Sharing Feminist Research and Practice

“And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognise our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives. That we not hide behind the mockeries of separation that have been imposed on us and which so often we accept as our own.”
Audre Lorde

 Sharing Feminist Research, Methods and Practice Event 

The CHASE Feminist Network was borne of discussions wishing to provide spaces of resistance in what continues to be a patriarchal higher education sector, with ongoing and intersectional discrimination happening at all levels. We seek to create a community of inspirational people inside and outside of CHASE who are challenging this environment, provide spaces for discussion, and offer support for innovative projects and events. The network is transpositive and intersectional, and places a strong emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary commitments to feminist research and practice and welcomes a wide variety of creative, artistic, historical, literary, theoretical, and experimental contributions.

We would like to invite proposals for contributions to our two-day event from staff and students at CHASE funded institutions. We hope to receive proposals for a variety of formats, including individual or collaborative papers (20 minutes), workshop suggestions, themed topic roundtables, creative workshops, and performances, which aim to demonstrate the plurality and the breadth of feminist expression across CHASE.

This event wishes to address how discrimination within the academy, the unequal distribution of emotional labour, and imbedded cultures of privilege, can be troubled, disrupted and overturned through feminist approaches in academia. Taking feminist methodologies and pedagogies as its central focus, the event aims to address the complexities and nuances of working in a feminist way whether feminism is a focus of the research or not.

We welcome submissions that consider queer and feminist ways doing of research, cultural analysis, teaching, and artistic practice. How can this operate through activism? How can a feminist approach become an act of resistance in itself in spaces of intersectional oppression? How can feminism be an everyday practice of resistance to hierarchies in the academy and beyond, as a way of creating and recreating our own academic identities in a hostile system? We are particularly interested in submissions that address, but are not limited to:

  • Trans rights and visibility
  • Race, legacies of empire and decolonising the curriculum
  • Motherhood, childcare and caring responsibilities
  • Feminism and (dis)ability
  • Precarious employment and the pay gap
  • Gender and austerity
  • Gender and age(ism)

The event will include a workshop on identifying the relevance of feminism in your research.

Please complete the form below with an abstract no more than 300 outlining your submission idea with a short bio by 30th November.  We are also pleased to announce that we have a childcare fund available for this event.

Please submit your abstract and bio here: https://goo.gl/forms/txtVituZQ0fOUISL2

For any queries, please do not hesitate to contact chase.feminist@gmail.com

CHASE Training Opportunities

CHASE brings together 9 leading institutions engaged in collaborative research activities including an AHRC doctoral training partnership, supporting discipline-based projects, specialising in interdisciplinary research, and research in emerging fields of study and creative practice.

It is central to the ethos at CHASE that serious disciplinary research is interdisciplinary. The following training opportunities are available to research students:

The Future of Arts Research

This programme of innovative skills training is geared toward those involved in practice research, generally, and arts research, specifically. The nature of the training is inherently interdisciplinary, devised and developed by researchers across Fine Art, Performance and Poetry. The training will be suitable and beneficial to researchers at any stage of their project’s development and, while specifically relevant to artist researchers, will be open to researchers in any field.

There are four skills workshops, each dedicated to a key element of practice research. The workshops are scheduled on the following two days:

Workshops 1 & 2:        Wednesday, 14 November 2018 @ 11.00 – 18.00

Workshops 3 & 4:        Wednesday, 27 February 2019 @ 11.00 – 18.00

All of the workshops will be held at Goldsmiths College.

Participants may sign up for individual workshops, or may choose to attend the entire series.

Details of the workshops and how to sign up are here

Peer Coaching taster session (collaborative with WRoCAH DTP)

25 January 2019 | 11:00 – 16:00
London Venue TBC

Would you benefit from being part of a supportive peer group of WRoCAH doctoral researchers for a whole academic year and beyond?
Peer coaching groups that meet regularly are known as ‘action learning sets’. Groups are intended to offer mutual support and coaching. For each meeting group members are invited bring their current challenges and the group works with them to coach them towards potential solutions.

