CREATING AND MANAGING EFFECTIVE RELATIONSHIPS FOR YOUR DOCTORAL RESEARCH
12th October 2023
Book your place here
In this workshop, we will discuss how we can best network with our colleagues, peers, publishers, funders, as well as the beneficiaries of our research and the wider public. Networking is all about building valuable relationships that can sustain and support us in our research journey. We will use this workshop as a space for you to develop your own individualised plan around networking, a plan that is tailored to your goals, needs, skills, and resources.
Through structured reflection both individually and as a group, we will help you identify your reasons for engaging in networking, the people and types of audiences you’d like to network with, as well as best practices for developing these relationships, from using social media and email, to striking up conversations in conferences, to presenting your research in a variety of venues, to building a public profile.
Please bring your laptop and, if you have time before the workshop, please reflect on your reasons for wanting to network more (or more effectively) and on the obstacles that you are facing when doing so.
ONLINE WRITING AND THRIVING SERIES
Join these interactive online workshops to support you with writing strategies for your thesis and to learn simple & effective moving and breathing techniques to help with stress relief and overall wellbeing. The workshops run once in each semester and are strictly limited to 30 participants per session.
Each workshop is repeated in semester 2.
WRITING AS THINKING: LETTING GO OF SELF-CRITICISM AND OVERCOMING WRITER’S BLOCK
In this session you will connect with peers to share your challenges and successes in writing your thesis. Together we will consider whether writing can be a tool for thinking, or part of the thinking process, and we will explore some practices to help overcome writer’s block. This session will support you to feel more confident in writing your thesis or dissertation – whatever stage you are at!
WRITING AS SIGNPOSTING: CONSIDERING YOUR READER WHILE WRITING
This session will help you move from content-creation to reader-consideration, as you begin to see your academic writing in its wider context. You’ll share ideas for keeping your reader in mind while writing, and practice techniques for helping your reader to understand and navigate your text.
WRITING AS NARRATIVE: STRUCTURING YOUR CHAPTER OR THESIS
Having trouble seeing the bigger picture? If you’re getting stuck on the minor details and losing focus on your project overall, this session will help you to reorient your thinking to consider the overall shape and structure of your academic writing. This will help you get clear on your argument and make connections between the parts of the whole.
WRITING AS EDITING & EDITING AS WRITING: REDRAFTING YOUR WRITING FOR SUBMISSION
This session is key! Everything you’ve done up to now has led you here. How do you make the leap to your best possible writing? By planning in time for editing and redrafting before submission you will learn how to maximise your own potential as an academic writer.
This session will be a deep-dive into the mechanics of academic writing for your thesis, chapter, or research paper. We will explore how to move from descriptive/summative writing to critical and analytical thinking. Topics covered may also include: Transitions between paragraphs/ideas; Referencing and citation; Subjective/Objective positioning.
Please bring a recent piece of academic writing as your focus for development. The workshop will be highly interactive, with lots of opportunity for peer-support and independent writing/reflection.
With a central focus on presenting your thesis as an original contribution to your field, the workshop will be structured around reflection and discussion, exploring the techniques of constructing and defending your argument throughout your thesis.
The session will give you an opportunity to reflect on your academic writing: your challenges and celebrations; tips, techniques, and strategies for success. You’ll be encouraged to reconnect with your passions and core values as a writer and researcher.
This final workshop is designed to invigorate and motivate you for a fruitful future of academic WRITING & THRIVING!
Come along to the writing surgery to develop and reflect on your thesis writing – including personalised feedback and your questions answered.
This is your opportunity to test the skills you have learnt in the Writing & Thriving workshops, ask questions about your own thesis-writing process, and receive tailored feedback and advice from Sally-Shakti.
Workshops are facilitated by Sally-Shakti Willow who completed her PhD at the University of Westminster in 2019. While studying she also co-developed and taught a series of workshops called Wellbeing While Writing. The workshops used practical techniques from Creative Writing pedagogy to support doctoral researchers of all disciplines with writing their thesis. Sally-Shakti now shares her skills and experience with doctoral researchers across the globe through her online work with WRITING & THRIVING in Higher Education. To find out more, please visit www.writingthriving.com
WELLBEING AND THE DOCTORAL RESEARCHER
This is an online workshop that aims to explore wellbeing in the Doctoral Researcher experience at the University of Westminster. The PhD journey can often be lonely and isolating and aside from the demands of actually being a Doctoral Researcher, real life can also intervene. How do we navigate the experience of doing the research whilst also taking care of ourselves? ‘Self-care’ has now entered the lexicon of everyday language, but how might it be especially important whilst being a Doctoral Researcher? We will be addressing these issues and a special focus will be given to the particular demands that doing a PhD makes on our sense of ourselves.
The format of this workshop will give time for working in pairs, small groups and as a whole group, and focus on each of the four higher-order themes identified by Hazell et al (2020):
* Always alone in the struggle
* Death of personhood
* The system is sick
* Seeing, being and becoming
This workshop is not a presentation or webinar, so please come prepared to participate. It is open to all doctoral researchers regardless of year.
