The PGR seminars of SITE, a new space for student engagement and visibility

Josep Pinyol Alberich is an ESR fellow at the Academy of Business and Society (ABIS) and a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter. Josep’s research project focuses on the analysis of the existing political discourses on the topic of Circular Economy in the European Union and the relationship between existing public discourses and policy change.

Professor Jing-Lin Duanmu joined the Business School in January 2020.  Her research interests include foreign direct investment, international trade, political relations, and corporate social responsibility. Her research has appeared in Strategic Management Journal, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business, International Business Review and World Economy.

Since March of this year, we have started a new series of webinars at the SITE department. This series of webinars allow our PGRs (MRes and PhD students) to present their research project to their peers and academics in SITE. This was also an opportunity for us to personally get in touch with all the PGRs and to get to know what their research projects are, and to both learn from it and from the feedback and opinions from our peers at SITE.

The PGR webinars were first announced on the 22nd of February, when a call of abstracts was made. The first webinar was made on the 3rd of March, and since then, we organized 8 webinars, and three more webinars are planned until November. Our objective is that at least, all PhD and most of MRes students present their research to SITE.

The PGR webinars of SITE addressed several topics, for instance providing new insights into different issues of leadership, public policy, and the circular economy. Thus, it provides an opportunity for all members of SITE to learn about what kind of research our PGR student are engaging and what methods they use, where they conduct their research, and how they have access to their data. This has been a highly inspiring experience, as it provided us a chance to learn more globally about the work that is being done in SITE, thus, acquiring a broader vision of the department’s work that we did not know before.

The organization of the PGR webinars in SITE has become highly valuable for all MRes and PhD students in SITE. First, it gives visibility to the ongoing student-led research, which helps all SITE members, especially students to better know each other and identify collaboration opportunities. The webinars are also a very valuable opportunity for early researchers to obtain feedback from the department. This feedback is an excellent opportunity for us to learn about potential literature that we may have missed, methods that we can experiment with, or data sources that we did not know about. Finally, to do these presentations is a great opportunity for students to gain experience in presenting their research.

In summary, the presence of the PGR webinars of SITE allows us to create a new space in SITE to give visibility to PGRs. This space enables students to connect and engage with the department, and for the department to know better our PGRs. This is mutually beneficial, as PGRs obtain valuable feedback and experience, and it benefits our research output, as it provides an opportunity to collaborate within the department. As organizers, this experience has been very positive, as it helped us to connect better within our faculty, and to obtain a better vision about topics and methods that we did not know about, and to learn from the feedback of our colleagues. Engaging in the discussions after the PGR presentations created an opportunity to enrich the students work with the experience and knowledge from the whole department, and an exciting opportunity for us to broaden our vision on diverse topics and to gain a department-wide perspective of how research is conducted in SITE.

Ways to be kind to yourself

The way we think and feel about ourselves significantly affects our wellbeing. We can be harsh and critical or kind and compassionate towards ourselves. For a lot of people, self-criticism is the default setting. This makes life harder and less pleasurable. Research has shown that if we are kind and compassionate to ourselves, even when things are going wrong, we are more likely to cope with life’s difficulties and be happier. Below are some ideas which you can implement to start being kinder to yourself and developing your self-compassion:

  1. When something goes wrong, forgive yourself. Move away from self-blame. Everyone makes mistakes. Accept these as ways to make progress.
  2. Notice what you are feeling without judging yourself. Everyone has difficult times in their lives. Our emotions are the result of a complex mixture of factors which are not our fault and over which we may have little control.
  3. Gradually train yourself to become more aware of your thoughts, especially those that are negative and self-critical. Mindfulness meditation practices can really help with this such as those on the Headspace app which offers a 10 day free trial or the guided audios on mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk.
  4. When you notice negative and self-critical thoughts, pause for a moment and then imagine that it is a friend of yours in your situation as you speak to yourself in your mind. We are often much harsher in the way we speak to ourselves than we would ever be with other people!
  5. Try to refrain from saying “I should”, “I must” or “I ought to” statements to yourself.
  6. Try not to compare yourself with others. Comparing how you feel internally with how others seem externally is likely to make you feel worse about yourself. Often people will hide their struggles so we can’t really know what’s going on for them.
  7. Let go of the expectations of others and of excessively high expectations you have of yourself. It’s good to aim to do well but putting too much pressure on yourself will have the opposite effect, causing anxiety and often lowering performance.
  8. Spend 5 minutes in the evening remembering kindnesses which occurred in the day.
  9. Focus on the progress you have made each day and appreciate even small achievements, rather than fixating on the tasks that are still on your “to do” list.
  10. Spend time with people who are supportive of you and help you to feel good about yourself.
  11. Plan at least one enjoyable activity for each day, even if it’s just something small like phoning a good friend for a quick chat or having a relaxing bath. Taking regular breaks from work will help improve your wellbeing as well as making you more effective when you are studying – it’s a win-win!
  12. Each day aim to do one thing, however small, to help you reach a long term goal.

