Strategies and support for Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in ecology and evolutionary biology

The article below is written from the point of view of PhD students in the United States. It describes the experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of colour within a particular field of research but it is an informative framework to consider issues of importance for postgraduate researchers in other disciplines and for the wider postgraduate research community.

Click here to view article from the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution (July 2020)

Student blog: Life as a first year PhD student and NHS Mental health worker

By Ogechi Anokwuru – Psychology

Hi my name is Ogechi, I am currently a first year PhD psychology student at Birkbeck and an NHS Mental Health worker. My previous studies are Master of Public Health (MPH) and BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science.

My PhD journey has been great so far, acquiring new skills and knowledge in psychology. I have been very lucky to be a part of the Department of Psychological Sciences, and am grateful to my supervisor and mentor. My research is on medical help-seeking behaviours amongst the BME community which crosses over to my line of work in the NHS on a daily basis.

As well as registering my systematic review on Prospero, lecturing about what I do in work gave me a sense of joy to share the knowledge and attitude around how health psychology interventions are practised in NHS and NHS Mental Health settings. In these uncertain times, it can be quite challenging, but it is very important that everyone looks after their mental health during this time. 

Balancing work and studies can be quite challenging as a mature student, but I’m determined that this will bring more benefit to the world of research and the field I am heading towards. COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill and has shown us the possibilities of adjusting to this potential new normal. It has also highlighted the health inequalities and disparities seen in the BME community which is in line with my research, medical help-seeking and the barriers experiences by this group making it very relevant to today’s climate. 

I hope the next time I write another blog post, it will be me sharing my published systematic review for all of you to share and read.

Stay tuned and stay safe!

Ogechi 

Ogechi Anokwuru, MPH, BSc (Hons)

1st Year PhD Psychology Student

Department of Psychological Sciences

Solace in the Cracks: Drawing Weeds Ecology, Art History, Practice – a Material Witness Zoom Webinar

Friday 19 June 2020, 3-5pm

Scourges of gardeners, foes of council workers armed with tanks of glyphosate, trampled, neglected, ignored: weeds are despised, yet they flourish, succeeding where other plants fail. Tracing its etymology from Old through Middle to Modern English, the OED defines a weed as ‘Any herbaceous plant not valued for its usefulness or beauty, or regarded as a nuisance in the place where it is growing.’ Gardeners generally consider plants that grow where they are unwanted to be weeds, however much they are appreciated by the insect community.

Material Witness normally focuses on material things made by people, and how we interpret them by practical, theoretical, and historical means. This session switches emphasis, beginning with nature: the ecology of the pavement cracks, the roadside verge, the railway tracks. How have artists recognised the usefulness and beauty of weeds? How can we make the most of their vigour, tenacity, and ubiquity during this unprecedented lockdown?

This two hour webinar will begin by exploring the deep art history of weeds through medieval herbals, the plant-filled borders of books of hours, and Dürer’s extraordinary ‘Great Piece of Turf’, and some interconnections with contemporary artists’ practice. Our focus will then turn to drawing weeds, using a variety of strategies and with a view to creating expressive observational drawings.

This workshop will focus on using materials that you have ready to hand. You can use any paper, and any mark-making implements that you have to hand.

Find more and register here

BEI Research seminar series

The Department of Business, Economics and Informatics is running a series of research-focused webinars over the summer term on a weekly basis until Friday 26th June.

To attend, please join using this Collaborate link at least 10 minutes before the start of the session. This link will be used for each seminar in the series.

Schedule for upcoming talks in the series:

Friday 29th May, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Muthu De Silva, “Does affective evaluation matter for the success of university-business collaborations? A sentiment analysis of university-business collaborative project reports”.

Friday 5th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Pam Yeow with Dr Danielle Tucker (Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Essex), “Rethinking, ‘Rethinking Ethical Consumerism’”.

Friday 12th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Dr Rebecca Whiting, “Digi-Housekeeping: The invisible work of flexibility”.

Friday 19th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Prof. Alex Poulovassilis, “Managing missing and uncertain data on the UK Museum sector”.

Friday 26th June, 12pm – 1pm

  • Prof. Almuth McDowall, “The show must go on – career penalties and work-life balance in the performing arts”.