THE SUPERVISOR-SUPERVISEE RELATIONSHIP- AN INTERCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
Given the multilingual and multicultural staff and student body at the University of Westminster, it is likely that your supervisory team is composed of academics that have studied and worked in a number of different cultural settings. You are probably familiar with one or more academic contexts and this familiarity is shaping your expectations of what your PhD will be like. In this workshop we will focus on the supervisor-supervisee relationship and explore how it is shaped by our previous academic and cultural experience. The workshop will analyse and help us reflect on:
- higher education as a cultural context, with a focus on the PhD process
- the institutional culture of higher education in the UK and of the University of Westminster, in particular
- culture and experience and how it shapes the expectations of the supervisory team and its individual members
- culture and educational culture shaping your expectations
- selected cultural aspects that influence the supervisor-supervisee relationship: hierarchy, ways of addressing, communication, time and deadlines, individual vs group/team, guidance styles and independence.
UNDERTAKING FIELD WORK/DATA COLLECTION – AN INTERCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
25th April 2024
Book your place here
When undertaking data collection/fieldwork through, for example, interviews or questionnaires, we are interacting with our informants. These interactions could be on-site or on-line. The willingness of our informants to contribute, the way in which they will interpret our questions and answer them, as well as a myriad of ethical aspects will be influenced by their cultural background. You might be doing fieldwork in a culture you are very familiar with or one that you know only from a distance. At the same time, the way you are framing and phrasing your questions or request for information is influenced by your own cultural background (and that of your supervisory team). This workshop is designed to help you reflect on these important aspects, in order to fully consider cultural perspectives and their implications for your fieldwork. The workshop is open to all doctoral students preparing for their data collection who have already submitted or are about to submit their ethics application.
THE CREATIVE RESEARCHER
Research is a cyclical form of structured enquiry that begins with an open-ended question or hypothesis and ends with the creation of new knowledge that answers the question and progresses the field of enquiry.
There are several distinct stages in the research cycle that present different kinds of challenge, and the researcher needs to draw on a variety on skills to meet these challenges and make progress in their research. Some of these challenges require a greater emphasis on the critical appraisal of existing knowledge, observations and data, but creativity always works symbiotically with critical thinking.
Other challenges are more speculative and open-ended, requiring a greater emphasis on creativity. These include identifying the initial research question, ideas to proceed with addressing the question, and the design of the investigation.
This workshop, though covering some aspects of critical thinking, will focus mainly on creativity. Everyone is creative to some extent, but little emphasis has been placed on the importance of creativity in research, perhaps because it is less well understood than critical thinking. This workshop will illustrate how creativity is at the heart of progress in research, and how individual creativity can be nurtured and developed further. It will explore the nature of creative thinking and the factors that both nurture and inhibit it. Some ‘tools’ for nurturing creative thinking in research will be applied, and a framework will be described in which the various tools for critical thinking and creativity can be applied in a systematic way.
This workshop aims to describe the nature and nurture of creativity in the context of doing research. It will describe a framework for creative problem solving and will cover some tools, techniques and behaviours that can help access individual and group creativity. Some of the influences that inhibit creative thinking will also be discussed.
OVERCOMING PROCRASTINATION WHILE DOING A PHD
11th March 2024
Book your place here
Writing a PhD is a mammoth task. With hardly any classes to attend, lots of academic freedom and freedom in general, no imposed structure to your daily life, long term deadlines … it can be all too easy to delay getting started.
Is this you?
Do you have a tendency to always find something more important or more urgent to do than attending to your research or writing? Would you rather watch Netflix than complete that Methodology chapter or upload that supervision meeting you had yesterday? Do you keep doing more research but find it difficult to get down to writing anything? Are you focusing on your future career rather than getting the PhD done?
In this workshop we explore why some of us have a tendency to procrastinate and it is rarely a case of simply being lazy! There are countless reasons which may cause you to delay starting certain tasks linked to you PhD. In this workshop we try to bring those issues to the surface in order to address the root causes of what makes us delay certain tasks at the expense of easier or more enjoyable activities.
Once we unpack the root causes of our behaviour, we may begin to develop a better awareness of ourselves. We will be better able to see patterns in what we do and be more clearly able to build up strategies to overcome some of the obstacles to patterns of behaviour that are working against us.
This workshop will be a critical journey of self-discovery, introspection and reflection. We will begin a process of setting goals which are Specific Measurable Achievable and Timed (SMART).
This workshop will be useful to all doctoral researchers no matter what stage of the doctoral degree you are at.
THE POWER OF GOAL SETTING WHILE DOING A PHD
13th May 2024
Book your place here
Is this you?
- You don’t know where to start with your PhD thesis
- You often feel overwhelmed and isolated as a researcher
- You have a tendency to procrastinate or lack the motivation to turn your dream to become a Dr into a reality
If so, it’s time to set goals which are realistic and achievable.
The benefits of goal setting include:
- Improved time management
- Better control of your life and your studies
- Increased motivation and self-confidence
- Increased sense of purpose
- Greater clarity and focus
- Greater success and performance
Join us for this practical workshop where we explore the science behind goal setting, question why we often shy away from the process and learn how to set goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time (SMART).
Open to all, regardless of which stage of the PhD journey you are in.