The Sussex Humanities Lab 2018 Summer Sandbox



12th and 13th June

The Sussex Humanities Lab invites applications from doctoral researchers, early career researchers and faculty who would like to join them for their annual two-day summer gathering.  The event is a free-roaming exploration of themes, theories and creative possibilities suggested by the theme of data and narrative, in the digital age.  Participation is free and there are a small number of bursaries available.   If you are interested in joining or proposing a session, please register to attend and apply for bursaries here (deadline 14th May)

Narrative as Data < > Data as Narrative

Humankind has sometimes been described as the storytelling animal, but the ascendance of digitised data in recent decades has changed the ways in which narratives can be created, mediated and understood, offering rich opportunities and potent challenges for scholarship and creative endeavour.

The centrality of ‘narrative’ to our construction of meaning is apparent in the breadth and diversity of the term’s use across scholarly disciplines and creative practices. It is a concept that can encompass intentional acts of artistic creation or the unconscious recollection of events; that is used to define national identity or structure episodic entertainment; that shapes our sense of history and influences our social and political behavior.

Computational methods of analysis allow narrative patterning to be discovered in digital data at vast and intimate scales and to be made accessible through visualisation, while the ubiquity digital data allows new and responsive forms of computational narrative art to emerge – games, locative experiences, contextual storytelling – at the same time as enabling unprecedented forms of narrative manipulation and control.

How then should we tell the stories of our past, present and future in an age of digitised data?

How the Sandbox works:

  • Agenda-setting by participants, including pre-posted ideas, and lightning talks.
  • Bring visions and unresolved challenges that are rooted in your own practices of enquiry.
  • Find sympathisers, sounding boards and re-interpreters, to recast your interests in a new light.
  • Provocateurs and advisors/mentors circulating between sandbox groups to seed ideas.
  • Conceive speculative projects or develop ideas for work rooted in familiar data, and reflect on the challenges and requirements for their realisation.

Find full information, and suggestions of possible themes here

Please complete the application form, including ideas for discussion and personal background information, as you wish.

Applications are requested by 14th May, when a first assignment of places (and decisions on bursaries) will be made, but may still be considered until early June.

Understanding the Mental Health of Doctoral Researchers: Have your say

The Doctoral School is pleased to announce that the first stage of the HEFCE-funded project Understanding the Mental Health of Doctoral Researchers is now underway. We are looking for doctoral researchers to get involved in this important project by taking part in a focus group and / or completing an online survey.

We want to find out about mental health and support needs, what impacts on mental health, and what can be done at Sussex (and other UK universities) to better support doctoral researcher mental health. Your contributions will be used to directly inform a range of initiatives here at Sussex, including the development of training packages for doctoral researchers, supervisors, and professional services staff.

Have your say by:

1.    Taking part in a focus group

Focus groups will provide a safe space for doctoral researchers to share their ideas in-depth about the doctoral process and mental health. You do not have to have had personal experience of mental health problems to take part.

The focus groups will last no more than 2 hours, and will be audio-recorded.

As a thank you, you will receive a free breakfast or lunch (depending on the timing of the focus group you choose to participate in), and a £5 Amazon voucher.

Register for a focus group


 2.    Taking part in an online survey

The online survey is open to doctoral researchers across the UK. This is one of the first national surveys of doctoral researcher mental health and support needs. The survey includes questions about your own mental health, factors that may impact on or be affected by your mental health, and your thoughts on seeking help.

We would really like people who have and have not had experience of mental health problems so that we can really start to understand the scale of this issue.

The survey is completely anonymous, and will take around 30 minutes to complete. There are two chances to win an iPad Mini.

Complete the survey


If you have any questions about the focus groups or online survey, please contact Laura Chapman.


Are you a doctoral researcher looking for meaningful, paid teaching experience?

Through working as a tutor with The Brilliant Club, you will:

  • Join a community of over 1,000 researchers taking their expertise into schools to support widening access to university
  • Develop teaching experience in small group tutorials
  • Receive high-quality training and support
  • Enhance your employability skills and knowledge of the UK education system
  • Disseminate your research to a unique, non-expert audience
  • Be paid £500 per placement

What is The Brilliant Club?

Only 1 in 50 of the most disadvantaged quintile of 18 year olds in the UK progress to a highly-selective university. Over the last five years, The Brilliant Club has worked to increase this number by recruiting, training and placing over 1,000 researchers across the UK to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to small groups of high-performing pupils from underrepresented communities.

There is now the opportunity for you to join this growing community of like-minded researchers and become a Scholars Programme tutor in 2018-19, supporting pupils to develop the academic skills, knowledge and confidence needed to progress to highly-selective universities.

The Brilliant Club will be holding an Assessment Centre at the University of Sussex on Monday 30th April. To apply, please visit and complete the application form found at the bottom of the page.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to email The Brilliant Club at

Brilliant Club Information Event

You may also be interested in the Brilliant Club Information Event which is also taking place on 30th April:

Monday 30th April
11.00 – 12.30
Pevensey 1, 1B8

This information session will introduce the work, vision and mission of The Brilliant Club, and explain how working with The Brilliant Club might supplement your professional development. There will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation, and you will be shown how to apply to be a Brilliant Club tutor if you wish to.

Book a place