I was an organising committee member for this graduate festival in 2015 and 2016 and found it to be a really valuable experience, both to help organise and attend (I wrote about last year’s here. All these events are free, and have been organised by PhD researchers for others in the academic community. Some you can even attend if you’re at a different London institution. Events cover everything from making your own blog to yoga as a way of switching off from work, but all are united in being chosen by students for their relevance to the PhD process.
The ever-excellent Thesis Whisperer published an interesting piece yesterday questioning if conventional advice we are given about our research is wrong. With all the recent talk of isolation in PhDs, and debates about whether the PhD is even fit for purpose, initiatives like organised events are all the more important for what they can offer us in terms of collaboration and networking. I think inter-disciplinary (and inter-institution) networking is absolutely vital to solid, relevant research, but it’s easier said than done when the research environment encourages the PhD researcher to chip away at their 100,000 word Yellow Pages masterpiece alone. Along with conferences, organised research events like GradFest based on the increasingly popular model of arts or literature festivals, is one way to tackle this singular working pattern.
With my PhD finishing later this year, my thoughts are turning to an academic vs. industry career – or the hybridisation of the two(you know where to find me, Apple). This upcoming session on presenting research, including research that might have taken a wrong turn(!) looks right up my street.