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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                                      July 2021  

Please scroll down for upcoming training events, funding opportunities and NWSSDTP student blogs!  
Photos of the Month

                                     Zoë Chapman, Business Manager at Ness Botanic Gardens

Training and Opportunities

Embodied Geographies: Workshop: Setting up and running a reading group for PGRs

We are hosting a workshop on July 27th (14:30-15:30 BST) which focuses on setting up and running reading groups for PGRs. We recognise that it has been difficult for people, in particular new PGRs, to connect during COVID-19. Reading groups and other recurring events provide opportunities for people with similar research interests to connect.
This workshop will consist of a brief talk about our experiences of starting a reading group; followed by a couple of activities which provide the opportunity to explore your own ideas about hosting reading groups and events. Furthermore, this workshop will give you the chance to network with people outside of your institution and potentially facilitate the formation of new reading groups.
Our talk will draw on our own experiences of starting an Embodied Geographies Reading Group as Postgraduate Researchers in times of COVID. We will discuss how we set up the reading group, how we decided on the theme, the readings, and the running of the sessions. We will also discuss how we advertised the reading group and how we networked with PGRs and authors via Twitter. The workshop will also touch upon how and when we communicate with members and the technological logistics of hosting a reading group online. See here to register 

For both events contact ;

ESRC Student Survey 2021

Current postgraduate students are invited to complete a brief survey about their studentship experience.  Responses will be combined with those of others to help inform both the ESRC and Doctoral Training Partnerships about the experience of postgraduate researchers, helping to improve future support.  

Black Future Dr: A Podcast Increasing the Visibility of the Black Doctoral Experience

Racial inequality is a prominent issue in the UK, and this extends into education. At postgraduate level, black and minority ethnic students are far less likely to go on to higher research degrees, such as PhDs and professional doctorates, than white students. In fact, in 2020, only 18.1% of research postgraduate students identified as black or minority ethnic. Despite these statistics, there is a growing community of black students pursuing doctorates in the UK. In order to increase visibility and celebrate achievements, Black Future Dr has been developed. There will be 12 episodes in total, each focusing on a different student studying a different subject at a different institution. Episodes can be listened to via Acast as well as on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Deezer. Listen here


Pen to Paper Thursday

The idea with the Pen to Paper Thursday sessions is to carve out a designated space for us all (at all levels) to get "stuff" (of all sorts) done in the digital community. There is no obligation for participants to stay for the whole session/ join each session. People are free to use the sessions in a way that works best for them. These sessions are designed for people to develop an accountable writing practice and to "reclaim" time for us to work on the things we'd like to focus on together. 
Each Pen to Paper Thursday looks like this: 

  • 09:30am - 12.30pm BST (incl breaks).
  • 5 X 25-minute writing sessions.
  • Google Meet (cameras and mics off until break time).
  • A short goal-setting exercise (for personal accountability, non-pressured/ no testing.

Future participants should email: to be added to the weekly Google Invitation. 



The 2021 Research Methods e-Festival: Innovation, Adaptation and Evolution of the social sciences

The Research Methods e-Festival will take place between the 25th and 29th October 2021. This will be a celebration of research methods with an interdisciplinary social science flavour pulling in the contributors and participants to provide a wealth of content. For further details; To apply 

Qualitative Interviews: 29th July 2021

Interviews are a popular method in qualitative research. They allow us to collect detailed and rich information about individuals’ lives, their experiences, behaviours, and how they understand and make sense of the world. The rich insight provided into people’s lives is one of the benefits which the method offers over, for example, standardised surveys or questionnaires. This course introduces you to the method of qualitative interviews. For full details see here.

See here for recently added training sessions
For a full list of training sessions see here.


Doing a doctorate

Although the practicalities of doing a doctorate differ to some extent by discipline and institution, these pages give general advice on various aspects of doing and doctorate and how to access further support and guidance. See here for full details.


UCL's Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care aims to understand and influence determinants of health and health behaviour across the lifecourse, develop and evaluate cross-sectoral policies and strategies to improve health and optimise healthcare delivery and practice. 

Expertise in epidemiology, medical statistics, health psychology, sociology, health economics, public health, primary care, public policy, and improvement science is found throughout our interdisciplinary teams, which are located across four research departments:

  • Applied Health Research
  • Behavioural Science and Health
  • Epidemiology and Public Health
  • Primary Care and Population Health
See here for details.

Article: Scholarship in Action

A new take on the academic journal article shown through a comic. This is a new exploration of the traditional academic article that reflects on a day at a comic conference. See the full article here.


CLOSER's call for abstracts for our upcoming Preparing for the Future conference ( 18 January 2022) is now open. The deadline for submissions is 17:00 on 31 August 2021. Longitudinal population studies (LPS) currently face a range of challenges. With the world still dealing with COVID-19 and its far-reaching impacts, the value of longitudinal studies, with the wealth of data already collected in the years before the pandemic, and their ability to track individuals during and after the pandemic, has never been greater. For full details can be found here.

