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NWSSDTP Newsletter 
                                               November 2021  

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

                     Ronnie Hughes, Sociology, University of Liverpool (2018 Cohort)                 
      If you have a photograph you would like featured please send it to 

Student Representatives
NWSSDTP Christmas Party & Quiz, Friday 10th December, 5 pm – 9.30 pm, Somewhere in Manchester (TBC)


Love Christmas? Love quizzes? Love (finally) meeting your fellow NWSSDTP colleagues? Then have we got an evening for you! Organised by your NWSSDTP reps, come and join us and your fellow post-grad students from Lancaster, Manchester, Liverpool and Keele universities for a night of socialising, networking, and brain-teasing fun. There will be (free) pizza, there will be taxing questions from your quizmasters (Lancaster Uni’s very own Matt & Sophie), but most of all, it will be an evening to blow off a bit of steam after the last 18 months. And don’t we all need that?!

We will be finishing the evening early so everyone has loads of time to catch trains back to Lancaster/Liverpool/Stoke, and all travel costs will be reimbursed by the kindly money gods at NWSSDTP (just submit an RTSG claim after the event), so you really have no excuses not to come!
IMPORTANT: So we have an idea of numbers, if you are planning to come along, please do drop Matt Hanley a brief email to let him know, at Looking forward to hearing from you.

For details of who your reps are and current activity, please visit the NWSSDTP Student Representatives page!              

Training and Opportunities

Dr. Simon Watts, Training workshops in November and December
Following positive feedback on Dr Simon Watts two workshops earlier this year the NWSSDTP are funding some more. Please note these workshops fill up quickly so please register as soon as possible if you are hoping to attend.
  • On the job: Securing a First Academic Post: Tues 7th December 2021: Register here 
  • Preparing Impactful Research Proposals and Grant Applications: Tues 14th December 2021: Register here
All workshops will take place between 10.00 - 12.00. Joining details will be sent a couple of days before the workshop to all who have registered.

Methods North West: Methods Sessions

Following on from the successful series of online methods sessions in 2020-21, Methods North West is offering another series of methodological sessions during 2021/22, once again delivered by experts in their fields. New sessions are still being added, so do keep checking back! Next three sessions: 

Using archives and historical research in government research: pitfalls and prospects
Date and time: 18/11/2021, 14.00-15.00; Register here
Research using social media: Facebook, mumsnet and blogs
Date and time: 25/11/2021; 14.00-15.00; Register here
Using the Freedom of Information Act to Gather Data – Lessons from Socio-legal research
Date and time: 2nd December; 14.00-15-00; Register here


NCRM: Situation Analysis: Wittgenstein & Interactional Research for Social & Human Scientists

Dates: 26/01/2022 - 02/02/2022
Ludwig Wittgenstein is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the 20th century, who in his later work produced a distinctive and radical approach to philosophical analysis, which had far-reaching ramifications for research in the social and human sciences. What does Wittgenstein and Witgensteinian philosophy have to say to Social and Human Scientists in the early 21st century? This course will revisit the philosophical sources that inform a Wittgensteinian approach to questions in the social and human sciences and explore these alongside the approach to interaction found in Ethnomethodology. For full details see here.

See Methods News: October 2021 here

ESRC: How to do media relations guidance

This guidance deals with all aspects of media relations from handling a press enquiry and placing features to organising media-focused events. It covers both reactive and proactive media relations and includes practical tips on building relationships with journalists, including the national, regional and specialist press and the broadcast media. For details see here

Reminder: NWSSDTP Week 22nd - 26th November 2021

Please note new events have been added to the schedule including a session with the British Library on Friday 26th November chaired by University of Liverpool NWSSDTP Institutional Lead, Dr. Ross McGarry. Register here.

