Managing your Career, for Research Staff, 21st May

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Managing your Career –  Research staff

Signposts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday 21 May 10:00 – 16:00, Seminar room 1, Careers and Employability Centre (in the Library), run by Catherine Reynolds and Jane Riley

This is an interactive workshop for research staff in the early stages of their careers.  You can expect to explore:

  • Career aims and ambitions
  • Working in academia and outside
  • Generating different career options
  • The support available at Sussex

We will also provide one-to-one support after the workshop to help you further in your career plans. Places are limited, book yours on the Careers events page

CV and Career Exploration workshops for doctoral researchers

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Two events on the 19th October 2011 run by the Careers & Employability Centre, specifically for doctoral researchers:

10:00 to12:00  CVs for Doctoral Researchers

Find out how to produce an excellent CV for jobs or further study – we will look at different styles and approaches to help you market your skills effectively

14.30 to16.30 Career Exploration for Doctoral Researchers

Look at how to develop a succesful career as a postgraduate and to plan your next career steps

Further details and sign up at

Creative Industries and Creative Researchers, 30th September

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Vitae logoAn afternoon of networking, talks and discussions, starting with lunch and ending with a drinks reception, all at Brighton and Hove Albion’s impressive new football stadium.

Free of charge

  • Are interested in working in or with the creative sector?
  • Would you like to know more about launching your career?
  • Would you like to talk to people working in industries such as interactive media, social media, learning technology, web application development, art, design and other creative businesses? Read the rest of this entry »

Vitae events for Research Staff – Autumn 2011

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Three Research Staff events coming up: Advancing in Academia (12th September, Birmingham); Vitae Research Staff Conference (3rd November, Leeds); and Leadership in Action (21st – 25th November, Windemere)… Read the rest of this entry »

2 x SAGE Research Hive Scholarships 2011-12

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The University Library and Doctoral School are jointly offering two scholarships to support the development of the Library’s dedicated researcher area, the Sussex Research Hive. This dedicated space for research students and staff has been supported by a gift from academic and professional publisher SAGE. The SAGE Research Hive Scholarships will run from October 2011 to the end of July 2012, and attract a bursary of £3000 with no tax or National Insurance liabilities.

Researchers in the Research HiveYou will be expected to contribute on average 6 hours per week for the duration of the scholarship to support the development of the new area through a range of activities. This is an exciting opportunity to develop skills in a number of areas, including marketing and promotion, presentation, peer mentoring and event organisation, as well to expand professional networks and to gain valuable insight into issues affecting researchers at all stages of their careers.

The scholarships are open to currently-registered Sussex doctoral researchers who have completed at least one year of their doctoral degree. Full details are available in the Job and Person Specification: SAGE Hive Scholars 2011-12. Applications should take the form of a CV and supporting statement outlining how the candidate meets the selection criteria, and be sent to

The closing date for applications is Friday 9th September, and interviews will be held on Wednesday 21st September.  For an informal discussion about the scholarships, please contact Jane Harvell, Head of Academic Services ( or Helen Webb, Research Liaison Supervisor (

For more history on the Research Hive, the 2010-11 Scholars, and activities related to the Hive, take a look at our previous posts:

Sussex Research Hive opens today
Meet the Sussex Research Hive Scholars
Sussex Research Hive Seminars
How to get published
Thesis writing: Sharing experiences, challenges and top tips
Associate Tutoring – Discussion Group: 15 June
Sussex Research Hive survey (win Amazon vouchers!) & Writing open forum

Vitae academic careers events for doctoral researchers and research staff

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Review the current higher education environment

  • Meet with successful academics from a range of disciplines to hear how they advanced their academic career
  • Understand the balance required between skills, achievements and building your professional profile
  • Review where you are in your career, where you want to be and how to get there
  • Ask questions that you’ve always wanted to but weren’t sure who to ask network with fellow researchers
  • Develop an action plan to strategically manage your career.

Careers in Academia
13 September 2011, Birmingham,

for postgraduate researchers.   To book:

This event is open and free to all UK postgraduate researchers.

Advancing in Academia
12 September 2011, Birmingham,

for research staff.   To book:

This event is open and free to all UK research staff and postgraduate researchers.

CFP: International Perspectives in Art & Design: Nov 17-18, Leeds

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Leeds Collage of Art image

International Perspectives in Art & Design November 17th -18th, 2011

Translating Cultures: Internationalisation, Employability and Pedagogy

This conference will aim to create a ‘hub’ for practitioners, teachers and students who are interested in responding to contemporary issues in art and design and exchanging their perspectives in visual, verbal or written form. The conference will examine the central issue of cultural exchange asking if is it possible to work, practice and teach effectively across cultures. What are the barriers to cultural exchange and how can we overcome them? The enquiry will be structured around three main ‘themes’ which are derived from terms that continually reoccur in contemporary discourses linking global communities, the ‘creative industries’ and higher education. Participants and delegates will be invited to explore the meanings and implications of Internationalisation, Employability and Pedagogy for global art and design thinking and practice.

