Monthly round up: January 2018

We regularly share news, articles and opportunities for Arts & Humanities PhD students on the SGSAH Blog Twitter account. A wonderful place to connect with other researchers across Scotland: follow us to join the conversation!

This month on the SGSAH Blog

We had two guest posts on the blog this month. In the first guest article of the year Lisa Nais took us on a detective journey through the archives, describing her hunt for the author of an intriguing letter. In the process, she uncovered some of the ways in which some nineteenth-century female writers challenged their traditional gender roles. A fascinating read!

Our second guest post this month came from Chloe Bray who offered an insight into the experience of organising an academic workshop at the University of St Andrews. Funded by the SGSAH Cohort Development Fund, the sessions focused on the concept of ‘landscape’. The format combined contributions from postgraduate students alongside workshops led by leading academics. An excellent example of the possibilities available to us through the Cohort Development Fund!

Outgoing resident SGSAH Blogger Jo Rodgers kicked the year off with this article on ‘Rethinking Remote’. This post focused on an event co-organised by PhD students who are based in or have a research interest in the Highlands & Islands. Drawing attention to the range of PhD students represented in this cohort (from Newcastle University to Glasgow School of Art to the University of the Highlands & Islands) Jo described some of the unique challenges & opportunities of being a PhD student in an area often dismissed as ‘remote’. Emphasising that researchers in the Highlands & Islands are often deeply embedded in the communities they study, the article encouraged readers to reconsider the framework by which we judge ‘remoteness’.

gathering stephanie weir

Rethinking Remote at Moniack Mhor (Stephanie Weir)

The next article from Jo echoed some of her earlier blog posts on how exercise can help with managing the stress of a PhD. Having taken up indoor climbing in 2017, Jo reflected on the ‘PhD Climb’, suggesting that climbing and completing a PhD may have commonalities. She concluded that her personal approach to both activities is to ‘Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway’! Continuing this theme, the next post from Jo described her recent travels to India for a friend’s wedding. Here, Jo linked her trip to her research into heritage tourism in Scotland, focusing particularly on the deeply rewarding experience of meeting local residents when travelling somewhere new.

Finally, Jo finished the month (and her residency as SGSAH Blogger!) by reflecting on her experience of blogging over the past six months. Next month we have a brand new blogger so watch this space!

Blog articles which caught our eye

January saw the launch of a new blog site by PhD Women Scotland. The blog ‘was created to be a supportive and encouraging network for women who are studying for a PhD in Scotland’, and has already posted some excellent articles. Entitled ‘Why PhD Women?’ the first article contains an eye-opening (in fact, a shocking) description of the experience of taking time off from doing a PhD to have a baby:

‘There is no specific form to fill in for maternity leave. And I think it was perhaps at this point I realised, as a pregnant woman, I didn’t fit. I couldn’t tick all the boxes. I didn’t know what impact this would have on my studies or how this would help/hinder my professional development. I needed a “break” because I was having a baby. I felt like the only woman on earth who had been pregnant while writing a PhD.’ 

The blog aims to reflect the diversity of female PhD experiences, and features a new article by a different PhD woman every week. We particularly enjoyed this hilarious post by Maureen Hammond, which will surely ring true for all PhD parents out there (male and female!).

Another article that caught our attention this month was this important analysis of the relationship between mental health & academia. Demonstrating through personal experience how ‘the current culture of doctoral training contributes to mental health problems’, the author offers a detailed description and analysis of the structural issues which contribute to mental health struggles among PhD students.

The Pubs & Publications team have had another great month with a range of articles reflecting the diversity of concerns among PhD students, including this one on overwork in academia, which warns against getting into the habit of working on weekends. This post about undertaking a doctorate as a non-native English speaker offers an insight into this common experience and is well worth a read.

Upcoming Events/calls for papers

  • These opportunities are promoted by SGSAH and open to all doctoral researchers within Arts & Humanities
  • SGSAH are alway looking for guest blog articles: find guidelines for submission and contact details here
  • ‘Witnessing War’ Workshop by War Through Other Stuff: ‘a [free] one-day workshop that will seek to answer a series of questions. Who witnesses war? From what perspective? …This workshop focuses on first-hand experiences of conflict, with no restraints as to time period or geographic location.’ Find out more here
  • Call for Papers for ‘Graphic Justice Discussion 2018’, a 1 day conference in NYC by the Graphic Justice Research Alliance. Great for anyone interested in the intersection of comics and law/justice (in all forms). Find out more here
  • Call for Papers for ‘Glasgow University College of Arts Postgraduate Conference 2018’: the theme is ‘Connections’, & the conference takes place on 29th and 30th of May, in the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. Find out more here
  • Call for Papers for ‘Literary Form After Matter, 1500-1700’, Friday 22nd June 2018, Shulman Auditorium, The Queen’s College, University of Oxford. More details here
  • Call for Papers for ‘Man of the House’: Masculinity and domesticity from 1800 until the present day’, University of St Andrews, 22nd June 2018. Find out more 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! You can find SGSAH Blog on Twitter.

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


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