Taking part in this workshop will give you the chance to work with a group of peers to develop your coaching skills to improve collaborative working, communication and professional relationships. The skills of coaching can be applied to help you get the best out of yourself and the best out of others. This can be in your research, in your teaching or in working with or supervising of others.

 

Find out more and register here

 

MARs Session: Radiological Deep Time (by Mountain of Art Research – Goldsmiths)

Various dates, please see below
MARs Research Hub, Seminar Space (Room 5), 43 Lewisham Way London SE14 6NP

This MARs Session will investigate theoretical ideas and artistic practices concerned with radiological deep time. From nuclear landscapes of mining, test sites, and waste storage sites. The session will focus on the problems of decolonising the nuclear, through feminist and forensic analysis, rethinking nuclear landscapes at home, and the mythologies of distant test and mining sites.

Research Student Prep Session Two – 2 Nov, 3-5pm
Research Student Prep Session Three – 23 Nov, 3-5pm
MAIN SESSION / Nuclear Culture Research Symposium: 30 Nov, 10.30am – 6pm & 1 Dec, 10.30am – 2.30pm

 

Find out more and register here

 

Early Modern Matters: Materiality and the Archive & Call for papers

11-12 May 2019
University of East Anglia

From the creation of almanacs, gazettes, and paperbooks – whose ephemeral life span led to their repurposing in manifold ways – to the circulation of sermon collections, commonplace books, and annotated printed volumes, the materiality of the early modern world is unavoidable. By studying archival material texts, not only as vessels for words, but as objects created and put to use in everyday life, we can shed light both on the ‘text’ itself – written, drawn, or otherwise – and on the culture in which it was embedded.

The ‘Early Modern Matters: Materiality and the Archive’ conference will bring together scholars of all whose research intersects with the material textual culture of the early modern period (c. 1500-1700). These disciplines include, but are not limited to: the history of the book, art history, literature, the history of medicine, the history of science, and the history of law. By drawing together these strands of early modern scholarship we hope to expand our understanding of how early modern people interacted with texts as physical objects.

Read full call for papers and register here

 

City Maps – few places left on the Tuesday 21 November session

Birkbeck, Bloomsbury campus

Researching screen media and global cities.

In this workshop, Johan Anderson from King’s College London will lead a workshop with Lawrence Webb (University of Sussex), building on themes introduced in their co-edited books Global Cinematic Cities: New Landscapes of Film and Media (2016) and The City in American Cinema: Film and Postindustrial Culture (forthcoming, 2019). This will comprise a film screening and a workshop at the Birkbeck Cinema. In the workshop session, Andersson and Webb will lead a discussion on the challenges of researching cinema/screen media and cities at a time when both have become destabilized as objects of study. Students will be encouraged to draw on their own PhD projects to consider a range of research methodologies and theoretical approaches to screen media and cities. Johan Andersson and Lawrence Webb will present on their own recent research projects and talk about the challenges of interdisciplinary research and publication. Topics will vary depending on the doctoral students participating, but are likely to include: film, media and the digital turn; gentrification; landscape theory; genre; queer studies; urban history; archival research; location shooting; and urban institutions. Doctoral students working on any urban/national context or historical period are welcome to attend.

Register for this or other City Map sessions

New CHASE Training opportunities

The following CHASE training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck, regardless of whether you are funded by CHASE or not.

CHASE conference presentations workshop – limited places available

Monday 5 – Tuesday 6 November, Birkbeck, University of London | 1000-1700

A two-part workshop on writing and giving conference papers which combines an introduction to academic conferences, writing abstracts and preparing presentations, with a practical session on the second day (run as a mock-conference) in which the participants have the opportunity to rehearse the delivery of sample presentations, handle questions and receive feedback. Josie has given this workshop in over 30 universities in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

Introduction to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)

Wednesday 7 November 2018 | Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH

Since its founding in 1946, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) has presented ground-breaking projects across the arts, situating contemporary culture within the socio-political conditions of the times. As a professional partner of CHASE, the ICA is delighted to offer training and placements to CHASE-funded and affiliated students. This event provides a valuable introduction to the ICA, with a particular focus upon the Institute’s film programme and documentary film festival, Frames of Representation (FoR.) This will be led by Nico Marzano, film programmer and curator at the ICA, who will also be available to answer questions about upcoming placement opportunities working on FoR 2019.

