Kickstart your Fridays with Shut Up & Write!

We’ve finalised a date and time for the first Shut Up and Write! session of this year – thank you to everyone who emailed in and participated in our Twitter poll.

The first SUW! will be Friday 20 October from 9:30am – 12pm. We’ll all meet in the library café to get everyone a coffee (on us!), and once everyone’s had a chat and enough caffeine we’ll head up to the Hive at 10am for a couple of hours of writing in a quiet, friendly space.

Come along and beat your Friday procrastination with an ultra-productive morning of work alongside fellow researchers, for a chance to catch up and to end the week on a good note (and did we mention the free coffee?).

We will be running SUW! at this time slot for the next three biweekly sessions: Fridays at 9:30am – 12pm on 20 October, 3 November and 17 November. We’ll gather more feedback before making this a permanent time slot, so please do get in touch.

Look out for regular updates on Twitter and via our SUW! mailing list (be sure to email us at to be added to the list).

Let us know if you plan to come along, and, as always, any feedback or suggestions are welcome on email, Twitter or in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Ketan, Nikesh & Veronica


Shut Up and Write! (What time works for you?)

This year we’ll be running Shut Up & Write!, an opportunity to mix up your writing strategy! Back by popular demand, Shut Up & Write! is a scheduled group writing session, fuelled by a free coffee and a chat before knuckling down to work.

Now a trending concept for research students all over the world, SU&W! originated in San Francisco Bay Area to “help members reach their writing goals in a supportive, social setting”. Feedback from previous years suggests that writing alongside others in the Hive can strongly improve focus and productivity, while regular sessions at a fixed time creates a unique and sociable impetus for your work.

Join us for the first session soon! We’ll meet in the library café and get everyone a coffee, then head on up to the Hive to shut up, knuckle down and write.

We’re working on finding the best day and time for regular sessions, so please do help us out by participating in our Twitter poll (@sussexreshive) or emailing us ( with your preferences.

We’ll be sending updates via email about upcoming sessions and more – join our SU&W! mailing list by emailing us at

Further details of the first session will be posted soon – watch this space!

The Doctoral Bubble Hop: Welcome Event for Doctoral Researchers

Calling all doctoral researchers! Whether you are brand new to Sussex or an existing doctoral student, we would love to welcome you to the Hive at our Doctoral Bubble Hop event on Tuesday 3rd October at 3:30 – 5pm, with a *free drink* afterwards.

The event will be an opportunity to see the Hive, take part in an activity or two, and find out more about what the Hive can do for you. Moreover, it will be a chance to expand your Sussex bubble and meet fellow students from all areas of doctoral research.

It’s all too easy to become familiar with our own bubbles of university life, as we work, socialise and spend time within our own departments. Meeting researchers from other disciplines can become all too rare, however, we think it’s important to ‘bubble hop’ every now and then! Why not start the new academic year with a bang (or a pop?), and get involved with the wider doctoral research community through the Hive?

The Hive Scholars Ketan, Nikesh and Veronica, will be on hand at the Welcome Event to tell you all about the seminars, events, discussions and occasional mad-cap schemes facilitated by the Hive so far, and how we plan to continue the work of previous scholars over this academic year.

We can answer your questions, and we also want to hear all your challenges, hopes, fears and expectations for your time here. We would love to know any suggestions you might have for our peer-to-peer support of doctoral students at Sussex.

We’ll be heading on to a bar after the event, so come along to claim your free drink voucher and join us!

Sign up now

We look forward to meeting you,

Ketan, Nikesh & Veronica

Nb: If you have any questions about the event, please do post a comment below, or drop in and see us in the Hive (see our About page for our shift calendar).

Introducing the New Hive Scholars: Ketan

profphotocropped (2)3. I’m Ketan.
I started my academic career at Sussex some years ago, having obtained both my professional law degree and master’s degree at our wonderful institution. During and after my legal studies, I worked variously for local tax authorities, an investment bank, a charity advocating for rights for disabled persons, and corporate law firms.

My vision as a Hive Scholar is to harness this space — physical and virtual — to mobilise interdisciplinarity among doctoral researchers. That term is thrown around a lot, but perhaps nowhere is it more linked to both institutional identity and historical circumstance than at Sussex. This commitment, formed by our founders in response to perceived shortcomings in higher education on the international scale, originally took the form of a ‘core and context’ system for undergraduate students, whereby taking any degree required a combination of general and specialist study.

Like American higher education, undergraduates were to take some general study regardless of their intended specialisation — i.e. every student in the humanities or social sciences had to take a common paper on philosophy. But unlike our transatlantic counterparts, interdisciplinary education here took the form of seminars convened under the joint tutorship of academics from different disciplines. By way of example, a module entitled “The Industrial Revolution and the English Literary Imagination,” in the School of English & American Studies (as it was then) sought to enrich formalist textual analysis (taught by English professors) with wider historical context (taught by History professors).

The purpose of this system was not simply ‘create better thinkers’ out of undergraduate students, but rather to produce better specialists. It was a system of study designed to foster independent research with a view to cultivating the skills for novel research, rather than encouraging the proliferation of trivial or ‘handbook knowledge’ across a number of disciplines. In essence, it was meant to cultivate, among other things, the skills that characterise good doctoral research. For many of us, by the time we enter doctoral study, the principle underpinning interdisciplinarity — that clarity of peripheral subjects can illuminate the core — is familiar.  Far less familiar are techniques to understand how we might achieve that clarity through interactions with our academic peers. One cause of this myopia can be found in our subject-based silos, themselves produced by research needs and patterns of departmental organisation. Where and how we research, whether in labs or shared office space, directly influences what kinds of ideas we are exposed to. This is of course not helped by subject-specific vocabularies and methodologies that serve as disincentives for wider research paradigms.

