#whywedoresearch It's a nice hashtag - #whywedoresearch. But what does it really mean in an uncertain, insecure academic climate? How do we answer that question when on the bad days we're struggling to find an answer much beyond 'I really don't know because I am very tired'. And on some days, my answer would be a similarly struggling one, over a glass … [Read more...] about #whywedoresearch: more than a hashtag, it is the foundation of a way of life
Recently I've been following the narrative about working hours in academia. What we talked about on the piirus.ac.uk blog, and what you told us in the poll. What the brilliant Raul Pacheco-Vega says about over-work and how to work productively instead. How a real discussion is opening up about the realities of academic life, where long hours are necessary … [Read more...] about How I found out, how NOT to be an academic
Academic articles can be inspired from some very non-academic places and sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest things... A little while ago, I wrote an academic paper examining the ways in which life and death could be interpreted in the two versions of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Last year, it was published. While I have long loved Sylvia … [Read more...] about Academic articles and non-academic inspiration
Researchers in popular culture have not only kicked arse and saved the world but have also worn brilliant cardigans Inspired by the 20th anniversary of the cultural touchstone that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and trust that the author says this in all seriousness), this post is dedicated to celebrate the awesomeness of research - and the awesomeness of … [Read more...] about A Critical Ka-Pow – Researchers in popular culture
Our correspondent, Kathy McKay explains her approach to the need for flexibility of location that so often comes along with having academic career goals. In my last post, I spoke about my minimalist approach to possessions – the fewer things I own, the easier I find moving when a job is offered. I have learned exactly what is precious enough to move with … [Read more...] about Have academic career goals, will travel
Minimalism can be a strange beast. Right now, my life’s possessions consist of: 1. one small tortoiseshell cat; 2. one (admittedly squished) wardrobe’s worth of clothes; 3. four blankets; and, 4. eight boxes that I can pick up, mostly filled with books, art, and all my cake tins. You know – the vital things to life. I used … [Read more...] about The Academic Art of Minimalism
Some academics do seem to be wedded to their research, but let’s leave the marriage metaphors aside. This post is all about choosing which academic work commitments you say ‘yes’ to. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post on why it was important to be able to say ‘No’. It is a way to create some kind of balance, a way to … [Read more...] about Before you say Yes: 3 questions to ask yourself (And I’m not talking about marriage!)
Who do you need? It is not always easy to get by in the academic world, especially when you are just starting out. I’m not one to normally question Simon and Garfunkel but, in truth, no one can be an island for the long-term. At some point, all of us need somebody, if not to love, then to work with – which I’m sure is also badly paraphrasing another classic … [Read more...] about Finding Your People: Mentors, Collaborators, and Guardian Angels
As we begin 2017, perhaps some of you will have taken a seasonal break from your work. Or perhaps you worked right through: it can be hard to take time out from research and academic life. Some of you might be making New Year's resolutions and perhaps one of them might be to think of your work-life balance. With this in mind, our blog is taking a look at … [Read more...] about Saying No: Why it’s important to be brave
Recently an article I wrote with a colleague went viral. We had media interest over two days from all over the world. There was even an article by the Science Editor in The Times, which feels a strange thing to say about a little essay. The article has been published in over 30 languages across 1,000 media outlets. Because it was just a little … [Read more...] about Going viral: 3 tips to help you through
We’re delighted to feature this interview with one of our members, who took part in our Let’s Collaborate campaign on Twitter this year. Read about her research work and her collaboration interests. Who are you and what is the work you do? I am a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney Medical School in Australia. I have a PhD in Forensic … [Read more...] about Let’s Collaborate: Introducing piirus.ac.uk member Lauren Monds
We're delighted to feature an interview with a researcher who has a real enthusiasm for her work. This interview with Dr Olivia Kirtley provides a welcome reminder of all the good that research can do. Tell us about the work you do. I am a postdoctoral research psychologist in the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory (SBRL) at the University of … [Read more...] about Interview with Dr Olivia Kirtley: Dismantling presumption
Wanting to write A few months ago, the fiercely brilliant writer Cory Taylor died. In the time before the cancer became fiercer than her, she wrote ‘Dying: A Memoir’ as a way to make sense of death, of what was happening to her. It’s a beautiful book. A section that struck me, was when she talked of not having a bucket list: “From the age of … [Read more...] about Writing through a fear of writing – featuring 3 most helpful steps.
A few weeks ago, I was told that I had a good example of an academic portfolio career. I love labels – they make wonky things sound so much prettier. So I obviously googled ‘portfolio career’ to see what I was doing. Having a portfolio career is where you don’t have one full-time job at one location – you have two or more (often more) … [Read more...] about How do you make a portfolio career work for you?
A few Sundays ago, I spent the afternoon with a colleague making felt animals to match the story ‘Dear Zoo’. All of this was done on a steep learning curve – I am deeply uncrafty with a knowledge of children’s literature bound to feminist deconstructions of fairytales and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’. But my friend needed help – she needed felt characters … [Read more...] about On small goodnesses