Students will have the opportunity to visit Version History, the first solo exhibition in a major UK institution by artists, filmmakers and designers Metahaven, featuring an expansive new moving-image commission as part of an overview of their hybrid investigations into overlapping geopolitical, technological and emotional conditions. More details about the exhibition can be found here.

CA is generously offering 20 tickets to attend a film screening in the evening. The tickets will be allocated to the first 20 who register for the introduction.

Making Films for your Research:
Innovative Audio-Visual Practices – A CHASE Doctoral Training Day.

Birkbeck Cinema, 10.00-17.30 on Saturday, November 17, 2018, followed by a wine reception

Filmmaking research is a form of practice research that enquires into production practices, techniques, modes and genres used in cinema, television and online. The outputs are films that may include fiction, documentary and hybrid forms. Filmmaking research pushes at the boundaries of traditional filmmaking and traditional research methods by adopting distinct approaches to professional and critical practices. Filmmaking research is a developing area and films produced within the academy are growing in number. There is an increasing engagement with filmmaking as research method and films as outputs, by researchers from a range of disciplines. Film can provide a powerful means to explore issues, disseminate research and create impact.

In this event, we will screen examples of innovative audio-visual filmmaking research practice, have presentations by filmmaker-researchers about their work, and hold round tables.

Screen Studies Day

King’s  College London (Strand Campus) on 17th November 2018

This is a full-day event (9:30-20:30) aimed at PhD students doing research in film and screen media. The training offered will be most beneficial to students in the earlier stages of their studies.

The event is open to students from all CHASE institutions and is free to attend.

November Film Festival

22-25 November | Close-Up Film Centre in London

November Film Festival is an international festival for experimental film and artists’ moving image run by CHASE students.
There will be 8 programs of films in total, two on each day. A full program will soon be made available on: https://www.novemberfilmfestival.org/
The screenings will be free to attend and registration for them will be on first come first serve basis through the festival website.
On Saturday the 24th at 9pm, there will be a networking dinner event for CHASE students and the visiting filmmakers, for which you can register below.

New CHASE Training Opportunities

The following CHASE training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck, regardless of whether you are funded by CHASE or not.

City Maps

Various dates and venues October 2018 – July 2019, please check the website for details

City Maps is a series of workshops encouraging doctoral students to explore, discuss and experiment with different ways of conceptualising and studying cities in the arts and humanities. The main learning outcome is to equip participants with knowledge, tools and approaches for expanding their horizons and engaging the urban as an object of study in their own research.

In ordinary conversation, we often take cities for granted as distinct and identifiable places. But when the city becomes an object of study, it quickly becomes elusive, layered, interconnected and potentially boundless. A city can be a built environment of myriad structures and infrastructures, its people and their differences, a series of representations or aesthetic impressions, an object of politics or public address, a node for global flows, and many other things besides. Often going hand-in-hand with these disparate aspects of the city are specific disciplinary preferences and domains.

Doctoral students taking workshops within this series will be inspired to rise above narrowly disciplinary or highly attenuated orientations to the city. Each session will approach the urban as an inherently trans-, inter- and pluri-disciplinary object, bringing together CHASE expertise and an invited workshop leader, who will collaborate and develop a format appropriate to the workshop’s focus. This might include site-specific presentations, cases studies, reading discussions, screenings, and hands-on workshops.

The series will comprise five workshops moving from specific urban research cases to how students might situate themselves and seek publication in what has been termed urban cultural studies.

Screen Studies Group: Screen and Film Research Methods Today

Saturday 17 November | Safra Lecture Theatre, Ground Floor, Strand Campus, King’s College London

Screen and Film Research Methods Today relaunches the Screen Studies Group annual postgraduate training day. The day has two major goals. The first is to bring together all new film and screen studies doctoral students in London and the environs. It will enable network building around shared specialisms beyond your home department. Second, it will provide foundational training in methods that are relatively new to this field and which home institutions often cannot provide.

