PhD’s are not a straightforward experience of writing a thesis and passing a viva. The path to a PhD has all kinds of twists and turns and can even throw you for a loop. While there may have been some kind of expectation that you might get to do GTA work as a PhD student, or even attend and speak at conferences, other things like internships, residencies, and actually running conferences and events are less discussed. However, it is these out-of-the-box experiences you can have during your PhD that make you stand out from other researchers.
The Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities works with institutions and organisations across the UK to bring PhD researchers a multitude of opportunities in the arts and humanities to enhance your PhD experience and professional profile. This year SGSAH has brought 30 projects from around the UK to the table- there is something on offer for everyone!
What is the difference between an artist residency and an internship?
Simplified, an artist residency provides you with the opportunity to create from a space outside of your normal scene. As the name suggests, you will be working in-residence of an organisation or institution (or a property/land run by them) during your time in their employ. The organisation or institution you would be working for would typically set parameters of what they would expect of you, but the actual output will depend on the medium you prefer to use and the way in which you’ve interpreted the assignment. You are essentially being taken on for your individual, outside-the-box point of view.
An internship is a bit more familiar to everyone as it works very much like a typical job. There are specific qualifications and interests the organisation or institute is looking for you to have, and there will be specific goals and expectations with the role. You may have set hours, or a set project deadline that will need to be met. There may be some internships that work with a team, and some that will have you working on your own, so be aware of the skill set required for both.
At what point in my PhD should I be looking to do an artist residency or internship?
For starters, it is required that you at least be in your 2nd or 3rd year if you are a full-time PhD, or the equivalent if you are part-time which is typically the 3rd-6th year. However, it is up to you to decide if you feel prepared to take on a residency or internship at this stage in your research. If there is an opportunity on offer that you believe would strongly benefit your PhD, your career goals, or greatly interests you, be aware it may not come up again the following year. In this case it is best to discuss with your supervisors how to best manage your PhD and a residency or internship, as they can help you find the balance of doing both as others have in the past.
How will this benefit me and my PhD?
Besides the classic ‘it’ll look good on your CV’, there are numerous ways doing an internship or residency during your PhD will benefit you! One of the biggest ways taking advantage of an opportunity like this could benefit your PhD is through the networking it might offer if the role aligns with your research in some way. Finding a role in the field which you are interested is a huge step to securing contacts that might be advantageous to you through your PhD and beyond. In addition to this, the skills you’ll obtain through a residency or internship will carry over into your PhD- be it time management of projects and deadlines, communication skills, or even furthering your research skills in a new context, there are many benefits that can be applied to your PhD.
Beyond the PhD benefits, an internship or residency might open up future opportunities for you with the organisation or institute you’re working for. If you do your job well and take full advantage of the experience, they may want to keep in touch for the future and pass along opportunities with their organisation in the future. If an internship opens up with an organisation you’ve had your eye on for the future, it might be your best chance at working with them straight from the PhD.
You might, might even have fun with your role…which I don’t know about you but to me that is a huge benefit! Getting to step back and do something different from your normal 3-6 year PhD routine can be a huge morale booster and reinvigorating.
What if I’m interested in a project and it doesn’t directly feed into my PhD?
Not everything you do during your PhD (a 3-6 year process!) will feed directly into your PhD, but that in itself is part of what makes up the ‘PhD experience’ and leaves you a well-rounded academic. Working on a larger thesis consistently while also holding down employment, extracurriculars such as running meetings or events, publishing or presenting, and dealing with typical ‘life stuff’ has become quite normal. However, that is not to say everyone is expected to manage more than one of those outside influencers, but it is possible should you wish it and work to incorporate it into your PhD plan.
Many of the internships and residencies on offer meet the specific goals and mission of the organisations or institutions. It is a good chance to see what you can do outside of the research you become more familiar with as you progress through your PhD, and how you can apply the skills you’ve learned there to other research areas and subjects.
What are the different organisations and institutions involved?
You can actually Meet the Host organisations and institutions that are on offer this year at tomorrow’s (September 6th) event from 6-8pm at The Studio in Glasgow. Registration an information can be found here.
There are over 25 hosts across the UK involved offering artist residency and internships this year, all of which are listed on the SGSAH links for the available Artist Residency and Internship opportunities. In addition, the SGSAH Twitter has been posting daily highlights and links to the various hosts, so check those out as well!
Who can I contact for more information?
For an informal discussion about any aspect of the programme, please contact Gillian Daly, SGSAH Knowledge Exchange & Partnerships Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01413302635
Where do I apply?
When you’re ready, you can apply right here! Applications close on October 5th, 2018 so be sure to get all your information in by then, including your supplementary CV to email@example.com upon completing the application form. Best of luck to all the applicants!
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 Brittnee via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with the blog on Twitter