Opportunity: Researchers In Schools

Researchers in Schools (RIS) offers PhD researchers a unique funded route into teaching that is deliberately structured to make the most of their abilities, knowledge and experience.  RIS are looking to place trainees in schools from September 2020. To support your development as a teacher and to help you make your PhD accessible to your pupils, the programme offers several features and opportunities: 

  • Gain nationally-recognised teacher training qualifications by the end of the first year 
  • Complete our Research Leader in Education Award, a fully-funded, three-year programme of professional development designed around the PhD skill set 
  • Take one day of protected time each week to work towards the RLE and deliver Uni Pathways, a university-access intervention based on your PhD, aimed at increasing target pupils’ chances of attending a highly-selective university  
  • Receive honorary academic status at a research-intensive university, providing access to research facilities and a network of academic support  
  • Benefit from a dedicated programme officer who will provide you with one-to-one mentoring and coaching throughout
  • Receive competitive financial support, including generous funding options for your training year

Find out more and apply via the website.

Post-doctoral vacancy – SHaME (Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters)

Professor Joanna Bourke has asked us to make current PhD researchers aware of a three-year (full time) post-doctoral position at Birkbeck, starting in October 2020.

This position supports the SHaME project, which brings together an interdisciplinary team to investigate the medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence, including rape and sexual abuse.

Working in close collaboration with the team, the postdoctoral researcher will undertake research on any aspect of sexual violence that involves the medical and/or psychiatric professions.

The Fellow’s research should be linked to at least one of five research streams: medicine and the law of sexual violence; the role of medical professionals (including police surgeons, FMEs, nurses, physicians, psychiatrists, forensic scientists, and so on); psychiatric classification systems (sexual violence as conceptualized in psychiatric texts); psychiatric aftermaths of abuse; and child sexual abuse.

Please view the job listing if you are interested in this role. The application deadline is the 1st of May, for an interview date of the 8th of June.

CHASE Training opportunities for all Arts and Humanities PhD Students at Birkbeck

Auraldiversities series

Auraldiversities is a series of lectures, workshops and in-situ training sessions seeking to encourage creative and critical attention towards aural diversity within the arts and humanities, with particular focus on an ecology of the ear, designed for all those researching within the Arts and Humanities, especially those with an interest in the creative, social and political dimensions of sound and listening.

These sessions specifically address the need for further study and practice inspired by, and concerning, this specific turn in research and focus on a particular theme led by an academic/practitioner with invited guests selected to represent a range of approaches. A CHASE PhD candidate with associated research interests will also give a presentation.

Sessions are purposefully multifaceted, practical, intuitive and experimental in approach and encourage collaborative work and collective activities:

Session One – Thursday 13 February | 1000-1800 | Goldsmiths, University of London

Session Two: Thursday 27 February | 1000-1800 | Venue TBC

Session Three: Thursday 12 March | 100-1800 | Venue TBC

Plenary: Thursday 26 March | 1500-1800 | Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts

Ethnography and Film. Exploring Labour, Technology and Mediation in the Egyptian Film Industry

Wednesday 19 February | University of Kent

The workshop will offer participants advanced training in ethnography, applied to the context of the Egyptian Film industry. Dr El Khachab’s workshop will outline how researchers can successfully apply ethnographic methodologies, developed in Anthropology, to research issues about arts and media, especially film. Dr El Khachab will outline the strategies he developed during his PhD research to gather observations, interviews and documentary data from creatives and technicians working in the largest and most influential media industry in the Arab world. He will also provide participants an insight into how he adapted the presentation of his findings from his PhD thesis into his forthcoming monograph, The Egyptian Film Industry: Labor, Technology, Mediation.

This workshop is aimed at CHASE students from a variety of backgrounds and developed with an interdisciplinary audience in mind. Hence, attending the training does not require any specialised prior knowledge or skills, apart from an interest in the topic of the workshop.

Find out more and register here

Translation x Creative Writing – Daniel Hahn

Monday 24 February  | UEA | 2-4pm

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator with over sixty books to his name. His work has won him the International Dublin Literary Award, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, among others. He is a past chair of the Society of Authors, and on the board of a number of organisations that work with literature and free speech.

