North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

Organizing your own reading group

Jingwen Zhang, Social Statistics, University of Manchester (2020 Cohort)

Solitary work and limited social life are common for PhD students, but are we doomed to be lonely? How can we find companions on our personal PhD journeys? One way to help us come together with those with similar interests is to organise a reading group.

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Historical research in and beyond the archive – everyday encounters with local history

Ella Bytheway-Jackson, Geography and Environment, University of Liverpool (2019 Cohort)

During my Masters programme (Class of 2020) the pandemic forced the CASE partner to my MA and PhD research, Wirral Archives, to close. My main source of data was completely shut off for an unknown period of time. I acknowledge that this is not a unique story – colleagues in the MethodsX Archives Collections and Documents of Life Stream faced equally anxiety-inducing closures, especially when the collections they intended to explore were overseas. More broadly, as a research community, we have had to learn to adapt our plans and revise expectations over the last couple of years.

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“You are writing to dance with the reader”

Ting Liu, Social Statistics, University of Manchester (2019 Cohort)

In mid-November, I attended a writing training session “Writing from a reader’s perspective”, which was an interactive workshop examining ideas of academic style. Although writing is seen as the usual routine for a third-year PhD researcher, doing that well is not like a familiar job completed with ease especially for people like me whose first language is not English. I have been doing research on the UK’s climate change attitudes and green lifestyle based in the department of social statistics at the University of Manchester for three years, but I still found it hard to balance what I want the reader know and what the reader wants to know. Telling a good story is not only establishing your authority as a writer, but also getting into an interactive relationship with your readers. What the whole session made a deep impression on me was that the writer may want to dance with the reader.

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‘Collective Thought as Anti / Decolonial Practice’ Methodological Training.

Naiara Unzurrunzaga, Language Based Area Studies, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort)

As I started my MRes programme last October, I was interested in exploring how existing Intercultural Education programmes for indigenous and other minoritized populations in Latin America, specifically in Brazil, were acting as a resistance strategy and a potential tool for decolonisation. As a former teacher myself, frustrated with my own experience on how, in my view, education systems are hugely reproducing social oppressive relations, I was interested to see how alternative initiatives of education may be addressing and challenging such logics. This was a continuation of a short project I had undertaken in the past before being offered a 1+3 NWSSDTP funding opportunity.

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