10,610 --> 00:24:14,510 making sure they've got the skills, making sure they know how to to apply them. 246 00:24:14,510 --> 00:24:21,350 And I think it's really empowering. If you get away from this advice based model of mentoring where the mentor has all the answers, 247 00:24:21,350 --> 00:24:27,650 the mentor asks the question, the mentor gives the answer. Yeah. You know, some of that might take place, but that's only half the story. 248 00:24:27,650 --> 00:24:35,620 It's kind of half mentoring. The the skills of being able to say to somebody, what if you already tried, you know. 249 00:24:35,620 --> 00:24:37,940 Well, how has that gone? And what do you think you're going to do next? 250 00:24:37,940 --> 00:24:43,940 And really facilitating that mentee to think through the different issues that are 251 00:24:43,940 --> 00:24:48,830 going on and to have the power basically to go make that change for themselves. 252 00:24:48,830 --> 00:24:56,620 Thanks so much to Kay for taking the time out of what I know is an incredibly busy schedule to talk to me about coaching ang mentoring. 253 00:24:56,620 --> 00:25:01,130 We're thinking a lot about peer mentoring in particular as Exeter at the moment. 254 00:25:01,130 --> 00:25:06,650 So it was a great to have the opportunity to talk to Kay in detail about how 255 00:25:06,650 --> 00:25:12,260 these things get off the ground and kind of how to kind of take that step back, 256 00:25:12,260 --> 00:25:19,370 start small and let the impact of mentoring kind of do the work for you and growing it, 257 00:25:19,370 --> 00:25:24,740 but also really focussing on the idea that mentoring is not a knowledge base. 258 00:25:24,740 --> 00:25:30,400 It's a skill set. It's not about having all the answers. It's about helping ask the right questions. 259 00:25:30,400 --> 00:25:35,510 And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me. 260 00:25:35,510 --> 00:26:02,117 Next time. We'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
27 minutes | a month ago
Taking a break take 2 - with Dr. Edward Mills
In this episode I talk to regular contributor Dr. Edward Mills about taking a break. As the flipside to my episode with Ellie Hassan before Christmas we discuss what it's like when you're not very good at taking breaks, and how we using our hobbies and interests to get ourselves away from the computer, and the culture of overwork. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,230 --> 00:00:15,870 Hello and welcome to R, D and The Inbetweens. I'm your host, Kelly Preece. 2 00:00:15,870 --> 00:00:32,270 And every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,270 --> 00:00:36,360 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:36,360 --> 00:00:40,280 I'm coming to you from a an almost two week break from work. 5 00:00:40,280 --> 00:00:47,060 So I took a couple of weeks of annual leave and inspired by that, I wanted to do a second podcast episode about taking a break. 6 00:00:47,060 --> 00:00:52,370 So you might remember, I spoke to one of our PGR Ellie Hassan, before Christmas about taking a break. 7 00:00:52,370 --> 00:00:57,440 And she talked about the kind of really practical way she approaches her research 8 00:00:57,440 --> 00:01:01,910 degree as a job and kind of doesn't feel guilty for taking these breaks. 9 00:01:01,910 --> 00:01:05,660 So I thought it might be good to come at it from the other side of the coin. 10 00:01:05,660 --> 00:01:09,200 So I'm talking once again to a regular contributor. 11 00:01:09,200 --> 00:01:20,690 I think we call him now Edward Mills, who is now Dr. Edward Mills, officially about being the kind of people that aren't very good at taking breaks, 12 00:01:20,690 --> 00:01:25,190 who regularly experience burnout, how we manage that, 13 00:01:25,190 --> 00:01:33,740 and also kind of what strategies we have in place and particularly kind of hobbies and activities we engage in. 14 00:01:33,740 --> 00:01:39,630 to basically force us to take those much, much needed breaks. 15 00:01:39,630 --> 00:01:48,380 Okay, so let's start with kind of a million dollar question is, which is why do you find it so difficult to take a break? 16 00:01:48,380 --> 00:01:56,600 I suppose it's just kind of the way I am really the risk of sounding a little bit like I'm sitting on a psychiatrist's couch. 17 00:01:56,600 --> 00:02:03,290 It's it's sort of just the way I've always been at it. I don't quite know why, but I know what that means. 18 00:02:03,290 --> 00:02:11,510 In a practical sense. For me, it means that I'm always thinking about work in one way or another. 19 00:02:11,510 --> 00:02:19,050 And it's quite difficult to train my brain out of that. Yeah, and I, I can relate to that in a lot of ways, but I think different. 20 00:02:19,050 --> 00:02:24,080 I do know why I;m like that, and I think that's probably because of the job that I.m 21 00:02:24,080 --> 00:02:28,460 in the you know, it's it's my job to understand these kind of cultures of work. 22 00:02:28,460 --> 00:02:31,850 And I think there's an anxiety element to it. 23 00:02:31,850 --> 00:02:40,400 There's a perfectionism element to it, significant perfectionism, an element that kind of keeps you feeling like you you must keep working. 24 00:02:40,400 --> 00:02:45,350 And I think being the product of a very particular kind of school system that, you know, 25 00:02:45,350 --> 00:02:49,310 I went to old fashioned grammar school and it was very much kind of like you work 26 00:02:49,310 --> 00:02:55,550 constantly rather than thinking about kind of quality over quantity necessarily. 27 00:02:55,550 --> 00:03:01,160 And one thing to add on that front, actually, I think very often when you hear people say, 28 00:03:01,160 --> 00:03:09,270 oh, I can't stop working, I'm always working, I find it hard to relax. That tends to be seen as something of a humble brag 29 00:03:09,270 --> 00:03:14,460 It's not, though, it's not, though. No, this is the thing, really. Certainly, certainly in my case it's not. 30 00:03:14,460 --> 00:03:18,090 I actually think that in many ways what I do is worse because of this. 31 00:03:18,090 --> 00:03:22,530 This is it can be something of a problem. What I'm saying. 32 00:03:22,530 --> 00:03:27,460 Oh, I'm saying. Oh, I'm always thinking about work. That doesn't mean that I'm always working. 33 00:03:27,460 --> 00:03:34,320 No, what it actually means is that I'm always running on about 30 percent capacity. 34 00:03:34,320 --> 00:03:40,260 Even when I should be running on 100 percent, I'm just running on 30 percent when I should also be running on zero percent. 35 00:03:40,260 --> 00:03:44,190 What is it that that phrase that you said that your dad uses to describe you? 36 00:03:44,190 --> 00:03:54,610 You're either flat, flat out or. Yeah, my my dad my dad had a phrase that he used to describe me, which is I have two speeds. 37 00:03:54,610 --> 00:04:01,860 I'm either flat out as in going flat out or flat out as in flat out on the floor. 38 00:04:01,860 --> 00:04:07,020 Which pretty much sums me up. I think it sums up a lot of people who do who do a PhD 39 00:04:07,020 --> 00:04:10,620 By no means. By no means everybody. Nor is it an ideal to aim towards. 40 00:04:10,620 --> 00:04:14,370 No, but it is a common experience. And I've I've, as you know, 41 00:04:14,370 --> 00:04:21,060 written a bit about this in a chapter that's coming out about the culture of overwork and imposter syndrome and the way that 42 00:04:21,060 --> 00:04:27,410 that feeds into this kind of really complex and toxic culture of kind of we'll just sit in front of a computer and work, 43 00:04:27,410 --> 00:04:28,200 work, work. 44 00:04:28,200 --> 00:04:37,680 But also, you know, the the challenge when you're so invested in the work that you do because you have to be to motivate yourself to to do research, 45 00:04:37,680 --> 00:04:39,720 it's difficult to leave that behind. 46 00:04:39,720 --> 00:04:46,440 I think I'm apart from the fact that I've kind of it's my job and it's now my research to reflect on these things. 47 00:04:46,440 --> 00:04:54,410 I think, you know, having been an academic and I, I always say that I was a very successful academic, 48 00:04:54,410 --> 00:05:01,950 but I was also a very unsuccessful at being an academic in the sense that, you know, I've got good module evaluations. 49 00:05:01,950 --> 00:05:06,660 I presented my work at conferences, I got publications, I brought in research funding. Did all of the ticked all of the boxes. 50 00:05:06,660 --> 00:05:11,190 You've got to tick. But I burned myself out. 51 00:05:11,190 --> 00:05:16,680 I did it twice in the space of five years. And in very different ways. 52 00:05:16,680 --> 00:05:24,660 Very different reasons. But overwork is that is at the heart of it and not being able to really manage work life balance. 53 00:05:24,660 --> 00:05:31,440 And that's why I stopped being an academic. I learnt that actually I wasn't very good at putting those boundaries in place. 54 00:05:31,440 --> 00:05:37,890 And that's why, you know, and I've talked I talk about it a lot. That's why I went into professional services, because it's it's more nine to five. 55 00:05:37,890 --> 00:05:46,800 It's encourages work life balance more. And given the kind of person that I am, it's better for me to manage. 56 00:05:46,800 --> 00:05:49,330 And I suspect that this will come up in the discussion that we have today. 57 00:05:49,330 --> 00:06:03,750 But one of the things to bear in mind when we talk about what I do to to to relax and how I do that is the fact that I I don't have young children, 58 00:06:03,750 --> 00:06:06,840 you know, or really all that many caring responsibilities. 59 00:06:06,840 --> 00:06:16,050 If you want a good example of how diverse people's experiences of engagement with academia are. 60 00:06:16,050 --> 00:06:17,970 Some people, those of you who are on Twitter, 61 00:06:17,970 --> 00:06:28,410 will probably have seen the response recently to academic who who tweeted piece of advice on how they have had 75 published pieces since 2008. 62 00:06:28,410 --> 00:06:30,700 I think it was. 63 00:06:30,700 --> 00:06:38,610 And the responses to that are very interesting because they they highlight how many people are juggling academia with caring responsibilities, 64 00:06:38,610 --> 00:06:43,980 with families, with other jobs, with independent research, with other work. 65 00:06:43,980 --> 00:06:50,260 And that's not something that I myself have necessarily got much experience in doing. 66 00:06:50,260 --> 00:06:56,520 No and it is very much that really old fashioned now mantra publish or perish within the academy. 67 00:06:56,520 --> 00:07:02,910 And it you know, it links into these things about metrics and outputs and the way that we kind of that we value the 68 00:07:02,910 --> 00:07:07,590 outcomes of research in terms of the REF and the way that we value teaching in the in the TEF 69 00:07:07,590 --> 00:07:11,070 And now the KEP has launched. So we got all of the Fs 70 00:07:11,070 --> 00:07:15,690 And I think that the really important thing there is well, there's two really important things. 71 00:07:15,690 --> 00:07:19,860 One is that this is the culture of higher education. 72 00:07:19,860 --> 00:07:28,410 And so, too, it's a kind of go against that and take breaks and have a work life balance and practise self care. 73 00:07:28,410 --> 00:07:34,990 All of these things are a kind of quite a complex, difficult and brave act. 74 00:07:34,990 --> 00:07:41,460 And because you're going against the system essentially. So I often do this and I do a career talk. 75 00:07:41,460 --> 00:07:47,280 It's called I call it an alternative career talk that kind of maps, my career path and work on, if possible, career story. 76 00:07:47,280 --> 00:07:51,960 And it's very good. Yeah, lots of people have seen it lots of times. 77 00:07:51,960 --> 00:07:56,250 I guess it's it's the classic kind of will will carry out talk about this. 78 00:07:56,250 --> 00:08:01,920 But it's it is a reflection on why I stopped being an academic and a lot of ways and I talk about my 79 00:08:01,920 --> 00:08:06,270 life when I was an academic and fact that I was working seven days a week on a four day week contract. 80 00:08:06,270 --> 00:08:08,860 And I was working, you know, from 8 81 00:08:08,860 --> 00:08:17,250 In the morning to 9 o'clock at night, and I was completely burnt out and I had literally no life, I had no you know, I lived away from my family. 82 00:08:17,250 --> 00:08:24,320 I moved to a new place. I wasn't able to make friends because I was working all the time and. 83 00:08:24,320 --> 00:08:27,260 They kind of really negative space that got me into. 84 00:08:27,260 --> 00:08:35,210 And what I've got now and one of the things I talk about now is kind of, you know, the fact that I enjoy my job and I'm good at what I do, 85 00:08:35,210 --> 00:08:49,310 but also that I have these miraculous things called hobbies and interests that I just was not able to have when I was when I was an academic. 86 00:08:49,310 --> 00:08:54,200 And I'm not like I always sort of say I'm not suggesting that you can't do these things as an academic. 87 00:08:54,200 --> 00:08:57,470 I'm saying that I couldn't do these things as an academic. It's very personal. 88 00:08:57,470 --> 00:09:01,880 And I think in many ways you should do these things as you absolutely should. I just wasn't right. 89 00:09:01,880 --> 00:09:05,900 And I know lots of people who managed to do it. I'm not very good at it. 90 00:09:05,900 --> 00:09:11,780 And it's one of those difficult kind of reflections where you go, actually, 91 00:09:11,780 --> 00:09:15,320 I'm really good at this thing, you know, being an academic and there's things about it I love. 92 00:09:15,320 --> 00:09:21,620 But actually it and I aren't really suited for each other in lots of different ways. 93 00:09:21,620 --> 00:09:24,860 And I just wasn't very good at managing that. 94 00:09:24,860 --> 00:09:29,270 But now, as I said, I work an environment that's more nine to five. 95 00:09:29,270 --> 00:09:34,190 So I have that, you know, I have that privilege, I guess. 96 00:09:34,190 --> 00:09:41,540 And it's much more encouraged. But I am much more having burn out so significantly a couple of times. 97 00:09:41,540 --> 00:09:51,500 I am more diligent with myself in recognising the signs, but also be kind of engaging in hobbies and practising self care. 98 00:09:51,500 --> 00:09:55,370 And if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I talk about this non-stop. 99 00:09:55,370 --> 00:10:01,880 And I've got a book chapter coming out about it. So it's it's it's become the thing to talk about, but to talk honestly about it. 100 00:10:01,880 --> 00:10:07,290 And sometimes that's saying, you know, I'm not very good at it. So. 101 00:10:07,290 --> 00:10:13,290 Thinking about that and we can talk about some of mine in a minute, but like what are your what are your hobbies? 102 00:10:13,290 --> 00:10:20,370 What are you. What are the things that you do to take you away from the research that force you into a break? 103 00:10:20,370 --> 00:10:25,770 You know, if we change languages here is would basically be a GCSE French speaking exam. 104 00:10:25,770 --> 00:10:29,580 Always the linguist. Sorry, everybody. No. 105 00:10:29,580 --> 00:10:32,980 So to answer the question, there's a few, I think. 106 00:10:32,980 --> 00:10:39,660 And they fall into a couple of different categories. The general thing that connects them is organised fun. 107 00:10:39,660 --> 00:10:44,020 And in the I love organised fun. I know in the in my research for this 108 00:10:44,020 --> 00:10:47,670 I went up and looked looked up the phrase organised fun favourite definition 109 00:10:47,670 --> 00:10:51,930 for it comes in the ever reliable and ever well sourced urban dictionary, 110 00:10:51,930 --> 00:10:59,670 which describes it as a compulsory activity organised to work, intended to be fun. 111 00:10:59,670 --> 00:11:05,430 But in fact, so lame that it's impossible to actually enjoy ourselves or words to that effect. 112 00:11:05,430 --> 00:11:10,500 They they don't know me. I disagree with that as well. 113 00:11:10,500 --> 00:11:18,300 I've tended to find that because I am generally just not very good at sitting with my feet up and doing nothing. 114 00:11:18,300 --> 00:11:25,860 I tend to gravitate towards activities that have a measurable goal or outcome to them. 115 00:11:25,860 --> 00:11:35,430 So longtime listeners to this podcast. Know, that a few months ago I talked about the benefits of going very fast down a hill on a bike. 116 00:11:35,430 --> 00:11:42,240 I can now confirm I'm actually going slightly slower down the hills on bikes than I was and certainly a lot slower going up the hills on bikes. 117 00:11:42,240 --> 00:11:43,860 Better. I was who I was before. 118 00:11:43,860 --> 00:11:55,170 But with the resumption of organised sport activities, I've got back into cycling with other people again, which is really fun. 119 00:11:55,170 --> 00:12:03,330 It combines the social benefits of seeing other people with not having to just sit and argue, where will we go next? 120 00:12:03,330 --> 00:12:12,290 Because you're constantly moving, which is always a benefit. Also, cafe stops because cafes are good. 121 00:12:12,290 --> 00:12:22,240 If exercise is one of the things I do, though, I think the trend towards organised fun is something that I'd kind of carry elsewhere as well. 122 00:12:22,240 --> 00:12:30,610 So one subject that I have not spoken about before on this podcast is scale modelling. 123 00:12:30,610 --> 00:12:39,410 This is something I have gotten into lately. It is quite possibly the geekiest hobby I've ever had. 124 00:12:39,410 --> 00:12:44,660 And that's saying something. Yes, but it effectively involves making scale models using little kits 125 00:12:44,660 --> 00:12:50,210 Nice. So there is a shelf next to next to the desk that I use, 126 00:12:50,210 --> 00:12:56,720 which is basically full of little models of aircraft in terms of time investment vs. money spent. 127 00:12:56,720 --> 00:13:05,900 They're actually pretty good because for 10 pounds you can get about four or five hours of building out of it. 128 00:13:05,900 --> 00:13:12,170 Effectively, you can do it well or you can do it like I do, which is badly. 129 00:13:12,170 --> 00:13:15,590 But however you do it, what a hobby. 130 00:13:15,590 --> 00:13:20,570 Like scale modelling or I think in your case, is it Lego? 131 00:13:20,570 --> 00:13:27,260 Yes, it's like I would do. Is it will it's a bit difficult to do Lego badly. 132 00:13:27,260 --> 00:13:31,880 I think I would manage it. But whatever the hobby is, and however you do it 133 00:13:31,880 --> 00:13:37,640 The benefit of a hobby like that is that it forces you to spend time away from the screen. 134 00:13:37,640 --> 00:13:42,020 And this is something I think I spoke about on the podcast about writing up a few months back. 135 00:13:42,020 --> 00:13:48,680 about getting away from the screen while still doing something is the main way really in which I relax. 136 00:13:48,680 --> 00:13:53,030 And I think that, like, you know, you said the Lego and I think it's a key example for me. 137 00:13:53,030 --> 00:13:58,360 You know, it's it's very much the same. It has to be organised, kind of goal oriented. 138 00:13:58,360 --> 00:14:07,940 I like following instructions. I'm just that kind of person. And so doing things like building diaogon alley out of Lego 139 00:14:07,940 --> 00:14:16,190 And, you know, the other thing I do with my time, which is sewing or various forms of crafting and crochet, I do embroidery and cross stitch. 140 00:14:16,190 --> 00:14:20,450 Any any of the crafting. I like the productiveness of it. 141 00:14:20,450 --> 00:14:27,980 I feel like it. I think there's an inbuilt thing of feeling, not feeling like I'm wasting time, like I'm getting this. 142 00:14:27,980 --> 00:14:32,090 There's physical output to it. So it's going back to that kind of output mentality. 143 00:14:32,090 --> 00:14:40,280 You know, if there's a dress or a jacket or a shawl or a jumper that says I just need some space surrounded by planets, 144 00:14:40,280 --> 00:14:45,530 that's something I'm currently working on. But I love the idea of the Airfix Excellence Framework 145 00:14:45,530 --> 00:14:50,600 The Lego Excellence Framework. The LEF. Yeah, the LEF. But all of yeah. 146 00:14:50,600 --> 00:14:55,130 All of these things kind of are very instructions oriented. You kind of create something out of it. 147 00:14:55,130 --> 00:14:56,210 Even with the Lego, you know, 148 00:14:56,210 --> 00:15:05,210 I've got I'm looking at various bits of Hogwarts are to the left of me and then diagon alley in the hallway to the right 149 00:15:05,210 --> 00:15:09,920 Hogwarts to the left of me diagon alley to the right. Here I am stuck in the middle. Yes, very much so. 150 00:15:09,920 --> 00:15:14,450 But it's you know, there's there's that sense of output. 151 00:15:14,450 --> 00:15:20,890 But I think for me, coming from a creative background, there's a creativity element to it, particularly to the crafting and the sewing 152 00:15:20,890 --> 00:15:26,690 You know that there is that element that, you know, is in my personality. 153 00:15:26,690 --> 00:15:30,260 But also there's an awful lot of research about the impact of creativity and creative, 154 00:15:30,260 --> 00:15:38,210 active activities on wellbeing and on kind of personal identity and self kind of realisation, 155 00:15:38,210 --> 00:15:45,530 actualisation, all this of stuff, which is why creative practises are used in therapeutic context, right? 156 00:15:45,530 --> 00:15:52,520 Absolutely. And if I can go off on a slight tangent here with respect to some of the research that I've done, 157 00:15:52,520 --> 00:15:59,090 there's a lot of evidence that in creative writing or their most effective ways to do this and to get outputs, 158 00:15:59,090 --> 00:16:02,570 to use that terminology again, is to work on the constraints. 159 00:16:02,570 --> 00:16:10,340 The Olipou movement in post-war France wrote about this idea of 160 00:16:10,340 --> 00:16:16,370 constrained literature whereby in order to motivate yourself and to stimulate yourself, 161 00:16:16,370 --> 00:16:24,050 you give yourself limits within which to work. The most famous example of this is George Perec, who published entire novel that. 162 00:16:24,050 --> 00:16:36,080 Doesn't use the letter E once. Yes. And I think this feeds into the idea of harnessing your personality rather than trying to fight against it. 163 00:16:36,080 --> 00:16:45,440 If you are a working person, by which I mean if you're someone who struggles to switch off, switch off. 164 00:16:45,440 --> 00:16:50,740 And still switch off. And again, I hasten to add, that can often be a very bad thing. 165 00:16:50,740 --> 00:16:52,550 It's absolutely always a very bad thing. 166 00:16:52,550 --> 00:17:02,030 The best way to relax, therefore, is to acknowledge that and give yourself something else to do rather than to try and say no. 167 00:17:02,030 --> 00:17:07,730 Now I am going to relax. The important thing in that case is that you do give yourself things to do. 168 00:17:07,730 --> 00:17:10,770 Otherwise, when you're on your day off, you will. 169 00:17:10,770 --> 00:17:15,940 Find yourself itching just to maybe reply to that one e-mail, it wants to feel like you've not wasted your day. 170 00:17:15,940 --> 00:17:20,130 Yeah, and I think that is kind of that's another bit of it, 171 00:17:20,130 --> 00:17:25,080 because the days where I don't do very much and like, you know, I've just come back from some annual leave. 172 00:17:25,080 --> 00:17:35,130 And actually I was incredibly tired because we've been working flat out since January and there's a global pandemic and, you know, all of these things. 173 00:17:35,130 --> 00:17:40,680 And so I did a lot of sleeping or resting and I didn't actually get to do any 174 00:17:40,680 --> 00:17:44,610 any sewing or any of my kind of hobby type stuff until the end of last week. 175 00:17:44,610 --> 00:17:46,630 And I was really frustrated. I was like, I have waste. 176 00:17:46,630 --> 00:17:55,680 I've wasted wasted the time because the idea that you don't have an output to your time is is really difficult for me. 177 00:17:55,680 --> 00:18:02,460 And so I think what you're saying about harnessing your personality and finding it's you know, it's the stuff I talk about in terms of self care. 178 00:18:02,460 --> 00:18:07,500 It's finding what works for you as a person because it will be incredibly specific. 179 00:18:07,500 --> 00:18:17,070 And hobbies always are incredibly specific. And, you know, sometimes you have to you know, I've I tend to be kind of instructions oriented. 180 00:18:17,070 --> 00:18:24,170 But during the pandemic, I finally committed to taking up the ukulele and had one for a couple of years. 181 00:18:24,170 --> 00:18:31,980 But I hadn't I'd sort of mucked around with it but I hadn't really learnt. But my neighbour, two doors down is a ukulele teacher, so we could have outside lessons. 182 00:18:31,980 --> 00:18:36,930 And it all seemed perfect. And kind of that's been quite a different its creative still 183 00:18:36,930 --> 00:18:42,300 But there's been quite different thing for me because it doesn't have the end product and goal in quite the same way. 184 00:18:42,300 --> 00:18:50,250 So but, you know, I find that once I get practising and playing stuff and kind of singing along to my kind of favourite songs, 185 00:18:50,250 --> 00:18:54,780 which tend to be either kind of 90s pop or the Beatles, 186 00:18:54,780 --> 00:19:04,860 I don't really have a very diverse taste in music then you know that I find that so soothing and so relaxing. 187 00:19:04,860 --> 00:19:09,990 And that's been quite a different thing for me because, like, it it's not that kind of goal oriented. 188 00:19:09,990 --> 00:19:15,870 And also it's something it's something you can do badly. My version of you have to I have to accept that which I'm not very good at. 189 00:19:15,870 --> 00:19:20,970 As a perfectionist, I'm not very good at not immediately being very good at something. 