PhD Network

News from the PhD Network

Questioning the unquestionable: the one about “failure”
22 March 2024

This academic year has ushered in a new composition for the PhD Network Board, featuring a blend of both familiar and new faces. Notably, the Board has appointed Billie Martiniello as the new chair, along with Mateusz Krawczyk and Agnese Pacciardi as vice-chairs. Additionally, we have welcomed new members for both the board (Ali Riza San, Gunika Rishi, Lucy Potter, Silvia Talavera Lodos, and Tulika Bourai) and the blog group (Berfin Nur Osso, Connie Hodgkinson Lahiff, Gianna Eckert, Jami Abramson, and Mimi Ocadiz Arriaga).

In continuity with last year's theme, we have chosen to uphold the concept of questioning the unquestionable as the overarching theme for this academic year. For us, this entails cultivating a space for critique, self-doubt, and mutual support in academia, as we are taking the first steps in our academic journey.

Building on last year's exploration of mental health as a core theme during the PhD Day and Annual Conference, this year, our focus centres on the theme of failure. This topic appears to generate interest among many early career researchers, leading to more than 120 registrations for the PhD day. The latter, which took place in February, was organized jointly with the Training Committee and welcomed members of the PhD Academy. Here, we more specifically delved into the issue of research productivity by challenging the conventional meaning of the term and questioning the typical metrics used to measure productivity in academia. Alongside two valuable speakers, Dr. Laura Cleton and Prof. Deniz S. Sert, we engaged in collaborative discussions to explore healthier and more meaningful approaches to the concept of being "productive."

Building further on this, during the upcoming Annual Conference, we plan to address the topic of failure by examining what it truly means to fail (as certain events are sometimes labelled or perceived as failure although they are common and normal) and how these experiences can be transformed into strengths and collective learning. This exploration will involve insights from guest speakers, both in person and online, and facilitated discussion groups among PhD students attending the conference.

In the meantime, the IMISCOE PhD Network Board has also continued with the "Buddy System," an integrative network encouraging inclusivity among PhD students worldwide. Our team is currently preparing the second edition of this project. Additionally, the Blog Group has been prolific, publishing approximately one blog post monthly since May 2023, totalling nine to date. They are currently preparing the annual special issue titled "How to Make Research More Engaged: Positionality, Inequalities, and Access," set for April publication. This issue, featuring 12 articles, includes six external contributions and aims to critically examine potential biases in our discipline, our positionalities, and how we can co-create knowledge with communities and individuals. Those who would like to stay up to date with the IMISCOE PhD Network events and receive our future newsletters can register via the "become a member" button on the IMISCOE website.

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