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SWW DTP Collaborative Training Programme

Berkshire Downs. Photo by tristanf / Flickr

In addition to the exceptionally wide range of institutional training already available to DTP students, each year the SWW DTP develops a programme of collaborative training, bespoke to the needs of each cohort. This training not only allows students to develop their knowledge of particular research skills and methodologies, it is another opportunity for students to engage in interdisciplinary debate with their peers and experts in the field. South west & wales doctoral training partnership, lecture on Archiving held at MERL, The UNiversity of Reading.

In 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 the SWW DTP delivered the following programme of collaborative training events:

Gender and the Body: Transnational Perspectives

A training day on the theme of gender and the body delivered via a range of activities: a plenary lecture, workshops, round table discussion and interactive group work. The event was led by specialists from the University of Exeter with a ‘transnational perspective’, ensuring that case studies and research methods were not restricted to an Anglo-American perspective.

Cultural Translation

Hosted by Cardiff University, the training day explored:

  • What is Cultural Translation?
  • How might the various themes, methodologies and issues which the broad field of Cultural Translation addresses inform our research?

The morning session was devoted to cutting edge research papers presented by invited speakers and experts in the field (Prof. Geoffrey Gilbert, American University Paris; Prof. Ananya Kabir, King’s College London; Prof. Adam Watt, the University of Exeter; Emma West, Cardiff University). The papers introduced different perspectives on Cultural Translation to raise awareness of this important emerging field.

In the afternoon, students were invited to participate in a number of parallel themed workshops that explored how the different constructions and practices of Cultural Translation can inform doctoral research.

Early Modern Palaeography: Reading and Translation Workshop

The training workshop was hosted by Dr Felicity Henderson, the University of Exeter’s Lecturer in archives and material culture, and was located at Devon Heritage Centre, whose collections include a rich variety of early modern manuscripts and documents. Students had the opportunity to refresh and extend their technical grasp of the challenging, highly cursive scripts that occur in the period 1500-1700 as the capacity to carry off a fair text hand reached beyond a narrow clerical elite. The workshop also addressed matters of textual editing.

Feedback from students:

Surviving Archive Fever: Working Effectively in World Archives

Hosted by Professor Alison Donnell, Head of the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Reading, and by the Centre for Collections Based Research of the University of Reading’s Museums and Special Collections.

What do you need to know in order to get the most out of archival research and working with museum and archive professionals in research contexts, both in the UK and internationally?

This Training Day was designed to guide students through the challenges – and opportunities – awaiting the doctoral researcher abroad.  Hands-on experience with Special Collections archival materials from the University of Reading collections was conjoined with structured guidance from expert researchers and collections professionals with experience in the UK, Europe, Asian and the Americas.

Seminar Leaders

  • Guy Baxter, University Archivist, University of Reading
  • Professor Alison Donnell, Head of the School of Languages and Literatures, University of Reading
  • Dr Martha Fleming, Programme Director, Centre for Collections Based Research, University of Reading
  • Dr Florian Stadtler, Lecturer in Global Literature, University of Exeter
  • Dr Claire Shaw, Lecturer, University of Bristol

Surviving Archive Fever – 5th November 2015 at the University of Reading

Making Connections with Collections: Meet the Professionals

This event was held at the Museum of Rural Life at Reading University on Monday 13th June, and provided the opportunity for doctoral students to meet with collections professionals – including an archivist, rare book librarian, curator, museum manager, public engagement specialist and academics expert.

Through presentations and Q&A sessions, participants improved their understanding of how effective collaborations can transform the possibilities for locating sources, developing methodologies, engaging different audiences and communicating research outcomes.

Making Connections with Collections – Meet the Professionals

Surviving Archive Fever: Working Effectively in World Archives - 9th November 2016

Hosted by Professor Alison Donnell, Head of the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Reading, and by the Centre for Collections Based Research of the University of Reading’s Museums and Special Collections.

What do you need to know in order to get the most out of archival research and working with museum and archive professionals in research contexts, both in the UK and internationally?

This Training Day was designed to guide students through the challenges – and opportunities – awaiting the doctoral researcher abroad.  Hands-on experience with Special Collections archival materials from the University of Reading collections was conjoined with structured guidance from expert researchers and collections professionals with experience in the UK, Europe, Asian and the Americas.

