North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

Planning and Environment PGR Away Day

The Planning and Environmental (P&E) Pathway in NWSSDTP successfully held a Planning Away Day for PGRs on 20th May 2022 at Ness Botanic Garden. In total, there were 20 participants including both PGRs and staff from the University of Liverpool and University of Manchester. In addition there were four visiting PGR scholars from France, Pakistan, and India. All participants enjoyed the day and appreciated the excellent opportunity this Post-COVID event provided to get to know each other’s research and exchange ideas through various activities in a very pleasant environment. The interactive talk delivered by Professor Dave Shaw inspired the Researchers about the PhD process. Roundtable discussions offered more focused dialogue around key issues for PGRs, covering themes including post-PhD opportunities, publication strategy, and conferences/academic networking. All participants were keen to keep in touch with each other and looked forward to further activities. The PGR communities across the two institutions would like to arrange another meeting in the future, perhaps in another location.

Presenting at the Social Legal Studies Association Annual Conference

Sophia Taha, Socio-legal Studies, Keele University (2019 Cohort) 

Every year since its foundation in 1990, the Social Legal Studies Association holds a conference which moves around and is hosted by different universities. This year it was hosted at York University.

As an association it has a specific aim:  ‘for the public benefit to advance education and learning in the field of socio legal studies and to promote research, the useful results of which shall be published for the public benefit, teaching and the dissemination of knowledge in the field’ (source SLSA website) This is reflected in that the event is open to attendees from academia as well as practitioners working in the legal professions, third sector organisations and charities. With the ongoing impact of Covid-19 taken into consideration it was run in a hybrid format (online and in person) and this was the first time I attended. The hybrid format was perfect, not just for Covid considerations but because in-person events can be very intense, particularly if you are engaging with them and have neurodiverse needs.

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It’s always good to reflect on the research process

Anna  Sanders, Politics, University of Manchester (2016 Cohort)

Parties often target women voters with policy promises during election times. However, we know very little about which types of policies matter to women voters. As part of my doctoral thesis, I ran a set of focus groups in Greater Manchester with women voters at the 2015 election, which aimed to explore this further.

I spoke to 61 focus group participants overall. I held focus groups in two constituencies (Manchester Central and Altrincham), splitting focus groups up by age (under 35s, 35-64 and 65+). Thanks to the NWSSDTP, I was able to use my research training support grant to remunerate participants with a £10 gift voucher.

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Storytelling in the Thesis

Siobhan O’Neill, Politics, University of Manchester (2019 Cohort)

My PhD project –The Dynamics of Race, Racism and Whiteness in Politics: How do racially minoritised students experience and navigate the whiteness of Politics disciplines in British HE? – centres the experiences and narratives of racially minoritised students at British universities. The project is grounded predominantly in Critical Race Theory (CRT) as well as in Black Feminist and Decolonial thought, as such, I chose the critical race methodology of counter-story-telling to centre those experiences and narratives. As part of this, based on 30 interviews, 5 diaries and 5 follow-up diary-based interviews I conducted with racially minoritised students, I start each of my empirical-based chapters with a story. In these stories I put my participants in conversation with one another (and myself) in a setting that they might actually find themselves in as students at university. In what follows I share some of my reflections about using story-telling in my thesis as well as the rationale behind it and practicalities of the process.

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