Festival of Postgraduate Research 2019

Festival banner

Our Festival of Postgraduate Research returns to Huxley on Wednesday 22 May. We very much hope you’ll want to join us in this annual celebration of doctoral research at Brighton.

Book your free place on Eventbrite by Friday 17 May!

Festival events and competitions

Opposites Attract Collaboration Challenge
Find out more and register to participate by Thursday 7 March
Prize for the winning team: £500

Three Minute Thesis
Workshop to support participants: Thursday 28 March
First prize: £400 and entry into the national 3MT competition

Research Poster Competition
Workshop to support participants: Thursday 28 March
IS workshop: Posters and banners with Publisher: Thursday 25 April
More details to follow

Research Photo Competition
More details to follow

Bake your Thesis Competition
More details to follow

A drinks reception and prize-giving event will close the afternoon.

The University of Brighton has such a wonderful breadth of important, exciting research. Once again, we are delighted to be providing a forum to bring our postgraduate researchers and their supervisors together to showcase and celebrate the work of our students.

This page will be updated regularly in the coming weeks as we build our programme and launch our individual research competitions. In the meantime, why not check out our previous festivals in 2017 and 2018?

The challenges of part-time doctoral study

Jennie Jones, fourth year doctoral researcher in the School of Education, talks about some of the challenges she has faced as a part-time student and invites other part-time students at the University of Brighton to participate in her study.

Part-time PhD students’ learning journeys in UK universities in changing times: exploring the influences of academic, professional and personal relationships and life events

Jennie Jones

Tower of pebbles hit by wavesMy experience
Being a part-time PhD student can be challenging, particularly in the turbulent times that we are now experiencing in higher education. Like other students, I chose to study part-time because of other important responsibilities in my life including my family and my job. Because part-time PhD students often balance different roles in life, their time spent at university is often limited, and many do not experience a sufficient sense of belonging to a peer community (Gardner and Gopaul, 2012). This is what led me to the idea of a PhD study about the experiences of part-time PhD students and how their lives and learning interact during their doctoral journeys. The findings of this research will help contribute to universities’ understanding of part-time PhD students’ experiences.

I started my doctoral journey under difficult circumstances. My mother had recently passed away and my father was seriously ill. He died a year after I started my PhD. My supervisors, colleagues, family and friends all encouraged me to continue although at times I felt overwhelmed. My PhD has been inspiring and fulfilling, but also emotionally and academically challenging. Stages that I have particularly struggled with have been the ethical review process, deciding on my ontological and epistemological positions and completing the first three chapters of my thesis. During supervision, I have sometimes found constructive criticism challenging.

My supervisors and colleagues, some of whom are also studying for doctorates, have been very supportive and given me good advice throughout my journey. Despite the challenges, I have remained resilient and this is partly because of the support and encouragement I have received from other people around me. I have now passed the equivalent of transfer and this has really helped me to feel more confident about my research.

My research
In interviews I am adopting a Narrative Inquiry methodological approach, which provides deep insights into part-time PhD students’ unique experiences. If you are a part-time PhD student and would be interested in taking part in a narrative interview about your doctoral journey, I would be very happy to hear from you. If you would like to participate, then please read my information sheet for details about what an interview would involve. I hope to hear from you soon.

My email address: jj71@brighton.ac.uk
Tel: 01273 641920

PGR Festive Party 2018

Party attendees pulling crackersOur inaugural doctoral student festive party brought together researchers from across the university for a celebratory evening at The Bevy, a community pub close to our Moulsecoomb campus.

With representation from eight different schools, and some attendees travelling in from Eastbourne and London, the event offered a great opportunity for students to meet others outside of their own discipline. Fizz and conversation soon flowed, and we relaxed in the warmth of The Bevy’s hospitality, enjoying an excellent buffet and engaging in some enthusiastic cracker-pulling.

When the prosecco corks began to stack up, a couple of our researchers grabbed the chance to demonstrate their juggling skills – a valuable attribute for anyone who works in academia!

One of the topics of conversation was the isolation PhD students often experience. The Doctoral College is aiming to provide more opportunities for our researchers to meet and mingle in 2019 and beyond, so stay tuned. (And don’t forget, our regular PhD Student Hub is open to all PGRs.)

Many thanks to The Bevy for being so wonderfully friendly and helpful – and for taking ice buckets to the next level (see photos below). And thanks too to all staff and students who came along and supported our first Christmas party in fine festive style!

Check out the gallery below for some photos of the evening.

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“I had a great time and met people I normally wouldn’t have crossed paths with” – Tochukwu Ozulumba