This is a one-day session presenting research methods for all new and returning doctoral students. We will address a variety of topics that now concern Screen and Film Studies such as online research, dating mining, social media; live television; installation work; music videos, gaming, AvPhDs, production cultures, media industries, creative practice, and live cinema. The day will include a panel on archives now available for under researched or previously excluded cinemas and communities.

Structure in Creative Writing

Various dates cross London and UEA venues, please check the website for schedule

A series of eight seminars by leading academics, poets, prose writers, script writers and script doctors on structure, narrative and plot in creative work. These seminars will be craft-focused and designed to help writers to plot their work and refine its structure. Prescribed texts are available to download below. The seminar leader will guide us through those texts at the seminar. You will be expected to have read the texts in advance and the seminar will be considerably more helpful if you have.
These will be hosted in London and Norwich and are scheduled at 5–7pm on the Wednesdays specified below.

Objects in Space, Subjects in Time: The Material Cultures of Postcolonial History

Various dates and venues across London please check the website for details

Please note the sessions cannot be attended individually and are part of a complete series.

A series of six workshops across the year which explore global, transnational and postcolonial pasts by engaging with material collections and texts or objects in museums and exhibition spaces across London. The journeys of objects or the changing shape and use of spaces can offer a powerful means of unpicking, understanding and then conveying meaningfully and compellingly to a range of audiences the processes and legacies of empires. Encountering the objects and spaces proposed in these workshops emphasizes not only the intellectual perspectives of post-colonial theory upon the past, but also brings to light in the most concrete terms those shadows of empire in the present that post-colonial theory was developed to expose and challenge.

These workshops will include one international conference, four object-based sessions making use of London’s unparalleled collections, and two sessions dedicated to the processes of translating research into different arenas. You will have the chance to examine a range of material and objects in dedicated study sessions with curators and experts, and over the course of the series, you will produce a video, blogpost or other public-facing reflection, drawing on your own research and the materials in these workshops. You will receive training from the Derek Jarman Lab, Birkbeck’s media department, on how to produce an effective media project and have the opportunity to contribute to a podcast with a top broadcaster, as well as present your ideas on the sessions to a non-academic audience.

Objects in Space, Subjects in Time: The Material Cultures of Postcolonial History

A place reserved is for a Birkbeck Arts or Humanities PhD student on this fully funded CHASE doctoral training opportunity: Objects in Space, Subjects in Time: The Material Cultures of Postcolonial History.

This is a series of six workshops across the year which explore global, transnational and postcolonial pasts by engaging with material collections and texts or objects in museums and exhibition spaces across London, as well as training in creating vlogs and media projects. For full details see below.

Travel costs, participation costs and refreshments are all included and funded by CHASE.

How to apply

To apply for this place, please send the following to Kat Hill (Katherine.hill@bbk.ac.uk) by Monday October 15th (Midnight).

  • Max. 1000 word statement explaining why you would be a suitable candidate and how it will enhance your research.
  • Short supporting statement from your supervisor

Persona Information required:

Name
Email
Programme of Study
Year of PhD
Title/Area of Research
Supervisor

Objects in Space, Subjects in Time: The Material Cultures of Postcolonial History
  • Kat Hill and Rebecca Darley (History, Classics and Archaeology – Birkbeck)
  • Suzanna Ivanic (Kent)
  • Luke Lavan (Kent)
  • Liz James (Sussex)

A series of six workshops across the year which explore global, transnational and postcolonial pasts by engaging with material collections and texts or objects in museums and exhibition spaces across London. The journeys of objects or the changing shape and use of spaces can offer a powerful means of unpicking, understanding and then conveying meaningfully and compellingly to a range of audiences the processes and legacies of empires. Encountering the objects and spaces proposed in these workshops emphasizes not only the intellectual perspectives of post-colonial theory upon the past, but also brings to light in the most concrete terms those shadows of empire in the present that post-colonial theory was developed to expose and challenge.