190 00:19:20,970 --> 00:19:29,910 That's been a really tough lesson to learn. Weirdly, my version of that, my kind of slightly less constrained but still creative, 191 00:19:29,910 --> 00:19:34,050 blowing the boundaries between doing nothing and having a rigid set of instructions. 192 00:19:34,050 --> 00:19:40,870 Practise is also musical. It is making arrangements of entirely inappropriate songs for Brass Band. 193 00:19:40,870 --> 00:19:46,200 For Brass Band. Yes. Shout out to Exeter Railway Band look us up. 194 00:19:46,200 --> 00:19:51,510 We have a website and a Twitter page as well. So I've been trying to arrange pop songs, 195 00:19:51,510 --> 00:20:02,100 venga boys Medley's songs from Frozen for Brass Band because I can't imagine anything better than frozen for brass band. 196 00:20:02,100 --> 00:20:11,040 No, it is a step into the unknown, though. You have got to be careful. Niches Frozen 2 joke. 197 00:20:11,040 --> 00:20:15,570 And I think the harnessing of personality thing obviously is is central to this. 198 00:20:15,570 --> 00:20:23,790 But also I, like a lot of people, really struggled with this kind of thing when the pandemic started. 199 00:20:23,790 --> 00:20:30,960 So the pandemic started. And, you know, my concept of work life balance and and everything really went out the window. 200 00:20:30,960 --> 00:20:42,660 And I had to manage my working day in a very different way because, you know, my working life and my home life are now very much integrated. 201 00:20:42,660 --> 00:20:48,460 And so I had to recalibrate a lot of that. And I actually found myself. You know, 202 00:20:48,460 --> 00:20:52,590 and in part due to kind of the fatigue that we all experienced as kind of part 203 00:20:52,590 --> 00:20:56,490 of lockdowns and everything pointing it were difficult to do these things. 204 00:20:56,490 --> 00:21:00,840 So actually, I, I tried to make them into a habit. 205 00:21:00,840 --> 00:21:05,760 So I have I this is I mean, this is a revelation into my personality. 206 00:21:05,760 --> 00:21:17,370 I have reminders on my phone of like chores and tasks I need to do every day. And I added things like read a chapter of a book or, you know, 207 00:21:17,370 --> 00:21:27,570 sew one seam or one step in a garment to just try and push myself to do those things. 208 00:21:27,570 --> 00:21:34,350 And some days, you know, all that I could cope with mentally and physically was to read that one chapter and to say that one seam 209 00:21:34,350 --> 00:21:41,720 But of course, more often than not, you start. And it spirals and. 210 00:21:41,720 --> 00:21:48,410 I found that really helpful as a way to kind of I don't do anymore to have these reminders because I've got back into it, 211 00:21:48,410 --> 00:21:53,270 but it's it was a real kind of way to kick start me back into. 212 00:21:53,270 --> 00:21:56,900 And again, it's harnessing my personality, isn't it? I mean, 213 00:21:56,900 --> 00:22:00,230 I like to tick things off. I don't like having red dots on my phone. 214 00:22:00,230 --> 00:22:08,270 So having it in that way and utilising this kind of lists and reminders was a way to get me back into doing it. 215 00:22:08,270 --> 00:22:13,700 Yeah, kind of like like coaching a football team made of herbs. 216 00:22:13,700 --> 00:22:18,770 A lot of it comes down to time management. Oh, that's terrible. Thank you very much. 217 00:22:18,770 --> 00:22:28,760 But if I were in that situation, I would also put things like do an airfix model or go for a bike ride on my list. 218 00:22:28,760 --> 00:22:32,620 I certainly do put them into my diary, my planner 219 00:22:32,620 --> 00:22:38,390 Yeah, because that's an important part of making sure that those are treated as part of your. 220 00:22:38,390 --> 00:22:44,430 Day to day life and thereby ingraining that sort of time off. 221 00:22:44,430 --> 00:22:49,490 That is might be better described as time doing other stuff here into your routine. 222 00:22:49,490 --> 00:22:57,190 Mm hmm. Absolutely. And. It's so I guess to. 223 00:22:57,190 --> 00:23:04,210 To end on, we've talked about kind of how we force ourselves to take breaks and the hobbies and the interest 224 00:23:04,210 --> 00:23:09,700 that we have and about the importance of harnessing your personality to make it work to you. 225 00:23:09,700 --> 00:23:14,320 So I guess if somebody is out there and they're thinking, okay, but I don't know, you know, 226 00:23:14,320 --> 00:23:20,980 how do I find the Harry Potter Lego sets are my thing or sewing or arranging bengaboys for brass band? 227 00:23:20,980 --> 00:23:28,750 How how how have you gone on that journey to kind of find those those things that work for you? 228 00:23:28,750 --> 00:23:30,100 That's a difficult one to answer, 229 00:23:30,100 --> 00:23:39,650 particularly given that as time as recording opportunities for discovering these kinds of things are a little bit more limited. 230 00:23:39,650 --> 00:23:46,750 Yes, they were. So, I mean, I wouldn't have discovered my interest in arranging for brass band had I not been in a brass band already. 231 00:23:46,750 --> 00:23:53,380 I wouldn't have discovered my interest in scale modelling had I not been able to one day be walking through a garden centre, 232 00:23:53,380 --> 00:23:57,880 see some airfix and think, oh, I might have a go at this. 233 00:23:57,880 --> 00:24:05,170 But my general advice is, as banal as it might be, would be to explore it. 234 00:24:05,170 --> 00:24:11,920 Look at what I think about what kinds of things you like to do rather than emerging in terms of. 235 00:24:11,920 --> 00:24:15,750 Oh. I wouldn't like to do this or I would like to do this. 236 00:24:15,750 --> 00:24:20,850 Think about what you value in an activity and take it from there. 237 00:24:20,850 --> 00:24:26,610 Yeah, and I think for me, actually, this is an interesting point of reflection, 238 00:24:26,610 --> 00:24:38,550 which is that the things that I come back to are the things that I was interested in as a child and as a teenager that really dropped off when, 239 00:24:38,550 --> 00:24:40,680 you know, if you're. 240 00:24:40,680 --> 00:24:47,850 If you're a you know, a dancer or an actor or a performer, you know, I did all of those things, you kind of end up dedicating all of your time to it. 241 00:24:47,850 --> 00:24:51,090 And and then I became an academic and I dedicated all of my time to that. 242 00:24:51,090 --> 00:24:54,850 And so I went back to those things that I really loved as a child. 243 00:24:54,850 --> 00:24:58,870 And one of those was building Lego. One of those was crafting. It wasn't sewinf 244 00:24:58,870 --> 00:25:03,850 It was actually doing cross stitch. I was like an 80 year old lady, an eight year old body. 245 00:25:03,850 --> 00:25:07,290 But reading. And, you know, all of those things. 246 00:25:07,290 --> 00:25:13,890 They were actually things that I really loved when I was younger. And I've I've rediscovered them as an adult. 247 00:25:13,890 --> 00:25:20,160 Which brings me an awful lot of joy. It helps me maintain a work life balance. 248 00:25:20,160 --> 00:25:30,870 And it maintains my status as to quote my my nephew, the coolest aunt in the world, because everybody, 249 00:25:30,870 --> 00:25:37,740 every 11 year old boy wants an aunt with an extensive Harry Potter Lego collection. 250 00:25:37,740 --> 00:25:44,880 I think the activiriwa that you you might enjoy now and activities you enjoyed when you were younger might take on different forms. 251 00:25:44,880 --> 00:25:50,190 It's worth noting, you know, that if you enjoyed playing with Lego as a child, 252 00:25:50,190 --> 00:25:54,540 you might not enjoy playing with Lego as an adult although you probably would. 253 00:25:54,540 --> 00:26:00,540 It might be that that sort of construction idea and that the idea of building things and following instructions. 254 00:26:00,540 --> 00:26:05,790 Yeah. Might be the thing to look for rather than necessarily sticking rigidly to Lego. 255 00:26:05,790 --> 00:26:10,980 But yes, I think it's exploring and thinking about those interests that you've had only said the things that 256 00:26:10,980 --> 00:26:16,200 you value and the things that you've always enjoyed and trying to kind of follow follow that path. 257 00:26:16,200 --> 00:26:22,220 Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Yes, absolutely. Thanks so much to Edward for joining me for this week's episode. 258 00:26:22,220 --> 00:26:29,850 And yeah, go out and find those things that interest you and excite you. 259 00:26:29,850 --> 00:26:31,290 And please, please, please. 260 00:26:31,290 --> 00:26:40,600 If you get the opportunity, do try and build Lego as an adult, you will be really surprised at how much you still enjoy it. 261 00:26:40,600 --> 00:26:45,720 And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe and join me. 262 00:26:45,720 --> 00:27:12,332 Next time. We'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
24 minutes | 2 months ago
Doing non-traditional research with Lizzie Hobson
In this episode I talk to Lizzie Hubson about her experience of doing non-traditional research, using creative research methods to undertake research in Cultural Geography. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,230 --> 00:00:13,640 Hello and welcome to R, D and The Inbetweens. 2 00:00:13,640 --> 00:00:32,180 I'm your host, Kelly Prwwxw, and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,180 --> 00:00:37,190 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens. It's Kelly Preece here 4 00:00:37,190 --> 00:00:44,900 And today, I'm delighted to be bringing you an episode about non traditional research or approaching research, 5 00:00:44,900 --> 00:00:50,090 and research methodologies in non-traditional ways, the benefits, the challenges. 6 00:00:50,090 --> 00:00:54,260 So I'm delighted to welcome Lizzie Hobson who is the PGR in geography. 7 00:00:54,260 --> 00:00:58,220 Lizzie, are you happy to introduce yourself? I'm 8 00:00:58,220 --> 00:01:06,530 Lizzie Hobson from the Geography Department here at Exeter I'm a PhD student in the final kind of throes and stages. 9 00:01:06,530 --> 00:01:11,330 So I'm spending most of my time writing up. 10 00:01:11,330 --> 00:01:21,200 So I guess now I would call myself a cultural geographer. That means I'm mostly interested in the development of landscape theory and geography and 11 00:01:21,200 --> 00:01:28,410 perhaps more broadly about geography of writing kind of effectivity and performance. 12 00:01:28,410 --> 00:01:38,620 Brilliant. Thank you. So the what we gonna talk about today is, quote unquote, doing non-traditional research. 13 00:01:38,620 --> 00:01:40,470 So so kind of unpack back a little. 14 00:01:40,470 --> 00:01:50,550 Can you talk about how how your research breaks the kind of traditional mode of what we expect research to look like a doctoral level? 15 00:01:50,550 --> 00:01:57,200 So a lot of my work is very methods based rather than 16 00:01:57,200 --> 00:02:04,350 And so I kind of engage with theory in a more of a framing statement kind of way and think about how we can 17 00:02:04,350 --> 00:02:11,010 think about ideas kind of differently when we experiment with styles of writing and modes of presentation. 18 00:02:11,010 --> 00:02:14,820 I guess maybe in the simplest sense 19 00:02:14,820 --> 00:02:21,600 my project is about therapeutic landscapes and encounters to think about the therapeutic as kind 20 00:02:21,600 --> 00:02:29,910 of residing more in the encounters between bodies and landscapes and in body practises. 21 00:02:29,910 --> 00:02:36,110 The problem with some of this research is that it puts forward this kind of. 22 00:02:36,110 --> 00:02:44,130 And this is me speaking in a in a general sense, an argument that's led to what we can call the medicalisation of landscape amd nature. 23 00:02:44,130 --> 00:02:50,520 I try and open up what we might judge, as having kind of restorative or recuperative qualities. 24 00:02:50,520 --> 00:02:57,330 And what recovery might mean. And I'm particularly interested in how creative practises might open up some 25 00:02:57,330 --> 00:03:03,240 of these spaces and address some of these questions in more open ended ways, 26 00:03:03,240 --> 00:03:09,060 I guess its pretty, quite useful to go through an example of my work. 27 00:03:09,060 --> 00:03:14,680 So a part of my project is kind of laid out into three. And I got. 28 00:03:14,680 --> 00:03:22,460 A really good opportunity to go to Ithica, which is a small island and part of Greece, 29 00:03:22,460 --> 00:03:31,120 is not a traditional health pilgrimage site in the way Lourdes might be, but it is kind of a health landscape of sorts. 30 00:03:31,120 --> 00:03:38,200 But it kind of ties with these ideas of the therapeutic come from kind of its Greek mythology. 31 00:03:38,200 --> 00:03:45,490 So I didn't do Latin or Greek in school. So I was kind of really unfamiliar with these ideas before I got to Ithica 32 00:03:45,490 --> 00:03:55,480 But Ithica is supposedly the home of Odysseus, who is kind of thought to have spent this 10 years mega journey battling sea monsters and 33 00:03:55,480 --> 00:03:59,660 going through all kinds of mental torment just to kind of return to his beloved homeland, 34 00:03:59,660 --> 00:04:09,370 Ithica. And then because of this and with the help of the poet C.P. Caffery, who wrote this famous poem, Ithica, and for many, 35 00:04:09,370 --> 00:04:18,280 Ithica has come to symbolise this kind of legendary journey that every person makes through life as they look for their own kind of personal Ithica. 36 00:04:18,280 --> 00:04:22,480 And it's become this metaphor for a kind of supreme goal 37 00:04:22,480 --> 00:04:29,710 this kind of sweet homeland where you'll find a kind of internal calmness and satisfaction. 38 00:04:29,710 --> 00:04:37,730 When I was in Ithica, I was lucky enough to spend some time with an archaeologist who took me to Homer's Palace 39 00:04:37,730 --> 00:04:45,850 no Homer's School, which is also thought to be the ruins of Odysseus' palace. 40 00:04:45,850 --> 00:04:49,770 And the thing is, when you go there, you expect this kind of super 41 00:04:49,770 --> 00:04:57,850 grand place like ticketed off kind of all official like English heritage or national trust, what you see with them. 42 00:04:57,850 --> 00:05:01,600 When I got those kind of none of that. And that's really super glad 43 00:05:01,600 --> 00:05:06,190 to have my guide because I wouldn't have known what I was looking at. 44 00:05:06,190 --> 00:05:11,130 There's basically one kind of placket saying you enter the site at your own risk 45 00:05:11,130 --> 00:05:15,850 as it isn't stable and then nothing telling you what you were looking at. 46 00:05:15,850 --> 00:05:24,250 So I kind of started thinking about these kind of grand myths and legends and standing amongst this place that was kind of. 47 00:05:24,250 --> 00:05:30,460 Full of rubble. And I started experimenting with knitting as a practise, 48 00:05:30,460 --> 00:05:39,060 and I didn't if you know those kind of old school geography diagrams where you get those different layers like sediment. 49 00:05:39,060 --> 00:05:43,090 And then you've got the granite layer that's a bit harder on sits on top and lasts a bit longer. 50 00:05:43,090 --> 00:05:49,440 And I think it's probably actually the other way around. But I was thinking about knitting a bit like that. 51 00:05:49,440 --> 00:05:57,010 So knitting is kind of a way to bring the landscapes, kind of absences and presences in gaps into life. 52 00:05:57,010 --> 00:06:02,140 So when I was there, I was kind of interested in the materiality of the place. 53 00:06:02,140 --> 00:06:06,650 That was kind of caught up in this very real process of erosion. 54 00:06:06,650 --> 00:06:11,290 And lack of funds have kind of stopped any kind of like 55 00:06:11,290 --> 00:06:20,110 Oh, gosh, archaeological work. And nothing was kind of roped off in the way Stonehenge was. 56 00:06:20,110 --> 00:06:27,670 When I was talking to my friend, my participant, before I went out on this this trip with the archaeologist, 57 00:06:27,670 --> 00:06:31,480 her partner actually knew the site I mentioned because he was there. 58 00:06:31,480 --> 00:06:32,620 Oh, yeah, I've been there. 59 00:06:32,620 --> 00:06:41,500 I do rock climbing and kind of parkour there as a substitute because there's no gyms, you know, outside it's site for outdoor exercise for him, 60 00:06:41,500 --> 00:06:49,870 which are kind of real madness when you think about heritage site regulations kind of here in the UK. 61 00:06:49,870 --> 00:06:54,610 And yeah, I also got to spend a lot time looking at Ithica's museum collections, 62 00:06:54,610 --> 00:07:02,620 some of the artefacts are kind of rumoured to be linked to as evidence that this was Odysseus' home place. 63 00:07:02,620 --> 00:07:13,630 So, yeah, we looked at these fragments of kind of urns and tripods and it meant to be gifts to Odysseus and kind of spoke to this magical place. 64 00:07:13,630 --> 00:07:24,640 But they also kind of opened up the space to talk about anticipating loss and curated decay and kind of heritage, those potentially beyond saving. 65 00:07:24,640 --> 00:07:30,900 So when you kind of through the process of knitting and forming and reforming the landscape, 66 00:07:30,900 --> 00:07:35,890 it kind of became for me not just about this this magical tale 67 00:07:35,890 --> 00:07:44,980 but about visible mending, decision making and uncertain times and ideas about unbuilding in the process of preservation. 68 00:07:44,980 --> 00:07:48,810 So I started thinking about Ithica, this place of mining memories. 69 00:07:48,810 --> 00:07:53,500 So that's kind of just one example of my practise. 70 00:07:53,500 --> 00:07:58,900 I've done different things and in different places. 71 00:07:58,900 --> 00:08:03,840 That's completely and utterly fascinating. 72 00:08:03,840 --> 00:08:12,620 So, okay, so you've talked about the ways in which your kind of research methods are not traditional. 73 00:08:12,620 --> 00:08:20,960 How how does these practises or things like knitting and the way that if I'm understanding correctly, 74 00:08:20,960 --> 00:08:30,020 that knitting is kind of a practise of recreate and exposing those kind of different layers within these sites? 75 00:08:30,020 --> 00:08:34,980 How how does that form for part of a of a doctoral thesis? 76 00:08:34,980 --> 00:08:44,360 You know, as we said before we started recording, I'm I'm very as an art, as a kind of ex artist and lecturer in the arts. 77 00:08:44,360 --> 00:08:46,040 I am very familiar with this kind of practise. 78 00:08:46,040 --> 00:08:51,770 But thinking about the kind of people out there that are doing very traditional research that don't have a clue about 79 00:08:51,770 --> 00:08:58,040 how kind of these sorts of practises can be incorporated for a research project or be kind of an outcome of research. 80 00:08:58,040 --> 00:09:06,770 How does that work? Like I'm sure quite a lot of different disciplines do is that I keep kind of a field. 81 00:09:06,770 --> 00:09:15,170 note journal. And instead of just classically kind of doing interviews or something like that, I kind of. 82 00:09:15,170 --> 00:09:19,830 And then I do a bit of that as well. But, you know, and keep a diary. 83 00:09:19,830 --> 00:09:24,400 But I also do like lots of sketches and things out in the landscape and things like that. 84 00:09:24,400 --> 00:09:34,250 So when like and like anyone else, I then write it up when I when I get back and I'm making a lot more kind of it out. 85 00:09:34,250 --> 00:09:38,080 I'm kind of. Impressive. So it goes alongside a text 86 00:09:38,080 --> 00:09:44,080 So in the case of the kittting, I kind of I write 87 00:09:44,080 --> 00:09:49,000 Conceptually thing about ruins and kind of ruination in an essay format. 88 00:09:49,000 --> 00:09:55,610 And then I also present my my knitting alongside that. 89 00:09:55,610 --> 00:10:01,990 In that kind of works in photograph form. 90 00:10:01,990 --> 00:10:08,170 I was really interested to hear you describe it as an artist sketchbook. Yeah, I mean, it's one of those things, isn't it? 91 00:10:08,170 --> 00:10:09,970 Does this do a disservice? 92 00:10:09,970 --> 00:10:16,090 That's when one of the thingsmy supervisors said when I think, no, you know, it's probably the best way of encapsulating it. 93 00:10:16,090 --> 00:10:21,780 It's almost more like a magazine than a traditional...more like a magazine. 94 00:10:21,780 --> 00:10:28,640 Again, this is probably the wrong terminology, but. Yeah, so I have. 95 00:10:28,640 --> 00:10:37,580 I have to. I have a lot of I link back to the academic literature, but for me, I'm not practise based. 96 00:10:37,580 --> 00:10:45,170 I haven't gone by performance. And it kind of opens up another huge kind of can of worms around. 97 00:10:45,170 --> 00:10:49,940 what creative methods are who uses them? That thing for me. 98 00:10:49,940 --> 00:10:56,240 It's a way of. Kind of. Using creative methods is a process as a way of kind of slowing down what we think 99 00:10:56,240 --> 00:11:02,110 we know when I'm sitting with kind of uncomfortable moments at the discipline. 100 00:11:02,110 --> 00:11:06,950 And I guess if you were going more by performance, you obviously have your your final end piece. 101 00:11:06,950 --> 00:11:14,490 And that looks very different to what I'm kind of talking about at a non-traditional thesis. 102 00:11:14,490 --> 00:11:22,600 Yeah, absolutely. And like what you're talking about and how you're talking about it, really. 103 00:11:22,600 --> 00:11:30,230 The kind of methodology that your approach you're approaching in that artist's sketchbook really it sounds, you know, 104 00:11:30,230 --> 00:11:36,640 to make a parallel for people who aren't familiar with this kind of thing, it really sounds like kind of how you document ethnographic fieldwork. 105 00:11:36,640 --> 00:11:48,400 Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, it's it's very similar in its approach, but it's taking more creative forms of documentation and. 106 00:11:48,400 --> 00:11:53,590 Thinking about data in a much, much broader. 107 00:11:53,590 --> 00:11:58,140 And way as kind of being beyond. 108 00:11:58,140 --> 00:12:06,410 And, you know, words, numbers, which a lot of our kind of data and research tends to be either numerical or linguistic. 109 00:12:06,410 --> 00:12:13,900 But also thinking about. Practises of knowledge and understanding that go beyond the numerical and the linguistic. 110 00:12:13,900 --> 00:12:23,270 So, you know, I'm thinking as a as a person with an arts background. You know, we talk to a lot about experiential learning. 111 00:12:23,270 --> 00:12:37,010 And wht we would call embodied knowing say things that you might know through experience or intuition that you can't necessarily put into language. 112 00:12:37,010 --> 00:12:50,060 So it sounds to me like you're incorporating all of those different forms of knowledge and learning into kind of one really rich set of data. 113 00:12:50,060 --> 00:12:57,120 Yeah. It's all about non-representational theory and. 114 00:12:57,120 --> 00:13:04,690 And yeah embodied and bodied ways and bodily ways of knowing. And I think that that's that's one of the challenges, right, 115 00:13:04,690 --> 00:13:17,790 of doing this kind of research in an academic environment that even though it's actually not new to approach research in this kind of way, it's still. 116 00:13:17,790 --> 00:13:20,490 I don't want to always say looked down on, because that isn't always the case, 117 00:13:20,490 --> 00:13:27,720 but it's it's not valued in the same way sort of across the sector or across all disciplines 118 00:13:27,720 --> 00:13:33,840 in higher education that more traditional research methods and forms of knowledge are. 119 00:13:33,840 --> 00:13:41,520 And that's really one of the key. I would imagine one of the key challenges of doing research in this way is kind of having to. 120 00:13:41,520 --> 00:13:46,650 To justify it to the to the wider academy is that something that you experience? 121 00:13:46,650 --> 00:13:51,420 I think I'm. I'm really lucky because I work in a little pocket. 122 00:13:51,420 --> 00:13:57,410 And so I've got a lot of kind of like minded people, which again, I guess is why in. 123 00:13:57,410 --> 00:14:03,790 Sometimes it's hard to stay outside and kind of go, oh, yeah, is just like ethnography, you know. 124 00:14:03,790 --> 00:14:09,580 But yeah, there's this challenge of kind of publication and how to judge creative work. 125 00:14:09,580 --> 00:14:18,230 So, yeah, despite the fact that in my own discipline, there's this widespread support for kind of this creative turn within geography, 126 00:14:18,230 --> 00:14:24,230 in this kind of acceptance or even understanding of alternative outputs 127 00:14:24,230 --> 00:14:30,380 It's very varied even I guess by no means universal. Yeah, exactly. 128 00:14:30,380 --> 00:14:38,060 And I know I find kind of sometimes the articulation of trying to use traditional language like, 129 00:14:38,060 --> 00:14:44,070 you know, talking about all of the different things in your sketchbookas just different forms of data. 130 00:14:44,070 --> 00:14:50,920 That's, you know, it still has that. You know, you talked about writing the kind of theoretical and unpacking that is alongside it. 131 00:14:50,920 --> 00:14:57,990 It still has that theoretical basis, still has that analysis. All of those things that other people are using to create knowledge. 132 00:14:57,990 --> 00:15:06,470 Yeah. So whether you're in politics or whether you're in engineering, you know, you're you're still doing collecting data and interpreting it and analysing it. 133 00:15:06,470 --> 00:15:11,360 And you are very much doing that. You're just doing that in a different way. 134 00:15:11,360 --> 00:15:17,170 Yeah. And I think this is this. I really wish that I could come and be able to show you my work. 135 00:15:17,170 --> 00:15:20,890 You know, because, yeah, my work is practise based. 136 00:15:20,890 --> 00:15:24,200 You know, I know. I speak about it. I do it. 137 00:15:24,200 --> 00:15:29,720 You know, and so it kind of comes up against these traditional forms a bit in a podcast but 138 00:15:29,720 --> 00:15:36,350 a lot about the journal format, more, you know how well these places are kind of geared up for creative output. 