How Stepping Away From My PhD Helped My Research

Hive Scholar Erin is a Druid and lover of nature, and gives an insight into how these helped her with her research. Welcome to a new year, and to new researchers. It might feel strange to see a post about stepping away from your PhD when you may just be beginning and while this is aimed primarily at existing PhD researchers, it is also relevant … Continue reading How Stepping Away From My PhD Helped My Research

And Now, the End is Here – Goodbye to an Unforgettable Year – Abigail

It’s the end of my year as a Hive scholar and looking back it’s hard to say what the best bit was. It has been a real pleasure and a privilege to be involved with the various welcome events for new researchers throughout the year and meeting so many people starting out on their PhD journey. I remember going to a welcome event when I … Continue reading And Now, the End is Here – Goodbye to an Unforgettable Year – Abigail

Doctoral Discussion: What next after the PhD?

Last week on the 8th of May, we held our third Doctoral Discussion on Post-PhD careers, a topic most late-stage doctoral students struggle with. It can be so hard to focus on both finishing your PhD and what’s next and to be honest, thinking about finishing is what is most of us are focussing on. But we at the Hive wanted to give our doctoral … Continue reading Doctoral Discussion: What next after the PhD?

Life After Your Doctorate -Transferable skills

So you’ve handed in your thesis, passed your viva with flying colours and now you’re ready for the world of gainful employment. Or you’re still in the middle of it all but are beginning to think it never hurts to have a plan B. Whatever your situation it can be daunting thinking about sending out CVs for actual, proper work. It’s not that your PhD … Continue reading Life After Your Doctorate -Transferable skills

Doctoral Discussion on Post-PhD Careers

Our next Doctoral Discussion will be held on the 8th May 2019 from 12:30PM to 2PM in Pevensey 1, 2D11. We will be talking about what happens after the PhD, mainly focussing on post-PhD careers. Join a panel of representatives from the various departments around Sussex that work to help PhD students find the next step. We have speakers who will be talking about careers outside … Continue reading Doctoral Discussion on Post-PhD Careers

Do we even need conferences? Doctoral Discussion Recap

EDIT: recording from the discussion available on YouTube: On Monday the 1st of April The Research Hive hosted the second this year Doctoral Discussion. The broad and somehow enigmatic theme of the discussion was ‘conferences’ and everything related to sharing one’s research.  As organizers of the event we tried to make the topic as general and universal as possible in order to allow for … Continue reading Do we even need conferences? Doctoral Discussion Recap

Doctoral Discussions: on conferences and sharing your research

For the second edition of this year’s Doctoral Discussions series we are exploring the topic of conferences. When to start applying? How many shall we be visiting in a year? How to deal with the pressure during presenting and how to present well? How to choose and prepare for a conference if your project is interdisciplinary or practice-based? Join a panel of doctoral researchers who … Continue reading Doctoral Discussions: on conferences and sharing your research

To Teach or Not to Teach

Last Thursday, January 24th, we had our first Doctoral Discussion of 2019. This Monday, January 28th, we held our first Twitter chat. The subject of both was teaching during your PhD. There’s a reason for this preoccupation. For two of us Hive scholars, the past few months have been absorbed by teaching. We’ve both been dealing with our first groups of students, teaching our first … Continue reading To Teach or Not to Teach

Attending your first conference



A decision to send your paper through and present it at your first ever conference can be overwhelming! You have the right to feel like that, and do not ever think that you are the only one here- the truth is that we are all on the same boat and have felt or will feel challenged by the thought of presenting in front of strangers at some point in our academic life.

I started very early and presented at my first conference three days after submitting my MA thesis. It may sound impressive, but truth be told it was an absolute nightmare. You can imagine how well one can prepare within three days of celebrating/moving/travelling to another country for a conference. Not very well… at all. Unfortunately, the following conferences did not go much better. In my early 20s I got into a very unhealthy habit of ‘collecting’ conferences- applying to all and going to all. For some reason I thought it would look good on my CV, and perhaps it did, but I would never want to go through the hell of presenting ill-defined ideas in front of professional academics nor would I want to recommend that approach to any of you.

Instead, I have a list of tips I wish I could have been given before my first conference, which remain things I tell myself every time I go to a conference:

  1. Choose wisely #1- know your needs: Just for the record- there are plenty of different kinds of conferences: small, quality-driven ones, hands-on ‘let’s discuss’ workshops, invite-only symposia, and take-all, huge conferences etc. It is worth deciding what kind would serve your needs best at different stages of your work- are you looking to improve your project and need some comments and criticism? Do you need colleagues to apply for a grant/networking? Want to share your project with as many people as possible?
  2. Choose wisely #2- know your limitations: There is only as much material and original ideas you can produce within a specific time. You don’t have to present in order to attend a conference. It is absolutely fine to go just to learn, observe, take part in Q&As if you don’t feel that you are ready or your paper is at a presentable stage.
  3. Don’t produce fake abstracts that sound legit just to get in. See point #2.
  4. Prepare well, so you feel as confident as possible. Start working on the presentation as early as possible, even if you are to spend 15 mins daily, and give yourself at least one day to learn your paper. I also recommend making a list of things that you will need to take with you: pen drive, notes, charger…
  5. You might want to schedule a mock presentation and read/present it to another human being 🙂
  6. Once at the conference, enter with openness and positive energy. Instead of worrying that you don’t know anyone or might not be included by the crowd, try to approach other people and include them the way you would like to be included. Remember that most people in the room feel exactly the way you do- stressed and self-conscious. Same goes for the panels- look at people and be attentive when they present the way you appreciate being listened to.
  7. Try to make the most of your time at the conference- approach people you want to talk to and try to come up with a question for each presentation.
  8. It’s ok to leave if you feel tired and overwhelmed. Don’t be too hard on yourself- conferences tend to be exhausting. Sometimes it’s worth taking a morning/evening/couple of hours off to be able to come back reinvigorated.
  9. It’s also ok to be criticized. It is not personal and don’t take it as such. Think of critique as a natural and much needed part of your conference experience- it is one of the reasons you are there for. Remember that no academic and non-academic project is perfect and people who offer their suggestions and critique want to help you, not attack you.

Continue reading “Attending your first conference”

Doctoral Discussions: Teaching During Your PhD

For the first of this year’s Doctoral Discussions series we are taking a look at the complex subject of teaching during your PhD. Are you already teaching? About to start? Wondering how on earth you’re going to juggle the workload? Do you teach in more than one subject area?  If you’re swamped with marking, passionate about pedagogy or loving interacting with your students then come … Continue reading Doctoral Discussions: Teaching During Your PhD