If you would like to learn more about how to be kinder and more compassionate towards yourself, then you can book onto the one-off workshop “Being kinder to yourself” offered at the Reed Mews Wellbeing Centre by visiting the Wellbeing workshop page on the website. The Wellbeing Centre also provides a six week Compassion Focused Course for those who feel they would benefit from exploring this area in more depth. This can be accessed by booking a Telephone Referral Appointment (TRA) with the Wellbeing Centre.

Written By: Sarah Lane, Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Ten Steps for Dealing With Feedback, adapted from Get A Life, PhD

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager for PGRs in the Doctoral College. You’ll recognise her face from workshops, her voice from WEBINARs, and her jokes from the 90s. You can follow her on twitter for musings about Researcher Development and the PGR experience…interspersed with tweets about superheros and sewing.

 

I really like Get a Life, PhD’s post ‘ How to Respond to a “Revise and Resubmit” from an Academic Journal: Ten Steps to a Successful Revision’ as its practically focused. As such, I adapted the ‘Ten Steps to a Successful Revision’ to develop ‘10 Steps For Dealing with Feedback’ – specifically your supervisor’s feedback on a draft of your thesis – for my How to draft your thesis WEBINAR. Here they are – I’ve used quotation marks to make sure I’m giving Get a Life, PhD due credit 🙂

Step One: Read or listen to the feedback.

Feedback on your draft thesis may come to you in a variety of different ways – an email, as track changes on a word document, or in a supervision. If it is the latter, I would suggest audio recording your supervision – that way, you can focus on discussing how to approach the re-draft rather than making sure you write every word down.

The first thing you need to do is to read or listen to the feedback: carefully.

Step Two: Take some time out.

Don’t try to tackle revisions whilst you’re feeling overwhelmed/angry/lost/confused/hurt…take some time out. Do something for yourself. Watch someone in your Netflix queue. Read a (fiction) book you’ve been dying to get to but not had the time. Go for dinner with the friend you key missing. Spend time with your family. Go away and stay with family/friends for a few days. Treat yourself and get some distance.

Step Three: Create an Excel File to List the Revisions.

When you are ready…

‘Create an Excel file with four columns in which to put the suggestions for revisions.’ Label the columns: “Supervisor”; “Suggestions”; “Response”; “Done?”.

Step Four: Extract the suggestions from the reviewers’ and editors’ letters.

Revisit the feedback ‘to extract the suggestions for revision and put the suggestions in the Excel file. This step requires the painful and painstaking process of closely reading [or listening to] the [feedback] and extracting all of the useful suggestions. On some occasions, the [feedback] can contain useful information, but not relay the information in a congenial fashion. The beauty of this step is that you can rewrite the suggestions and not have to look at the mean-spirited [feedback] again. For example, [your supervisor] might write: “One major problem with this [thesis] is that the research methods are suspect.” You can re-write this as: “Provide a more accurate and complete discussion of the data collection.”’

Step Five: Re-arrange the suggestions for revision in a logical fashion. 

‘Oftentimes, two [supervisors] will both mention in different ways that you need to build up the conceptual framework or the literature review. If you group all of the literature review suggestions together, it will be easier to tackle the revision systematically.’