My hope that through the Hive, we can start the right conversations. Interdisciplinarity often provokes more questions than it answers. How do we solve the academic language barrier? Can historically fruitful interdisciplinary exchanges be generalised and systematised into some kind of method, or are they transient wonders of chance? Even those questions are not new, and perhaps they will remain insoluble. However, it is my firm belief that a platform for doctoral researchers can avoid the pitfalls of a purely symbolic or nominal interdisciplinarity. Arriving at this stage of our academic careers should make it possible to avoid intellectual dilettantism (or Ruskin’s ‘handbook knowledge’), that practice of selectively invoking concepts or studies from outside one’s field for the sake of appearances, which is at best self-congratulatory and at worst an excellent way to cross-sterilise to the two fields at issue.. Framed correctly, however, knowledge exchange ought to result in the cross fertilisation of our research landscapes. If not, at least we will have tried. In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Introducing the new Hive Scholars: Nikesh

2. Nikesh


Welcome all new doctoral researchers!  As daunting as it may feel for many of you to be back in university surroundings, take a moment to congratulate yourself on being in this privileged position!  These upcoming years will no doubt be positively challenging, and a wonderful opportunity to delve deep into your academic interests.  There is support all around you, and whilst it may take a little while to familiarise yourself, the Hive Scholars are here for you!


Yes that’s right – I am a ‘Hive Scholar’, otherwise known as a friendly guy called Nikesh who is here to support you in your Sussex doctoral journey!

My background is in medicine, and I am training to be a GP.  I am on a break from this to pursue my research interest of medication-related harm in older adults.  I’m entering my third and final doctoral year with Brighton and Sussex Medical School, and it has been a journey with ups and downs as is life more generally.  And with the same golden tools that help us cope with the ups and downs of life, humour, friendship, resilience and patience are essential in your doctoral years.  I suspect there will be few times (if any) times when you feel you are breaking the boundaries of your research field, and lots of times that you feel you are stuck and not progressing.  This is ENTIRELY normal, don’t panic!  Studying a PhD is not about winning a nobel prize (good on you if you do however!), it is about learning through supervision how to become a good, independent researcher.  And to nurture this through an academic interest of your own.  This is an amazing opportunity, and always think of it as such, rather than a struggle.  You are only getting wiser during the process!  And as some say, the more you know…the more you realise you don’t know!  Well that’s fantastic, because if you can stick a fraction of that stuff you don’t know by the end of your doctorate on paper…!VOILA!…your ‘further work’ bit is done 🙂 !

Over the year, myself and Ketan and Veronica want to be a peer-support that you can rely on if you need a bit of peer-guidance.  We will be organising social events, study events, ‘shut-up’ events (will explain later!) and much much more.  Keep in touch…don’t hesitate to be in contact and make suggestions to improve the Hive doctoral community and support on offer here.  We will keep you up to date via the Hive website and twitter feed, and by email as appropriate.  Come and spend time at the Hive, 2nd floor of the library.  It is a comfy home for doctoral students, the Hive scholars will be about each week, and as they say in Costa (I think)…you never know who you might meet over coffee…!




Introducing the new Hive Scholars!

In our first three blogs, we would each like to introduce ourselves as the three new Research Hive Scholars for 2017-18; Veronica, Ketan and Nikesh. We’ll be working to provide peer-to-peer support for all doctoral researchers, so get involved and let us know all your needs and ideas!

Veronica Wignall

1: Veronica

Hi! I’m Veronica, or just V for short. I’m just starting the second year of my PhD at Sussex, studying the foraging ecology and behaviour of honey bees and other pollinators. Did you know there’s a bee lab on campus? We have hives (which seems appropriate), a beekeeper and occasionally even lab honey.

I was new to Sussex last year, having completed a BSc and MRes at Bristol. I was also returning to academia after a brief tangent in London, where I experimented with various jobs – from helping out at a city farm and community radio station, to working in a publishing house and a press office. It took me a couple of years to admit to myself that I wanted to return to the world of research… but I’m glad I made it back and would love to help as many of you as possible to navigate its gnarly path!

As a Research Hive Scholar I would like to address some of the issues I am facing in academia, including imposter-type feelings, the black cloud of publishing, being a woman!, modern research tools such as social media, and the pressures of lab and fieldwork. As well as this, I want to hear about any and all of the issues YOU are facing, whatever stage you are at, and to offer peer-to-peer support. In all probability we Scholars have experienced, are currently experiencing, or are about to encounter the same fears and woes and ups and downs as you, and we want to work with you to find creative solutions where we can.

So, come and talk to us in the Hive (see here to find when we’ll be around) or at events; keep an eye out for Research Hive workshops, seminars, focus groups and so on via this blog; use the physical Hive space in the library for all your quiet study or group work needs, follow us on Twitter @sussexreshive, and please do let us know any of your ideas via email ( or the Suggestion Box in the Hive. Watch this space – and I hope to meet you soon.

— Blogs from my two fellow scholars Ketan and Nikesh will be following shortly! —

Help me with my research!

Today I am using this post for own personal gain 🙂 I need your help with my research. My research is about EU migrants’ experiences with the naturalisation process in the UK. I am doing interviews (40 min to 1 hour) with EU citizens who are eligible to apply for British citizenship, whether they have applied already, are in the process of applying or are thinking of applying. I believe they can help us understand the process from the migrants’ perspective better.

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