These workshops will include one international conference, four object-based sessions making use of London’s unparalleled collections, and two sessions dedicated to the processes of translating research into different arenas. You will have the chance to examine a range of material and objects in dedicated study sessions with curators and experts, and
over the course of the series, you will produce a video, blogpost or other public-facing reflection, drawing on your own research and the materials in these workshops. You will receive training from the Derek Jarman Lab, Birkbeck’s media department, on how to produce an effective media project and have the opportunity to contribute to a podcast with a top broadcaster, as well as present your ideas on the sessions to a non-academic audience.

The focus in all of the workshops will, therefore, be on the complex material histories of empires, as vehicles for migration, trade, translation and the imposition of political authority, and simultaneously on developing a constant awareness of the sub-structures of knowledge creation that underpin any approach to the past. They will combine to give you fresh ways to think with objects and to challenge categories and ideologies of colonialism, not only as they were historically constructed, but also as they continue to shape the world today.

For any questions please contact Kat Hill (katherine.hill@bbk.ac.uk) or Rebecca Darley (r.darley@bbk.ac.uk)

What will you get from these sessions?

  • Engage with materiality and object-based history
  • Engage with diachronic global and transnational histories
  • Think about place and space as historical concepts
  • Develop presentation and public engagement skills
  • Broaden knowledge of heritage spaces and public museums
  • Network with other researchers, senior scholars and other stakeholders

Careers and professional development training

The following CHASE Career and Professional development training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck (regardless of whether you are funded by the AHRC/ CHASE).

Further details about each of the sessions below, and information about how to register, is available here.

 

From Field to Page: Core Skills in the Medical Humanities

Thursday 5 July & Thursday 8 November

Birkbeck, University of London


From Field to Page is two training days, which map the core skills required of medical humanities doctoral research and support doctoral researchers as they undertake their projects.

 

Medical humanities continues to emerge as a live and transforming field of enquiry.  The core work of this field seeks to explore and critique biomedical science and its histories through the various critical frameworks of the humanities disciplines.  Medical humanities research presents scholars with the particular challenges of transdisciplinary research undertaken across the radically different domains of medicine and the humanities’ academic disciplines.  Across the CHASE institutions there is a diverse cohort of medical humanities doctoral researchers that incorporates students from both clinical and non-clinical, humanities backgrounds. As such the cohort represents a broad range of skills-sets, work, academic and training experiences, and previous exposure to the critical methods central to the humanities disciplines. Clinicians come into the field of research with substantial situated knowledge of the real-life settings and practices of medicine and surgery but often with the need to acquire, through training the requisite skills of critical thinking and writing.

Conversely, non-clinicians and humanities’ scholars are much better versed in critical practice and inquiry, but lack the grounded, lived experience of clinical practice. The range of research projects undertaken in the field is markedly diverse, ranging from practice-led (examining the nature of clinical practice), to practice-based (using clinical practice as research), to purely analytic (discursive analysis) modes of inquiry but all undertake to situate medicine, disease, patient experience, clinical practice and medical education within socio-cultural and/or historical contexts in such a way that critical analysis and discursive understandings may be produced. The aims of medical humanities theses may, or may not, have the avowed intention of contributing to the practical fields of clinical practice, delivery of healthcare or medical education. All medical humanities theses must adhere to the core methodologies and practices of the humanities disciplines and this means that critical thinking and writing skills are key requirements of the medical humanities doctorate.

Find out more and register here

 

Getting Ready for Submission: Editing, Strengthening & Polishing Your Thesis

3-5 August | Cumberland Lodge, Windsor
Accommodation and dinner is provided on Friday evening, but the workshop starts at 10am on Saturday. Attendees are welcome to arrive from 6pm on Friday.

 

Are you close to a full draft of your thesis? Does it resemble a baggy monster that needs taming? If so, this two-day residential workshop is for you. Through activities and tutorials, you’ll learn techniques for getting your thesis into shape. By the end of the weekend, you’ll have a perfectly polished chapter and a clear strategy for tackling the rest of your thesis.

 

Find out more and register

The Viva and Beyond: Planning, Preparation & Performance


5-7 October | Cumberland Lodge, Windsor
Accommodation and dinner is provided on Friday evening, but the workshop starts at 10am on Saturday. Attendees are welcome to arrive from 6pm on Friday.