International Perspectives in Art & Design –Internationalisation

Case studies detailing international interventions and collaborations in art and design are welcome or, alternatively, contributions may critique or champion notions of internationalisation and may be linked to the following questions…What does it mean to be ‘internationalised’? Do art, design and media education and practices offer a means by which barriers to global communication can be transcended? In spite of the rhetoric, are we creating more fragmented, localised creative communities? What are the tensions between ‘slow’ culture and globalisation? What are the ethical issues connected with internationalisation? How can we sustain our internationalisation strategies?

International Perspectives in Art & Design –Employability

The employability strand of the conference will look to examine perspectives on the contemporary challenge of working with uncertainty in a global context. Contributions may be linked to (but should not be limited to) the following: How can an international community of art, design and media practitioners deal with and revision an uncertain future? How do artists and designers in different cultures harness unpredictability and chance? What have ‘creative industries’ got to offer resource-based, skills-based or knowledge-based economies?

International Perspectives in Art & Design –Pedagogy

It is unusual to find a forum where subject specialists who are working at different levels in the education system can meet to discuss and share good practice. The pedagogy strand of the conference aims to bring teachers of art, design and media together to share good practice and to examine the role of the visual in translating and transcending cultural difference. Central to this is the notion that visual literacy can be taught and that it can operate across cultures. Papers that endorse or critique this view are invited as are studies from lecturers and teachers teaching visual languages and associated skills at all levels. Contributions that look at projects and practices are welcome.

Academics and professionals working with, in or with a connection to, the ‘creative industries’ are invited to send proposals for presentations lasting between 1 5-20 minutes. In addition to traditional ‘academic’ papers, participants may also consider methods such as performance or video. Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the content of your presentation to the deadline for proposals is 4pm, 31st August 2011.It is anticipated that feedback will be given by late-September.

Travel bursaries to cover the cost of attendance may be available for international contributors – please indicate if you are interested in applying for a bursary.

It is anticipated that, following the conference, a volume of selected papers will be published in an LCA publication.

Staying in Acedemia? the “what next?” question

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Sophie Bisset (doctoral researcher in History) assesses the question of what comes after the doctorate,

At the recent “preparing for your final year” seminar, group discussion quickly turned to the issue of whether to stay in academia once we finish our PhDs. This is the same question that I have been agonising over myself in the past few months and so I decided to write this blog to share (and help clarify) my own response to this issue. In truth, we all know that there is good reason to feel anxious about the “what next?” question: we will finish our PhDs at a time when there are increasingly more applicants for increasingly fewer academic positions, as well as massive changes on the horizon for Higher Education as a result of new government proposals. But if the future looks daunting then one thing is for sure, it is worth asking what’s right for me in all this?

Well, when faced with this question, I did what all good PhD students do and I downed my research sticks in order to spend a few hours searching the web for interesting and useful sites. To my mind, the best and the most terrifying is An Academic Career: Have You Got What It Takes?. The website as a whole has loads of valuable information on the reality of pursuing an academic career but this particular section encourages you to be honest with yourself about the demands of academic life. When I read it, it was quite a shock to see so many of my own fears put up there in black and white and answered with such candour. The personal experiences videos that sit alongside these candid truths soften the edges of this reality check by making the hurdles seem manageable. In addition to this site, there are also a number of good university run PhD careers blogs: Manchester, Queen Mary’s and Salford, as well as a collection of audio recordings of people sharing their own experiences on the realities of the “what next?” question on Beyond the PhD.

Having had a good think about the question of what’s right for me, I wanted to know how many of my predecessors had successfully pursued academic careers within my own discipline of history, rather than relying solely on word of mouth gossip. Luckily for me, Vitae conducted some research into what PhD students from the years 2003-2007 did after they finished their theses (What do Researchers Do?). In history, 27% entered a UK Higher Education lecturing role. This seemed quite low to me, but Vitae reassures me that this is in fact higher than the average across all disciplines taken together (14%). A further 14% of History post-PhDers found employment in the more general sounding category of research staff in UK Higher Education (below the all disciple average of 23%). So using these stats as a rule of thumb, less than half of us (historians or otherwise) are likely to take up some kind of research role within Higher Education. The good news is that even if you don’t stay in academia, you are less likely to end up unemployed than first-degree and master’s degree graduates (only 3.1% across all disciplines compared to 5.6% and 3.7% respectively).

