Monthly Round-up: September 2017

September saw the launch of the new SGSAH Blog Twitter account! It’s been a great space to interact and discuss the PhD experience in Scotland: follow us to join the conversation!

I kicked off the blog in September with this discussion of what it means to be a ‘Remote’ PhD student, suggesting that there are still a lot of assumptions about what a ‘typical’ PhD student looks like. Many of my sentiments were echoed in this article shared by PhD Women Scotland which suggested that the ideal PhD student ‘has no baggage’. This month I also discussed the importance of funded internship opportunities for PhD students in Scotland, as SGSAH’s internship deadline approached. Along with many others I’ve been preoccupied with writing my literature review recently, and in this post I reflected on how I spent my first year and the particular challenges of a multi-disciplinary literature review. I finished the month off with this piece on how long-distance running has helped change how I approach my PhD, as well as providing a healthy way to clear my mind and relax.

Great Scottish Run

The start-line of the Great Scottish Run half marathon this weekend: the inspiration for one of the SGSAH blog posts in September

We had two guest blogs this month: Chris Cooijimans wrote about ‘a summer spent among medieval sources’ after receiving funding from SGSAH’s SDF Training Fund. Catherine Bateson used SGSAH Student Development Funding to attend a conference in Dublin, and took the opportunity to visit relevant archives in the city. This month also saw an event at the University of Glasgow: Women of Colour: Researchers in Scotland: A Mentoring Symposium which renewed interest in a past SGSAH Blog article by Diljeet Bachu on ‘Being the only one’  There were lots of thought-provoking tweets coming out of this event which you can find at #wocresearchers2017


September has seen the Pubs & Publications team offer another great range of insightful articles on the PhD experience alongside practical advice to postgraduates. There were a few that caught my eye. This one on dealing with heart break during a PhD is useful for anyone experiencing a momentous change in circumstances during the course of their PhD. An important issue was raised in this piece about taking sick leave from your PhD, again full of practical advice. There was also an enormously interesting and detailed look at the process of editing a special issue for an academic journal –  I am looking forward to reading part 2!

The beginning of the academic year has seen a flurry of practical tips from the FindaPhD blog. There has been advice to those starting their PhD ‘later in life’ (including the fantastic subheading ‘Carpe PhDiem (that’s ‘YOLO’ for oldies)’); tips on how to secure PhD funding and information about finding the best postgraduate bank account.

Articles on the Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland also caught my eye, including this report on the Engender conference which included activists, politicians and feminists from all over Scotland. This article on being a first generation feminist is also applicable more broadly as it focuses attention on the relationship between PhD students’ personal lives and their research. In academia there’s an increasing awareness that our personal lives can and do affect our research choices and perspectives, and not just for those researching gender issues.

This article from LSE’s blog outlined how academics can improve their research impact by blogging. We are always looking for guest bloggers, so if you are inspired by this article please get in touch with ideas for guest blogs. The SGSAH blog is our platform as Arts & Humanities PhD students in Scotland, and we aim to represent as many voices as possible through our guest posts!

The Thesis Whisperer had some brilliant articles in September including ‘Academic writing is like a painful, upper middle class dinner party’ and this timely article on ‘Deep Work’ in academia – how to stop ‘flipping between tasks without progressing on any of them’. For those of us currently upgrade chapters or chapter drafts, it’s reassuring to know that ‘Deep work should be so cognitively demanding that it cannot be sustained longer than four hours – after that point, we head into brain mush.’ I can certainly attest to the feeling of brain mush after 8 pomodoros!

Finally, I really enjoyed this article about employment routes after PhDs. When reflecting on SGSAH’s internship opportunities earlier in September I wrote about the reality that many PhD graduates will not pursue academic careers after their doctorates. This is a refreshing article which makes it clear that non-academic career choices are not ‘failures’.

Calls for papers

There are a whole range of opportunities and calls for papers on the SGSAH website here including:

  • SPARK Call for Papers – Translating Communities
  • Durham MEMSA Conference Call for Papers ‘Imitation and Innovation: Uses of the Past in the Medieval and Early Modern World’. The Eleventh MEMSA Conference, 11th – 12th July 2017, Durham University
  • The University of Manchester: Care & Machines Conference. Call for Papers. Deadline: 1st June

The Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland have a comprehensive list of relevant calls for papers which you can find here

Writings from Scotland Before the Union 2018 is a one-day conference which will continue to explore all areas of literature prior to the Act of Union in 1707. University of Dundee, April 21st 2018

Armacad also have a list of international conference Calls for Papers here

That’s it for the monthly round-up! Don’t forget we are always seeking new guest bloggers – if you have an idea for a blog post or would like to informally discuss writing for the SGSAH blog please get in touch with Joanna via email at, or find SGSAH Blog on Twitter.

For regular news, updates and opportunities follow SGSAH on both Twitter and Facebook.

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