Have you submitted your thesis, or are you close to completion? This two-day workshop is designed to guide you through the process of preparing for your viva and to help you plan what happens post-PhD.

Through activities, discussion, and short training sessions on Day One, you’ll learn lots of techniques for successfully defending your thesis. We’ll also stage some mock vivas to get you used to the format in a supportive environment.

Day Two is all about what happens next. We’ll explore the jobs market and use some strategies for working out what career you’d like to pursue. The final session is dedicated to turning your thesis into a publication. We’ll look at the options, what’s involved, and also draft a book proposal.

 

Find out more and register

Careers and professional development training

The following CHASE Career and Professional development training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities PhD students at Birkbeck (regardless of whether you are funded by the AHRC/ CHASE).

Further details about each of the sessions below, and information about how to register, is available here.

 

Creating (and) the Critical
The critical component of practice-based PhDs

14 June 2018, Goldsmiths, University of London

What is the relationship between the creative and critical strands of practice-led PhDs? How should the critical commentary be thought of, when should it be written?

This CHASE training event will consider this relationship and the questions, challenges and, sometimes, anxieties that it causes, both for students and supervisors.

Join for a day of discussion, debate and reflection, open to all research students but especially aimed at those involved in creative practice.

 

Find out more and register here

 

 

Critical Excursion: Remapping the Arcades Project
25 & 26 June | Glasgow

This two-day critical excursion, organised by the Space, Place and Time Research Group and led by researcher Sam Dolbear will consist of workshops, walks and film-screenings that focus around Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project (1927-40).

This short course will aim to give a panoramic sense of this panoramic text. The first day will cohere around the themes of history, historiography, temporality, and methodology. The morning will explore these themes through a workshop, followed by a walk and a screening of films on related themes. The second day will follow the same structure, but the focus will shift to the spatial configurations of the city: to processes of urban generation and regeneration, the subterranean spaces of the city, the notion of the threshold, the street and the interior, as well as building materials and construction techniques.

Travel and accommodation will be organised by Space, Place and Time group.

 

Find out more and register here

 

 

Feminist Research Ethics in Practice
Thursday 12 July | University of East Anglia

This free one-day event provides an opportunity for researchers to discuss the process of building safe, productive spaces for both researchers and participants and asks what can institutions do to best support them. In so doing, this training event seeks to build a community of support, share experiences and document best practice.

Places are limited – Find out more and register here

 

 

CHASE writing summer school workshops and residential

Monday 16 July | SOAS, University of London
Behind the mystique: what academic writing is, and how to get better at it
This one-day workshop is for any student who wants to write more clearly and stylishly within their discipline. It strips down academic writing to its fundamentals.

Tuesday 17 July |  SOAS, University of London
Story time: how to create a narrative through your literature review
This one day workshop helps students to create a narrative by heightening their awareness of their relationship with the reader.

Thursday, 19 July | SOAS, University of London
Reaching out: writing about your research for non-specialist audiences
Many postgraduate students struggle to explain complex research, in writing, to people outside their discipline, or outside academia.

Thursday 26 July to Friday 27 July  | Birkbeck, University of London
Thinking, Writing, Advancing: a 2 day, residential writing retreat for mid- to late stage PhD students
This two day, residential retreat offers a breathing space for PhD students, allowing them to air writing issues with their peers, share best practice and re-examine their writing process. Day 1 tackles common writing problems and gives students exercises to stimulate creativity and help them gain perspective on their project. In the evening, there is a communal dinner and networking. Day 2 is a chance to write in a quiet and supportive atmosphere and to have one-to-one consultations with two successful professional writers.

 

Find out more and register here

Additional CHASE Careers and professional development training

Careers and professional development training

The following CHASE Career and Professional development training opportunities are available to all Arts and Humanities research students at Birkbeck.

Further details about each of the sessions below, and information about how to register, is available here.