Concept: Translation for Non-Translators

Find out more and register here

Future Pathways in Medieval and Early Modern Studies: Academia and Beyond

Friday 6 & Friday 27 March | University of Kent

The intended audience for both workshops is first and foremost students currently undertaking PhDs in any aspect of medieval or early modern studies (including Archaeology, History, History of Art and Literary Studies). Students will be able to register for one or both of the workshops, both of which will be hosted at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus. The first workshop (‘Beyond Academia’) will take place on Friday 6 March 2020. The second workshop (‘Early Career Academia’) will take place on Friday 27 March 2020.

Beyond Academia | Fri 6 March | Find out more and register here

Early Career Academia | Friday 27 March | Find out more and register

Embodied Approaches to Performing Experimental Music

This training explores embodied approaches to performing experimental music, and methods of observing and reporting on research observations that arise as a result of such performance. It employs an approach to methodological training through practical, hands-on workshops.

Event 4: 16th March 2020 14.00-18.00 with Dr Sean Williams

Event 5: Event 5: 24th April 2020 14.00-17.00 with Dr Lauren Redhead

Essay Film Festival, 2020

The Essay Film Festival, now in its sixth edition, presents a global range of contemporary and restored essayistic works, each exploring the creative zone of possibilities between experimental and documentary modes of filmmaking. 

View full programme

This year’s programme features several key themes and strands:

Image from short film: Idhi Katha Matramena (Is This Just a Story?) (India, 1983)

New work by the Otolith Group and restored essay films by Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective engage with the cultural history and politics of India, providing imaginative and insightful perspectives on the educational projects of Rabindranath Tagore, the wandering Baal musicians, the changing cities of Ahmedabad and Kolkata, and the political struggles of Indian women. A symposium on the work of author and filmmaker Joshi will take place during the festival with guests from India, France and the USA, while Yugantar member Deepa Dhanraj will join researchers from Berlin Arsenal and Goldsmiths to discuss the restoration of the collective’s films.

Image of a collapsing structure

From Argentina, France, UK and the Philippines come challenging found footage experiments by Leandro Listorti, Frank Beauvais, Sarah Wood and John Torres, which critically examine the status and uses of images today while transforming them into moving and fascinating new creations. A student-led research workshop with guest filmmakers will analyse the theory and practice of found footage in the digital age.

Still from short film: America (Garrett Bradley, USA, 2019)

US artists Garrett Bradley and Cauleen Smith investigate and celebrate the depth and diversity of African-American lives, past and present, with works that, like all good essays, both question the viewer and invite us into an ongoing conversation. Both Bradley and Smith will give lecture-workshops about their practice alongside the screenings of their films. 

Image of filmmaker Jocelyne Saab

Developing the theme of ‘the living archive’, a series of events will address the cultural politics of film restoration, featuring works by Jocelyne Saab, Mostafa Derkaoui, Ingemo Engström and Gerhard Theuring, in addition to the restored films of Ruchir Joshi and the Yugantar Collective. 

Still from short film: Home in E Major, Tamar Rachkovsky, USA, 2019

Finally, Israeli filmmaker Tamar Rachovsky will join the festival to present and discuss Home in E Major, which looks at complex questions of identity and belonging through the deceptively simple lens of the diary film.

Simple and complex, contingent and reflective, hybrid and critical, the essay film that we celebrate at our festival is a constantly renewed invitation to engage with the world and to see it in new ways.

Michael Temple (Director), on behalf of the Essay Film Festival group: Matthew Barrington (Manager), Kieron Corless, Nicolas Freeman (CHASE intern), Catherine Grant, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Janet McCabe, Raquel Morais, and Laura Mulvey.

The Essay Film Festival is a collaboration between Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the ICA, with support from the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership. 

Birkbeck PhD Awards January 2020

Birkbeck Research Degrees awarded in January 2020

Birkbeck awards over 100 PhDs each year. In January, eleven Birkbeck Researchers were awarded for their work in the following areas:

School of Arts

Department of English, Theatre and Creative writing

History of Art

School of Business, Economics and Informatics

DEPARTMENT OF Economics, Mathematics and Statistics

School of Science

DEPARTMENT OF Biological Sciences

department of Psychological Sciences

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy

DEPARTMENT OF Geography

  • 1 PhD in Geography

Department of History, Classics and Archaeology

Department of Politics