Keynote: Hanging Town, Haunted City: Researching Connected Sociologies of Colonial Capitalism in Place; 22nd November 2021; Register here 


In June 2020, hundreds gathered in Lancaster’s Dalton Square to participate in a vigil in response to the Black Lives Matter uprisings. Over the weeks that followed, the protests focused on Lancaster ‘s St George’s Quay, where Lancaster Slave Ships departed for the African coast in the mid 18th century, and a prominent grave memorial to a Lancaster slave trader slave-owning family was defaced. These protests where “haunting” in Avery Gordon’s sense, in that they made a repressed and ‘unresolved violence’ newly visible. In the case of Lancaster this involved a significant new reckoning with the city’s history as an 18th century port town that was at the centre of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and West-Indies Plantation trade. Amid this reckoning a new community group, Lancaster Black History, was founded, describing itself as a movement not a moment, and committed to fighting racism through education. In this talk I will introduce some of my work as a member Lancaster Black History Group over the last 18 months. 

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 Centre for Educational Research (CERES): The 'Critical Pedagogies' Research Group (Reading Group)


The purpose of this reading group is to provide a platform for CERES Critical Pedagogy research group members (and colleagues from the wider academic and public community) to pose - and engage with -reading matter and associated materials, that focus on particular theorists and/or associated pedagogic practices. In doing this, we aim to prompt debate, provoke the consideration of new or timely ideas, and circulate potentially innovative teaching practices, ripe for adaptation and experimentation within the contexts of our own activities and educational environments. For full details see here or the link here.

British Library: Doctoral Open Days: Now open for bookings

What is the British Library? What’s in the collection? And how can I find what I need? Join us for a series of webinars to learn how to kick off your research.  Our online Doctoral Open Days will be followed by two on site orientation days at the Library in St Pancras.

Pick up the basics with our introductory webinar, and then choose from a range of modules, each introducing an area of our collection so you can focus on what will be relevant to you.

All online sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons between 12 January and 2 March 2022.  You will then be invited to join us onsite  on 4 or 7 March 2022, and more information will be circulated in February.

All events in the series are free, and you can join as many as you like. In fact, we recommend you do because you never know what you might find. Please book in advance, as places are limited.

For full details see here.


Next Steps is now part of CLOSER Discovery
Following the latest update to CLOSER Discovery – the UK’s most detailed search engine for longitudinal studies – researchers can now, for the first time, explore the complete set of variable data from the Next Steps study. To coincide with this milestone, the study’s Acting Principal Investigator, Dr Morag Henderson, introduces us to the cohort, showcases recent key findings on the experiences of the millennial generation, and demonstrates the research potential of this unique longitudinal study.
See details here.
Weekly highlights from CLOSER's Twitter feed

UK Data Service 

Learn key data skills using our interactive video tutorials

There is a wealth of data available for reuse in research and reports – but how do you get started with finding good quality data, understanding it and starting your analyses?

These free, interactive modules are designed for anyone who wants to start using secondary data. They cover the following topics:

Introductory modules

  • Introduction to survey data
  • Introduction to longitudinal data
  • Introduction to aggregate data.

Themed modules

  • Exploring crime surveys with R – coming soon!
For full details see here.     
Students in Focus
Marjotte Miles, Economic & Social History, University of Liverpool (2021 Cohort)
Every year, the Museum Association organises an annual conference that highlights some of the most contemporary debates in the museum sector. This year, the conference took place at the Museums of Liverpool and centred around the question "how can museums change lives in a post-pandemic world and help society respond to the many challenges it faces?". The program included a varied panel that discussed topics such as climate action, queer rights, colonisation and technology. As a current MA student in Digital Humanities at the University of Lancaster, I prioritised attending sessions that focused on the challenges and benefits of using digital methods in museums. Read Marjotte's full blog here. 

Alex Welsh, Social Statistics, Lancaster University (2019 Cohort)

In September, I went to a conference. In a normal year, this wouldn’t be a particularly unusual development, but it’s 2021, 18-months after the start of lockdown part I, and this conference was IN-PERSON. The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) conference was the first not on Zoom/Teams that I’ve attended since starting my PhD two years ago. Although four days in Manchester wasn’t quite the same as a jaunt to Bilbao (the formerly planned location of another online conference I’d attended), I was excited to get out of my home office and meet new people in my field. Read Alex's full blog here.
Recent Events


A glimpse of working in the industry as a researcher through the Accelerating Business Collaboration (ABC) initiative and Code-Switch Consultants.

