Poppy Budworth, Geography and Environment, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort) and Olivia Fletcher, Geography and Environment, University of Manchester (2020 Cohort)
As first-year PhD students in Human Geography, we decided to start an Embodied Geographies reading group in February, as a way to bring people together from different disciplines and universities. The group has created a space for open and exploratory discussions about all things embodiment. Each month we encourage reading recommendations from group members to ensure we cover a wider range of topics; so far this has included readings on Covid-19 and data, imposter syndrome and auto-ethnography.
We’ve had some really positive feedback from members of the reading group, who have been grateful to us for creating both a social and an academic space for discussions. Members have commented on how it has made meeting people with similar research interests from different disciplines and across different universities easier, allowing them to network with others in a time when facilitating this offline is not possible. Members have also been enjoying reading literature that they had not encountered previously and has thus encouraged them to explore new areas for their research. In addition, the reading group has inspired another first-year Postgraduate Researcher from the University of Manchester to start their own reading group on Urban Futures.
Establishing the group has also helped us both personally. It has not only enabled us to gain some experience organising events, it has also helped us with our own confidence around speaking in front of new groups of people, which will help us greatly when presenting at upcoming conferences. In needing to facilitate a discussion around the readings, we have also improved our critical thinking skills, whereby we have reflected on the readings and developed our own interpretations and thoughts about the texts. Moreover, the group has not only enabled us to network with other members of the group, it has also facilitated conversations via Twitter with authors of the papers we have been discussing, whereby we have been able to feedback the discussions of the group. The group has also helped us both develop a friendship, which has been really helpful at a time when we have both started our PhD’s virtually.
The reading group is on the third Tuesday of every month (4-5pm). If you would like to join the reading group mailing list, please contact either of us via email: O.A.Fletcher@liverpool.ac.uk / firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @livAfletcher / @budworthpopppy