‘Organizing all of the suggestions for the Introduction, the Literature Review, the data analysis, etc., will make it easier to respond to’. Of course, if done in track changes this is pretty easy, but helps you collate verbal comments etc. with these.

Step Six: Decide how you will respond to all of the suggestions. 

‘If the suggestion is to more clearly define the difference between “transnational” and “transborder,” then you can write: “Add one paragraph to the conceptual framework that clearly explains the difference between transnational and transborder, and why this distinction is useful.” Be sure that the suggestions you lay out for yourself make it clear what the next step is.

Note: Respond to all of the suggestions. There may be some suggestions that you disagree with. This is fine, but you have to make a conscious decision not to respond to any particular suggestion. For example, [your supervisor] might suggest that you return to the archive to explore more biographical features of a certain person. You can respond that this step is not necessary for your argument. Place all of your instructions to yourself for how you will respond in the third column’ for use in your next supervision meeting or when sending through your next draft.

Step Seven: Tackle your revision plan, step by step. 

‘Now that you have made a clear plan for revision by outlining all of the suggestions and have decided how you will respond, you can tackle the revisions one by one. If you feel intimidated, start with the easiest ones. Usually, the easy ones will be something along the lines of: “Find and add a quote from Diana’s interview that elucidates how subjects talk about discrimination.” Even easier: “Add citation from Stephens (2009) about transnationalism from below.”’

Step Eight: Double-check

‘Go back to the original [feedback], and double-check to make sure that you have not missed anything.’

Step Nine: Do a final read-over.

‘Read over your [thesis] to make sure that you have maintained the flow and argument in each chapter and overall, even after having made the revisions. Read it without thinking about the feedback, but imagine a reader who is unaware of your original version or the feedback, as that reader is now your intended audience.’

Get a friend or colleague to give it a read for you. Ask them to give you feedback on clarity, flow and argument, or perhaps just to proof-read it for typos!

Step Ten: Submit!

Either: another draft, or the final thesis!

Written by: Kelly Louise Preece- Researcher Development Manager for PGRs

Preparing For Your Viva – Our Top Tips

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager for PGRs in the Doctoral College. You’ll recognise her face from workshops, her voice from WEBINARs, and her jokes from the 90s. You can follow her on twitter for musings about Researcher Development and the PGR experience…interspersed with tweets about superheros and sewing.

 

We’ve had a few PGRs tweeting us recently asking for viva advice and top tips. Although we have some great advice and resources of our Preparing For Your Viva ELE page, I thought it would be useful to write a short post about the advice we share in our viva workshops and WEBINARs. So here are our top ten tips:

  1. Before you start preparing, take a break. You have been working flat out on your research you at least 3 years, and have no doubt spent several intense months engrossed in the writing and editing of your thesis. Take some time away from it. Go on holiday like Dr. Emily Johnson did. Get perspective on your thesis to better enable you to defend it in the viva.
  2. When you’re reading your thesis, you’re bound to notice spelling, grammar and typing errors. It’s normal. Make a list of corrections, print them out and go in to the viva prepared to share them with your examiners.
  3. Re-reading the thesis is useful preparation, but it’s not enough.
  4. Do a mock-viva – with your supervisors, your peers, your friends, your family…practice talking about your research again after months of focusing on your writing.
  5. Practice summarising your research – vivas often beginning with a question asking you to summarise your thesis or key findings, to help settle you in.
  6. Prepare answers to your nightmare questions – whatever you fear being asked about the most, prepare and practice your answers. Chances are your nightmare questions won’t come up, but you’ll feel better knowing how to answer if they do.
  7. Read new material that has been published – your examiners may ask you how a new piece of research impacts on your thesis!
  8. Remember what is being examined – there is nothing mystical about research degree examination – your examiners assess your research according to a fixed set of criteria.
  9. Remember – you are the expert! Your examiners are experts in their field, and they may be an expert in yours – but they are not the leading expert on your research or thesis. You are.
  10. As much as you can, try and relax. Nerves are normal. You’ve done the hardest bit already – doing the research, writing the thesis. What an achievement! The viva is your chance to demonstrate and affirm everything you have learnt throughout your research degree.

Still have more questions? Why not download Preparing For Your Viva – Frequently Asked Questions, which compiles all the questions and answers from our Preparing For Your Viva Q&A Panels.

Written by: Kelly Louise Preece- Researcher Development Manager for PGRs

Working Well

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager for PGRs in the Doctoral College. You’ll recognise her face from workshops, her voice from WEBINARs, and her jokes from the 90s. You can follow her on twitter for musings about Researcher Development and the PGR experience…interspersed with tweets about superheros and sewing.

 

 

I have been busy over the last few weeks delivering our introductory training sessions – we’ve run these so far on how to be an effective researcher, future proofing yourself and your career and getting started with your literature review. No matter the focus of the course, myself and other presenters have inevitably been asked about good daily work habits for PGRs. After a session at our Penryn campus I tweeted a few top tips, and thought they were worth sharing in a blog post.

These top tips do, however, come with a couple of caveats. The first is that I am not perfect, and although I know I should be doing all of these things…I don’t always do them. I contributed to a Guardian article about study habits earlier this year, and we recognised in our team the irony of some of my advice as I have a tendency to overwork. I’m human, you’re human. If you think you have bad work habits, or you don’t always do the things you know you should, don’t beat yourself up about it.

The second is that these are 100% borrowed from other people and sources. I’ll try my best to appropriately credit the person or organisation that shared this wisdom with me.

  • Treat your research degree like a job. Do 9-5 hours (or an 8 hour day at times that work for you) and protect your evenings and weekends as much as you can. You and your research will be better for it.  Credit: Gemma Delafield, PGR in the Business School. You can find Gemma on twitter @G_Delafield.
  • Dr. Kay Guccione’s mantra is #takebreaksmakebreakthroughs is all about making sure you have regular breaks, throughout your day, week, and academic year. Try to take a 5 minute break at least every hour. Go and get a cup of tea and speak to your colleagues. Lots of our departments have weekly coffee mornings – if yours doesn’t, why not set one up?
  • Have lunch away from your desk. You are more likely to have those ‘aha’ moments when you are not focusing on the problem at hand. It’s how we process information.
  • And always take your annual leave allowance – yes you have one!
  • Take up a hobby or a regular self-care activity. They really help with work life balance. I sew and read copious amount of fiction, both of which keep my brain engaged but on something other than work. And sometimes if I need to de-stress at the end of the day, I just take my brothers dogs for a walk. Nature and fresh air can do you the world of good. As of course, can a puppy.

A necessary pictures of said dogs, because sometimes only cute animal pictures will do

  • If you don’t have immediate access to a puppy, BorrowMyDoggy is a great way to fill the animal void in your life, or if you have a car Charlotte our PGR and ECR Experience Officer recommends a relaxing walk around The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. If animals aren’t your thing, Biosciences PhD student, Rebecca Millard, was awarded a grant by the University of Exeter Annual Fund to set up weekly indoor hockey sessions to enhance mental wellbeing for Exeter’s postgraduate researcher community.
  • We can’t be 100% focused and productive 100% of the time. It’s not how we are made. When making to do lists, list creative and mundane tasks – those that require our best thinking, and those that are glorified admin (or what Edward Mills @edward_mills termed Gradmin). That way, you gave tasks to do that move your project forward when you’re feeling highly focused and motivated, and also when you’re feeling a little bit sleepy after lunch. This is great advice I got from Vitae!
  • Talk to your peers, learn from each other, create support networks and communities to get you out of the office or help you procrastinate and laugh on a Wednesday afternoon – just like Humanities Office C when they created PhD the Musical!

Source: phdcomics.com

But most importantly, look after yourself. You can’t do your research if you don’t do you first.

What actually happens at Write Club?

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager for PGRs in the Doctoral College. You’ll recognise her face from workshops, her voice from WEBINARs, and her jokes from the 90s. You can follow her on twitter for musings about Researcher Development and the PGR experience…interspersed with tweets about superheros and sewing.

 

Last week I wrote about our new Doctoral College initiative to support PGR and ECR writing – Write Club. I talked about our aims and objectives, and the importance of talking about writing and building an engaged community. But what actually happens at Write Club?