139 00:15:36,350 --> 00:15:44,840 So I guess one of the issues I come up against in my thesis and which is going to for a whole nother kind of spanner in the works here. 140 00:15:44,840 --> 00:15:50,090 But yes, so I do a part on Ithica and I also do your part on aerial silks and circus skills. 141 00:15:50,090 --> 00:15:56,660 And so I'm interested in visual and movement, bodily movements in landscape. 142 00:15:56,660 --> 00:16:04,790 So I really my ideal situation would be being able to include these videos of performances 143 00:16:04,790 --> 00:16:12,140 of aerial silks by myself or my participants and demonstrating certain kind of silw routines, 144 00:16:12,140 --> 00:16:19,670 experiences with gravity in the air. But the traditional kind of word document doesn't really have this capacity. 145 00:16:19,670 --> 00:16:28,160 So at the moment, I'm kind of working with including a load of load of visual like screenshots not screenshots 146 00:16:28,160 --> 00:16:32,660 stills from these videos and kind of laid out like that old school kind of camera. 147 00:16:32,660 --> 00:16:38,860 reel, but. Ideally, I would be able to actually include video or someone read a paper. 148 00:16:38,860 --> 00:16:44,260 They'd be able to see the video instead of having to do the follow this link. No disruption. 149 00:16:44,260 --> 00:16:49,070 So you have to. Is imperfect and it's an imperfect option. 150 00:16:49,070 --> 00:16:53,640 So we talked about the challenges. Let's. Flip it on its head. 151 00:16:53,640 --> 00:17:00,270 What are the benefits of approaching a this way? What are the what are the benefits to the research? 152 00:17:00,270 --> 00:17:01,890 You know, on a kind of theoretical basis. 153 00:17:01,890 --> 00:17:09,570 But what are for you as a researcher what are the benefits and the development opportunities and the joys of doing research in this way? 154 00:17:09,570 --> 00:17:18,140 I guess for me. And I guess this is quite a personal thing, is that it's about doing something that you love. 155 00:17:18,140 --> 00:17:21,500 That's sounds like cheesey. So I like super cheesy. 156 00:17:21,500 --> 00:17:29,030 And I'm going to get even more cheesy because maybe it's because I'm getting to the end of my PhD 157 00:17:29,030 --> 00:17:37,250 My partner's just finish and he's looking for jobs. And sometimes, yeah, my PhD is a gift. 158 00:17:37,250 --> 00:17:43,550 Right. I get to spend four years of my life doing something that I enjoy and I want to do. 159 00:17:43,550 --> 00:17:47,870 And I'm very lucky that I got to write my own PhD and that I'm funded. 160 00:17:47,870 --> 00:17:54,100 So I'm aware that I speak from a privileged position here. 161 00:17:54,100 --> 00:18:02,170 But, yeah, I don't think despite all of the stresses that we've kind of talked about, that I could have done my PhD any other way. 162 00:18:02,170 --> 00:18:09,520 I kind of felt happy and true to myself and I was really doing something worthwhile. 163 00:18:09,520 --> 00:18:15,200 So, yeah, I did. I'm very aware that sounds very idealistic. 164 00:18:15,200 --> 00:18:20,240 I kind of spent the first. So I've done creative methods all the way through my undergrad. 165 00:18:20,240 --> 00:18:25,370 Then in my Masters. I'm very lucky that I kind of fell on my feet and like there's a real hub for it in geography 166 00:18:25,370 --> 00:18:33,680 And when I started, I was kind of. I never really thought I was ever gonna kind of go into further education, 167 00:18:33,680 --> 00:18:38,150 and I was really lucky to have some very good mentors kind of help push me that way. 168 00:18:38,150 --> 00:18:43,010 But when I I thought, I don't know. I don't know what a thesis looks like. 169 00:18:43,010 --> 00:18:48,470 So I spent probably a bit over a year trying to write a traditional PhD 170 00:18:48,470 --> 00:18:54,890 I kind of resorted back to these traditional methodologies like interviews and things like that. 171 00:18:54,890 --> 00:18:57,740 And I really hated it. 172 00:18:57,740 --> 00:19:05,880 And I honestly think if I hadn't kind of started trusting myself again, I wouldn't have finished and I certainly would have been happy with it. 173 00:19:05,880 --> 00:19:14,850 So. Yeah, I think. But I think it was just a necessity. 174 00:19:14,850 --> 00:19:20,520 So people tend to be really reticent to talk about their research in that kind of enthusiastic, 175 00:19:20,520 --> 00:19:27,370 passionate and idealistic way, which is kind of bizarre on a number of levels because. 176 00:19:27,370 --> 00:19:37,390 You are not going to dedicate however many years of your life you take to do your research degree to a project. 177 00:19:37,390 --> 00:19:45,900 If you're not incredibly passionate about it. And incredibly invested in it because you couldn't do it, you know, so. 178 00:19:45,900 --> 00:19:50,470 And also what we respond when people talk about their research. 179 00:19:50,470 --> 00:19:57,310 Is their enthusiasm and their excitement. You know, that's that's the thing we respond to as human beings. 180 00:19:57,310 --> 00:19:59,230 Obviously, we respond to the content. 181 00:19:59,230 --> 00:20:06,270 But if someone you know, if someone's talking to you about their research and they sound really bored, you don't pay attention. 182 00:20:06,270 --> 00:20:15,130 And and it's really lovely to hear you talk about your research in that kind of enthusiastic and passionate way, 183 00:20:15,130 --> 00:20:21,500 because doing a research degree is hard. Like. I'm not trying to sugarcoat it, 184 00:20:21,500 --> 00:20:29,130 but there are some things about it that are wonderful and positive and that kind of enthusiasm and passion is one of them. 185 00:20:29,130 --> 00:20:34,700 So what I like to do is to wrap up is ask people to offer some advice based on their experience. 186 00:20:34,700 --> 00:20:39,010 So basically, you know, if people are. 187 00:20:39,010 --> 00:20:47,870 You know, looking at doing or have just started doing a research degree that involves these kind of creative methods. 188 00:20:47,870 --> 00:20:54,200 What advice would you give them based on your experience? What did you wish you knew when you started? 189 00:20:54,200 --> 00:20:59,890 Yes, I guess from my kind of experience, I would say. 190 00:20:59,890 --> 00:21:03,100 That you probably have to compromise. 191 00:21:03,100 --> 00:21:10,480 Compromise is probably the wrong word here, because if you're gonna do something so bold, then you need conviction. 192 00:21:10,480 --> 00:21:18,960 But. I guess what I mean by compromise is that if you're going to experiment with styles and kind of modes of presentation, 193 00:21:18,960 --> 00:21:25,870 then you kind of have an obligation to your reader to help them. Get where you're going. 194 00:21:25,870 --> 00:21:31,090 So for me, I have a framing statement that does a bit of this kind of donkey work. 195 00:21:31,090 --> 00:21:34,840 It kind of acts a bit like what I was kind of saying in the beginning. 196 00:21:34,840 --> 00:21:43,160 Like, I kind of started talking about my method. If I hadn't stopped, it's situating them somewhere within the therapeutic landscapes literature. 197 00:21:43,160 --> 00:21:48,380 So. I love creative writing. 198 00:21:48,380 --> 00:21:53,990 I do. That's my kind of niche, which I kind of. 199 00:21:53,990 --> 00:21:57,710 I go from there. I will start with creative writing. 200 00:21:57,710 --> 00:22:06,250 But for me, I had to kind of come to terms with the fact that there's gonna be some bits of my thesis that are not so beautifully written. 201 00:22:06,250 --> 00:22:12,860 Because there are times when I'm gonna need to hold my reader's hand and I need to put interludes between between the pieces because, 202 00:22:12,860 --> 00:22:17,300 you know, we jump from Ithica and then we go to the circus skills. 203 00:22:17,300 --> 00:22:23,720 Right. So, yeah, compromise in a sense. 204 00:22:23,720 --> 00:22:30,650 And I guess I'd also say that there's a need to take real care, I guess first picking up supervisors, 205 00:22:30,650 --> 00:22:39,500 but then also picking examiners to kind of see where you're coming from and see the value in your in your work. 206 00:22:39,500 --> 00:22:44,360 I've had some encounters where peoplehave just thought they're nice pretty pictures. 207 00:22:44,360 --> 00:22:48,470 But what are they doing? Ouch. My heart, you know. 208 00:22:48,470 --> 00:22:56,340 I've had others that I've really got what I'm trying to do and had really critical and productive conversation. 209 00:22:56,340 --> 00:22:59,360 So quite important. 210 00:22:59,360 --> 00:23:08,660 Thanks so much to Lizzie for taking the time to talk to me about what is an incredibly fascinating project and about the real challenges, 211 00:23:08,660 --> 00:23:15,180 but also the real benefits of doing, quote unquote, non-traditional research. 212 00:23:15,180 --> 00:23:21,440 If there's something about your project that you're approaching non traditionally. I'd love to hear from you and to talk to you on the podcast. 213 00:23:21,440 --> 00:23:25,280 I think it's really important that we share these stories and represent these 214 00:23:25,280 --> 00:23:32,550 alternative ways of doing that increasingly aren't that alternative and becoming very mainstream. 215 00:23:32,550 --> 00:23:38,750 But it can be scary to be the first one in your department to take that leap. And that's it for this episode. 216 00:23:38,750 --> 00:23:41,840 Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe and join me. 217 00:23:41,840 --> 00:24:08,448 Next time we'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Changing supervisors with Maria Dede
In this episode I talk to Maria Dede about her experience changing supervisors, and the impact that had on her research and her supervisory relationships. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:15,000 Hello and welcome, R, D And The Inbetweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece, 2 00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:32,000 and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers, development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:37,000 Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:37,000 --> 00:00:39,000 So in this episode, 5 00:00:39,000 --> 00:00:49,000 I really wanted to provide a kind of the start of a counterbalance to the episode I did a few weeks ago about the supervisory relationship. 6 00:00:49,000 --> 00:00:56,000 So I talked to Dr. Edward Mills and Dr. Tom Hinton about the supervisory relationship from both sides, 7 00:00:56,000 --> 00:01:02,000 and they had incredibly positive experience as supervisor and supervisee. 8 00:01:02,000 --> 00:01:13,000 And were able to offer lots of kind of examples of best practise and where a supervisory relationship can be really rich and fulfilling, 9 00:01:13,000 --> 00:01:17,000 both professionally and interpersonally. Now, 10 00:01:17,000 --> 00:01:22,000 I recognise that not all supervisory relationships are like that and that the 11 00:01:22,000 --> 00:01:27,000 supervisory relationship can be fraught with problems for lots of different reasons. 12 00:01:27,000 --> 00:01:30,000 So today I'm gonna be talking to Maria Dede 13 00:01:30,000 --> 00:01:39,000 Maria is also a PhD student at the University of Exeter, and she has had to change supervisors a couple of times during her research degree. 14 00:01:39,000 --> 00:01:44,000 And I'm going to talk to her a little bit about what that experience was like, 15 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:51,000 why these changes happened, how she dealt with them, and also how they affected her PhD journey. 16 00:01:51,000 --> 00:01:55,000 So, Maria. Are you happy to introduce yourself? Yes. 17 00:01:55,000 --> 00:02:01,000 My name's Maria. I'm in my final year and I might be PhD in philosophy. 18 00:02:01,000 --> 00:02:05,000 And, you know, I have, um, I'm not funded. 19 00:02:05,000 --> 00:02:20,000 So I have I have had to work throughout my PhD to pay tuition and to pay sort of like living expenses and hopefully will be graduating at the end of this term. 20 00:02:20,000 --> 00:02:26,000 Brilliant. Thank you, Maria. So one of the main things that we wanted to talk about today, actually, 21 00:02:26,000 --> 00:02:35,000 was the experience you've had during your PhD because you've had a number of different changes of supervisor, is that right? 22 00:02:35,000 --> 00:02:42,000 Yes, technically, I am now on supervisor number four and five, although to be fair, 23 00:02:42,000 --> 00:02:49,000 at least one of them was sort of like and was kind enough to just place their name, for bureaucratic reasons. 24 00:02:49,000 --> 00:02:53,000 So, yes, maybe four or five isn't right. 25 00:02:53,000 --> 00:02:57,000 Actually, what happened? But technically, that's another 26 00:02:57,000 --> 00:03:02,000 I also had to change one supervisor because they agreed to supervise me and that was fine. 27 00:03:02,000 --> 00:03:07,000 But they had to actually leave the university and because they got a different position after a month. 28 00:03:07,000 --> 00:03:11,000 So it was just much more practical. 29 00:03:11,000 --> 00:03:19,000 But I found another person. Yes, you can. Can you talk us through kind of each of those changes and I guess when they happened 30 00:03:19,000 --> 00:03:26,000 and why they happened for also the the effect that had on you and your studies? 31 00:03:26,000 --> 00:03:33,000 I. So the first year I was with my first set of supervisors and after a year, 32 00:03:33,000 --> 00:03:39,000 it was their initiative that maybe we would be better off if I found someone else. 33 00:03:39,000 --> 00:03:43,000 And to be fair, that was a very good idea. 34 00:03:43,000 --> 00:03:51,000 And I'm very grateful that they went forward and suggested that because I wasn't sure that it would have occurred to me and I wasn't like in it. 35 00:03:51,000 --> 00:03:56,000 And I really considered as an option because it's not something that I had sort of like had. 36 00:03:56,000 --> 00:03:58,000 I knew that you can change, supervise, 37 00:03:58,000 --> 00:04:05,000 but it wasn't some there was widely discussed and how to go about it and under what circumstances and things like that. 38 00:04:05,000 --> 00:04:11,000 And so if it was up to me, I was considering just stopping my degree. 39 00:04:11,000 --> 00:04:22,000 The main problems. That we had, and I think from what I can tell, at least retrospectively is. 40 00:04:22,000 --> 00:04:29,000 Potentially our style of working and our expectations and how sort of and potentially 41 00:04:29,000 --> 00:04:35,000 what what our role me as a student and my supervisor as my supervisor would entail. 42 00:04:35,000 --> 00:04:40,000 I think it was. Our approaches was just clashing a bit. 43 00:04:40,000 --> 00:04:51,000 And I don't think I was a particularly good student for and for my supervisor just as much as my supervisor wasn't a good fit for me. 44 00:04:51,000 --> 00:04:59,000 So you use your supervisor suggested that you that you make that shift. 45 00:04:59,000 --> 00:05:08,000 So can you tell me a little bit about how you got what the process was like finding new supervisors, what role you might played in that? 46 00:05:08,000 --> 00:05:17,000 To be fair I don't think I played much of a role in that some other people were suggested I met them and. 47 00:05:17,000 --> 00:05:24,000 We really sort of. At this point, I was I was happy because it had been a year. 48 00:05:24,000 --> 00:05:28,000 And I feel. I don't necessarily want someone I didn't. 49 00:05:28,000 --> 00:05:33,000 I'm okay with having someone that isn't, you know, that specialised in exactly the same thing that I do. 50 00:05:33,000 --> 00:05:38,000 That doesn't matter. I can deal with that. And it's more along the lines of I want some that I can work well with. 51 00:05:38,000 --> 00:05:45,000 And so I met my supervisor and then we just instantly I felt so much comfortable and we hit it off. 52 00:05:45,000 --> 00:05:50,000 I immediately thought I would. I was very happy for them to supervise me. And yeah, they were happy to do so. 53 00:05:50,000 --> 00:05:56,000 So the arrangement was made, but I didn't actually have an active role in it. 54 00:05:56,000 --> 00:05:59,000 Not particularly. Well. That's incredibly positive. 55 00:05:59,000 --> 00:06:06,000 So, yeah. So that's the first change that supervisors one and two, to supervisors, three and four. 56 00:06:06,000 --> 00:06:10,000 Is that right? Technically four and five. 57 00:06:10,000 --> 00:06:15,000 Okay, so there was somebody else in in the interim then. 58 00:06:15,000 --> 00:06:20,000 Yeah. That was that, that was a person that they agreed supervise me. 59 00:06:20,000 --> 00:06:23,000 I met them, they were fine but then they just moved, then they got. Okay. 60 00:06:23,000 --> 00:06:29,000 Okay. So there's lots of different things in there but kind of reasons which are you know, 61 00:06:29,000 --> 00:06:33,000 there are all sorts of reasons why you might say supervisor had to do with kind of right. 62 00:06:33,000 --> 00:06:39,000 You say chemistry, working style in interest or kind of specialism in the subject. 63 00:06:39,000 --> 00:06:45,000 You know, you you mentioned you know, it does happen. People leave and people leave the university and that creates problems. 64 00:06:45,000 --> 00:06:53,000 So, you know, this is a lot of change for you during your during a really, really important formative time. 65 00:06:53,000 --> 00:06:57,000 So can you talk to me a little bit about it? 66 00:06:57,000 --> 00:07:00,000 So what was the time period over all of these changes? 67 00:07:00,000 --> 00:07:07,000 Like it did happen over the course of a year, two years, three years, and I think it all happened. 68 00:07:07,000 --> 00:07:13,000 I think if I if I'm not mistaken, I think I've been with these supervisors for just 69 00:07:13,000 --> 00:07:19,000 Right after my first. Yes, I think most changes ve happened over the scope of like. 70 00:07:19,000 --> 00:07:32,000 A few months. After my first year, so practically that had the impact that that had, is that it obviously. 71 00:07:32,000 --> 00:07:37,000 It really delayed my upgrade. So I didn't upgrade. 72 00:07:37,000 --> 00:07:42,000 until my third year or something like that like really late, which went fine. 73 00:07:42,000 --> 00:07:49,000 And it also obviously my upgrade got delayed 74 00:07:49,000 --> 00:07:56,000 taking into account the changes of supervision, because you need you need some time just to adjust. 75 00:07:56,000 --> 00:08:02,000 Work with new people and maybe taking your research in different directions and things like that. 76 00:08:02,000 --> 00:08:11,000 And yet, practically speaking, it was. It it did have an impact because, again, it just. 77 00:08:11,000 --> 00:08:19,000 It I think it just extended the amount of time in my PhD where I felt that I'm not exactly sure. 78 00:08:19,000 --> 00:08:26,000 What what am I doing? So I just as a result of this. 79 00:08:26,000 --> 00:08:32,000 I was just doing things like, I'm just gonna write this, I'm just gonna research this, and hopefully eventually it will all come together as it did. 80 00:08:32,000 --> 00:08:41,000 But it just for long. The sentiment of uncertainty. In probably a bit too long. 81 00:08:41,000 --> 00:08:45,000 And how how so you said, you know, you keep going. How how did that affect your motivation? 82 00:08:45,000 --> 00:08:53,000 How did it affect your focus and your ability to actually do the do the research to do the work? 83 00:08:53,000 --> 00:09:01,000 I was lucky enough so with my current, supervisor they have been very happy to do like. 84 00:09:01,000 --> 00:09:05,000 Let me pursue angles and ideas and things that I find interesting. 85 00:09:05,000 --> 00:09:10,000 So a lot of that had to do with I liked my subject not all parts of it. 86 00:09:10,000 --> 00:09:13,000 Some of them were really annoying. But for the most part, it was nice and I was interested. 87 00:09:13,000 --> 00:09:17,000 And the other thing is that because. Exactly. 88 00:09:17,000 --> 00:09:22,000 Because I'm self-funded and I I have to keep a variety of other jobs. 89 00:09:22,000 --> 00:09:26,000 It's like my day to day life really, really has. 90 00:09:26,000 --> 00:09:30,000 And it's like it's well organised between like day jobs and hight jobs and, things like that. 91 00:09:30,000 --> 00:09:41,000 So I found that that really that structure really helped me sort of like stay focussed in the amount of time that I had to dedicate. 92 00:09:41,000 --> 00:09:46,000 Like, if you know that you only have like five hours today because then you need to do to get to your other job. 93 00:09:46,000 --> 00:09:50,000 You make these five. That was count. So I found that really helpful. 94 00:09:50,000 --> 00:09:58,000 Yeah. And, you know, I think that's important to recognise as well. You're not just juggling. 95 00:09:58,000 --> 00:10:05,000 The complexities of the research project, the complexities of the supervisory changes, but also. 96 00:10:05,000 --> 00:10:09,000 You know, you. You're conducting your. 97 00:10:09,000 --> 00:10:14,000 You're doing your PhD research in what gets referred to as a non-traditional way. 98 00:10:14,000 --> 00:10:18,000 Well, I find problems with that because I don't think it is actually in my experience. 99 00:10:18,000 --> 00:10:27,000 But, you know, you're working alongside your PhD And that's that's a lot to juggle. 100 00:10:27,000 --> 00:10:36,000 Right, it. Yeah, it is. To be fair, I kind of like I love to both sort of like whine about it because I want to be fair. 101 00:10:36,000 --> 00:10:41,000 Obviously would have loved not to be doing so much work. 102 00:10:41,000 --> 00:10:45,000 And since I said, like since I stopped doing with the pandemic like two of my jobs 103 00:10:45,000 --> 00:10:52,000 I have been so productive and I think I've written over written more in the last year than I have of the previous three. 104 00:10:52,000 --> 00:10:56,000 But that being said, I also kind of enjoyed it because a PhD 105 00:10:56,000 --> 00:11:03,000 Particularly when you're doing something so theoretical as I can be a like, very isolating. 106 00:11:03,000 --> 00:11:09,000 Like, you don't have labs. You don't get to work with teams and or things like that and even people in your own office. 107 00:11:09,000 --> 00:11:14,000 It's so specific that it's rather unlucky. There were actually no sort of. 108 00:11:14,000 --> 00:11:21,000 Have the mental capacity. I just want to hear you talk about your own work. 109 00:11:21,000 --> 00:11:26,000 So I quite enjoyed that change of pace. I think that it was. 110 00:11:26,000 --> 00:11:35,000 I think that if I only had to focus on my PhD, I would find it harder, whereas having the variety between engaging with different activities, 111 00:11:35,000 --> 00:11:40,000 different types of work, different groups of people has again, like it's time consuming and can be quite social 112 00:11:40,000 --> 00:11:46,000 But it also has like it gives you some sort of like an like an intellectual stimulation. 113 00:11:46,000 --> 00:11:48,000 It's quite nice. Yeah. 114 00:11:48,000 --> 00:11:57,000 And so, you know, we talked a little bit about the changes and what happened, the kind of how how we manage that from a work basis. 115 00:11:57,000 --> 00:12:01,000 And I wonder if you could say a little bit about. 116 00:12:01,000 --> 00:12:08,000 I guess how that felt is the kind of broad way I'd phrase it, but I guess the impact on your well-being, I guess is what I'm trying to get out, 117 00:12:08,000 --> 00:12:17,000 because, you know, we're we're in a period now where people are dealing with a huge amount of change. 118 00:12:17,000 --> 00:12:21,000 On top of the normal change that happens within a research degree programme. 119 00:12:21,000 --> 00:12:26,000 And so I wondered, you know, could you would you be willing to say something about. 120 00:12:26,000 --> 00:12:32,000 About how that affected your well-being and how maybe how you coped with that? 121 00:12:32,000 --> 00:12:37,000 Uh, yeah. So. I think. 122 00:12:37,000 --> 00:12:42,000 Well, I think that the the biggest issue is that. 123 00:12:42,000 --> 00:12:48,000 In relationin terms of the whole supervisor changes. 124 00:12:48,000 --> 00:12:50,000 It just for a long time, 125 00:12:50,000 --> 00:12:58,000 it made me feel that I should probably quit that clearly academia is not for me and that I would probably be better off doing something, 126 00:12:58,000 --> 00:13:06,000 something else. And I think that's because. You just at least for me. 127 00:13:06,000 --> 00:13:17,000 It never occurred to me that. Some that the problem might lie elsewhere, that I'd sort of like, that I couldn't. 128 00:13:17,000 --> 00:13:21,000 It never occurred to me they just might be that, yeah, I just can't work well with this particular person. 129 00:13:21,000 --> 00:13:26,000 No one's fault. It's just it is what it is. I just automatically assume that it's my fault I'm doing something bad. 130 00:13:26,000 --> 00:13:30,000 Like, clearly. I know. Like I didn't belong here. 131 00:13:30,000 --> 00:13:35,000 So that does take a toll. Firstly, because. 132 00:13:35,000 --> 00:13:40,000 Again, it sort of it leaves you it really tests your commitment. 133 00:13:40,000 --> 00:13:46,000 Usually you get these days like, oh my God, I am in my. 134 00:13:46,000 --> 00:13:50,000 I don't have a job. I don't have a salary. I'm working like three part time. 135 00:13:50,000 --> 00:13:57,000 We had we had side jobs to do something that I might not be a good fit for. 136 00:13:57,000 --> 00:14:01,000 And it that does take take it still like, you know what? 137 00:14:01,000 --> 00:14:04,000 What if I disappoint my parents? What about my family? Like, who looked up to me. 138 00:14:04,000 --> 00:14:14,000 What what what does it say about me and things like that. And to be fair but looking at now four years later, all of it, it was just. 139 00:14:14,000 --> 00:14:20,000 Again, like retrospectively, just so simple, it was so simple, what once so I have once I. 140 00:14:20,000 --> 00:14:27,000 Work with different people. Most of these problems just went away. 141 00:14:27,000 --> 00:14:33,000 I mean, not all of them. I think my my relationship with my first supervisors really has impacted my relationship with 142 00:14:33,000 --> 00:14:40,000 my current supervisor as well, even though I think we are, a much better fit. 143 00:14:40,000 --> 00:14:49,000 I still, for instance, feel very. And I still I think I'm kind of scared of asking my supervisor for things or 144 00:14:49,000 --> 00:14:56,000 approaching them with something that might not strictly be related to my project. 