 

Designing and delivering effective presentations
  • 3rd and 4th May, Open University Camden campus, room 2BC (3rd May) and room 1 (4th May) [two full days]
Hands-on media training
  • 8th and 9th May, Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building, room 307 [two full days]
Being an effective tutor
  • 10th May, Birkbeck, Malet Street, room 415 [one full day]
Mock academic interview session
  • 14th May, SOAS, Room G51 [afternoon] and 23rd May, SOAS, Room 4429 [morning]
Impact and research communication skills
  • 22nd June, Birkbeck, Malet Street, Room 253 [one full day]

Free tickets for Birkbeck Arts and Humanities PhD students: Frames of Representation 2018 @ The ICA, 20-28th April

F

CHASE is delighted to be academic partner with The ICA for Frames of Representation 2018, a global documentary cinema festival. As part of this partnership, we have arranged two exciting seminars featuring CHASE academics in conversation with film-makers whose work is showing at the festival.

We also have tickets for a one day symposium on April 28th featuring, amongst others, Oscar winning sound editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now).

CHASE has been given a number of free tickets for the week of events and screenings. These tickets are open to all arts and humanities PhD students at CHASE institutions and will allocated on a first come, first served basis. Have a look at the programme here and request your free tickets here.

Now in its third year, FoR is a global documentary cinema festival. The theme this year is landscape and the festival features a number of UK and European premieres, as well as masterclasses with film-makers. We have also arranged two CHASE seminars that will feature CHASE academics in conversation with film-makers whose work is screening at the festival.

Free tickets are available for ALL film screenings and masterclasses throughout the festival as well, of course, as the CHASE seminars and a half day symposium on the theme of landscape on the closing weekend of the festival. Regardless of your research interests, you are bound to find something, if not many things, of interest.

Any queries, please email enquiries@chase.ac.uk

Thesis Boot Camp experience

Thesis Boot Camp experience

Mara Arts

Over the course of three days early April, a group of Birkbeck PhD students were able to participate in a ‘thesis boot camp’, organised by the CHASE consortium. Thesis boot camps originated in Australia and are designed to give PhD candidates a concentrated period of time to focus on their writing, and produce as many words as possible.

The boot camp was hosted by the University of Sussex on the Feltham campus, and the event was expertly facilitated by writing skills trainer Dr Catherine Pope. Around 30 doctoral students attended the whole weekend, hailing from seven different institutions.

We started at 4pm on a Friday afternoon, with introductions and a few words from Catherine to display some persistent writing myths. We were reminded that the aim of the weekend was to produce as many words as possible, and not to craft perfect prose or fully edited chapters. Catherine also taught us the ‘Pomodoro technique’ of doing 25 minutes of concentrated writing, followed by a short break. This was going to prove very useful over the course of the weekend!

Then it was time to get writing. We started with telling another student what we were hoping to achieve that session, which was followed by five minutes of ‘freewriting’ on the topic ‘What do I want to achieve this weekend?’ Freewriting is writing whatever comes into your head, non-stop, without any regard for spelling, grammar or punctuation. It helps to get the writing juices flowing. The rest of the evening, until 8pm, was spent writing.

We had two big classrooms at our disposal: one ‘writing room’ where each student had a desk, and where we were asked not to talk to create a good working environment. The room next door was the break room, which had a constant supply of drinks and snacks, and which we could use whenever we wanted to chat, relax, or play games. Lunches and dinners were also served in the breakroom. Having all meals catered for, and being away from the demands of your domestic environment, really helped to stay focused on the research. As most participants were staying in the same hotel (also generously funded by CHASE) it was easy to unwind together over a drink in the evenings.

On Saturday and Sunday the schedule was much the same. We started at 10am each day with telling our ‘accountability partner’ what that day’s goal was, and then did a bit of freewriting to get going. The rest of the days were split up in sizeable chunks of writing time. Participants could also request a one-to-one session with Catherine to discuss a particular issue they had with their research. On Saturday there was a guided walk in the fields adjacent to the campus, to get some much-needed fresh air. We also spent some time in group discussions each day, to share common PhD student problems such as tricky supervisors or managing work-related stress; and to swap writing tips.

When we finished at 4pm on Sunday, Catherine gave us some tips on how to keep our writing momentum going. Although everyone was pretty worn out after so much hard work, many participants were hoping to attend another boot camp session soon. They are a great way to get over tricky writing hurdles and start good writing habits.

Mara Arts is a PhD student in the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck.