Doctoral Inaugural Lectures and panel discussion: details coming soon.
A drinks reception and prize-giving event will close the afternoon.
And if that weren’t enough, the fabulous duo behind our student-led initiative, PhD Student Hub, have organised a social evening to take place in a Brighton pub (Lord Nelson on Trafalgar St, near the train station) directly afterwards. Many thanks to Abby Barras and Kristin O’Donnell for arranging this.
Gemma Williams, first year Linguistics PhD student based in the School of Humanities, recently presented at an international conference for the first time — just a few short weeks after delivering her first-ever conference presentation in the UK.
Below, Gemma shares her personal experience (and some beautiful Andalusian photos) of how she approached this exciting and somewhat daunting event in Seville.
I’d had the pleasure of attending my first academic conference — ‘Beyond Meaning’, co-organised by my supervisor Tim Wharton — purely as a consumer of knowledge, in Athens the previous summer so I had some idea of what to expect in terms of conference mechanics, but as the date approached my nerve gradually evaporated as the reality of standing before experts in the field and touting my fledgling ideas loomed increasingly. Something about deciding to put myself among these knowledge-shapers suddenly seemed incredibly ‘bold’, though perhaps, I tried to reassure myself, this thinking was simply a result of good old Imposter Syndrome. In order to quell the fear a little, I gave myself a mind-trick. I would see it all as a symbolic act. My talk would be my offering at the feet of unseen knowledge-keepers, and the room a temple of knowledge. Clearly bonkers, but somehow this felt less frightening than facing a room of potentially hostile, and certainly very clever humans.
I arrived the evening before the conference began, and took myself out for a romantic stroll in large central park, packed with parrots mimicking the traffic crossing signal and a meal of tapas and beer, kept company by my book (note to solo travellers, always have a good book). People were out late, the rain spell rolled elsewhere to allow a warm sunny evening to break through and it was true! Seville does smell of oranges. I was enjoying myself. How did this happen? (Draw your own conclusions as to whether a pre-conference beer is advisable.)
The venue for the conference was the old 18th Century Royal Tobacco Factory in the centre of Seville, now part of the university, and allowed my temple fantasy to run wild. The high, ornate brick building threaded through with open courtyards and fountains provided a most exquisite backdrop to all the coffee-break chats and encounters that really make a conference. I was happy to see some familiar faces from the conference I’d attended last year, and most people I spoke to seemed to know my supervisor in one way or another. I found myself out for dinner the first night with a lovely bunch of individuals from different countries and specialisms, several of whom will be at the next conference I plan to attend too. People were friendly, supportive when they heard I was giving my first talk, and open to conversation. The impression I came away with was one of a network of warm, intelligent and curious people that wasn’t in anyway clique-y.
When I came to my talk itself, I can’t say I fully tricked myself out of the nerves. My advice would be, if you too are prone to anxiety, don’t drink the free and delicious conference coffee on the day of your talk. The audience wasn’t huge, but not too small — just the right number really, to allow for a convivial Q & A session post-talk. Unlike in my fearful imaginings, the questions and feedback that came were both insightful and encouraging. I found myself really enjoying the back-and-forth, and being able to enthuse about something I’m passionate about with others with knowledge and experience in the field. One audience member asked some particularly helpful questions which I took in the same relaxed way as the whole questions session had gone, only later realising that she was in fact one of the plenary speakers and someone who’s work I’d read and admired! Unknown gods indeed.
Cumberland Lodge is an educational charity with a superb residential conference centre on the Berkshire/Surrey border. Their annual conference is designed to help doctoral students from any discipline prepare for their future, and to show that PhDs have value both inside and outside academia.
To apply for a fully-funded place at this year’s conference, please submit a short statement (300 words maximum) describing your ambitions beyond your PhD and what you would hope to gain from attending ‘Life Beyond the PhD’ to L.Slater@brighton.ac.uk by 12pm (midday) Friday 25 May, 2018.
Postgraduate Research Forum, Weds 2 May, 12-1.45pm, Pavilion Parade G7
The PGR Forum is a new series of open meetings for all doctoral students at the University of Brighton.
On Wednesday 2 May, our first meeting, the senior management teams of the Doctoral College (Dr Mark Erickson and Dr Ross English) and Research and Enterprise (Prof Tara Dean and Prof Andrew Church) will be present, giving you an opportunity to discuss with them issues that matter to you.
These are informal meetings with no set agendas so any issue can be raised on the day. However, you are also welcome to submit points in advance if you prefer. To do so, please email DoctoralCollege@brighton.ac.uk.
The first meeting will take place at Grand Parade campus and meetings at other campuses will be confirmed shortly.
Lunch will be provided. Vegetarian food will be available but if you have other dietary requirements, please specify in the ‘additional details’ field when booking your place. (Deadline for submitting dietary requirements: Thursday 26 April.)
Places are limited to 60 and booking is essential.