British Library

'Body image, advertising and the media'

See here for details of the British Libray's unique collection items & expert commentary related to History, English, Religious Studies, Citizenship & a variety of other subjects. For example: 'Body image, advertising and the media' where Professor of Journalism and contributor to Spare Rib, Angela Phillips, analyses the relationship between women's perceptions of themselves and the way they are seen by others, exploring the tension between the private and the public.See here for the full article.

Medieval killer rabbits: when bunnies strike back

Vengeful, merciless and brutally violent... yes that’s right, we’re talking about medieval bunnies. Rabbits can often be found innocently frolicking in the decorated borders or illuminations of medieval manuscripts, but sometimes, for reasons unknown, these adorable fluffy creatures turn into stone-cold killers. These darkly humorous images of medieval killer bunnies still strike a chord with modern viewers, always proving a hit on social media and popularised by Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s Beast of Caerbannog, ‘the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!’. See full blog here 

Students in Focus
Charlotte Evans, Economic and Social History, Lancaster University (2020 Cohort)

Post-Grad Adventures in Lancaster
As coronavirus restrictions began to lift (again) in March, spring melted away the last of the long locked-down winter. Lancaster’s bars and restaurants opened their gardens, and then their doors. Since moving to Lancaster to start my MA in Digital Humanities, I hadn’t had much time to properly explore the city without the various restrictions and if I were to write this blog a couple of months ago it would have been short and monotonous. Read Charlotte's blog about her adventures in Lancaster here.

Alumni: Robyn Dowlen, Health & Wellbeing, University of Manchester (2015 Cohort)

‘In the moment’ with music – reflections on my CASE studentship experience with Manchester Camerata
Dr Robyn Dowlen is a postdoctoral research associate at the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds. Robyn was awarded an ESRC CASE studentship (2015-2019) through the North West Doctoral Centre (now North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership) which focussed on understanding the ‘in the moment experiences of people living with dementia when they take part in improvised music-making. Robyn’s industry partner was Manchester Camerata, an orchestra based in Manchester, who have a well-established music programme for people living with dementia and their family carers – Music in Mind. Read Robyn's blog reflecting upon her experience as a CASE student here.

Recent Events

Introduction to Oral History course 


Angela Towers, Sociology, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)
My PhD is concerned with what might be understood as the 4th wave of feminism defined by the digital, and my work is focused on highly visible, or viral, campaigns and events of the last decade, and their legacies. Since I was embarking on a method that is new to me, alongside getting to grips with industry standards for best practice and my own methodological research and process, I decided to see if there was any training available for someone like me, relatively new to the discipline. See Angela's blog about her attendance at the Oral History Society's 'Introduction to Oral History' course here.

Attending A Conference in Times of Change

Ian Winstanley, Sociology, University of Liverpool (2017 Cohort)
In light of the current impacts of rapid technological changes in so many industries, social researchers are being encouraged not only to think about how they might contribute to academic debates on these developments but also think about how their research might address the practical concerns of people working in the industries that are being shaped by technological innovations. See Ian's blog here about responding to this need and finding find opportunities to learn more about the experiences of people who are dealing with technological changes in their working lives. 

“Knowledge exchange during a year of lockdown”

Evanthia Koukouli, Social Statistics, Lancaster University (2018 Cohort)
It’s been more than a year since the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. Wearing a mask, arranging online meetings, social and academic events have now become the new standard. Although life within the university, receiving and sharing knowledge changed vastly, I am impressed by the quality of the organised online events and the unceasing effort to develop methods and techniques that make the online experience even better. Read Evanthia's full blog here.



Vitae: Mental Health Awareness Week

See here for a collection of resources compiled by Vitae for Mental Health Awareness Week

Why Language Matters When It Comes to Mental Health

Everyday use of language like this is so common, but incredibly unhelpful when it comes to managing mental health. They make every day occurrences, things that are just normal events or minor problems, seem far worse than they actually are. Read the full article here.


2021 PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education) Student Recognition Award

We are pleased to report that Julia Marcet Alonso and Olly Kennedy have been selected runners-up in the 2021 PRME (Principles of Responsible Management Education) Student Recognition Award for their initiative, Liverpool Fashion Summit. PRME is a global initiative of the UN Global Compact that recognises initiatives across the world that promote sustainability and the SDGs in their business schools and strategy. You can find out more about it here. See here for information on the awards. 

ESRC Collaboration Labs Project Excellence Award 

Collaboration Labs is a Knowledge Exchange programme at The University of Manchester, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. See here for details of the Collaboration Labs Project Excellence award winner.

Student Representatives

There is a cohort of NWSSDTP Student Representatives across the institutions of the NWSSDTP. For details of who your reps are and current activity, please visit the NWSSDTP Student Representatives page!

Additional Funding Competitions 

The next deadline for all NWSSDTP Additional Funding Competitions is Friday 4th November 2021 (suggested deadline for trips taking place January - April 2022)

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