Seminar Leaders

  • Guy Baxter, University Archivist, University of Reading
  • Professor Alison Donnell, Head of the School of Languages and Literatures, University of Reading
  • Dr Rhi Smith, Programme Director in Collections Based Research, Director of the Institute for Heritage and Creativity, University of Reading
  • Dr Florian Stadtler and Dr Felicity Gee, Lecturers in Global Literature, University of Exeter
  • Dr Andy Willimott and Samantha Sherry, Lecturers in History, University of Reading

surviving-archive-fever

Oral History/Interview Training - 9th December 2016

Hosted by the SWW DTP’s Director, Professor John Foot, at the University of Bristol, the day provided attendees with training in the following areas:

  • Working with audiences and interviews
  • Ethics, Legality and Permissions in Oral History
  • Digital oral histories and community co-production

oral-history-training

The British Library: Researching Born-Digital Archives - 16th March 2017

The British Library, in collaboration with the SWW DTP, CHASE and WRoCAH, delivered a collaborative workshop which explored some of the implications of born-digital archives with academics, staff from the British Library, and fellow AHRC PhD researchers. Students gained valuable insights into work-in-progress at the British Library to enhance access to its born-digital literary collections, and had the chance to feed into wider discussion around how libraries and archives should aim to collect, curate, preserve and develop born-digital material and data of all kinds. This was a unique opportunity to meet and network with established academics and other PhD researchers who were already working with born-digital collections or were planning to do so in the future.

In 2017/18 the SWW DTP delivered the following programme of collaborative training events, with more to be added soon:

Editing Academic Work - 23rd January 2018

A one-day editing and peer review training workshop for arts and humanities PGRs. The workshop offered practical training in how to constructively peer review and how to efficiently and effectively self-edit. Participants received training in delivering and accepting feedback, took away two distinct sets of detailed constructive peer feedback on a piece of their own writing, and shared and learned good editing practice, tips and frameworks for working on their theses and/or work for publication. Attendees were encouraged to maintain peer-review groups for swapping work across the DTP institutions following the workshop, providing PGRs with a source of support supplementary to that of their supervisors.

Viva Survivor - 24th January 2018

Viva Survivor is a three hour workshop designed to help postgraduate researchers be well prepared for their viva. To date, it’s been delivered to almost 2000 PhD candidates at universities around the UK. At the end of a session, participants

  • identified what examiners are looking for when they examine a thesis;
  • discussed the many ways that others can support preparation;
  • explored valuable viva preparation methods;
  • established realistic expectations for the viva;
  • discussed common questions about the PhD viva.

Participants had the opportunity to ask any and all questions, so that everyone could finish the session unburdened and ready for the viva. Participants were encouraged to approach their viva with confidence – this session helped with the final steps of the journey now that the hard work is done.

Dr Nathan Ryder has been a skills trainer and consultant since completing his PhD in 2008. He currently works exclusively with postgraduate researchers and research staff in Higher Education. With a particular interest in the PhD viva, which lead him to create the Viva Survivors Podcast.

In 2013 he published his first ebook, Fail Your Viva, an ebook about viva preparation. He is exploring new avenues in writing for researchers via his blog. His second book, The Viva: Who? What? How?, which he released in May 2015.

www.nathanryder.co.uk
www.vivasurvivors.com
www.twitter.com/DrRyder

London Metropolitan Archives visit - 28th February 2018

SWW DTP students from all years were given the opportunity to spend a day with our partner the London Metropolitan Archives. Students experienced an exciting day of activities, which included the rare opportunity for a detailed look behind the scenes and sessions on career development.

Institute for Government - Engaging with Policy-makers - 23rd March 2018
About the Institute for Government

The Institute for Government is an independent charity working to increase government effectiveness.

They work with all the main political parties at Westminster and with senior civil servants in Whitehall. They provide evidence based advice that draws on best practice from around the world.

They undertake research, provide the highest quality development opportunities for senior decision makers and organise events to invigorate and provide fresh thinking on the issues that really matter to government.

Aims and objectives


Overall aim of the day – to give participants a sense of how policy-making works in practice, and how they can engage effectively with policy makers

Objectives:

  • Introduce participants to the reality of how government works;
  • Discuss how policy is made and influenced in practice (with particular reference to arts and humanities);
  • Share key lessons on different routes to engagement
  • Develop skills to build profile and communicate research
Oral History/Interview Training - 30th March 2018

This training session looked at a wide range of issues connected to oral history through discussion of a number of specific projects – linking the practicalities and ethics of oral history with content and historical discussions. Space was provided for discussion and there was a student breakout session.