Last September, I started my final year of my PhD. As opposed to what I expected, being in my last year has brought a lot of uncertainty to me. When I commenced my PhD, I was sure that I wanted to be in academia. However, my time as a PhD candidate has taught me all the opportunities that exist after completing a PhD. One of them is to work outside academia.
Read Andrea Aparicio's full blog here.

Dr Simon Watts, 'How to Write a Literature Review';  2nd November 2021
I recently attended training provided by the NWSSDTP on ‘How to write a literature review’.  This course was run By Dr Simon Watts who is an excellent facilitator.  He manages to make the topic far more engaging than the title conveys. He provides practical examples and charts the trajectory of his early ‘failings’ for want of a better word, through the metamorphosis of a polished literature review as an outcome.  As he states, students receive the benefit of many years of his experience condensed into two packed hours full of easy-to-follow tips for success.  He is also able to offer a holistic perspective on the process from his time as a student, through his supervising of PhD students himself, and also as an external examiner which makes him able to see the process from many angles.  Attendees are guided through the ‘job’ of a literature review, its purpose and how to stay on track and achieve its goal(s). This course was invaluable and I would highly recommend it to anyone undertaking a literature review.  It will stand you in good stead no matter what stage of your PhD or Masters you are currently at.
Mandi Whittle, Criminology, Social Policy and Social Work, Lancaster University (2018 Cohort)

This session was really useful, Dr Watts brought the purpose and process of writing a literature review to life. He took us on a journey that explained the basic elements of a literature review, including the steps involved and offered ideas for structure and writing strategies. Dr Watts was realistic about the drafting and redrafting involved in order to maximise the effect of communicating knowledge in your chosen field.  At the risk of becoming a fan this was one of three sessions presented by Dr Watts that I have attended, and all three have been invaluable and delivered with humour making complex information accessible. I will continue to look out for his sessions. Highly recommended. 
Kerry Ramsbotham, Socio-legal Studies, Keele University, (2020 Cohort)


Dr. Simon Watts, 'Academic Publishing': 9th November 2021

“Keep thinking about publishing even when you are just writing the abstract for a conference.” At the Academic publishing online workshop on 9 Nov 2021, Dr Simon Watts provided a clear picture of the academic publication process, shared strategies on selecting a journal, effectively writing the manuscript, replying to reviewers’ comments and co-authorship issues.

The suggestions on selecting a journal is extremely useful. It was advised to identify the target journal before the writing commences. Key points include aligning with the mission and breadth of the journal, familiarising with the most cited and updated papers in the journal, tailoring the language and literature to the journal’s readers, and aligning with journals’ formatting requirements.

Moreover, Dr Watts shared tips on how to address reviewers’ comments in an efficient and successful manner. Creating a structure in addressing the comments, replying with a positive tone, and resolving the contradictory suggestion from reviews via the editor, are some of the best practices.

Overall, the Academic Publishing workshop was a very informative session. Personally, the session greatly helped me to reflect on my writing habits and identify the areas where I could further improve. I would highly encourage new PhDs to attend this session to gain insight into the publishing process and gain confidence before starting the academic publishing journey!
Vincy Huang, Health & Wellbeing, University of Liverpool (2020 Cohort)


The Constant Gardener: Episode 3
Very early this Sunday morning the clocks went back, the twilight time of the year effectively began and I’d planned to be on the allotment by the afternoon to write November’s column before the earlier evenings began that night. But the day and its rainstorms frustrated me, so I thought I’d begin this month’s column by telling you about what I did instead.


Which was gardening by music.
Read Ronnie's full blog here.


Bryony Gordon's Mad World: Laura Campbell 


Bryony talks to someone with a very unusual - but important - job. Laura Campbell is the suicide prevention manager for Govia Thameslink Railway - the first person to have that title and the only suicide prevention manager for any train company. Laura joins Bryony to talk about how she trains railway staff to carry out suicide interventions at their stations, shares invaluable tools to support vulnerable people and opens up about the painful childhood experience that drew her towards this role. Listen here.

Additional Funding Competitions 

The next deadline for all NWSSDTP Additional Funding Competitions is Friday 4th February 2022 (suggested deadline for activity taking place May-August 2022)

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