145 00:14:56,000 --> 00:15:03,000 But, you know, it might reflect like a broader sort of an academic issue. 146 00:15:03,000 --> 00:15:09,000 I think I just can't get a. Oh, look, I get nervous when I hand them in things. 147 00:15:09,000 --> 00:15:12,000 I was a little part of me that thinks that. 148 00:15:12,000 --> 00:15:18,000 Anything I give them or suggest to them that would just sort of like look at it and go yeah that's ridiculous and just laugh at me, 149 00:15:18,000 --> 00:15:23,000 which I'm pretty sure, like, I know that that's not what's going to happen. Just be hard to move away from that. 150 00:15:23,000 --> 00:15:30,000 Yeah. And I think there's there's a there's two. Really significant things I want to pick up on there that you that you raised. 151 00:15:30,000 --> 00:15:37,000 One of them is the impact this kind of I'm gonna call them organisational changes. 152 00:15:37,000 --> 00:15:42,000 I know that they're more than that, but there's kind of more organisational and administrative things of changing supervisor. 153 00:15:42,000 --> 00:15:54,000 Actually, the impact that that can have on your confidence and your faith in your ability to do this project is really significant. 154 00:15:54,000 --> 00:16:02,000 And, you know, impostor syndrome is rife through academia and the postgraduate research community anyway, without kind of, 155 00:16:02,000 --> 00:16:09,000 you know, when we have these exacerbating issues, actually, they just feed into those feelings are already there. 156 00:16:09,000 --> 00:16:15,000 And it's really interesting to hear you say that, you know, you were thinking about about quitting. 157 00:16:15,000 --> 00:16:23,000 So I guess my question is, why didn't you. What made you stay? 158 00:16:23,000 --> 00:16:33,000 Well, that's a good question. I'm. One of that is because the change happen when it happened, like. 159 00:16:33,000 --> 00:16:37,000 And that's why we'll always be really grateful for my first supervisor, even though I didn't work out well with us. 160 00:16:37,000 --> 00:16:48,000 And I'm very happy that they suggested the change when they did, because I probably would have ended up quitting if we had gone any further with this. 161 00:16:48,000 --> 00:16:57,000 And the other one was that because we because my parents helped me with my tuition fees, I just felt so guilty that, oh, my God, like, 162 00:16:57,000 --> 00:17:01,000 these people have paid so much money for me and I'm just gonna disappoint them like 163 00:17:01,000 --> 00:17:05,000 that because I'm too spoilt and or I don't lknow or whatever nonsense I was thinking. 164 00:17:05,000 --> 00:17:09,000 And even though I know that that's not the case, I know that my parents love me unconditionally 165 00:17:09,000 --> 00:17:16,000 It's just like you feel like you're letting people down, even though, you know, again, you know, it's not the case. 166 00:17:16,000 --> 00:17:21,000 It's just a reaction that you can't really control because it's not just I think that's another thing. 167 00:17:21,000 --> 00:17:25,000 Like it's not just you that's invested. 168 00:17:25,000 --> 00:17:33,000 If necessary, in this research degree, you are supervisors in your departments, the university, you know, the whole kind of institution. 169 00:17:33,000 --> 00:17:39,000 Even though I know it doesn't feel like it sometimes. But everyone is highly invested in you doing this. 170 00:17:39,000 --> 00:17:44,000 And, you know, your partners and your family and your friends, everybody's providing that support for you. 171 00:17:44,000 --> 00:17:52,000 And if you're getting, you know, like financial support as well. Additional pressure. 172 00:17:52,000 --> 00:17:57,000 Oh, yeah, exactly. And also it's like Why am I failing at this? 173 00:17:57,000 --> 00:18:00,000 What's wrong with me? What am I doing wrong again? 174 00:18:00,000 --> 00:18:06,000 Even though I know. I know. Well, that that's that's not an accurate way of describing it. 175 00:18:06,000 --> 00:18:09,000 It's just like this little voice in your head that you cannot get up. 176 00:18:09,000 --> 00:18:11,000 I mean, it's so common. 177 00:18:11,000 --> 00:18:19,000 And it's you know, and I'm really pleased that you shared that because it is so common for people to feel like if something goes wrong. 178 00:18:19,000 --> 00:18:30,000 Either your failure or there's someone to blame. And don't get me wrong, there are situations in life where people are to blame, but so often. 179 00:18:30,000 --> 00:18:35,000 Problems arise not because somebody is, you know, purposefully doing something to cause harm, 180 00:18:35,000 --> 00:18:40,000 but, you know, there's been a lack of communication, a lack of clarity. 181 00:18:40,000 --> 00:18:44,000 And so, you know, no one necessarily is to blame for the situation, you know, that's not missed. 182 00:18:44,000 --> 00:18:46,000 Like you said, I was really pleased to hear you say, you know, 183 00:18:46,000 --> 00:18:53,000 there was no one in your situation to blame in the in your first supervisory relationship for it not working. 184 00:18:53,000 --> 00:19:03,000 It just didn't work. And we all know that like that happens to us all in life in various ways, 185 00:19:03,000 --> 00:19:11,000 which is which is so weird because it it almost feels like what no one told me about this. 186 00:19:11,000 --> 00:19:19,000 Isn't that something that was common knowledge? Like. Yeah, cool. Like, it's definitely not unusual to not perfectly get along with your boss. 187 00:19:19,000 --> 00:19:23,000 Why is that not a thing that people just discuss? Much more common. 188 00:19:23,000 --> 00:19:27,000 Why in particular? Because sometimes you just don't know what you need. 189 00:19:27,000 --> 00:19:31,000 And I think that was my problem. I didn't know what I needed. Like what? 190 00:19:31,000 --> 00:19:40,000 What is it that's going wrong for me? Is the research is the structure is it's like and like the way that I'm being managed with what's happening. 191 00:19:40,000 --> 00:19:50,000 I don't know, particularly because it was. Yeah, exactly. This like the first kind of setting that an educational setting that called in 192 00:19:50,000 --> 00:19:55,000 allows for you to be like so actively engaged in shaping your own project that, 193 00:19:55,000 --> 00:20:00,000 yeah, it's a different skill set that you don't say you have, you know, just coming in. 194 00:20:00,000 --> 00:20:09,000 And it's just the feeling of. Yeah, again, like isolation, failure, like I remember official supervisor meetings. 195 00:20:09,000 --> 00:20:15,000 My only thought is like, why do you hate me? What have I done? And oh my God, I'm such a moron. 196 00:20:15,000 --> 00:20:19,000 These are the two thoughts and I'm not the most productive thing. 197 00:20:19,000 --> 00:20:25,000 And again, I'm talking about a person that you didn't actually do anything specifically wrong or bad. 198 00:20:25,000 --> 00:20:29,000 I don't have no complaints. It's just that. Yeah. 199 00:20:29,000 --> 00:20:34,000 Then how the relationship doesn't work rather than a person being at fault. 200 00:20:34,000 --> 00:20:43,000 Let's talk about where you are now. So. You've had this set of supervisors for how long? 201 00:20:43,000 --> 00:20:50,000 And three, four years. Okay. Yeah, three years. So how how is that going? 202 00:20:50,000 --> 00:21:00,000 How does how different is your experience now that you've got that stable supervisory relationship, that stable kind of support team? 203 00:21:00,000 --> 00:21:14,000 I think the biggest. The biggest difference is that when we will now arrange for a supervisor meeting, I still a little bit get nervous. 204 00:21:14,000 --> 00:21:21,000 But now I can. We feel much better than I previously. 205 00:21:21,000 --> 00:21:26,000 It's like now I know that. It was that the experience is going to be pleasant. 206 00:21:26,000 --> 00:21:30,000 That going to be no sort of like, you know, heart palpitation, nausea. 207 00:21:30,000 --> 00:21:36,000 So it's definitely been an improvement. And its definitely it makes you feel much more confident. 208 00:21:36,000 --> 00:21:43,000 Yeah, of course I can do this. I'll persevere and it will be fine. 209 00:21:43,000 --> 00:21:52,000 It also, I mean, practically speaking, of course, it makes a difference in the like the research, having people giving you so like an. 210 00:21:52,000 --> 00:21:57,000 Having the same the same set of people, looking at your work, seeing how you have progressed, 211 00:21:57,000 --> 00:22:07,000 seems sort of like any potential issues that you have with your writing or like your methodology and things like that. 212 00:22:07,000 --> 00:22:15,000 Yeah, because I think there's something really important in there about consistency, you know, and being able to see that development over time. 213 00:22:15,000 --> 00:22:20,000 Whereas, you know, when you come into a piece of work you're just getting a snapshot of where it's currently at, 214 00:22:20,000 --> 00:22:26,000 not kind of the journey that it's been on. And that can be about, you know, the quality of the writing and the quality of the ideas. 215 00:22:26,000 --> 00:22:32,000 But it can also be about the kind of evolution of the project and the way in which things have developed and changed 216 00:22:32,000 --> 00:22:35,000 And that's really important context. 217 00:22:35,000 --> 00:22:43,000 You're exactly like you're working with people that have a good overview of your work, your ideas, your ways, like how you do things. 218 00:22:43,000 --> 00:22:48,000 And definitely establishs a sort of like. I like a good trusting relations. 219 00:22:48,000 --> 00:23:00,000 And it also it helps you because I mean. Particularly in in social sciences, which is what I do. 220 00:23:00,000 --> 00:23:09,000 It's sometimes it's just. You also need to adapt your work. 221 00:23:09,000 --> 00:23:14,000 To what your supervisors sort of 222 00:23:14,000 --> 00:23:23,000 To directions that your supervisors give you. So in that sense, consistency is definitely like helpful. 223 00:23:23,000 --> 00:23:25,000 You agree with one supervisor and then someone is like 224 00:23:25,000 --> 00:23:30,000 But, you know, I think it's better when you do ABC and then you work with another one that says exactly the opposite. 225 00:23:30,000 --> 00:23:38,000 And then you work with a third one with other points, like it's so nice to work with people where you know exactly where you stand and what to do. 226 00:23:38,000 --> 00:23:44,000 Yes, I think that's really important. And I guess my next question is what? 227 00:23:44,000 --> 00:23:52,000 What advice would you give to someone who is going through a change of supervisor for whatever reason? 228 00:23:52,000 --> 00:23:58,000 First of all, it's fine. It's okay. It's definitely not what you're definitely not the only person has ever gone through. 229 00:23:58,000 --> 00:24:04,000 That doesn't mean that you are bad at what you do and it doesn't mean that 230 00:24:04,000 --> 00:24:08,000 You won't be able to complete your PhD at all. 231 00:24:08,000 --> 00:24:12,000 Whatever research project you're doing. So first and foremost, that's fine. 232 00:24:12,000 --> 00:24:15,000 And secondly. It's better to work with. 233 00:24:15,000 --> 00:24:26,000 It's better to have someone that your work working styles match rather than let's have someone that is an. 234 00:24:26,000 --> 00:24:34,000 More relevant to your exact project, because after a couple of years, you will know more about your project than your supervisor 235 00:24:34,000 --> 00:24:40,000 So you can do that by yourself but the relationship and have like having a trusting relationship with them. 236 00:24:40,000 --> 00:24:49,000 It's much more important. Thank you so much to Maria for talking to me and being so open and honest about her 237 00:24:49,000 --> 00:24:55,000 experience of changing supervisors several times and the impact that that had on her work. 238 00:24:55,000 --> 00:25:04,000 I'd be really interested to hear from more people about their experiences of the supervisory relationship, the good, the bad and the in between. 239 00:25:04,000 --> 00:25:12,000 So if you interested in talking to me about your experience as a supervisor or a supervisor, please do get in touch. 240 00:25:12,000 --> 00:25:17,000 And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me. 241 00:25:17,000 --> 00:25:43,786 Next time. We'll be talking to somebody else about researches, development and everything in between.
3 minutes | 2 months ago
Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:13,000 Hello and welcome to R, D and the In Betweens. 2 00:00:13,000 --> 00:00:32,000 I'm your host, Kelly Preece, and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers, development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:36,000 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R Di and The Inbetweens. 4 00:00:36,000 --> 00:00:44,000 Now I say episode, but I don't have an interview with a researcher for you this week. 5 00:00:44,000 --> 00:00:51,000 There's a number of different reasons for that. One of which was that I was due to record an episode last Friday, 6 00:00:51,000 --> 00:00:58,000 but I was off work the end of last week because I was suffering from a migraine 7 00:00:58,000 --> 00:01:02,000 and I was just going to put out a kind of alert that said no episode this week. 8 00:01:02,000 --> 00:01:03,000 Back in two weeks time. 9 00:01:03,000 --> 00:01:17,000 But actually, I wanted to acknowledge something, which is that like, hey, everyone I'm speaking to right now, I've hit a brick wall. 10 00:01:17,000 --> 00:01:24,000 I'm really struggling with all of the screen time, struggling with migraines and headaches, struggling to sleep. 11 00:01:24,000 --> 00:01:32,000 And I just wanted to share that with you, just to remind you that right now that experience is normal and it's okay. 12 00:01:32,000 --> 00:01:39,000 And also, if that's what you're experiencing, please, please give yourself some time and some headspace. 13 00:01:39,000 --> 00:01:44,000 I had two days off work and another two days weekend away from the computer screen. 14 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:51,000 I still feel pretty kind of alert and stressed this week. I think it's my kind of fight or flight coming back into play. 15 00:01:51,000 --> 00:01:59,000 But. I feel a lot better and I feel much more able to function than I did just a few days ago. 16 00:01:59,000 --> 00:02:04,000 So the phrase that I've been hearing a lot recently, when we ask each other how we are, 17 00:02:04,000 --> 00:02:11,000 as we tend to do in that very British way, is people responding with pandemic fine. 18 00:02:11,000 --> 00:02:16,000 So I'm not fine. I'm pandemic fine. These days. 19 00:02:16,000 --> 00:02:25,000 I seem to have three moods. Pandemic fine. Pandemic breakdown or extreme cabin fever. 20 00:02:25,000 --> 00:02:30,000 So this is just a quick message to say sorry, there's no epsiode this week. 21 00:02:30,000 --> 00:02:34,000 I'm just finding it tough to sit down at my computer. 22 00:02:34,000 --> 00:02:43,000 And if you're experiencing that, too, I'm here in solidarity with you and it's okay and it's normal. 23 00:02:43,000 --> 00:02:51,000 You know, it's the new normal for us. And I'm I'm really hoping that things are going to. 24 00:02:51,000 --> 00:02:57,000 Continue to move in the right direction and change soon. And that's it for this episode. 25 00:02:57,000 --> 00:03:00,000 Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me. 26 00:03:00,000 --> 00:03:26,719 Next time. We'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
Adapting research projects due to COVID-19 with Léna Prouchet
In this special mini episode, Kelly Preece talks to Léna Prouchet about adpating her research project due to COVID-19. Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:15,000 Hello and welcome, R, D And the in betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece, 2 00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:32,000 and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:37,000 Hello and welcome to this special mini episode of R D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:37,000 --> 00:00:42,000 So one of the projects I'm working on at the moment at work is really trying to gather information 5 00:00:42,000 --> 00:00:47,000 about how people's research projects have had to change due to COVID and how they manage that. 6 00:00:47,000 --> 00:00:54,000 And when I spoke to Lena last week, she talked a little bit about how actually. 7 00:00:54,000 --> 00:01:01,000 She started two weeks before the start of the pandemic, and that changed the nature and scope of her project quite substantially. 8 00:01:01,000 --> 00:01:11,000 So I wanted to take some of these conversations and make just a little special mini episode about how Lena adapted her project. 9 00:01:11,000 --> 00:01:22,000 Yes. So I guess at the beginning we took a really inductive approach to this project. 10 00:01:22,000 --> 00:01:27,000 And I mean, the pandemic happened two weeks after I started the project. 11 00:01:27,000 --> 00:01:33,000 Yes. So the plan at the beginning was to collaborate with Cool Eartch 12 00:01:33,000 --> 00:01:39,000 So from the beginning, I was supposed to work in their offices two days a week so I could get to know them and get to know their projects. 13 00:01:39,000 --> 00:01:44,000 And after the plan was to go to Peru because they have a project there. 14 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:48,000 So the Latin American project they have are in Peru. 15 00:01:48,000 --> 00:01:54,000 So I was supposed to do this exploratory trip where I would meet with the communities cool earth partner with. 16 00:01:54,000 --> 00:02:01,000 And we would come up with a research topic that would match everybody's interests. 17 00:02:01,000 --> 00:02:07,000 Unfortunately, this was not possible because travelling to Peru was not an option. 18 00:02:07,000 --> 00:02:17,000 So what I did was very much to tighten my links with Cool Earths so trying to understand their project 19 00:02:17,000 --> 00:02:25,000 through Cool Earth itself and not the communities with the plan of going to Peru in the next few months. 20 00:02:25,000 --> 00:02:34,000 So kind of know adapting my approach. And this was made by me attending most of their team meetings. 21 00:02:34,000 --> 00:02:40,000 They have we also have meetings where we only talk about my research and I 22 00:02:40,000 --> 00:02:47,000 also present my research project and how it evolves quite regularly to them, 23 00:02:47,000 --> 00:02:56,000 to their team in the UK. So the team I was talking about are based in Penryn, but also to the country team they have in Peru. 24 00:02:56,000 --> 00:03:04,000 That's really great and it does sound like you've had. A lot of freedom to shape the project. 25 00:03:04,000 --> 00:03:10,000 Whilst I appreciate you know, it in organisational sense, 26 00:03:10,000 --> 00:03:20,000 whilst at the same time being quite directed by not being able to go to Peru and the impact of COVID19, 27 00:03:20,000 --> 00:03:25,000 I wondered if you could say a little bit about that experience, 28 00:03:25,000 --> 00:03:31,000 about coming in with a kind of really clear understanding of what you were gonna do, 29 00:03:31,000 --> 00:03:42,000 go and work and research these communities and then having to kind of really early on shift the focus of the project because of the pandemic. 30 00:03:42,000 --> 00:03:46,000 Yeah. So that was that was a tough experience, especially. 31 00:03:46,000 --> 00:03:51,000 I think it depends on people. And some people, they can adapt very easily. 32 00:03:51,000 --> 00:03:58,000 But I'm a person who really likes to plan things. So I had applied to thisPhDposition. 33 00:03:58,000 --> 00:04:04,000 The research proposal was already written. There was already the research question and the different steps of the research. 34 00:04:04,000 --> 00:04:14,000 And for me, it was very reassuring because I would never have applied to a PhD and come up with a research proposal myself, 35 00:04:14,000 --> 00:04:18,000 because I thought that I was ensured that my topic would be relevant. 36 00:04:18,000 --> 00:04:24,000 So I thought if someone in academia identifies those gaps, it means they're expert on that. 37 00:04:24,000 --> 00:04:27,000 So, I mean, it's it's helpful to do research in this area. 38 00:04:27,000 --> 00:04:33,000 So this was very much my approach or I was only applying to project that were already super defined. 39 00:04:33,000 --> 00:04:43,000 So I arrive and I have all this list. But like a to do list and it's very reassuring, especially since you don't know where to start. 40 00:04:43,000 --> 00:04:52,000 And then two weeks after everything changes. Not only as a result of the pandemic, I think my project would have changed anyways. 41 00:04:52,000 --> 00:05:00,000 As I told you, because I needed you to take more of a business and management approach to it 42 00:05:00,000 --> 00:05:04,000 And so eventually now when I would look at my research proposal, I think that I. 43 00:05:04,000 --> 00:05:09,000 I did it myself. Like I really transformed it. 44 00:05:09,000 --> 00:05:14,000 The only thing that remains from the beginning is the partnership with Cool Earth 45 00:05:14,000 --> 00:05:23,000 And I think that that's the most important part. And I think I feel proud about it because I feel this is something. 46 00:05:23,000 --> 00:05:28,000 Yeah. That was the result of months of work and collaboration and discussions. 47 00:05:28,000 --> 00:05:37,000 And it's actually I have this sense of ownership that I wouldn't have had with the initial proposal. 48 00:05:37,000 --> 00:05:39,000 So in the process of it, it was very hard. 49 00:05:39,000 --> 00:05:48,000 I had months where I was coming up with a research question every week because I was stressing out a lot about it and thinking, 50 00:05:48,000 --> 00:05:54,000 okay, I'm never going to find a relevant topic. It's never gonna happen. 51 00:05:54,000 --> 00:05:59,000 I had those phases during the summer, but eventually it worked out. 52 00:05:59,000 --> 00:06:03,000 So the process was tough. It was definitely worth it. 53 00:06:03,000 --> 00:06:06,000 And now, yes, I'm happy. 54 00:06:06,000 --> 00:06:13,000 Although I know it's going to change a lot when I start fieldwork and the approach is going to be totally different in the final work. 55 00:06:13,000 --> 00:06:19,000 But for now, I'm I'm pleased with. With the topic and the approach. 56 00:06:19,000 --> 00:06:26,000 Yeah. And I think there's a number of things that you said in that which I think are really important, which. 57 00:06:26,000 --> 00:06:35,000 What I've been discussing a lot with colleagues, and it's not to in any way downplay the impact of COVID on people's research projects on it, 58 00:06:35,000 --> 00:06:41,000 and it has had varying degrees of impact where kind of people have had to, 59 00:06:41,000 --> 00:06:47,000 you know, shift to doing things, you know, doing interviews or whatever on line to completely, 60 00:06:47,000 --> 00:06:54,000 you know, in in a lot of the ways that you don't like completely redesigning the project. 61 00:06:54,000 --> 00:07:01,000 But it's interesting to hear you talk about that kind of flexibility and adaptability and the importance of that and the 62 00:07:01,000 --> 00:07:10,000 also the kind of slightly philosophical recognition that research is about change fundamentally. 63 00:07:10,000 --> 00:07:16,000 And, you know, when you talk to any researcher, but certainly any, you know, postgraduate researcher like yourself, 64 00:07:16,000 --> 00:07:27,000 where they start when they come in with a proposal and where they leave when they, you know, submit their thesis. 65 00:07:27,000 --> 00:07:32,000 Are always two incredibly different places. 66 00:07:32,000 --> 00:07:41,000 I'm not. And I think that's that's reassuring because, I mean, when you start to feel work is you're not open to what you're seeing, 67 00:07:41,000 --> 00:07:48,000 what people tell you in you have your agenda in mind, in your just telling people, I'm going to do this and this and this. 68 00:07:48,000 --> 00:07:54,000 I mean, it's I don't think that's a very constructive nor ethical approach. 69 00:07:54,000 --> 00:08:04,000 So I think it's good to. It's even necessary to to remain open minded during the entire project, especially in my case, 70 00:08:04,000 --> 00:08:12,000 where I work with indigenous communities, where communities who have been over researched. 71 00:08:12,000 --> 00:08:19,000 And it's interesting because I had the opportunity to talk with an anthropologist that work with Cool Earth last summer. 72 00:08:19,000 --> 00:08:25,000 And she told me about her experience of going to the communities and during the community assembly. 73 00:08:25,000 --> 00:08:32,000 So members of the communities telling her, yeah, but what ways should we take part in this? 74 00:08:32,000 --> 00:08:39,000 It's always the same process of you Western researchers coming on taking our knowledge and leaving and we never hear from you again. 75 00:08:39,000 --> 00:08:50,000 So what are the benefits from Forest? Right. So if you take a more participatory approach and saying, OK, we're gonna remain open, 76 00:08:50,000 --> 00:08:58,000 we're going to construct this research together and we're going to identify your needs and see how the research projects can benefit, 77 00:08:58,000 --> 00:09:05,000 can benefit you, then I think that's that's the best way of doing it. 78 00:09:05,000 --> 00:09:12,000 Yeah. And I think. I think that's really interesting and the issue of of of ethics. 79 00:09:12,000 --> 00:09:18,000 I think that was really interesting and I'll come back to that in a moment. But. 80 00:09:18,000 --> 00:09:24,000 As you were saying that I was thinking about, well, actually, when you do get to do fieldwork now, 81 00:09:24,000 --> 00:09:29,000 the framing and the approach of that field work will be very different. 