Write Clubs so far have been led by myself and Dr. Sally Flint, who is a writer, poet, tutor and editor Riptide journal and Canto poetry. We start with a creative writing task – based on Sally’s work, and the session she deliver for us Creative Approaches to Writing Your Thesis. The aim is to write freely for 5 minutes – in response to an image or object that we provide – and without judgement.

These creative writing tasks are a great way to warm-up those synapses for writing, and to think storytelling, imagery and prose. When 5 minutes are up, we ask the group to share their aims and goals for the session. Sharing goals is an integral part of Write Club. It can help focus your writing time, act as a commitment to a task, and make sure you are working towards something achievable.

And then we do some (academic) writing.

Although we knowingly stole the idea for Write Club from Dr. Sarah Dyer in Geography [link], we are currently following a slightly different model. Sarah’s group uses long, intensive writing periods – as in Rowena Murray’s writing retreats [link]– whereas we alternate  between writing for half an hour, and stopping for 10 minutes of discussion. Approaching writing in short bursts is ‘borrowed’ from another colleague Dr. Siobhan O’Dwyer in the Medical School. Siobhan is the founder of the international twitter community/write club Shut Up and Write Tuesdays, which uses the podormo technique to structure writing time in to 25 minute blocks. We combined SUWT’s shorter bursts with Murray’s discussion breaks to create the initial format for Write Club.

There are two important things to point out.

Firstly, we take the concept of writing quite loosely. It could be writing new prose, editing, reading, thinking – anything that moves the work forward.Secondly, the format and model for Write Club is developing. We are working PGRs and ECRs to continually reflect on and develop the writing space and support we are providing, to make sure it matches the needs of our PGRs and ECRs. That’s why we value the feedback of attendees so highly – and it has been great to see so many engaging with us on feedback forms, by email, and on twitter. On top of feedback, it has been great to hear about the achievements that have come out of Write Club so far. Our resident baker Edward Mills completed the abstract for this upgrade document in our first session.

So there you have it – a brief snapshot of Write Club. Why not join us on 18th January? PGRs can book through My Career Zone, ECRs through Trent!

Do you want to start-up your own writing group, or facilitate one of our Write Clubs? We already have a Shut Up and Write Tuesday group that meeting every Tuesday in the Old Library Computer Cluster! We are happy to provide support and training to anyone interested, so please get in touch with my on k.preece@exeter.ac.uk!

The first rule about Write Club is…

Kelly Louise Preece is the Researcher Development Manager for PGRs in the Doctoral College. You’ll recognise her face from workshops, her voice from WEBINARs, and her jokes from the 90s. You can follow her on twitter for musings about Researcher Development and the PGR experience…interspersed with tweets about superheros and sewing.

Over the summer, we decided to start a Write Club.

What on earth is a ‘Write Club’? Well, the first rule of Write Club is…only kidding.

Write Club is an initiative in the Doctoral College that provides time and space of our PGRs and ECRs to get together and write. Once a month we fill our training rooms with tea, coffee, and the sound of 10-15 PGRs and ECRs tapping away at their computers and talking about writing.

Write Club aims to address a very specific need. We need, as an institution, to support our PGRs, our ECRs, and our academics with their writing. Although we don’t like to admit it, writing is hard. We all struggle with it – whether you are a newly-minted PGR or a Professor with decades of publication experience. But the problem is we write is silos – alone at home, or in our offices, with an endless supply of coffee and frequent frustrated sighs. We struggle to ‘get the best words in the best order’ (to paraphrase Coleridge), and we internalise rather than talk about that struggle. And although I don’t have photographic evidence to prove it, I suspect we are all at some point sat, in our offices, struggling with writing.

Write Club aims to change that.

We got the idea from our lovely colleagues in Geography, where Dr. Sarah Dyer started a Write Club after attending a writing retreat led by Dr. Rowena Murray. When we were asked to expand our writing support in the Doctoral College, we picked Sarah’s brains and stole (with her permission) both the name and the concept of offering a regular space for our researchers to get together and write.

