‘Your thesis’, according to the Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco, ‘is like your first love: it will be difficult to forget’. Is this a promise or a cautionary tale? For new PhD students, the first semester of their programme of study is the heady, exciting stage of infatuation – everything is new, possibilities are endless, they can’t stop thinking about it. It is towards the end of this first flush of love for their chosen projects (the point where doubt might set in or decisions are made) that we ask students to make a public declaration – to tell the world, shout it from the rooftops and tell us what’s next. In 2020–21 our annual PhD Research Methods Symposium takes the form of this Showcase which will be followed (in January) by an online seminar during which the presenters and guests will discuss the presentations, share research and invite questions (further details below).
The Showcase and seminar represent the culmination of the Research Degrees Training programme, a twelve-week interdisciplinary research methods course which runs between September and December each year. On the part of each student, the Showcase marks the beginning of a lasting commitment: to their projects, to their peers, to GSA’s research community and to the challenges demanded of PhD level research over a sustained period. More broadly, the Showcase is intended as an opportunity for academic staff, Masters and PhD students from across GSA and invited guests to find out more about current PhD research across our five schools. It aims to identify opportunities for all attendees to share research and offer critical reflection and feedback at this formative stage for the presenters and, we hope, encourages those considering future PhD study to make the leap.
This year’s PhD projects are impressively diverse and exciting in their breadth. The range of approaches and methodologies span ethnography, digital learning, interdisciplinary writing, participatory action research, New Materialist philosophy and practice-led research. Individual subjects include conceptions of time, sustainability, folklore and storytelling, style as resistance, childbirth, autonomous driving and anatomical education. For now, please enjoy these presentations and join us, if you can, at 10.30am on Tuesday 12 January 2021 for the follow-up seminar. If you would like to attend, please email Kevin Reynolds at email@example.com
Professor Susannah Thompson, Head of Doctoral Studies