82 00:09:29,000 --> 00:09:41,000 Having worked within within the organisation in the U.K. for, you know, a year or plus and actually the kind of the way in which that will. 83 00:09:41,000 --> 00:09:54,000 Inform. The way the way that your approach that and I guess the additional context and knowledge and skills and all those sorts of things that you've gained from. 84 00:09:54,000 --> 00:10:01,000 Taking that step back and spending time with the organisation. Yes, I think it also there are some pros and cons. 85 00:10:01,000 --> 00:10:05,000 So, of course, the pros is that. I know. 86 00:10:05,000 --> 00:10:15,000 I know more about what's happening in the community, the relationship between Cool Earth and the communities with UK and also Peruvian team. 87 00:10:15,000 --> 00:10:22,000 So it's very good that I have this communication with Peruvian teams because they are the ones who go to the community more often. 88 00:10:22,000 --> 00:10:27,000 They also have technicians that live with the communities. So I have this insight. 89 00:10:27,000 --> 00:10:32,000 Well, on the other hand, then it gives me a certain perspective and a certain vision. 90 00:10:32,000 --> 00:10:38,000 I don't think that's bad. And I think any researcher has has biases. 91 00:10:38,000 --> 00:10:40,000 You just have to acknowledge that. 92 00:10:40,000 --> 00:10:50,000 And you I mean, from the recommendation that I had in the various articles, I could read about that when you arrive, 93 00:10:50,000 --> 00:10:53,000 even though you're in embedded research within your organisation, 94 00:10:53,000 --> 00:10:57,000 when you arrive to fieldwork in the communities, you're not working for the organisation. 95 00:10:57,000 --> 00:11:04,000 You have to make this clear to community members. Of course, because you have to tell them that you're independent and what they're going to tell you, 96 00:11:04,000 --> 00:11:12,000 you're not going to going to report it in any way. So it's it's important for the trust and the relationships you're you're building with them. 97 00:11:12,000 --> 00:11:20,000 But you also have to try to put aside what you've seen before and really take 98 00:11:20,000 --> 00:11:26,000 this new approach and trying to understand from scratch what's happening there. 99 00:11:26,000 --> 00:11:34,000 And this is very challenging. So the way now I see I'm going to try to to address this is to spend an initial 100 00:11:34,000 --> 00:11:43,000 phase of one month in the communities doing only participant observation to. 101 00:11:43,000 --> 00:11:51,000 Yes, to try to understand how he works there. Also to prove that I'm there, too, to work with them, 102 00:11:51,000 --> 00:12:00,000 but not to to steal anything in terms of of knowledge or practises, really to to build those those trust relationships. 103 00:12:00,000 --> 00:12:07,000 And then from there, from what I've seen during the past, leaving the reservation and from my previous learnings with Cool Earth and the interviews, 104 00:12:07,000 --> 00:12:14,000 I'm going to you then deciding on on follow up methods such as, I don't know, interview or focus groups. 105 00:12:14,000 --> 00:12:27,000 But this will come in second time. So can you say a little bit about how you approached or went about thinking about how to change the project? 106 00:12:27,000 --> 00:12:35,000 So, yes, after I think what mattered for me that I tried to get in touch with other PhD students 107 00:12:35,000 --> 00:12:42,000 or postdocs to ask them about this process of reshaping their research topics, 108 00:12:42,000 --> 00:12:47,000 because I know this is something that happens a lot for PhD programmes. 109 00:12:47,000 --> 00:12:55,000 And I thought it was interesting to have the to the experience of my peers and some of them and told me, well, 110 00:12:55,000 --> 00:13:01,000 first of all, think about yourself, because you're going to live with this project for the next now three. 111 00:13:01,000 --> 00:13:03,000 But it was four years at the beginning. 112 00:13:03,000 --> 00:13:11,000 So if you don't like it, if you're not happy to to read about it, write about it every morning, then it's not going to work out. 113 00:13:11,000 --> 00:13:18,000 And this is something I had kind of forgotten at the beginning because I really wanted to comply. 114 00:13:18,000 --> 00:13:25,000 And to be sure, I was ticking the boxes. But then, yes, as the months came along, I thought, okay. 115 00:13:25,000 --> 00:13:33,000 I have to find this balance and I have to find this topic that also pleases me in something I'm passionate about. 116 00:13:33,000 --> 00:13:42,000 So this took really a long time. I started in March and they came up with the final idea in November. 117 00:13:42,000 --> 00:13:46,000 And my supervisor, they had reassured me from the beginning that it was normal. 118 00:13:46,000 --> 00:14:00,000 It was going to take a long time. So you had to be to get lost in the the literature jungle and then see which angle you wanted to to adopt. 119 00:14:00,000 --> 00:14:09,000 Thanks, Lena, for that insight into the reorganisation of PPhD project. 120 00:14:09,000 --> 00:14:15,000 Two weeks in, I'd be really interested to talk to other people who've had to change their projects due to COVID. 121 00:14:15,000 --> 00:14:19,000 So please, if you're interested in sharing your experience, good. 122 00:14:19,000 --> 00:14:24,000 The bad, the ugly. Please do get in touch. And that's it for this episode. 123 00:14:24,000 --> 00:14:27,000 Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me. 124 00:14:27,000 --> 00:14:54,505 Next time we'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
Working with an industry partner with Léna Prouchet
In this episode I talk again to Léna Prouchet about doing her PhD between the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter, and the NGO Cool Earth. You can find out more about Léna and her research on twitter and on her University of Exeter profile. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:15,000 Hello and welcome, R, D And the in betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece, 2 00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:32,000 and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:37,000 Hello and welcome to this special mini episode of R D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:37,000 --> 00:00:42,000 So one of the projects I'm working on at the moment at work is really trying to gather information 5 00:00:42,000 --> 00:00:47,000 about how people's research projects have had to change due to COVID and how they manage that. 6 00:00:47,000 --> 00:00:54,000 And when I spoke to Lena last week, she talked a little bit about how actually. 7 00:00:54,000 --> 00:01:01,000 She started two weeks before the start of the pandemic, and that changed the nature and scope of her project quite substantially. 8 00:01:01,000 --> 00:01:11,000 So I wanted to take some of these conversations and make just a little special mini episode about how Lena adapted her project. 9 00:01:11,000 --> 00:01:22,000 Yes. So I guess at the beginning we took a really inductive approach to this project. 10 00:01:22,000 --> 00:01:27,000 And I mean, the pandemic happened two weeks after I started the project. 11 00:01:27,000 --> 00:01:33,000 Yes. So the plan at the beginning was to collaborate with Cool Eartch 12 00:01:33,000 --> 00:01:39,000 So from the beginning, I was supposed to work in their offices two days a week so I could get to know them and get to know their projects. 13 00:01:39,000 --> 00:01:44,000 And after the plan was to go to Peru because they have a project there. 14 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:48,000 So the Latin American project they have are in Peru. 15 00:01:48,000 --> 00:01:54,000 So I was supposed to do this exploratory trip where I would meet with the communities cool earth partner with. 16 00:01:54,000 --> 00:02:01,000 And we would come up with a research topic that would match everybody's interests. 17 00:02:01,000 --> 00:02:07,000 Unfortunately, this was not possible because travelling to Peru was not an option. 18 00:02:07,000 --> 00:02:17,000 So what I did was very much to tighten my links with Cool Earths so trying to understand their project 19 00:02:17,000 --> 00:02:25,000 through Cool Earth itself and not the communities with the plan of going to Peru in the next few months. 20 00:02:25,000 --> 00:02:34,000 So kind of know adapting my approach. And this was made by me attending most of their team meetings. 21 00:02:34,000 --> 00:02:40,000 They have we also have meetings where we only talk about my research and I 22 00:02:40,000 --> 00:02:47,000 also present my research project and how it evolves quite regularly to them, 23 00:02:47,000 --> 00:02:56,000 to their team in the UK. So the team I was talking about are based in Penryn, but also to the country team they have in Peru. 24 00:02:56,000 --> 00:03:04,000 That's really great and it does sound like you've had. A lot of freedom to shape the project. 25 00:03:04,000 --> 00:03:10,000 Whilst I appreciate you know, it in organisational sense, 26 00:03:10,000 --> 00:03:20,000 whilst at the same time being quite directed by not being able to go to Peru and the impact of COVID19, 27 00:03:20,000 --> 00:03:25,000 I wondered if you could say a little bit about that experience, 28 00:03:25,000 --> 00:03:31,000 about coming in with a kind of really clear understanding of what you were gonna do, 29 00:03:31,000 --> 00:03:42,000 go and work and research these communities and then having to kind of really early on shift the focus of the project because of the pandemic. 30 00:03:42,000 --> 00:03:46,000 Yeah. So that was that was a tough experience, especially. 31 00:03:46,000 --> 00:03:51,000 I think it depends on people. And some people, they can adapt very easily. 32 00:03:51,000 --> 00:03:58,000 But I'm a person who really likes to plan things. So I had applied to thisPhDposition. 33 00:03:58,000 --> 00:04:04,000 The research proposal was already written. There was already the research question and the different steps of the research. 34 00:04:04,000 --> 00:04:14,000 And for me, it was very reassuring because I would never have applied to a PhD and come up with a research proposal myself, 35 00:04:14,000 --> 00:04:18,000 because I thought that I was ensured that my topic would be relevant. 36 00:04:18,000 --> 00:04:24,000 So I thought if someone in academia identifies those gaps, it means they're expert on that. 37 00:04:24,000 --> 00:04:27,000 So, I mean, it's it's helpful to do research in this area. 38 00:04:27,000 --> 00:04:33,000 So this was very much my approach or I was only applying to project that were already super defined. 39 00:04:33,000 --> 00:04:43,000 So I arrive and I have all this list. But like a to do list and it's very reassuring, especially since you don't know where to start. 40 00:04:43,000 --> 00:04:52,000 And then two weeks after everything changes. Not only as a result of the pandemic, I think my project would have changed anyways. 41 00:04:52,000 --> 00:05:00,000 As I told you, because I needed you to take more of a business and management approach to it 42 00:05:00,000 --> 00:05:04,000 And so eventually now when I would look at my research proposal, I think that I. 43 00:05:04,000 --> 00:05:09,000 I did it myself. Like I really transformed it. 44 00:05:09,000 --> 00:05:14,000 The only thing that remains from the beginning is the partnership with Cool Earth 45 00:05:14,000 --> 00:05:23,000 And I think that that's the most important part. And I think I feel proud about it because I feel this is something. 46 00:05:23,000 --> 00:05:28,000 Yeah. That was the result of months of work and collaboration and discussions. 47 00:05:28,000 --> 00:05:37,000 And it's actually I have this sense of ownership that I wouldn't have had with the initial proposal. 48 00:05:37,000 --> 00:05:39,000 So in the process of it, it was very hard. 49 00:05:39,000 --> 00:05:48,000 I had months where I was coming up with a research question every week because I was stressing out a lot about it and thinking, 50 00:05:48,000 --> 00:05:54,000 okay, I'm never going to find a relevant topic. It's never gonna happen. 51 00:05:54,000 --> 00:05:59,000 I had those phases during the summer, but eventually it worked out. 52 00:05:59,000 --> 00:06:03,000 So the process was tough. It was definitely worth it. 53 00:06:03,000 --> 00:06:06,000 And now, yes, I'm happy. 54 00:06:06,000 --> 00:06:13,000 Although I know it's going to change a lot when I start fieldwork and the approach is going to be totally different in the final work. 55 00:06:13,000 --> 00:06:19,000 But for now, I'm I'm pleased with. With the topic and the approach. 56 00:06:19,000 --> 00:06:26,000 Yeah. And I think there's a number of things that you said in that which I think are really important, which. 57 00:06:26,000 --> 00:06:35,000 What I've been discussing a lot with colleagues, and it's not to in any way downplay the impact of COVID on people's research projects on it, 58 00:06:35,000 --> 00:06:41,000 and it has had varying degrees of impact where kind of people have had to, 59 00:06:41,000 --> 00:06:47,000 you know, shift to doing things, you know, doing interviews or whatever on line to completely, 60 00:06:47,000 --> 00:06:54,000 you know, in in a lot of the ways that you don't like completely redesigning the project. 61 00:06:54,000 --> 00:07:01,000 But it's interesting to hear you talk about that kind of flexibility and adaptability and the importance of that and the 62 00:07:01,000 --> 00:07:10,000 also the kind of slightly philosophical recognition that research is about change fundamentally. 63 00:07:10,000 --> 00:07:16,000 And, you know, when you talk to any researcher, but certainly any, you know, postgraduate researcher like yourself, 64 00:07:16,000 --> 00:07:27,000 where they start when they come in with a proposal and where they leave when they, you know, submit their thesis. 65 00:07:27,000 --> 00:07:32,000 Are always two incredibly different places. 66 00:07:32,000 --> 00:07:41,000 I'm not. And I think that's that's reassuring because, I mean, when you start to feel work is you're not open to what you're seeing, 67 00:07:41,000 --> 00:07:48,000 what people tell you in you have your agenda in mind, in your just telling people, I'm going to do this and this and this. 68 00:07:48,000 --> 00:07:54,000 I mean, it's I don't think that's a very constructive nor ethical approach. 69 00:07:54,000 --> 00:08:04,000 So I think it's good to. It's even necessary to to remain open minded during the entire project, especially in my case, 70 00:08:04,000 --> 00:08:12,000 where I work with indigenous communities, where communities who have been over researched. 71 00:08:12,000 --> 00:08:19,000 And it's interesting because I had the opportunity to talk with an anthropologist that work with Cool Earth last summer. 72 00:08:19,000 --> 00:08:25,000 And she told me about her experience of going to the communities and during the community assembly. 73 00:08:25,000 --> 00:08:32,000 So members of the communities telling her, yeah, but what ways should we take part in this? 74 00:08:32,000 --> 00:08:39,000 It's always the same process of you Western researchers coming on taking our knowledge and leaving and we never hear from you again. 75 00:08:39,000 --> 00:08:50,000 So what are the benefits from Forest? Right. So if you take a more participatory approach and saying, OK, we're gonna remain open, 76 00:08:50,000 --> 00:08:58,000 we're going to construct this research together and we're going to identify your needs and see how the research projects can benefit, 77 00:08:58,000 --> 00:09:05,000 can benefit you, then I think that's that's the best way of doing it. 78 00:09:05,000 --> 00:09:12,000 Yeah. And I think. I think that's really interesting and the issue of of of ethics. 79 00:09:12,000 --> 00:09:18,000 I think that was really interesting and I'll come back to that in a moment. But. 80 00:09:18,000 --> 00:09:24,000 As you were saying that I was thinking about, well, actually, when you do get to do fieldwork now, 81 00:09:24,000 --> 00:09:29,000 the framing and the approach of that field work will be very different. 82 00:09:29,000 --> 00:09:41,000 Having worked within within the organisation in the U.K. for, you know, a year or plus and actually the kind of the way in which that will. 83 00:09:41,000 --> 00:09:54,000 Inform. The way the way that your approach that and I guess the additional context and knowledge and skills and all those sorts of things that you've gained from. 84 00:09:54,000 --> 00:10:01,000 Taking that step back and spending time with the organisation. Yes, I think it also there are some pros and cons. 85 00:10:01,000 --> 00:10:05,000 So, of course, the pros is that. I know. 86 00:10:05,000 --> 00:10:15,000 I know more about what's happening in the community, the relationship between Cool Earth and the communities with UK and also Peruvian team. 87 00:10:15,000 --> 00:10:22,000 So it's very good that I have this communication with Peruvian teams because they are the ones who go to the community more often. 88 00:10:22,000 --> 00:10:27,000 They also have technicians that live with the communities. So I have this insight. 89 00:10:27,000 --> 00:10:32,000 Well, on the other hand, then it gives me a certain perspective and a certain vision. 90 00:10:32,000 --> 00:10:38,000 I don't think that's bad. And I think any researcher has has biases. 91 00:10:38,000 --> 00:10:40,000 You just have to acknowledge that. 92 00:10:40,000 --> 00:10:50,000 And you I mean, from the recommendation that I had in the various articles, I could read about that when you arrive, 93 00:10:50,000 --> 00:10:53,000 even though you're in embedded research within your organisation, 94 00:10:53,000 --> 00:10:57,000 when you arrive to fieldwork in the communities, you're not working for the organisation. 95 00:10:57,000 --> 00:11:04,000 You have to make this clear to community members. Of course, because you have to tell them that you're independent and what they're going to tell you, 96 00:11:04,000 --> 00:11:12,000 you're not going to going to report it in any way. So it's it's important for the trust and the relationships you're you're building with them. 97 00:11:12,000 --> 00:11:20,000 But you also have to try to put aside what you've seen before and really take 98 00:11:20,000 --> 00:11:26,000 this new approach and trying to understand from scratch what's happening there. 99 00:11:26,000 --> 00:11:34,000 And this is very challenging. So the way now I see I'm going to try to to address this is to spend an initial 100 00:11:34,000 --> 00:11:43,000 phase of one month in the communities doing only participant observation to. 101 00:11:43,000 --> 00:11:51,000 Yes, to try to understand how he works there. Also to prove that I'm there, too, to work with them, 102 00:11:51,000 --> 00:12:00,000 but not to to steal anything in terms of of knowledge or practises, really to to build those those trust relationships. 103 00:12:00,000 --> 00:12:07,000 And then from there, from what I've seen during the past, leaving the reservation and from my previous learnings with Cool Earth and the interviews, 104 00:12:07,000 --> 00:12:14,000 I'm going to you then deciding on on follow up methods such as, I don't know, interview or focus groups. 105 00:12:14,000 --> 00:12:27,000 But this will come in second time. So can you say a little bit about how you approached or went about thinking about how to change the project? 106 00:12:27,000 --> 00:12:35,000 So, yes, after I think what mattered for me that I tried to get in touch with other PhD students 107 00:12:35,000 --> 00:12:42,000 or postdocs to ask them about this process of reshaping their research topics, 108 00:12:42,000 --> 00:12:47,000 because I know this is something that happens a lot for PhD programmes. 109 00:12:47,000 --> 00:12:55,000 And I thought it was interesting to have the to the experience of my peers and some of them and told me, well, 110 00:12:55,000 --> 00:13:01,000 first of all, think about yourself, because you're going to live with this project for the next now three. 111 00:13:01,000 --> 00:13:03,000 But it was four years at the beginning. 112 00:13:03,000 --> 00:13:11,000 So if you don't like it, if you're not happy to to read about it, write about it every morning, then it's not going to work out. 113 00:13:11,000 --> 00:13:18,000 And this is something I had kind of forgotten at the beginning because I really wanted to comply. 114 00:13:18,000 --> 00:13:25,000 And to be sure, I was ticking the boxes. But then, yes, as the months came along, I thought, okay. 115 00:13:25,000 --> 00:13:33,000 I have to find this balance and I have to find this topic that also pleases me in something I'm passionate about. 116 00:13:33,000 --> 00:13:42,000 So this took really a long time. I started in March and they came up with the final idea in November. 117 00:13:42,000 --> 00:13:46,000 And my supervisor, they had reassured me from the beginning that it was normal. 118 00:13:46,000 --> 00:14:00,000 It was going to take a long time. So you had to be to get lost in the the literature jungle and then see which angle you wanted to to adopt. 119 00:14:00,000 --> 00:14:09,000 Thanks, Lena, for that insight into the reorganisation of PPhD project. 120 00:14:09,000 --> 00:14:15,000 Two weeks in, I'd be really interested to talk to other people who've had to change their projects due to COVID. 121 00:14:15,000 --> 00:14:19,000 So please, if you're interested in sharing your experience, good. 122 00:14:19,000 --> 00:14:24,000 The bad, the ugly. Please do get in touch. And that's it for this episode. 123 00:14:24,000 --> 00:14:27,000 Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me. 124 00:14:27,000 --> 00:14:54,505 Next time we'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between. 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:15,000 Hello and welcome to R, D and the in betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece, 2 00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:32,000 and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:36,000 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and the In Betweens. 4 00:00:36,000 --> 00:00:41,000 It's Kelly Preece here. And today I'm gonna be talking to one of our PGRs Lena. 5 00:00:41,000 --> 00:00:48,000 Now, Lena started her PhD at a really odd time just a couple of weeks before the start of the pandemic. 6 00:00:48,000 --> 00:00:57,000 But the reason that I wanted to talk to her is actually because her PhD is a collaboration between the university and an external partner. 7 00:00:57,000 --> 00:01:01,000 This is a common thing in these days in terms of funding, 8 00:01:01,000 --> 00:01:09,000 but it presents particular situations and challenges for the student in working between two very different organisations. 9 00:01:09,000 --> 00:01:13,000 And I was delighted that Lena was happy to speak to me about this. 10 00:01:13,000 --> 00:01:18,000 So, Lena, are you happy to introduce yourself? Yeah. Hi. 11 00:01:18,000 --> 00:01:24,000 Good morning. Thank you for for having me in your podcast, Kelly. So my name is Lena. 12 00:01:24,000 --> 00:01:32,000 I'm finishing the first year of my PhD in the business school that I'm based in the ESI 13 00:01:32,000 --> 00:01:41,000 So the Environmental and Sustainability Institute in Penryn and my PhD looks at how indigenous intrapreneurship, 14 00:01:41,000 --> 00:01:50,000 so more specifically cocoa and coffee growing, can empower forest communities who perform these activities. 15 00:01:50,000 --> 00:01:56,000 And more specifically, I'm interested in how these activities are supported by external organisations 16 00:01:56,000 --> 00:02:05,000 such as NGOs and how these organisations play a role in the empowerment processes. 17 00:02:05,000 --> 00:02:11,000 So, yeah, I work in directly in collaboration with an NGO called Cool Earth 18 00:02:11,000 --> 00:02:16,000 So they are based on the penryn campus as well. 19 00:02:16,000 --> 00:02:27,000 And they're a conservation NGO whose founding principle is that people who live in the rainforest should determine their own future. 20 00:02:27,000 --> 00:02:32,000 So Cool Earth creates projects for sustainable livelihood creation, 21 00:02:32,000 --> 00:02:38,000 and those projects can contribute to forest preservation and climate change mitigation. 22 00:02:38,000 --> 00:02:40,000 That's great. Thank you. 23 00:02:40,000 --> 00:02:49,000 So actually, the thing we're going to talk about today is the experience for you of working between the university and the NGO. 24 00:02:49,000 --> 00:02:53,000 So I guess it's a good place to start is. How how did that come about? 25 00:02:53,000 --> 00:02:59,000 So how I guess, how did the collaboration between the NGO and the university came about? 26 00:02:59,000 --> 00:03:05,000 And then what kind of led you to become interested and apply for the project? 27 00:03:05,000 --> 00:03:13,000 Yeah. So I applied for this PhD position in July twenty nineteen, so it's been quite a long time ago now. 28 00:03:13,000 --> 00:03:16,000 And on the project description, there was no direct mention. 29 00:03:16,000 --> 00:03:27,000 Of Cool Earth, the project was only talking about food security issues within indigenous communities in Latin America. 30 00:03:27,000 --> 00:03:36,000 And this was a topic I was very interested in because at that time I was doing a masters degree in food policy. 31 00:03:36,000 --> 00:03:40,000 And previous to that, I had done a master's in international development. 32 00:03:40,000 --> 00:03:47,000 And I had looked for my thesis, the question of the preservation of indigenous intellectual property. 33 00:03:47,000 --> 00:03:51,000 So it was very in line with my interests. 34 00:03:51,000 --> 00:03:56,000 So then I emailed the main supervisor to ask for more information. 35 00:03:56,000 --> 00:04:01,000 I got in touch with the main supervisor of the project, who is Stefano Pascucci 36 00:04:01,000 --> 00:04:06,000 and he explained to me that this project will be a collaboration with Cool Earth 37 00:04:06,000 --> 00:04:08,000 So this was already decided. 