The community aspect of Write Club is central to what we are trying to achieve. Part of the aim of the suite of initiatives we are working on is to build a culture and community of practice where we share our experiences of writing. We want to challenge and intervene in the culture of writing alone in our offices. The group doesn’t exist simply to ‘get writing done’ – although we hope it helps! We want to develop an engaged and vibrant writing culture at the University, which exists alongside our evolving research culture.

These aims aren’t just based on our own experiences as researchers and writers – there’s lots of research out there on the benefits of talking about writing. I’ve already referenced Rowena Murray who has done extensive research in this area, and I also recommend Pat Thomson and Barbara Kamler’s monograph Helping Doctoral Students Write (2014), which has some helpful discussions about the social practice of writing.

One of the joyful things about our first Write Club was that one of our PGRs Edward Mills baked tiffin for us. The introduction of baked goods brought a friendliness and collegiality to our first meeting – it relaxed the room, put us on more open terms, and created a sense of shared space and ownership. That’s what I, as a developer, want for this group. So it looks like I better get baking. And who knows – it may even get me ready for Bake Off 2018…

Want to know more about Write Club? This is the first in a series of posts by Researcher Development Manager Kelly Preece that highlights and reflects on the evolution of a writing support framework in the Doctoral College.

PGRs and ECRs can book on to future sessions on My Career Zone and Trent respectively.

Research in Focus: Mindful Colouring

Chloe Asker is a 1st year Human Geography PhD student, who has just started a thesis entitled ‘Mindful geographies? Towards the therapeutic geographies of mindfulness.’ Her previous Masters work studied adult colouring practises and their relationship to wellbeing.
Twitter: @chloeasker

In February the Doctoral College held a ‘Wellbeing Week’. It was a week full of enriching activities and workshops based around PGR wellbeing. Mindful colouring formed part of the activities taking place on campus. Colouring worksheets were circulated around departments and colleges, and many PGRs spent a blissful moment colouring in-between the lines.

https://twitter.com/nurfariha/status/832031716734795780

I am excited that the Doctoral College takes mindful colouring seriously, as often it is mocked as a ‘childish’ practice. As a geography student, this teasing is something that’s fairly common. The one joke or comment that stands the test of time is: ‘geography, isn’t that just colouring in?!’ This classic statement is often greeted with a fair amount of eye-rolling and exasperated sighing from the geographers questioned, and for many years during my Undergraduate degree, this had been my reaction as well.

However, during my third year of my degree, I became aware of, and experimented with, a trend in ‘therapeutic’ and ‘mindful’ adult colouring practices. From here, instead of seeing colouring-in as an infantile practice, or as something to be mocked, I wanted to seriously engage with and understand this trend and its implications for wellbeing.

How did I research this?

The main aim of the research was to understand whether colouring is a mindful1 and therapeutic2 practice. To do so, I drew on qualitative methodologies of auto-ethnography and participant ethnography.

My auto-ethnographic practice allowed personal insight into colouring and mindfulness. Since I am not a trained mindfulness practitioner I needed to develop my personal knowledge of the practice. So I spent a considerable amount of time practicing mindfulness and colouring, I then reflected my experiences in a research diary.

The participant ethnography stage took place in a local mental health and wellbeing charity3 where I organised drop-in colouring sessions for clients who accessed the facility. The colouring and meditation sessions were followed by discussion and questionnaires.

What did I find out?

Two main themes came out of this work.

The first was that colouring cultivated an immersive awareness that simultaneously stretched out the moment, by paying close attention to it, but also made it fly by as we entered ‘flow’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). This ‘flow’ space acted like a mental retreat: we were still embedded in everyday life, but we had found a therapeutic and immersive part of the world.

To illustrate this, one participant fed back to the group: “I was so focused and thought of nothing but colouring.”

Here, her colouring practice completely filling her consciousness, taking her away from everyday anxieties and worries. Instead, she was cultivating her attention on the micro-spaces of the page and of her hand-on-the-pencil-on-the-paper in motion. The attention to our bodily rhythms is something that we so often neglect. Colouring allowed this participant to come back to the body, and cultivate a mindful sense of awareness.

Secondly, a couple of participants felt that the colouring was more frustrating than helpful. For example, the minuscule details on the page caused discomfort for people with eyesight difficulties.