The trouble with the stats is that they don’t tell us how many wanted to stay in academia, rather than just how many did stay in academia. Nonetheless, it makes having a non-academic Plan B seem like a jolly good idea! According to Vitae, the most popular alternative to an academic career among History post-Phders is teaching. This is something that I personally find quite appealing, but generally speaking the trouble with making a Plan B is that it is such a personal thing that web surfing quickly becomes a bit of a search for a needle in a haystack. Despite seeming all-powerful, Google cannot write an algorithm to help me discover what I should do with my life! So at this point in my little journey into the “what next?” question I abandoned new technology and headed off for a good old-fashioned one to one session with Catherine Reynolds at the Careers and Employability Centre. Catherine and her colleague Jane Riley specialise in helping lost and lonely researchers get some perspective on the “what next?” question. In the hour or so that I spent talking to Catherine, a whole mixture of my various career ideas, fears and hopes tumbled out but by the end of our session I felt like I had some new avenues to explore. Just talking about what I wanted to do with someone who knew a lot about the practicalities of the real world, a.k.a. the process of getting a job, helped me refine my thinking and a few days after our sessions I realised that my own feeling about the question of whether or not to stay in academia had shifted considerably.

Setting aside my own decision about whether academia was the place where I wanted to end up or not, one surprising thing that came out of my own experience of giving some time to thinking about the “what next?” question just as I am beginning to write up my thesis is how it changed my feelings about the thesis itself. Lurking in the back of my mind had always been the belief that the thesis – as much as I loved it for itself – was essentially a means to an end and that end was an academic career. But thinking about whether I would want an academic career, or would realistically succeed in pursuing it, I came to see my thesis as having an intrinsic value of its own. Even if I don’t end up in academia and even if the only people who read my thesis aside from me and my supervisor are my two examiners, I am beginning my write-up knowing that the process of doing a thesis has taught me a whole host of valuable things about myself, about history and about life that will inform and shape my professional career wherever I end up.

Associate Tutoring – Discussion Group: 15 June

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Last week, the Sussex Research Hive’s scholars ran a drop-in discussion group on the topic of ‘Thesis writing: Sharing experiences, challenges and top tips’.  The event was full to capacity, and the scholars have posted the discussion on the Research Hive blog. The writing discussion proved popular and a waiting list resulted, so a second date will be sheduled shortly – watch this space, or follow the Hive on Twitter: @SussexResHive.

On the back of this success, the scholars have organised a second drop-in discussion with a new theme:

Associate Tutoring Drop-In Discussion Group – Sussex Research Hive, Wednesday 15 June 2pm

Have you thought about being an associate tutor while you research for your Doctorate?  Want to know what’s involved?

Are you already an Associate Tutor and want to share experiences, get tips from others and discuss the challenges and rewards of the job? Want to talk about associate tutoring with others that also have experience?

Then come along to the second Hive Scholar workshop/round table event on Associate Tutoring on Wednesday 15 June at 2pm – the group will be lead by Karen Burrows doctoral researcher and associate tutor in Media, Film and Music.  It will be a chance to share experiences and get tips from fellow tutors or just to find out what you can expect.  Also present will be Chris Kempshall and Craig Haslop both experienced associate tutors from History and Media, Film and Music.

If you would like to come along please let us know at

How to succeed at job interviews: free webinar – 14th June

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From the Doctoral School inbox:, have organised a free 30-minute webinar entitled “How to Succeed at Job Interviews’ for those seeking jobs in academia.  This informative and interactive live webinar will take place on Tuesday 14th June at 1pm (BST), and is free to all (though you must register on the website).

Those attending this free interview tips webinar will learn:

  • How to properly prepare for interviews
  • How to predict what you will be asked
  • How to answer job interview questions about your experience, knowledge and competencies
  • How to present yourself on the day
  • How to follow up after an interview

The expert presenter is Sean Russell, an ex-Director of Careers Services from University of Warwick and University of Birmingham. Sean has over 10 years experience of interviewing people in the HE sector, civil service and a range of blue chip companies and will share powerful tips and tricks for successful interviews. 

Sean is now a freelance careers consultant, coach and trainer and is currently a visiting lecturer at three universities in the departments of education and staff development so is in a unique position to help jobseekers secure their next step on the career ladder.

As an added benefit of attending this webinar, attendees will also have the unique opportunity to ask our expert direct questions in an interactive Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

To find out more about this free webinar and to register please visit the webinar page