38 00:04:08,000 --> 00:04:16,000 And actually, when I took the interview, there were two people from the University of Exeter and two people from Cool Earth. 39 00:04:16,000 --> 00:04:22,000 So, okay, so the the relationship and the NGO were really embedded from the beginning then. 40 00:04:22,000 --> 00:04:35,000 They're part of the interview process as well. Yes. So I guess at the beginning we took a really inductive approach to this project. 41 00:04:35,000 --> 00:04:41,000 And I mean, the pandemic happened two weeks after I started the project. 42 00:04:41,000 --> 00:04:46,000 Yes. So the plan at the beginning was to collaborate with Cool Earth. 43 00:04:46,000 --> 00:04:53,000 So from the beginning, I was supposed to work in their offices two days a week so I could get to know them and get to know their projects. 44 00:04:53,000 --> 00:04:58,000 And after the plan was to go to Peru because they have a project there. 45 00:04:58,000 --> 00:05:01,000 So the Latin American project they have are in Peru. 46 00:05:01,000 --> 00:05:07,000 So I was supposed to do this exploratory trip where I would meet with the communities cool earth partner with. 47 00:05:07,000 --> 00:05:14,000 And we would have come up with a research topic that would match everybody's interests. 48 00:05:14,000 --> 00:05:20,000 Unfortunately, this was not possible because travelling to Peru was not an option. 49 00:05:20,000 --> 00:05:31,000 So what I did was very much to tighten my links with Cool Earth so trying to understand their project 50 00:05:31,000 --> 00:05:38,000 through Cool Earth itself and not the communities with the plan of going to Peru in the next few months. 51 00:05:38,000 --> 00:05:47,000 So kind of, you know, adapting my approach. And this was made by me attending most of their team meetings. 52 00:05:47,000 --> 00:05:53,000 They have we also have meetings where we only talk about my research and I 53 00:05:53,000 --> 00:06:00,000 also present my research project and how it evolves quite regularly to them, 54 00:06:00,000 --> 00:06:06,000 to their team in the UK. So the team I was talking about based in Penryn, but also to the in country. 55 00:06:06,000 --> 00:06:10,000 team they have in Peru Think the the shift in the project. 56 00:06:10,000 --> 00:06:16,000 That was really interesting. So I can I can sort of imagine that the dynamic and the relationship between you, 57 00:06:16,000 --> 00:06:22,000 the research and the research project and the organisation had to shift quite considerably if you're 58 00:06:22,000 --> 00:06:30,000 going from kind of researching the projects and the communities that they work with to actually. 59 00:06:30,000 --> 00:06:36,000 Researching the organiser. Yes. So that's a very interesting point, so. 60 00:06:36,000 --> 00:06:41,000 So at the beginning, my unit of analysis was supposed to be the communities themselves. 61 00:06:41,000 --> 00:06:51,000 But since I I have this embedded approach. As you said that I came to really try to understand how Cool Earth worked and 62 00:06:51,000 --> 00:06:56,000 why was their theory of change and why were the challenges they were facing. 63 00:06:56,000 --> 00:07:06,000 I shifted my approach and now the units of analysis is more the network that cool earth created in these creating with its partners. 64 00:07:06,000 --> 00:07:11,000 So it really influenced my approach. It also changed the topic of my research. 65 00:07:11,000 --> 00:07:17,000 So as I told you at the beginning, it was very much so food security related. 66 00:07:17,000 --> 00:07:24,000 And more specifically, was alluding to sustainable agriculture and agroecology. 67 00:07:24,000 --> 00:07:31,000 But early on, I realised that there were issues with this this topic. 68 00:07:31,000 --> 00:07:35,000 And first of all, in the sense that I couldn't go to Peru, as I said before. 69 00:07:35,000 --> 00:07:39,000 So it was very hard for me to understand what was happening there exactly on the ground. 70 00:07:39,000 --> 00:07:47,000 Although cool earth gave me very interesting insights on what was happening there. 71 00:07:47,000 --> 00:07:52,000 But the second problem I had is that I'm PhD student in the business school. 72 00:07:52,000 --> 00:08:03,000 And it was made clear to me by my supervisors from the beginning that I had to bring a contribution to the business or the management literature. 73 00:08:03,000 --> 00:08:09,000 So I tried to to shift the topic so that it would please both. 74 00:08:09,000 --> 00:08:19,000 Cool earth and the business school, my supervisor, and most importantly, that it would be a topic that I would be passionate about. 75 00:08:19,000 --> 00:08:25,000 I mean, simple as that. Yeah. So it took a long time. 76 00:08:25,000 --> 00:08:30,000 A lot of it was a very iterative process, a lot of conversation. 77 00:08:30,000 --> 00:08:36,000 What was great was that there was always a connection between my supervisors and cool earth as well. 78 00:08:36,000 --> 00:08:42,000 So we had a meeting where we would all talk together about my projects or communication. 79 00:08:42,000 --> 00:08:51,000 I think it was very important in this process. And I mean this I think this is part of the hD research that you have to constantly adapt. 80 00:08:51,000 --> 00:08:57,000 And I consider myself lucky because, I mean, I started the PhD really two weeks before lockdown. 81 00:08:57,000 --> 00:09:00,000 So nothing was set in stone yet. I could really adapt. 82 00:09:00,000 --> 00:09:08,000 It's not like I had planned already. I had my tickets for Peru and I had to change everything, which would have been way more complicated. 83 00:09:08,000 --> 00:09:13,000 Of course, there's a couple of things I want to pick up, pick up on that in terms of relationship. 84 00:09:13,000 --> 00:09:19,000 So the first one to kind of sort of, you know, 85 00:09:19,000 --> 00:09:25,000 focussed more on the kind of topic for the minute is about your relationship, therefore, with the organisation. 86 00:09:25,000 --> 00:09:32,000 So. You know, you talked about being kind of embedded in it and, you know, the idea was that you'd spend time in their offices. 87 00:09:32,000 --> 00:09:38,000 Obviously, that has happened, I imagine, in a in a very different way during the pandemic. 88 00:09:38,000 --> 00:09:45,000 But I wondered if you could talk about kind of being embedded or being part of the organisation, 89 00:09:45,000 --> 00:09:51,000 but also researching the organisation and what's that what that's like for you as a researcher, 90 00:09:51,000 --> 00:09:59,000 but also what how that kind of how that affects your relationships with the people in the organisation, how you navigate that? 91 00:09:59,000 --> 00:10:09,000 Does that make sense? Yeah, sure. So it's funny because this concept of embedded research I actually found about it quite recently when 92 00:10:09,000 --> 00:10:16,000 I was so I was working on my upgrades and I was having a conversation with one of my supervisor, 93 00:10:16,000 --> 00:10:22,000 one of my supervisors, sorry, and she told me what actually what you're doing is is embedded research, 94 00:10:22,000 --> 00:10:31,000 because usually what a researcher does is preparing and having this phase of literature review and then going to the to the field. 95 00:10:31,000 --> 00:10:41,000 But what happened for me was I dived into the field from day one and I hadn't really realised that for me it was something natural about had happened. 96 00:10:41,000 --> 00:10:51,000 And actually this position has a lot of consequences on the approach towards the research project, and it has benefits and challenges. 97 00:10:51,000 --> 00:10:55,000 So I would say that. 98 00:10:55,000 --> 00:11:03,000 So the main benefit that you have is that you're really able to build those trust based relationships with the other members of the team. 99 00:11:03,000 --> 00:11:09,000 So you understand what the work is, but also who they are as a person. 100 00:11:09,000 --> 00:11:19,000 So you can really bond with them. And I think it's a very important element of research, of building this, what is called the raport. 101 00:11:19,000 --> 00:11:23,000 You can also gain deep knowledge on the organisation. 102 00:11:23,000 --> 00:11:28,000 It's not like you look at their Web site. You really understand how they work from an internal point of view. 103 00:11:28,000 --> 00:11:33,000 And they think this is also very valuable. 104 00:11:33,000 --> 00:11:44,000 And this allows you to build a project that I called action oriented in the sense that I really endeavour to ensure that my research priorities 105 00:11:44,000 --> 00:11:54,000 were in line with Cool earth's interests and that I was I was coming up with a project that could really inform their future strategies. 106 00:11:54,000 --> 00:12:02,000 I mean, also, it is going to be an academic work, but I really wanted to be Demand-Driven. 107 00:12:02,000 --> 00:12:11,000 We also had the opportunity to to work on a variety of projects that are not necessarily related to my to my research group. 108 00:12:11,000 --> 00:12:18,000 We're working, for example, on a crowdfunding application together or on a conference abstract 109 00:12:18,000 --> 00:12:24,000 So we have though those side projects are very also interesting for me. 110 00:12:24,000 --> 00:12:31,000 And I would say that it's also super nice to meet with people during the pandemic because otherwise I don't have a research group. 111 00:12:31,000 --> 00:12:35,000 So it would be very much me, myself and I. 112 00:12:35,000 --> 00:12:43,000 I'm in meetings with my supervisors, of course, but those weekly meetings I have with Cool earth have been very important for my mental health as well. 113 00:12:43,000 --> 00:12:48,000 this also comes with some challenges so like you were 114 00:12:48,000 --> 00:12:58,000 mentioning my relationship with the organisation and how I can manage that because I'm researching them at the same time, which can be quite tricky. 115 00:12:58,000 --> 00:13:06,000 So in terms of ethics, approach, first avoids very hard to to manage that, because in the end, 116 00:13:06,000 --> 00:13:13,000 when you're going through the ethical review process, you don't have to start that correction before having the approval. 117 00:13:13,000 --> 00:13:20,000 So all the information I gathered until now, I'm not going to do for in my research is data. 118 00:13:20,000 --> 00:13:23,000 I'm going to just use it as a way of building my research project. 119 00:13:23,000 --> 00:13:27,000 But then I'm going to do formal interviews with cool Earth members. 120 00:13:27,000 --> 00:13:35,000 And I already told them that everything they had disclosed with me previously, I wouldn't use it for. 121 00:13:35,000 --> 00:13:36,000 For ethics purposes. 122 00:13:36,000 --> 00:13:45,000 So you have also to be aware that there might be the temptation of thinking, oh, I heard this amazing thing during a meeting. 123 00:13:45,000 --> 00:13:52,000 That would be great if I can use it. But no, you can't. So this is something you really have to be careful about. 124 00:13:52,000 --> 00:14:01,000 As I was saying, I also tend to very much focus on trying to come up with a project that's helpful for Cool Earth. 125 00:14:01,000 --> 00:14:07,000 And since I have those very tight links with them, sometimes I tend to forget. 126 00:14:07,000 --> 00:14:12,000 But I also am a PhD student and I have to bring a contribution to specific literature. 127 00:14:12,000 --> 00:14:16,000 So it's kind of hard to be in the middle sometimes. 128 00:14:16,000 --> 00:14:23,000 So I try to remind myself and my supervisors are here for that as well. 129 00:14:23,000 --> 00:14:32,000 And also, I would say that the last element is. I really feel that Cool earth's members, they trust me and they value my opinion. 130 00:14:32,000 --> 00:14:40,000 So sometimes, yes, I share with them my thoughts or some notes on academic reading I had. 131 00:14:40,000 --> 00:14:50,000 But I feel I lack the legitimacy to really be able to provide any advice, because, I mean, there they have been there for a long time. 132 00:14:50,000 --> 00:14:56,000 They know the topic. They know your communities. They have relationship with those communities. 133 00:14:56,000 --> 00:15:02,000 And I'm on the I have only been there for 12 months and working from home. 134 00:15:02,000 --> 00:15:05,000 So, yeah, sometimes it's I feel a little bit like that. 135 00:15:05,000 --> 00:15:09,000 But otherwise, it has been a great experience. Sounds really fruitful. 136 00:15:09,000 --> 00:15:17,000 And I think it's really interesting to hear you talk about the sense of connection with people that working in this way has given you, 137 00:15:17,000 --> 00:15:24,000 particularly during the kind of the UK lockdowns and the corona virus pandemic, because. 138 00:15:24,000 --> 00:15:30,000 Yeah, the impact on your mental health. I think that that's a really interesting facet and kind of had extra of this. 139 00:15:30,000 --> 00:15:38,000 So you've talked a little bit about kind of making sure that the research project is useful to the organisation, 140 00:15:38,000 --> 00:15:40,000 making sure that it makes an academic contribution. 141 00:15:40,000 --> 00:15:50,000 So sort of satisfying your supervisors at the university, but also making sure that it's interesting to you as a researcher and. 142 00:15:50,000 --> 00:15:56,000 I sort of glibly commented when you mentioned that oh it's as simple as that. But of course, we know that it's it's nothing like. 143 00:15:56,000 --> 00:16:05,000 So I wondered if you could talk a little bit about how how you negotiate that kind of almost a triad of expectations, 144 00:16:05,000 --> 00:16:11,000 but also kind of triad of what people want out of the project and how what the 145 00:16:11,000 --> 00:16:15,000 challenges are with that and maybe a little bit about how you've been negotiating it. 146 00:16:15,000 --> 00:16:19,000 Yes, sure. So I as I mentioned before, 147 00:16:19,000 --> 00:16:30,000 I think one of the key points was to have this communication with both my supervisors and my academic team and cool earth and even between then, 148 00:16:30,000 --> 00:16:33,000 they can communicate. So it's not just me telling to the other. 149 00:16:33,000 --> 00:16:38,000 Oh, they have told me that in doing this back and forth thing, we have really a group. 150 00:16:38,000 --> 00:16:43,000 I feel it. So we're a group and we we all have a common goal. 151 00:16:43,000 --> 00:16:48,000 And we wanted to create a project that is interesting for all of us. 152 00:16:48,000 --> 00:16:54,000 So I think it's important then that we are on the same line also from the beginning. 153 00:16:54,000 --> 00:17:02,000 Cool earth's members told me that they were really open on their research topic as long as it was relevant to their projects. 154 00:17:02,000 --> 00:17:12,000 So they really gave me this freedom and they did an imposing list of topic I should focus on. 155 00:17:12,000 --> 00:17:20,000 So, yes, after I think what mattered for me that I tried to get in touch with other PhD students 156 00:17:20,000 --> 00:17:27,000 or postdocs to ask them about this process of reshaping their research topics, 157 00:17:27,000 --> 00:17:32,000 because I know this is something that happens a lot for PhD programmes. 158 00:17:32,000 --> 00:17:40,000 And I thought it was interesting to have to the experience of my peers and a lot of them told me, well, 159 00:17:40,000 --> 00:17:46,000 first of all, think about yourself, because you're going to live with this project for the next now three. 160 00:17:46,000 --> 00:17:48,000 But it was four years at the beginning. 161 00:17:48,000 --> 00:17:56,000 So if you don't like it, if you're not happy to to read about it, write about it every morning, then it's not going to work out. 162 00:17:56,000 --> 00:18:06,000 And this is something I had. Kind of forgotten at the beginning because I really wanted to comply and to be sure, I was ticking the boxes. 163 00:18:06,000 --> 00:18:10,000 But then, yes, as the months came along, I thought, okay. 164 00:18:10,000 --> 00:18:18,000 I have to find this balance and I have to find this topic that also pleases me in something I'm passionate about. 165 00:18:18,000 --> 00:18:27,000 So this took really a long time. I started in March and they came up with the final idea in November. 166 00:18:27,000 --> 00:18:31,000 And my supervisor, they had reassured me from the beginning that it was normal. 167 00:18:31,000 --> 00:18:44,000 It was going to take a long time. So you had to be to get lost in the literature jungle and then and see which angle you wanted to to adopt. 168 00:18:44,000 --> 00:18:52,000 I wanted to talk to close by asking you if that's another potential PGR out there, 169 00:18:52,000 --> 00:18:59,000 who is looking at doing a piece of research that is working between a university and external organisation. 170 00:18:59,000 --> 00:19:05,000 What advice would you give them? What would you sort of tell them to consider? 171 00:19:05,000 --> 00:19:12,000 Mm hmm. Yeah. So how to be a good embedded researcher? 172 00:19:12,000 --> 00:19:23,000 Well, first of all, that that's an approach I would definitely encourage as often as possible when it's relevant to the research topic. 173 00:19:23,000 --> 00:19:34,000 I think what's important is to be clear from the beginning of what the collaboration entails and what it does not entail. 174 00:19:34,000 --> 00:19:43,000 Even to have it's written down. So it's it's clear between the researcher and the organisation, but also the supervisory team. 175 00:19:43,000 --> 00:19:54,000 And I think what makes for me this collaboration very fruitful is the communication between the organisation and my supervisory team. 176 00:19:54,000 --> 00:19:58,000 I think it's very good to have this contact. So to ensure we are on the same line. 177 00:19:58,000 --> 00:20:03,000 And there are no there are not two agendas growing side to side. 178 00:20:03,000 --> 00:20:09,000 And because I think this is the one thing that can be very challenging for for researchers. 179 00:20:09,000 --> 00:20:16,000 Thank you so much to Lena for sharing her experience with us of working between the university and 180 00:20:16,000 --> 00:20:24,000 Cool Earth and the unique challenges there are between working between the university and industry partner, 181 00:20:24,000 --> 00:20:29,000 but also doing that and starting that during COVID 182 00:20:29,000 --> 00:20:35,000 And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like rate and subscribe and join me next time. 183 00:20:35,000 --> 00:21:01,149 where i'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
46 minutes | 3 months ago
The Supervisory Relationship (from both sides!) with Edward Mills and Tom Hinton
In this episode I talk Edward Mills and Dr. Tom Hinton about their supervisory relationship, from exchanging their first speculative emails about the PhD to working together now on a postdoctoral project. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Podcast transcript 1 00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:15,000 Hello and welcome, R, D and And The Inbetweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece, 2 00:00:15,000 --> 00:00:31,000 and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between. 3 00:00:31,000 --> 00:00:36,000 Hello and welcome to the latest episode of R, D and The Inbetweens. 4 00:00:36,000 --> 00:00:44,000 It's Kelly Preece. And today I'm gonna be talking to both sides of a PhD supervisory team to Edward Mills. 5 00:00:44,000 --> 00:00:53,000 He's been on this podcast a few times, talking about writing up his thesis and preparing for your Viva is here today with his PhD supervisor 6 00:00:53,000 --> 00:01:02,000 and now postdoc supervisor Dr. Thomas Hinton to talk about the supervisory relationship from both sides. 7 00:01:02,000 --> 00:01:11,000 What makes a good supervisor? What makes a good supervisor? And what advice they have for other students and academics. 8 00:01:11,000 --> 00:01:14,000 So, Tom, first, you happy to introduce yourself? Yes. 9 00:01:14,000 --> 00:01:15,000 So I'm Tom Hinton. 10 00:01:15,000 --> 00:01:26,000 I'm a senior lecturer in French in the Department of Modern Languages, specialised in the Middle Ages, particularly medieval French and Occitan Fab. 11 00:01:26,000 --> 00:01:32,000 Edward. Hello, my name's Edward. I am just in the process of finishing up my PhD 12 00:01:32,000 --> 00:01:38,000 I've just submitted my corrections in modern languages. Work on many of these similar areas. 13 00:01:38,000 --> 00:01:44,000 Tom. Really Which is appropriate, I think, given the focus for for this podcast. 14 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:49,000 So, yeah, we're gonna talk about the supervisory relationship and the particular supervisory 15 00:01:49,000 --> 00:01:53,000 relationship that Tom and Edward have experienced over the past four years. 16 00:01:53,000 --> 00:01:57,000 I guess best thing to do is go right back to the start. Back to the beginning. 17 00:01:57,000 --> 00:02:03,000 So how did you come to be Tom's student Edward? 18 00:02:03,000 --> 00:02:05,000 So I am very fortunate. 19 00:02:05,000 --> 00:02:18,000 I think on one thing which I am conscious of in this episode is I'm going to give everybody supervisor envy. But to go way back. 20 00:02:18,000 --> 00:02:22,000 It actually happened because of an email that we sent out. 21 00:02:22,000 --> 00:02:32,000 So I was working in France after finishing my master's and my masters supervisor who knew that myself, 22 00:02:32,000 --> 00:02:37,000 another master's candidate, were interested in doing PhDs 23 00:02:37,000 --> 00:02:43,000 occasionally sent out emails to us saying, you know, have you seen this opportunity for funding, this opportunity for funding and so on and so forth. 24 00:02:43,000 --> 00:02:51,000 And it just so happened that Tom had sent one round about some funding that was available in Exeter, 25 00:02:51,000 --> 00:02:59,000 mentioning that there were these three student ships and it would be great to have some mediaeval French representation 26 00:02:59,000 --> 00:03:07,000 in amongst that this sort of new cohort and that French specific PhD funding was and still is quite rare. 27 00:03:07,000 --> 00:03:18,000 So I sat down over Christmas five years ago and wrote an email, basically, and that's sort of where it started, isn't it, Tom? 28 00:03:18,000 --> 00:03:29,000 Really? Yeah, I think it's a I mean, that's how a lot of PhD supervisor relationships start, I think is through someone e-mailing in this case. 29 00:03:29,000 --> 00:03:31,000 I was, as I would explain, 30 00:03:31,000 --> 00:03:39,000 I was trying to be proactive in terms of putting feelers out to colleagues around the country to see if they had students who be interested. 31 00:03:39,000 --> 00:03:47,000 And then you get an email in your inbox. And I think obviously it's important that the project is a good fit. 32 00:03:47,000 --> 00:03:52,000 So it doesn't it doesn't have to be exactly what you're working on, but you have to, as a supervisor, 33 00:03:52,000 --> 00:03:58,000 be able to see yourself giving good value, being the right person for that project. 34 00:03:58,000 --> 00:04:03,000 In this case, it did so happen that it was remarkably close to what I was interested in. 35 00:04:03,000 --> 00:04:10,000 And I think, um, the the topic immediately caught my interest. 36 00:04:10,000 --> 00:04:13,000 So was that so that you said that there was funding available? 37 00:04:13,000 --> 00:04:22,000 So was there an interview process? Did you like what kind of interaction did you have in advance of you starting Ed? 38 00:04:22,000 --> 00:04:28,000 Edward, did you speak on the phone or did you meet and get to meet in person or. 39 00:04:28,000 --> 00:04:33,000 So we most did it via e-mail. I think Tom is not fair to say. 40 00:04:33,000 --> 00:04:38,000 Yeah, I think almost entirely wasn't it I think. Yeah. I actually spoke face to face to you. 41 00:04:38,000 --> 00:04:43,000 I don't think we ever spoke on the phone. But the time we spoke face to face, I think you already had your offer. 42 00:04:43,000 --> 00:04:47,000 I think that's why. Yeah. So there was an application process. 43 00:04:47,000 --> 00:04:57,000 I actually did something I wouldn't recommend to future applicants, which is I only applied for this one particular pot of funding. 44 00:04:57,000 --> 00:05:01,000 I this was university funding rather than DTP funding. 45 00:05:01,000 --> 00:05:06,000 So looking back, I was incredibly fortunate that I was successful in this respect. 46 00:05:06,000 --> 00:05:12,000 I would definitely recommend applying for funding in as many places as possible. 47 00:05:12,000 --> 00:05:16,000 But in terms of the particular funding stream that I was on. 48 00:05:16,000 --> 00:05:21,000 Yeah, there was an application and interview process. 49 00:05:21,000 --> 00:05:26,000 So I'd say that our correspondance kind of split into two phases roughly. 50 00:05:26,000 --> 00:05:31,000 The first one was when we were kind of hammering out what the project would would be about. 51 00:05:31,000 --> 00:05:36,000 And again, that was mostly for me. I think it's it's fair to say, Tom, I think that's really the right way of going about it. 52 00:05:36,000 --> 00:05:40,000 Yeah. And I think that's quite it's kind of surprisingly important stage. 53 00:05:40,000 --> 00:05:51,000 I think potentially in it as a supervisor, I see that's the time when I can ask questions that that might prompt further reflection, 54 00:05:51,000 --> 00:05:56,000 might prompt revision of certain parts, improvements. 55 00:05:56,000 --> 00:06:00,000 So that by the time a candidate arrives at they're actually submitting an actual application. 56 00:06:00,000 --> 00:06:07,000 They're in the best possible place. I think it's you know, if this relationship is going to work well afterwards, 57 00:06:07,000 --> 00:06:13,000 it's useful if you can kind of get it in even in that speculative phase when you don't know if you need to get to work together. 58 00:06:13,000 --> 00:06:18,000 I've had other students where they weren't successful in the applications, 59 00:06:18,000 --> 00:06:25,000 and you could look at that as a lost time when you invest time in in a student and helping them to refine their ideas. 