“I’ve been sitting there with reading glasses on, and still can’t see, I have to stop when the eyes go, that’s the downside.”

These experiences often lead to the abandonment of the exercise, and were sometimes met with a reluctance to try again. Also, some were hesitant to begin the practice; one participant felt they could not complete the colouring sheet ‘well enough’. Some found a personal pressure to attain a high standard of colouring, as they were measuring themselves against others and critically evaluating their own work.

These brief snapshots have shown that the therapeutic nature of colouring is subjective and multifaceted. For some it is met with a sense of anxiety due to their perceived potential at ‘failing’, or issues of accessing the material. But, for others it really does work, providing them with a retreat and a mindful immersion that is attentive to their breath, body, colouring pencils and the page. Overall, taking these engagements seriously is important to open up discussions about, and share experiences of wellbeing and mental health.

Resources:

During the Doctoral College’s Wellbeing Week last year, colouring-in flyers and posters were posted around campus, find them here: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/doctoralcollege/pdfs/Colour_Me_In-1.pdf

Free mandala colouring pages can be found here: https://printmandala.com/

Some recommended colouring books:

Basford, J., 2013. Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book. Laurence King Publishing.

Marotta, M., 2014. Animal Kingdom: Colour Me, Draw Me. Lark Books.

Notes:

1I took a conceptualisation of mindfulness from John Kabat-Zinn’s widely used definition: ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.’ (Kabat-Zinn, 2016, p. 4). There are many debates around this definition, and its possible simplification of Buddhist practice (for more detailed discussion see: Sun, 2014; Wilson, 2014)

Since becoming a PGR Chloe has set up a regular ‘wellbeing wednesday’ event in the Geography department with Emily Husband. The Doctoral College are supporting Chloe to run a Festive Craft event on Thursday 14th December from 3-4pm in Old Library Rooms 4&5. Come along to make your own research ‘bauble’, and enjoy some tea, coffee, mince pies and chat! You can sign up here.

Research Workshop: The F-Word

 Topic of Workshop: The F-Word: Facing the Challenges of Feminist Research in the Social Sciences

Wednesday, 1st June 2016

This one-day interdisciplinary workshop was organised by three postgraduate research (PGR) students in the School of Law: Jennifer Mike, Janet Keliher, and Mathilde Pavis. It was open to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and staff across the College of Social Sciences and International Studies (SSIS) and College of Humanities.

Organisers of the event (L-R): Jennifer Mike, Mathilde Pavis, Janet Keliher

Organisers of the event (L-R): Jennifer Mike, Mathilde Pavis, Janet Keliher

The aim of the event was to create a platform for discussions on the use and application of feminism concepts and gender-related theories in research context. Also in this regard, the event was designed to build a forum for experienced academic staff to reflect on their own scholarly engagement with feminism or gender studies as a conceptual, methodological and/or empirical approach in a research.  The event provided an important learning opportunity for students and staff to engage in scholarly discussions and generate insights into the use of feminist theories in research.

Keynote speaker: Professor Michelle Ryan

Keynote speaker: Professor Michelle Ryan

At the event, Professor Michelle Ryan (Psychology) provided a thought-provoking keynote address on her research involving the “glass cliff” and work/life balance. Other participants included: Professor Susan Banducci (Politics), Professor Christine Hauskeller (Sociology), Dr Mitchell Travis (Leeds, Law and Social Justice), and Professor Jane Spencer (English). Several PGRs/early career researchers presented the challenges they face in the application of feminist theory in their research in a series of 10-minute presentations (chaired by Dr Charlie Bishop and Dr Fae Garland, Law).Picture 3 - Femmes Crea(c)tives

The event was extremely well-attended, a total of 32 participants were in attendance. The efforts of the organisers were very much appreciated, as the feedback attests:

  • “Great initiative – thanks a lot for organising”
  • “Fabulous work!”
  • “It was a great session”
  • “Thank you for putting this together”
  • “Very informative and well organised”
  • “More please”.

We hope that further interdisciplinary sessions organised around the theme of feminism or feminist concerns will be organised in the 2016-17 academic year, so please look out for these events.