The STS Research Space is an initiative to assist PhD students with a wide range of academic and non-academic problems.
What is it?
An informal gathering for all STS PhD students to discuss the projects, progress, work, life, joys, woes, hopes, worries and to seek and give advice. It’s also a chance to get to know each other (even) better, so we can all look out for each other on this journey towards the PhD.
How does it run?
There are two elements to each research day. Firstly, those who are new to the community or who want to discuss changes and developments in their work give little informal presentations. The content and structure of your presentation/discussion is entirely up to you. You might want to use this time to pose specific questions to the group or to troubleshoot an idea you’ve been working on. You might want to ask a historian/sociologist/philosopher/etc. for a novel perspective. Here are some ways in which PhD students have used their time so far:
• Methodological concerns
• Theoretical tensions
• Sourcing or exploring case studies, sources, resources
• Thesis structure/writing up concerns
• Discussion of PhD upgrade/submission/viva
• Ways to expand/refine research
• Advice on how to disseminate research, to publish, or to carry research outside of academia
• Ideas for future professional development
• Calls for collaboration
• Teaching advice
• PhD work/life balance, mental health, wellbeing, self-care
• Complaints (institutional, departmental, or beyond)
• Non-academic concerns
Secondly, we hold round table discussions on themes and concerns that we have (written down in advance and chosen at random from a hat). We take this opportunity to talk as a group about issues or topics affecting PhD students (or STS PhD students specifically). This can be a useful way of asking for advice on certain topics without presenting again, especially if you are not in need of advice that is specific to your own work. Again, these topics can cover anything across the broad and messy spectrum of life: earning money, careers, work/life balance, publishing, child-care, finding hobbies, doing more, doing less, navigating networking situations, managing your supervisory team, complaints, celebrations, impact statements etc.
Above all, we strive to have discussion that is sensitive, constructive, and community-minded.
Research Space dates:
We are currently holding two Research Space sessions a year. The first is held at the very start of the year to welcome new PhD students to the community and offer advice on the often daunting process of starting such a large research project. The second is usually held between spring and summer term, offering more of a chance for reflection and interdisciplinary advice on blossoming theories and methodologies. Previous dates have been:
3rd October 2018
25th April 2018
For further information: contact Benjamin Weil at firstname.lastname@example.org