60 00:06:25,000 --> 00:06:31,000 But actually, it's it's crucial, I think, once that those projects that do get off the ground once you get going, 61 00:06:31,000 --> 00:06:36,000 because then it allows you to already know that you are probably for it. 62 00:06:36,000 --> 00:06:43,000 I mean, I'll ask you here, Edward, but I think for the student, it's an opportunity to kind of see how you might work with that supervisor as well. 63 00:06:43,000 --> 00:06:48,000 Intellectually. Yeah, I think that's that's absolutely right. 64 00:06:48,000 --> 00:07:00,000 And I remember being very struck when I started emailing back and forth and we started coming to see the second stage in particular, 65 00:07:00,000 --> 00:07:08,000 which was why me producing a rough research proposal now kind of refining it together. 66 00:07:08,000 --> 00:07:14,000 I think we went through several versions of it, didn't we, before before we submitted it. 67 00:07:14,000 --> 00:07:28,000 And I remember being struck by the level of detail of care and of interest that Tom showed for it. 68 00:07:28,000 --> 00:07:32,000 It's definitely an opportunity, as you said, time for the student to see how the relationship would work. 69 00:07:32,000 --> 00:07:38,000 And it was something that really. Made me think that. 70 00:07:38,000 --> 00:07:39,000 Exeter was a place I'd want to go. 71 00:07:39,000 --> 00:07:45,000 This isn't an advert for the University of Exeter or necessarily for Tom Hinton, though I certainly would make that in a heartbeat. 72 00:07:45,000 --> 00:07:51,000 But it's if you get that sense that there's a good dialogue going between you. 73 00:07:51,000 --> 00:07:57,000 It's it's really, really positive step. Nothing made me feel. 74 00:07:57,000 --> 00:08:03,000 More keen to go to Exeter. Or to work with this particular supervisor, 75 00:08:03,000 --> 00:08:11,000 then the degree of interest that there was in the feeling that this was a project that that you take it on were interested in. 76 00:08:11,000 --> 00:08:13,000 I think. 77 00:08:13,000 --> 00:08:20,000 I think I think that that's a it's such an important part of the process and it's not depending what discipline you're in, it's not always possible, 78 00:08:20,000 --> 00:08:30,000 because particularly in the sciences, you're applying to a very specific project which is led by a very specific supervisor or principal investigator. 79 00:08:30,000 --> 00:08:34,000 But we're kind of in the more humanities and social sciences. 80 00:08:34,000 --> 00:08:41,000 It's such so important to have that conversation. It's like you say, Tom, it's not just about how you're going to work together intellectually, 81 00:08:41,000 --> 00:08:46,000 but also about actually what the dynamic of the relationship is going to be. 82 00:08:46,000 --> 00:08:53,000 And if that that that is right for you, it's kind of like an audition like it for you both to sort of feel like, is this is this going to work for us? 83 00:08:53,000 --> 00:09:00,000 Is this going to be the kind of relationship that we're both going to find? 84 00:09:00,000 --> 00:09:05,000 Intellectually and I guess professionally is the word I'd use fruitful. 85 00:09:05,000 --> 00:09:10,000 Say they want to commit to over a significant period of time? It is. 86 00:09:10,000 --> 00:09:15,000 Yeah, I'm pleased to say that I managed to I managed to dupe Tom and four a bit. 87 00:09:15,000 --> 00:09:22,000 Years later, he's still trying to escape, I believe. So. 88 00:09:22,000 --> 00:09:30,000 Thinking about this over the span of the past four years of your supervisory relationship. 89 00:09:30,000 --> 00:09:34,000 What will? I guess I'll ask you first. 90 00:09:34,000 --> 00:09:36,000 Edward, what? How would you describe the dynamic of it? 91 00:09:36,000 --> 00:09:44,000 You talked about how in those initial interactions you felt that there was an awful lot of attention to detail and a sense of care. 92 00:09:44,000 --> 00:09:49,000 Is that did that kind of follow through in there in the rest of the relationship? 93 00:09:49,000 --> 00:09:55,000 How how would you say the dynamics are? Yeah, I think it definitely did carry on through. 94 00:09:55,000 --> 00:09:59,000 So in our first meeting together in September, we already met in person over the summer. 95 00:09:59,000 --> 00:10:02,000 But in our first sort of September meeting, 96 00:10:02,000 --> 00:10:10,000 Tom suggested that we start by effectively just discussing the document that I've been working on over the previous few months, 97 00:10:10,000 --> 00:10:15,000 which was the research proposal, just seeing if anything had changed in the couple of months since, 98 00:10:15,000 --> 00:10:23,000 obviously I'd last discussed it with him and seeing if anything new had come up and discussing how we might get started. 99 00:10:23,000 --> 00:10:27,000 Which in the arts nad humanities is often a difficult conversation to have. 100 00:10:27,000 --> 00:10:32,000 So, yeah, I definitely did, I think continue on that sense of good care and an interest. 101 00:10:32,000 --> 00:10:35,000 Yeah. What about. What about for you, Tom? 102 00:10:35,000 --> 00:10:44,000 How would you describe your dynamically working relationship with Edward as this as a supervisor and supervisor? 103 00:10:44,000 --> 00:10:49,000 I think the great thing about Edward is that he'll always come to meetings with ideas. 104 00:10:49,000 --> 00:10:56,000 So there's always something to discuss. There's always a really some really interesting routes in 105 00:10:56,000 --> 00:11:07,000 And I guess for me it's been I'd say, first of all, I want to talk about it intellectually and then about sort of interpersonally, intellectually. 106 00:11:07,000 --> 00:11:13,000 It's been an interesting experience supervising PhD that's really quite close to the kinds of questions that I'm interested in, 107 00:11:13,000 --> 00:11:22,000 because I've been very aware all the way through not wanting to to guide the project in the way that I might have if it was me working on it. 108 00:11:22,000 --> 00:11:27,000 So it's obvious it's crucial that this is the student's project. 109 00:11:27,000 --> 00:11:35,000 And your role as supervisor, I think, is to try to prompt, to nudge, to advise, but not to not to guide or to take over in any way. 110 00:11:35,000 --> 00:11:41,000 Hopefully that's something I've managed to avoid doing. And interpersonally, I think it's always been. 111 00:11:41,000 --> 00:11:43,000 It was very straightforward and easy from the start. 112 00:11:43,000 --> 00:11:50,000 I think we were lucky from that point of view because, you know, there's an element of luck about this as well. 113 00:11:50,000 --> 00:11:56,000 So you get a bit of a sense of of your supervisor's personality and your students personality from early exchanges. 114 00:11:56,000 --> 00:12:00,000 But in the end, you you can bring two people together. 115 00:12:00,000 --> 00:12:05,000 Hopefully we'll get on and certainly be professional. You know, it's very important that professional relationship. 116 00:12:05,000 --> 00:12:10,000 In our case, I think we did get on genuinely with. We are friends now. 117 00:12:10,000 --> 00:12:16,000 And and that's a that's that was a really good serendipitous thing. 118 00:12:16,000 --> 00:12:25,000 But I think as a supervisor, even if you didn't have immediate chemistry with the student on an interpersonal level, 119 00:12:25,000 --> 00:12:31,000 you obviously have responsibilities and a professional attitude that you need to have. 120 00:12:31,000 --> 00:12:40,000 You can maybe talk about that as well later on, what you're saying about the kind of the interpersonal, but also. 121 00:12:40,000 --> 00:12:45,000 You know how you work with someone professionally, I think it's really important because, yes, 122 00:12:45,000 --> 00:12:54,000 in either lots of cases you do have that sort of interpersonal connection and you do kind of end up becoming not just, 123 00:12:54,000 --> 00:12:57,000 you know, colleagues or supervisors supervisor, but friends. 124 00:12:57,000 --> 00:13:02,000 But that's not always the case because it's not always the case with anybody we work with in our professional lives. 125 00:13:02,000 --> 00:13:08,000 And just because you don't have that kind of platonic connection with someone doesn't 126 00:13:08,000 --> 00:13:15,000 mean that you can't work very productively with them on a professional level. 127 00:13:15,000 --> 00:13:27,000 Yeah, I think that's really nicely put, actually. I think yeah, I think that's my experience of sort of second hand experience of other colleagues. 128 00:13:27,000 --> 00:13:34,000 Supervisory relationships is that on the whole I think As you suggested, the staff most often there is there. 129 00:13:34,000 --> 00:13:42,000 I mean, it's it's quite a natural thing to evolve out of being so closely involved with someone's work and not just work, but their working life, 130 00:13:42,000 --> 00:13:50,000 I suppose, over such a long period of time that there very often is a strong personal relationship that develops and the supportive relationship. 131 00:13:50,000 --> 00:13:56,000 But it's not it's not a given. And even in cases where that didn't develop. 132 00:13:56,000 --> 00:14:01,000 I think the important thing is that there's a strong professional relationship. 133 00:14:01,000 --> 00:14:07,000 And one thing I'd add to that, actually, you were very kind earlier, Tom, to mention I come to. 134 00:14:07,000 --> 00:14:12,000 We call them supervisions. I think that's probably a hangover from. 135 00:14:12,000 --> 00:14:23,000 Where I did my undergraduate and various other bits of terminology, but meetings or kind of contact events or whatever you want to call them. 136 00:14:23,000 --> 00:14:30,000 I think coming to them with ideas is something I would encourage all students to do when working with supervisors. 137 00:14:30,000 --> 00:14:36,000 Tom and I both did. Alternate components of the same training. 138 00:14:36,000 --> 00:14:39,000 I think didn't we Tom in the kind of the first couple of months. 139 00:14:39,000 --> 00:14:43,000 So I had it as a hDE session on working with the supervisors, 140 00:14:43,000 --> 00:14:51,000 which is now being developed into an excellent set of online resources put together by one of our PGRs. And there's an ECR or supervisors equivalent to that. 141 00:14:51,000 --> 00:14:57,000 And I think one thing we both fully took away from the versions of that was that. 142 00:14:57,000 --> 00:15:07,000 As a PhD student, you have a lot more responsibility for shaping your project than you may be used to from an undergraduate or master's perspective. 143 00:15:07,000 --> 00:15:10,000 So I would always be. 144 00:15:10,000 --> 00:15:20,000 Possibly slightly annoying in coming to Supervisions which is certainly the early ones with an actual agenda, which may be overkill. 145 00:15:20,000 --> 00:15:24,000 But I would always come along with ideas of what I wanted to discuss because 146 00:15:24,000 --> 00:15:31,000 I was very conscious from the start of the fact that my supervisor's time, 147 00:15:31,000 --> 00:15:37,000 one of my supervisors in the plural, because of course, it's not just the one person supervision job is precious. 148 00:15:37,000 --> 00:15:46,000 And I want to effectively milk my supervisors as efficiently as possible. 149 00:15:46,000 --> 00:15:56,000 You've been working together for four years now on the PhD, but also on a postdoctoral project which we can perhaps come to later. 150 00:15:56,000 --> 00:16:01,000 But how has the dynamic of the relationship changed in that time? 151 00:16:01,000 --> 00:16:06,000 I'm interested in hearing from Tom first. Obviously, you know, you helped him. 152 00:16:06,000 --> 00:16:11,000 Put the proposal together or gave him some advice and guidance, and he said that, 153 00:16:11,000 --> 00:16:16,000 you know, because the research areas are so close, you didn't want to steer him too heavily. 154 00:16:16,000 --> 00:16:24,000 But how have things. How have things shifted during that time as he's got more knowledgeable about the project? 155 00:16:24,000 --> 00:16:30,000 I think. I think one thing I should have said probably earlier is that Edwards was my first student. 156 00:16:30,000 --> 00:16:35,000 And so it's been a learning process for me. At the same time as I think it has to him. 157 00:16:35,000 --> 00:16:43,000 So I think we both felt our way into the relationship in the in the first the first phase. 158 00:16:43,000 --> 00:16:48,000 And nothing, as is probably natural as most PhD projects. 159 00:16:48,000 --> 00:16:56,000 Initially, the initial stages were about Edward getting a sense of what he wanted to work on. 160 00:16:56,000 --> 00:17:05,000 And so I probably had more of a. More of a directional 161 00:17:05,000 --> 00:17:15,000 involvement At that stage, whereas I think as the project's gone on, particularly in the last year of it, 162 00:17:15,000 --> 00:17:23,000 when a lot of work was coming from Edward in quite a short space of time. 163 00:17:23,000 --> 00:17:26,000 It's been nice to see how he's developed his expertise. 164 00:17:26,000 --> 00:17:36,000 And I've been I've had much more of a secondary role, I think, in terms of just responding to the kind of big ideas that he was bringing. 165 00:17:36,000 --> 00:17:49,000 But I think probably that initial phase was interested to hear what Edward says to this was about helping him to 166 00:17:49,000 --> 00:17:58,000 see the big ideas that he might pursue and that he might weigh what kind of direction he might take is his PhD. 167 00:17:58,000 --> 00:18:06,000 Yeah, I think I said absolutely accurate description of what I think your role was that on? 168 00:18:06,000 --> 00:18:11,000 Only I. Always found big ideas in some aspect of that quite scary. 169 00:18:11,000 --> 00:18:20,000 So. I think certainly in the early stages, the thesis work quite well was Tom sort of pushing me to think about the big ideas 170 00:18:20,000 --> 00:18:26,000 in response to me producing what was actually quite specific pieces of text. 171 00:18:26,000 --> 00:18:35,000 So one of the things that we decided from the start of the thesis is that for pretty much every meeting that we'd have, 172 00:18:35,000 --> 00:18:39,000 I would bring something to the table. Why? 173 00:18:39,000 --> 00:18:43,000 I'd bring. I think we set it like fifteen hundred words of writing 174 00:18:43,000 --> 00:18:47,000 Tom as a minimum something. like that. Yeah. 175 00:18:47,000 --> 00:18:51,000 When we when we draftedd the supervision agreement, 176 00:18:51,000 --> 00:18:58,000 which is something that requires of PhD students and their supervisors both to sign off on. 177 00:18:58,000 --> 00:19:03,000 We said, okay, so if I produce this that will then leave something to lead us to, something to to discuss. 178 00:19:03,000 --> 00:19:11,000 So looking back, I'm looking now at first piece of work I submitted to Tom, and it's slightly painful to read in some respects. 179 00:19:11,000 --> 00:19:17,000 But I can see here how how your role, how you how how you saw your role fits into that. 180 00:19:17,000 --> 00:19:25,000 Now, in terms of encouraging me to think about these bigger ideas, I'm watching something quite specific about certain texts. 181 00:19:25,000 --> 00:19:33,000 And I remember you sort of encouraging me to think more broadly and to look at where I might go with all of that, 182 00:19:33,000 --> 00:19:35,000 these ideas I was bringing to the table. 183 00:19:35,000 --> 00:19:44,000 Whereas I think more recently that the latter stages of PhD, you've been much more assertive about the way you think you want to go next. 184 00:19:44,000 --> 00:19:50,000 And that's been really great. That's interesting. Actually, I hadn't I hadn't realised that. 185 00:19:50,000 --> 00:19:54,000 I mean, clearly you've been managing it, managing it very, very effectively. 186 00:19:54,000 --> 00:20:03,000 I think you always knew you always it's this is something that must vary a lot across from one student to another in that, 187 00:20:03,000 --> 00:20:09,000 as you say, some students are more comfortable initially diving straight into the kind of the big questions. 188 00:20:09,000 --> 00:20:11,000 And I think in your case, as you rightly said, 189 00:20:11,000 --> 00:20:18,000 it was much more about working on focussed on smaller questions and then seeing what the implications of that were. 190 00:20:18,000 --> 00:20:23,000 And I think those implications, I think you where I think you really developed over the. 191 00:20:23,000 --> 00:20:29,000 PhD is in getting to grips with those implications and seeing them a lot a lot earlier. 192 00:20:29,000 --> 00:20:37,000 Well, one of the one of the things that I was being told in, my Masters, is that I work best when I have a very specific question to answer. 193 00:20:37,000 --> 00:20:45,000 And I think that's still true. But one of the things that I think supervision has allowed me to do is to develop 194 00:20:45,000 --> 00:20:51,000 those specific questions into bigger ideas more quickly and more efficiently, 195 00:20:51,000 --> 00:20:54,000 I suppose, if that's fair to say. 196 00:20:54,000 --> 00:21:01,000 I think the one thing for you that's been a consistent all the way through is probably the corpus that you thought you wanted to work on. 197 00:21:01,000 --> 00:21:05,000 So that has stayed fairly stable, hasn't it, all the way through fairly. 198 00:21:05,000 --> 00:21:08,000 I mean, it has hasn't really changed, I think. 199 00:21:08,000 --> 00:21:12,000 But yeah the corpus itself has remained fairly similar. 200 00:21:12,000 --> 00:21:25,000 I think the way I approach it, as you say, Tom, has changed, particularly after the the upgrade, which was a a challenging point in the PhD for me. 201 00:21:25,000 --> 00:21:33,000 And I think one where I came to really appreciate your role in the supervisor's supervisor relationship. 202 00:21:33,000 --> 00:21:40,000 And I think that's a really good Segue actually into thinking about that, because you've talked and you both talked a lot about the the you know, 203 00:21:40,000 --> 00:21:49,000 the many, many positives and strengths in your intellectual, interpersonal, professional relationship as supervisor and supervisor. 204 00:21:49,000 --> 00:21:53,000 But, of course, you know, no research degree is without its challenges. 205 00:21:53,000 --> 00:22:02,000 So, Edward, first, can you talk a little bit about the upgrade and why that was a why that was such a challenge? 206 00:22:02,000 --> 00:22:09,000 And maybe, Tom, you can reflect on how you worked with Edward through that process. 207 00:22:09,000 --> 00:22:14,000 So to answer that, I'm going to have to be a little bit specific about certain parts of my PhD. 208 00:22:14,000 --> 00:22:18,000 And I'll I'll try and keep this as sort of brief as possible. 209 00:22:18,000 --> 00:22:26,000 The first year of my PhD, I was basically thinking about a distinctive Anglo Norman. 210 00:22:26,000 --> 00:22:38,000 Didactic, that is to say how what was special about French texts in medieval England and how they thought about and engaged with education. 211 00:22:38,000 --> 00:22:52,000 And I'd spent the year producing effectively a lot of contextual material about the Latin background to a lot of these medieval texts and the. 212 00:22:52,000 --> 00:22:58,000 Upgrade itself, which for me under the old system happened at the in the fourth term. 213 00:22:58,000 --> 00:23:07,000 So sort of around the start of my second year rather than the end of the first, which is the norm nowadays was something of a shock, I think. 214 00:23:07,000 --> 00:23:15,000 I think it's fair. Is it fair to say Tom was a bit of a shock for both of us? Oh, yeah, definitely a learning experience for me as well. 215 00:23:15,000 --> 00:23:24,000 So effectively, what was pointed out to me, quite rightly, I think and this is something that we had both missed. 216 00:23:24,000 --> 00:23:36,000 Was that if I'm going to ask the what's special about this block of texts that would require a significant amount of engagement with. 217 00:23:36,000 --> 00:23:46,000 The texts that they'd need to be compared to so continental French texts and Latin texts, which was really several PhDs 218 00:23:46,000 --> 00:23:55,000 And so it wasn't really something I could do in one PhD. Concomitant to that, I was also asked. 219 00:23:55,000 --> 00:24:01,000 OK. So you're doing a lot of close reading. This is this mysterious thing in the humanities we call close reading. 220 00:24:01,000 --> 00:24:11,000 So what where are you going with this? And two phrases jumped out at me from the upgrade report. 221 00:24:11,000 --> 00:24:18,000 The first one was the best backhanded compliment I've ever heard, which was Edward has done a significant amount of contextual work, 222 00:24:18,000 --> 00:24:22,000 which will stand him in good stead for primary source material later in the thesis, 223 00:24:22,000 --> 00:24:28,000 which is a very nice way of saying why is there no primary source work in this chapter that you've submitted? 224 00:24:28,000 --> 00:24:38,000 And the second was Edward needs to develop a methodology that goes beyond close reading to encompass broader questions of X, Y and Z. 225 00:24:38,000 --> 00:24:44,000 So those would be difficult things to hear. Tom, you were you were in the upgrades, I think, with me, weren't you? 226 00:24:44,000 --> 00:24:50,000 You you'd. You were keen to come along and I did. 227 00:24:50,000 --> 00:24:56,000 Can I. Can I ask what your experience was of the upgrade? I think so, yeah. 228 00:24:56,000 --> 00:25:02,000 I wanted to be there. I was invited and asked if I wanted to be there. I wanted to sit in and 229 00:25:02,000 --> 00:25:11,000 Edward was happy with that as well to learn because this was my first experience of having a student go through the upgrade. 230 00:25:11,000 --> 00:25:17,000 And I think, yes, slightly chastening experience for me as well, because, I mean, 231 00:25:17,000 --> 00:25:21,000 there was a there was good and bad mixed in in terms of the the feedback that you were getting there. 232 00:25:21,000 --> 00:25:28,000 Right. I think it made me realise that both of us had been unclear on this. 233 00:25:28,000 --> 00:25:31,000 I think is the supervisors responsibility in this case. 234 00:25:31,000 --> 00:25:38,000 I should have known the process better, but I think there are some things you learn just through going going through them and experiencing them. 235 00:25:38,000 --> 00:25:42,000 I should have been clearer about what the upgrade wanted. 236 00:25:42,000 --> 00:25:48,000 So the one thing I learnt from listening to the examiners in the conversation they were having with you, Edward, 237 00:25:48,000 --> 00:25:58,000 was that what they really wanted to see was a sign of how you argued and what kind of what 238 00:25:58,000 --> 00:26:02,000 kind of thesis in the literal sense of that word you were building and what kind of argument, 239 00:26:02,000 --> 00:26:07,000 overarching argument you you're building? And I realised that that was something that we hadn't because we'd focus so much on 240 00:26:07,000 --> 00:26:13,000 getting you the contextual knowledge and getting you a mastery of the of the whole area. 241 00:26:13,000 --> 00:26:19,000 We hadn't really done enough on that. I think what I learnt was some I talked a bit about how great it's been, 242 00:26:19,000 --> 00:26:23,000 see Edward becoming more confident as he's developed his expertise through the thesis. 243 00:26:23,000 --> 00:26:29,000 I think it made me a little bit more confident subsequently about my roles. 244 00:26:29,000 --> 00:26:32,000 So I mentioned earlier that you kind of as a supervisor, 245 00:26:32,000 --> 00:26:38,000 I think you need to step stand back and make sure that you don't take ownership in any sense of the of the project, 246 00:26:38,000 --> 00:26:43,000 that there is a balance to strike where sometimes you do need to be a little bit more interventionist. 247 00:26:43,000 --> 00:26:52,000 And I think possibly in that first year of our relationship, I was probably standing back too much, maybe I think or not one. 248 00:26:52,000 --> 00:26:56,000 I was very conscious of not wanting to interfere with your voice. 249 00:26:56,000 --> 00:27:00,000 Edward and your your way of approaching your intellectual. 250 00:27:00,000 --> 00:27:08,000 And I think that's still crucial. But I think also, having gone through the viva sorry, the upgrade, 251 00:27:08,000 --> 00:27:13,000 Viva made me more confident probably about pointing out where think if you remember, 252 00:27:13,000 --> 00:27:20,000 one of the things that they mentioned was that quite a lot of things were in the passive or you were you were kind 253 00:27:20,000 --> 00:27:26,000 of presenting other scholars views rather than taking ownership yourself off of the topic you were talking about. 254 00:27:26,000 --> 00:27:32,000 And so pushing you a little bit more to to do that in response to those to those comments. 255 00:27:32,000 --> 00:27:37,000 I think that that probably became a little bit more part of what I was doing subsequent to that. 256 00:27:37,000 --> 00:27:45,000 And this is something which you then quite rightly began to point out more, I think, in my writing. 257 00:27:45,000 --> 00:27:55,000 My tendency in when I write to hide behind authorities and to be a little bit too deferential on occasion, 258 00:27:55,000 --> 00:27:59,000 I think using quotation where you could actually say things in your own words. 259 00:27:59,000 --> 00:28:06,000 So we'd have situations when we were I'd be saying, oh, there's a possible way of why the quotation marks here, you know? 260 00:28:06,000 --> 00:28:14,000 Couldn't you just say that in your own words? Yes. Yep. Which might sound like a really, really specific point to make. 261 00:28:14,000 --> 00:28:21,000 But he actually fitted into a broader development, I think, in terms of how I argued it was a really important steppingstone. 262 00:28:21,000 --> 00:28:23,000 I disagree about that being a specific thing. 263 00:28:23,000 --> 00:28:33,000 I think that that is part of the process of learning to be an independent scholar and learning to value your contribution and your voice, 264 00:28:33,000 --> 00:28:38,000 because that process is about having. 