Adapting to change: panel session and workshop coming in January

Research plans often change as a PhD progresses, but this year the coronavirus pandemic has caused havoc with everybody’s research projects. Doctoral students are facing disruption and delays to research, data collection and fieldwork, alongside coping with the impact of the pandemic itself.

Being flexible in your plans – adapting to change as it happens – is a useful trait for all researchers to develop. In January we’re hosting a series of online events to help you learn to adapt, develop a plan B, and overcome any obstacles that come your way, whether they’re Covid-related or otherwise.

Covid-19 and field research: interruptions, challenges and responses
Thursday 21 January, 11.00 – 12.30

Book a place via Sussex Direct
In this knowledge-sharing panel session, three Sussex PhD researchers and their supervisors will discuss the challenges they faced in 2020, and the different approaches they took to tackle the issues, adapt their projects and continue with their fieldwork. 

How to adapt your PhD in a pandemic: mapping alternative routes to completion
Tuesday 26 January, 14.00 – 16.00

Book your place via Sussex Direct
Flexibility and adaptation are key skills for doctoral researchers. In this practical and interactive webinar, Dr Catherine Pope will get you back on track. We’ll clarify your aims, map out some alternative routes, and create an achievable plan B. By the end of the session you’ll have the confidence and clarity you need to take the next steps towards finishing your thesis.

We’re also planning a series of blogposts and case studies highlighting specific research projects and how different methods can be amended. If you’ve adapted your research project for any reason we’d love to hear from you – get in touch

Embracing Chaos: issue 10.1 of Excursions postgraduate journal out now

Copies of the December 2020 Excursions journal issue Chaos.

Excursions is an open access University of Sussex journal run by and for postgraduate researchers. Read the entire issue on the Excursions website.

When Excursions chose ‘chaos’ as our theme for 2020, we had no idea how prophetic this choice would turn out to be.

A year ago, we published our Call for Papers inviting researchers to embrace chaos – and then, just a couple of months later, the world had to face a whole new level of chaos. Embracing chaos was no longer a choice, it was a necessity.

In this issue, Excursions had the pleasure of assembling a collection of papers that examine chaos in a variety of ways and inspires thoughts and dialogues: chaos opposes order and is fuel to a new order; chaos is violence and inspiration; chaos is part of being human and part of research.

Alongside eight articles, we also published eight essays by doctoral researchers examining the challenges of doing Research in Times of Chaos – our response to the global pandemic that has undoubtedly shaped this issue.

In the midst of this chaotic world and your own personal chaos, we hope you enjoy this issue. If 2020 taught us anything, it was to adapt and embrace chaos. So we invite you, yet again, to embrace chaos with us.

– Louise Elali, Excursions Managing Editor and Sussex PhD researcher (MAH)

PhD Life Raft Podcast looks at doctoral wellbeing

The PhD Life Raft Podcast logo featuring an open book on a life raft.

Dr Emma Brodzinski, an academic at Royal Holloway, University of London and also a therapist in private practice, has launched a new podcast looking at PhD mental health and wellbeing.

The PhD Life Raft Podcast offers weekly episodes on topics from Imposter Syndrome to “What Your Supervisor Wants You to Know…”, and aims to support doctoral researchers and ease their feelings of isolation in lockdown.

Subscribe via Apple Podcasts or tune in on the PhD Life Raft website.

Become an Associate of the Sussex Humanities Lab

A presentation on Artifice and AI policing from the Sussex Humanities Lab. Photo: Sussex Humanities Lab

The Sussex Humanities Lab are offering the opportunity for faculty staff and doctoral researchers to become a Sussex Humanities Lab (SHL) Associate.

All you need is an interest in digital humanities or a desire to learn more. You don’t need a deep understanding of digital humanities, a fledgling interest is sufficient.

Benefits of SHL Association:

  • Share interests around digital transformations, digital society, digital culture with a network of colleagues
  • Discover more about digital humanities methods and concerns and how they might impact or contribute to your own research
  • Once the lockdown ends, the opportunity to use the Sussex Humanities Lab space and technologies for your own research and events

To register your interest in becoming an SHL Associate complete this short form. If you have any further questions email

Call for applications: British Library PhD placement scheme

A man and woman studying a large bound volume of artworks on an archival block. Image: British Library

Current PhD students are invited to apply to the British Library PhD Placement Scheme.

Placement projects are offered from a variety of areas across the Library, from art collections, cataloguing and community engagement to digital preservation and climate policy.

Placements are for 3 months or part-time equivalent, to be undertaken from May 2021 onwards (unless indicated otherwise). Some projects are suitable for partial or full remote working.

A list of all available placement projects and full details of how to apply are available on the British Library website.

The deadline for applications is 17.00 (GMT) on Friday 18 December.