265 00:28:38,000 --> 00:28:43,000 The confidence to articulate that in your own words, rather than always being deferential and referring to others. 266 00:28:43,000 --> 00:28:50,000 I think that's part of the a part of the process and a part of the journey. 267 00:28:50,000 --> 00:28:54,000 you're trying to work out where you are. I can relate to the fields. 268 00:28:54,000 --> 00:29:01,000 And so some PGRs are going to be very confident, being very comfortable, being assertive from the off and others are not. 269 00:29:01,000 --> 00:29:06,000 And you know, those who are very assertive, they may need to tone it down slightly. 270 00:29:06,000 --> 00:29:13,000 And those who are not assertive enough, they may need to learn to turn it up. It's a very it's really fine balance. 271 00:29:13,000 --> 00:29:20,000 Really fine balance. And in the in the sort of weeks or months following the the upgrade, 272 00:29:20,000 --> 00:29:28,000 I think there were probably two points in the PhD the where I was really struggling. 273 00:29:28,000 --> 00:29:33,000 I think this is probably one of them. 274 00:29:33,000 --> 00:29:42,000 Sad to say, my way out of that eventually was to effectively do the same thing that I'd done in my first year, 275 00:29:42,000 --> 00:29:46,000 which was just to pick a text and write something on it. 276 00:29:46,000 --> 00:29:55,000 Except this time we were thinking a lot more about the the broader implications of it, in particular the focus that the thesis started to take. 277 00:29:55,000 --> 00:29:57,000 And this was a suggestion from you, 278 00:29:57,000 --> 00:30:03,000 which I bought into very enthusiastically because I realised it fitted very well with what I like to talk about anyway, 279 00:30:03,000 --> 00:30:14,000 was that we focus less on what's special about Ango Norman didactic texts and more about the environment in which they were conceived and used. 280 00:30:14,000 --> 00:30:16,000 Again, getting slightly technical here. 281 00:30:16,000 --> 00:30:24,000 One of the really cool things about the work that Tom and I both do now actually on the same project is that medieval England is multilingual. 282 00:30:24,000 --> 00:30:34,000 And this is something that does distinguish it from what we now call the hexagons as a continental fault in that sense. 283 00:30:34,000 --> 00:30:38,000 So English is working with French and with Latin and with other minority languages. 284 00:30:38,000 --> 00:30:43,000 And this is something that we came to realise should be a much more important part of the thesis. 285 00:30:43,000 --> 00:30:48,000 And that's, I think, how we got out of that first sort of caught my eye. 286 00:30:48,000 --> 00:30:54,000 And I think Tom played a very important role there in reminding me of these big, big questions that I had to consider. 287 00:30:54,000 --> 00:31:04,000 So I think it's some that this is really common thing for these students to experience at some point during the whole process, 288 00:31:04,000 --> 00:31:08,000 a period of writer's block or of loss of confidence. There are potential knock backs. 289 00:31:08,000 --> 00:31:13,000 So in Edward's case, it was the upgrade viva. For other people, it'll be different moments. 290 00:31:13,000 --> 00:31:19,000 And it's really, I think is quite a challenge as a supervisor at that point, because your heart goes out to them. 291 00:31:19,000 --> 00:31:28,000 But then once again, we've talked about that balance of giving, giving space for the student to find their feet again, 292 00:31:28,000 --> 00:31:34,000 but equally not allowing them to feel like they're abandoned or that they're on their own with it. 293 00:31:34,000 --> 00:31:36,000 And and so I think in Edward's case, 294 00:31:36,000 --> 00:31:45,000 coming back to writing just a little bit on something focussed was a was a very good way of getting back into getting back into the saddle. 295 00:31:45,000 --> 00:31:56,000 I. But I've had yeah. I'm aware of this as a general point, that if you as a supervisor, you have a student who's. 296 00:31:56,000 --> 00:32:00,000 Struggling to write something, then you sort of don't want to. 297 00:32:00,000 --> 00:32:07,000 You kind of, yeah, you want to try and get the right amount of of contact because you don't want to do it. 298 00:32:07,000 --> 00:32:17,000 Translate into pressure from another source. But at the same time, I think you do need to maintain an active role in that stage as well. 299 00:32:17,000 --> 00:32:28,000 And I think the takeaway for me from that period, this is kind of middle end of my second year, actually, to take away from me the. 300 00:32:28,000 --> 00:32:35,000 Was very much one of Tom being there when I needed him to be. 301 00:32:35,000 --> 00:32:43,000 I think this was the thing. At no point I think did the Tom have to step in and say, you've gone quiet. 302 00:32:43,000 --> 00:32:50,000 You know how you know. Do you want to meet at some point? 303 00:32:50,000 --> 00:32:55,000 But Tom did know when I was writingsomething he'd need to give me sometimes a little bit of space. 304 00:32:55,000 --> 00:33:05,000 And we balanced that, I think, quite well. I remember one one email I received which legitimately made me. 305 00:33:05,000 --> 00:33:12,000 weep a little bit in the office. I think Tom described me is writing beautifully. 306 00:33:12,000 --> 00:33:22,000 Was the word that you use, the phrase you use Tom. And by that, which was genuinely slightly emotional. 307 00:33:22,000 --> 00:33:28,000 But it was that sort of that was that just that moment of your life. 308 00:33:28,000 --> 00:33:36,000 You've got this. While I was struggling, that was very much appreciated. 309 00:33:36,000 --> 00:33:42,000 As we're talking about writing, I think it would be useful to have a have a quick chat about. 310 00:33:42,000 --> 00:33:48,000 Feedback on written work, because it's such a fundamental part of the research degree process, 311 00:33:48,000 --> 00:33:54,000 because, of course, in the end what you're examined on is the thesis and the viva on the thesis. 312 00:33:54,000 --> 00:34:03,000 So I wonder if you could say a little bit about how you managed that, how you managed that process of. 313 00:34:03,000 --> 00:34:11,000 I guess from Tom's perspective how you gave feedback on the writing and how you approached it and then from Edward's perspective, 314 00:34:11,000 --> 00:34:19,000 how you kind of dealt with that and responded to that. So I think with feedback. 315 00:34:19,000 --> 00:34:25,000 Something the supervisors need to bear in mind and maybe that students need to bear in mind when reading feedback 316 00:34:25,000 --> 00:34:35,000 is the effect of written the written format in relation to feedback that you can give through to the voice, 317 00:34:35,000 --> 00:34:41,000 because there's a there are all sorts of things we do when we face to face it. Someone that attenuate criticism, 318 00:34:41,000 --> 00:34:49,000 that make it easier is to make suggestions for improvement without coming across painfully and sometimes with written feedback. 319 00:34:49,000 --> 00:34:52,000 I'm aware of this when I mark undergraduate work. 320 00:34:52,000 --> 00:35:02,000 When I comment on these students work and when I write do review reports or what, when I write book reviews or when I do reports, submissions, 321 00:35:02,000 --> 00:35:10,000 article submissions to journals across all of that, you can come across very aggressively, sometimes very dismissively, if you're not careful. 322 00:35:10,000 --> 00:35:15,000 And I think if you do, probably if you do get a comment that is uncomfortable, 323 00:35:15,000 --> 00:35:23,000 it's worth bearing in mind as a student that there may be just a slight infelicities of tone there. 324 00:35:23,000 --> 00:35:31,000 Hopefully the key thing is that the feedback is constructive and that means for me, it means engaging both on point of detail. 325 00:35:31,000 --> 00:35:38,000 As I read through as a kind of interested reader, really, I sort of I'm having a conversation with the with the text on the page, 326 00:35:38,000 --> 00:35:42,000 I guess, but then also engaging with those bigger questions that we talked about. 327 00:35:42,000 --> 00:35:48,000 So trying to put one's finger on where there's an implication that's not being teased out. 328 00:35:48,000 --> 00:35:55,000 Was that something that can go further productively? So I think that's those two levels on which you work. 329 00:35:55,000 --> 00:35:59,000 One is that the level of detail on the other is the level of implications and 330 00:35:59,000 --> 00:36:07,000 consequences way you want to try and help the student to see where they could go further. 331 00:36:07,000 --> 00:36:15,000 I would add, actually, that it is possible to inject some warmth into feedback for PDG arse, 332 00:36:15,000 --> 00:36:23,000 and I think that the work that Thomas is a very good example of that in that it was feedback rather than correction. 333 00:36:23,000 --> 00:36:30,000 So I would occasionally get a little note along the lines of, oh, I haven't seen this exclamation mark. 334 00:36:30,000 --> 00:36:35,000 If there was an article I'd come across the previous week that just been published, for example, I hasten to add. 335 00:36:35,000 --> 00:36:38,000 That was fantastically rare. 336 00:36:38,000 --> 00:36:51,000 But I'd also get things like nice or good analysis here, you know, which is a way of conveying that warmth and that interest in your project. 337 00:36:51,000 --> 00:37:03,000 I think. The question about the mitigation and not not coming across too harshly is one that the supervision meeting itself can really help with. 338 00:37:03,000 --> 00:37:06,000 Yes. So I think we varied it, didn't we, Tom? 339 00:37:06,000 --> 00:37:10,000 Sometimes you'd send me feedback ahead of a session. Sometimes you do it in the session. 340 00:37:10,000 --> 00:37:15,000 It depended on how punctual I was in getting the work to you. 341 00:37:15,000 --> 00:37:24,000 Probably how busy I was. No, no, no. I vaguely remember sending you, like, 10000 words on a Wednesday and that Friday was the meeting. 342 00:37:24,000 --> 00:37:26,000 So I don't know. I'd always if I did that. 343 00:37:26,000 --> 00:37:33,000 I'd say, you know, here's a bit to focus on if, you know, including the highly likely event that I'm being unrealistic or or, 344 00:37:33,000 --> 00:37:42,000 you know, do you want to delay by a week or something like that. But there was there was real warm for thinking in your comments. 345 00:37:42,000 --> 00:37:49,000 We also varied, I think, between print and PDF in terms of how we did it. 346 00:37:49,000 --> 00:37:58,000 Obviously, in terms of the last few months, the thesis when when we weren't seeing each other in person because of covic, we went to PDF. 347 00:37:58,000 --> 00:38:03,000 But I think you tended to quite like printing out and writing, didn't you, Tom? 348 00:38:03,000 --> 00:38:07,000 Yes. That's I think that's just a personal personal preference. 349 00:38:07,000 --> 00:38:14,000 Yeah, I think it's one of these things that might be worth for PhD students sort of seeing what they what they like as well, 350 00:38:14,000 --> 00:38:22,000 since it works quite well for me as well to the benefit I have of that sort of thing was I then had to take away from I then go away. 351 00:38:22,000 --> 00:38:27,000 You usually go a cup of tea, sit down and just read it all again. 352 00:38:27,000 --> 00:38:32,000 And then when I was revising that piece of work a bit later, I'd go through with a massive marker 353 00:38:32,000 --> 00:38:41,000 And you put a big tick through the comments. I did. Then if I ever told you that you say the other thing I want to say is that it might be 354 00:38:41,000 --> 00:38:46,000 easy to forget that you think of your supervisor as someone who's an expert in that field. 355 00:38:46,000 --> 00:38:51,000 You hope that they are. But that doesn't mean that they know everything, and particularly they don't necessarily know everything about your project. 356 00:38:51,000 --> 00:39:01,000 And one of the benefits of supervision for the supervisor is that it's genuinely interesting and exciting to follow someone else's project, 357 00:39:01,000 --> 00:39:06,000 to follow these ideas that are coming at you and that you're getting a lot from intellectually as well. 358 00:39:06,000 --> 00:39:12,000 Yes, so. It does sound like it's been an incredibly fruitful relationship intellectually and obviously, you know, it's continued. 359 00:39:12,000 --> 00:39:18,000 You submitted your thesis and Viva'd got minor corrections and submitted those and are just waiting to hear. 360 00:39:18,000 --> 00:39:21,000 Is that right? Still waiting to hear. That's right. 361 00:39:21,000 --> 00:39:27,000 And, you know, you've been working together already for, you know, the last part of the PhD on a of projects. 362 00:39:27,000 --> 00:39:32,000 So, you know, you don't continue those relationships if they're not intellectually fruitful. 363 00:39:32,000 --> 00:39:38,000 No. I want to say I've been I'm. But they did mention at the start of this podcast my worries about giving one supervisor envy. 364 00:39:38,000 --> 00:39:42,000 I do want to apologise because I did get incredibly fortunate, 365 00:39:42,000 --> 00:39:48,000 not just to be able to work with Tom, but also in the fact that he wanted to keep working with me. 366 00:39:48,000 --> 00:39:55,000 And in fact, that a particular project came along and got funding at the moment when I was finishing 367 00:39:55,000 --> 00:40:00,000 up my PhD and that because we were so closely aligned in terms of what we worked on. 368 00:40:00,000 --> 00:40:06,000 I was an eligible candidate for that position. I wonder what you had to say about that, Tom. 369 00:40:06,000 --> 00:40:11,000 So I think it was yeah, it was serendipitous that this project got funded at the point when it did. 370 00:40:11,000 --> 00:40:13,000 Ed is too modest to say this, but he wasn't just eligible. 371 00:40:13,000 --> 00:40:22,000 He was an ideal candidate for that role because of the skill set that he had, because I knew that we had this good working relationship. 372 00:40:22,000 --> 00:40:33,000 So I remember my PhD supervisor, former PhD supervisor, who was talking to me about this project saying, well, it would. 373 00:40:33,000 --> 00:40:36,000 It's really important if you're looking for a research associate to think about 374 00:40:36,000 --> 00:40:41,000 the working relationship and the fact that Edward and I already knew each other, 375 00:40:41,000 --> 00:40:48,000 already had this this connection and an established positive way working meant that 376 00:40:48,000 --> 00:40:53,000 it was really perfect to be able to interview and appoint him for that post. 377 00:40:53,000 --> 00:41:01,000 One thing that that has been interesting, actually, in this this phase now is thinking about making sure that it's not just the phd 378 00:41:01,000 --> 00:41:05,000 supervisors supervisor relationship anymore is we've moved beyond that now. 379 00:41:05,000 --> 00:41:10,000 We're colleagues. So that's been an interesting evolution as well. Yeah, it really has. 380 00:41:10,000 --> 00:41:17,000 I think Tom is the P.I. on the project and I'm the RD on the project. 381 00:41:17,000 --> 00:41:24,000 Tom, did I say some acronyms there that I'll just explain for our listeners just in case P I is principal investigator, RS is Research associate. 382 00:41:24,000 --> 00:41:30,000 Yes. Tom did make a point about the difference between research assistant and research associate at the start of this position. 383 00:41:30,000 --> 00:41:41,000 I think it's a valid one. I think this is an extension of the that the PhD the relationship in that Tom, 384 00:41:41,000 --> 00:41:46,000 while not technically my boss, is the person that I'm accountable to on a day to day basis. 385 00:41:46,000 --> 00:41:55,000 But the way that the project is set up, there's definitely a difference in terms of some of the technical skills. 386 00:41:55,000 --> 00:41:58,000 I was very fortunate to have some experience in that respect. 387 00:41:58,000 --> 00:42:06,000 So the discussions that Tom and I have had in certain areas are very collegiate, more so certainly than at the start of the PhD 388 00:42:06,000 --> 00:42:16,000 our discussions were around e Anglo Norman didacticism, hard to say that, you'd have thought I;d have practise after four years. 389 00:42:16,000 --> 00:42:22,000 So I guess to wrap up what I'm thinking would be useful is is just, you know, 390 00:42:22,000 --> 00:42:30,000 through the process of this supervisory relationship to Tom, you said it was, you know, and it was your first p h d student. 391 00:42:30,000 --> 00:42:34,000 So you kind of both new to either side of this. 392 00:42:34,000 --> 00:42:44,000 I wondered if you had any reflections or advice for other supervisors or supervises about what makes it kind of productive, 393 00:42:44,000 --> 00:42:51,000 intellectually exciting, good kind of professional supervisory relationship. 394 00:42:51,000 --> 00:43:00,000 Can I go first here for for supervises? I've heard a lot of discussion about what makes. 395 00:43:00,000 --> 00:43:06,000 A good environment for these student over the last few years. 396 00:43:06,000 --> 00:43:15,000 And I think that from the discussions that I've heard, the most important thing is not effective marketing. 397 00:43:15,000 --> 00:43:21,000 It's not. Advertising certain resources. 398 00:43:21,000 --> 00:43:26,000 It's not X, Y or Z, which you can you can list off very neatly and easily. 399 00:43:26,000 --> 00:43:31,000 I think it's something more ephemeral than that. 400 00:43:31,000 --> 00:43:42,000 It's the idea of finding a supervisor who genuinely cares about you as a person, about what you're doing and about your project as well. 401 00:43:42,000 --> 00:43:47,000 Any amount of. Advertising about Library resources. 402 00:43:47,000 --> 00:43:55,000 Any amount of boasting about research rankings will fall by the wayside. 403 00:43:55,000 --> 00:44:04,000 If the relationship with your supervisor doesn't work and I've been very fortunate in finding a relationship that does. 404 00:44:04,000 --> 00:44:07,000 It was actually one that was put onto me by my undergraduate supervisor, who, 405 00:44:07,000 --> 00:44:11,000 when I mentioned your the opportunity of working with Tom, specifically went. 406 00:44:11,000 --> 00:44:17,000 Yes, that one. That one. Do that one. Do it now. But. 407 00:44:17,000 --> 00:44:27,000 I think if you get a sense that a potential supervisor is someone that you will work with and get on with. 408 00:44:27,000 --> 00:44:34,000 Go with your gut there for current PGRs . I'd extend that and say I appreciate your supervisors and what they do. 409 00:44:34,000 --> 00:44:42,000 There's a lot of training available through the doctoral college in managing relationships with supervisors, and I would encourage you to do that. 410 00:44:42,000 --> 00:44:53,000 It's certainly helped me way back at the start of the thesis and also through the thesis as well to appreciate what exactly. 411 00:44:53,000 --> 00:44:59,000 The role of supervisor is and what you can reasonably and should not expect. 412 00:44:59,000 --> 00:45:10,000 That was supervisor. What about you Tom? I think I'm probably going to repeat a fair bit of someone's fair bit of what I've been saying. 413 00:45:10,000 --> 00:45:16,000 I think from supervisor's point of view, remember that each project and each student is different. 414 00:45:16,000 --> 00:45:24,000 And that's part of the joy of supervision, because you get to be involved in all these different ways of working to get 415 00:45:24,000 --> 00:45:30,000 that balance of being available without being overbearing and then enjoy it. 416 00:45:30,000 --> 00:45:40,000 Thank you so much to Edward and Tom for taking the time to have a really rich and in-depth discussion with me about their supervisory relationship. 417 00:45:40,000 --> 00:45:49,000 And I think it's been really fascinating to hear them talk about those kind of initial emails that they exchanged 418 00:45:49,000 --> 00:45:56,000 before Edward even applied right through to now working together as colleagues on the postdoctoral project. 419 00:45:56,000 --> 00:46:28,490 And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to, like, rate and subscribe and join me next time where I'll be talking to someone else about researchers, development, and everything in between!
25 minutes | 4 months ago
Preparing for your upgrade
In this episode I talk to a range of PGRs from the University of Exeter about their experience of the upgrade process, where student’s progress is assessed to enable a change in registration from MPhil to PhD. Here they share what the upgrade involved, how they prepared and what their upgrade viva or presentation was like.This episode features:Jo Sutherst, PGR in Art History and Visual Culture. You can follow Jo on twitter @JoSutherst.Steve Burrows, PGR in Marine Biology. You can follow Steve on twitter @Steve_D_Burrows.Merve Mollaahmetoglu, PGR in Psychology. You can follow Merve on twitter @mervemolla, and listen to her podcast PhD: addicted to researchAoife Maher, PGR in the Centre for Rural Policy.If you are preparing for your upgrade, you may find these blog posts useful:Surviving your PhD Upgrade – Merve MollaahmetolguTop 40 Potential Viva QuestionsPreparing for a Virtual Upgrade – Issy SawkinsPhD Chat My PhD Upgrade Experience – Debbie KinseyWe will be running a question and answer panel for University of Exeter PGRs on Wednesday 24th February at 2pm. You can book your place on My Career Zone.You can access the University of Exeter policy on the Upgrade, and the temporary policy for COVID-19.Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
11 minutes | 4 months ago
The impact of Covid19 on research projects with Ellie Hassan
In the first episode of 2021 I continue my conversation with Sport and Health Sciences PGR Ellie Hassan, discussing the impact of Covid19 on her research, and the changes she has had to make to her data collection. If anyone else is interested in talking to me about how they've had to change their project due to the impact of Covid19, please get in touch with me on twitter @Preece_Kelly.
38 minutes | 5 months ago
Taking a break with Ellie Hassan
In the last episode of the year I talk to Sport and Health Sciences PGR Ellie Hassan about work/life balance, time management and - most importantly - taking a break.
39 minutes | 5 months ago
Surviving and thriving in the Viva - Edward Mills
In this episode I talk again to Edward Mills who appeared on the second episode of the podcast. Sincer we last spoke Edward has submitted his thesis and passed his viva with minor corrections, and in this episode we'll go right through that process from submission, to prep, to the viva itself and doing the corrections.You can find out about the Viva Survivors podcast and resources Edward mentions on the Viva Survivors website.Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
44 minutes | 6 months ago
Publishing your research as a book with Dr. Jonathan Doney
In this episode I talk to Dr. Jonathan Doney, Lecturere at the University of Exeter about the process of getting his PhD and postdoc research published as a book. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
35 minutes | 6 months ago
Organising, attending and submitting abstracts to conferences with Victoria Christodoulides
In this episode I talk to Victoria Christodoulides, a PGR at the University of Bath and the University of the West of England about organising, attending and submitting abstracts to conferences. Victoria and I are both on the committee oif the Research Ethics Conference 2021, which currently has a call for papers out. You can find out more on the conference website. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
48 minutes | 7 months ago
Being a Disabled Researcher with Megan Maunder
In this episode I talk to Megan Maunder, a PGR at the University of Exeter about being a disabled researcher. I also discuss my own experiences of working in HE and being disabled, as a I suffer from chronic invisible illnesses.If you are interested in learning more about structural inequalities in HE, you may find the AdvanceHE Equality in higher education: statistical report 2019 useful. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
62 minutes | 7 months ago
Activism, advocacy and being black in HE with Tinashe Verhaeghe
In this episode I talk to Tinashe Verhaeghe, who founded the BME Network at the University of Exeter. We discuss activisim, advocacy, emotional labour, freedom of speech - and fundamentally what it is like to be black in HE. If you are interested in black experiences of HE, you might want to listen to the previous epsiode Being a BAME Researcher with Victoria Omotoso. You can find out more about the University of Exeter BME Network on the university website and twitter. If you are interested in learning more about structural inequalities in HE, you may find the AdvanceHE Equality in higher education: statistical report 2019 useful. Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
17 minutes | 8 months ago
Special episode: Starting your research degree
In this episode we welcome new PGRs to the start of the academic year with a special episode on starting your research degree with contributions from Catherine Cartwright, Jamie Cranston, Edward Mills, Victoria Omotoso, Warren Speed and Emily Taylor, talking about their experiences of starting their research degrees, and advice they have for those joining our community this September.
72 minutes | 8 months ago
Wellbeing and Self-care with Jayne Hardy
In this episode I talk to Jayne Hardy, author and founder of The Blurt Foundation, about mental health and wellbeing in academia. You can access the show notes here.
53 minutes | 9 months ago
PGR experiences of online training and development
In this episode I talk to some of our PGRs about their experiences of online training and development at the University of Exeter, including their advice to academics and Researcher Developers for delivering high quality, online training and development. You can access the show notes here.
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021