This is the first issue of our Graduate School Newsletter
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ESSL Graduate School Newsletter
Issue 1, December 2016
Dear ESSL Postgraduate Researchers,

This is the inaugural newsletter of the ESSL Graduate School – and we very much hope that you will find it to be useful, informative and interesting. We plan to produce three issues of the newsletter per year, and would very much like to receive your feedback on the newsletter and what you would like to see future issues feature and focus on. So do please get in touch with us and let us know your thoughts and ideas.

One of the key things we would like the newsletter to do is to celebrate the central role of Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) in the intellectual life of the ESSL Faculty. You are integral to the academic mission of the Faculty and contribute enormously to its vibrant research culture, from which we all benefit. The newsletter will therefore celebrate your outstanding research achievements, as well as publicise PGR-focused research, training and development, support and funding opportunities available within ESSL and the wider University.

We will also use the newsletter to keep you up-to-date on PGR developments within and outside the ESSL Graduate School.

In sum, we hope the newsletter will reflect the commitment of the ESSL Graduate School to ensuring that you have an excellent academic experience at the University of Leeds.

With best wishes,

Stuart Lister and Elisa Coati

ESSL Graduate School Staff

Stuart Lister is the Director of the Graduate School


Elisa Coati is the Graduate School Manager

Keep in touch with us!
Twitter: @ESSLGradSchool
Welcome to new PGRs!
On behalf of all members of the ESSL Graduate School, academic staff, support staff and PGRs, we extend a very warm welcome to you. We hope that you have a hugely enjoyable, rewarding and intellectually stimulating time studying at the University of Leeds.

You are joining a truly international community of PGRs, which we believe will enrich your time with us intellectually, culturally and socially. We have an enormously diverse community of over 350 PGRs within the ESSL Graduate School, bringing together a tremendous amount of scholarly talent from all parts of the globe. Rarely will you gain the opportunity to learn so much from so many!

You are also joining us at a very exciting time. The University has great ambitions for postgraduate research and is investing heavily to ensure that its community of PGRs has the very best academic experience possible. So we would encourage you to engage with the range of exciting research and training events taking place in the Faculty, but also to make use of all the services and facilities that the University makes available to support you during your studies.
The ESSL Graduate School brings together PGRs from the academic Schools of the Faculty (i.e. Education, Sociology and Social Policy, Politics and International Relations, and Law) and for a range of purposes, including research training and development and social networking. Sharing your experiences with fellow PGRs is a fantastic way of gaining peer-group support and integrating yourself into the research environment; so we would encourage you to make the most of the opportunities you have to meet and work with other PGRs from within and beyond your own intellectual discipline.
Whether you joined us in October or more recently, we hope that you are settling in to life as a ‘Leeds PGR’ and becoming accustomed to the daily rhythms of studying for a research degree.
News from your PGR Reps
Dongman Cai (School of Education) and John Gannon (School of Law) have been appointed to the role of Faculty PGR Representatives for this academic year.
First of all, hello! 

As fellow postgraduate researchers, we strongly believe that the voice of PGRs should be heard wherever decisions are made which affect them. We are thus delighted to have the opportunity to represent all ESSL PGRs at Faculty level and beyond. In the coming months we will liaise with your PGR representatives in Schools to ensure that lines of communication are open to all the places where decisions are made which affect you.

We particularly intend to promote inter-School awareness of events, to raise any common and shared issues with key Faculty office-holders, and to ensure that items of best practice are disseminated throughout the Faculty. Primarily, we will work with the Graduate School Director and Manager and attend meetings of the Faculty Graduate School Committee where we will ensure that your interests are front and centre when decisions are taken.

You can get in touch with us by contacting the Graduate School Manager - and we look forward to hearing from you! 

PGR-led Events from across the Faculty
  • Ashley Bullard and James Beresford from the School of Sociology and Social Policy are organising a one-day symposium on Narrating Policy: Exploring Narrative in Policy and Policy Analysis, taking place  on 16 January 2017. You can find more detailed information here.
  • The Conference for Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics - CIAP 2016: Emotions in Politics and International Relations was organised by Yuri van Hoef, Joshua Hobbs and Alex Prior from the School of Politics and International Studies, together with colleagues from other institutions. The conference took place on 20-21 October 2016 and the varied programme attrached over 90 attendees. You can read a full report on the conference here.
  • The annual PGR-led Law and Social Justice seminar series is organised by PGRs in the Centre for Law and Social Justice within the School of Law. The series invites speakers from a range of disciplines and focuses on new and innovative methodological approaches and interdisciplinary approaches that consider the relationship between law and social justice. It provides opportunity for scholars to discuss new research ideas and themes in an informal setting, and particularly welcomes PGRs and other early career researchers. Contact Jess Mant for  information.
  • An Education Policy Discussion Group, organised by PGRs in the School of Education, is meeting every Wednesday at 12-1pm in the Student Common Room in Hilary Place. The groups aims to discuss key contemporary research questions in education policy. PhD researchers as well as MA students and academic staff are invited to join. For further information, contact Paulette Dougnac.
  • The annual ESSL Graduate School Conference will take place on Wednesday, 22 March 2017. A multi-disciplinary Organising Committee is working on the organisation of this event. Please watch out for a Call for Papers being circulated soon!
Use this newsletter to publicise your event by contacting the Graduate School Manager -
Training and Development Opportunities
  • The 7th annual University of Leeds Postgraduate Research Conference 'Showcase' took place on Monday 5 December 2016. ESSL PGRs featured in several of the conferences competitions, including 'PGR of the Year', 'Three Minute Thesis', and Research Image and Poster of the year. Many congratulations to Ben Vincent from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, who won 2nd prize in the Research Image competition!
  • The White Rose DTC will host an event focusing on Open Scholarship and Research Data Management at the University of Leeds on 15 December 2016. Presentations and workshops will focus on the relationship between  Data Management and Open Access. Contributors to the day will include library staff and researchers, including recent PhD graduates. Please see here for more information.
  • The British Library Open Days are offering a chance for PGRs to discover the British Library’s unique research materials, and to find out how to use the Library and its services, including how to explore its physical and online collections. As well as hearing from library staff, PGRs will have the opportunity to meet other researchers from a range of disciplines. Each day will focus on a different parts of the Library’s collection. The Social Sciences Open Day will take place on 30 January 2017. For further details of the all Open Days and how to book please visit the British Library’s website.
  • A list of training courses offered by SDDU, for Social Scientists, can be found here. Most of these run as full day or half-day workshops and include opportunities for transferable and/or academic skills training (e.g.academic writing, ethics and publishing), as well as training on key stages of the PhD process (e.g. transfer, viva).
  • The Careers Centre runs a series of workshops focused on the needs of PGRs. Details of these (which include CVs for careers outside academia; articulating skills, etc.) will be advertised through a new Careers interface at this link. The link also enables you to register to sessions. Places are limited to 25 per session so early booking is recommended.
Funding Opportunities
The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Dissertation Fellowships

Closing date:  1 February 2017
The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation invites applications for its dissertation fellowships. These support doctoral candidates approaching the final year of their PhD to enable them to complete their thesis. Areas of interest to the foundation include violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime and family relationships.
Priority is given to areas and methodologies not receiving adequate attention and support from other funding sources.
Ten or more fellowships are available, each worth US$20,000.
Pathways to PhD Impact
Congratulations to Jessica Bradley (School of Education), the ESSL Faculty nominee to the 'PGR of the Year' competition at this week's University of Leeds Postgraduate Research Conference. We asked Jessica about her PhD project and its related impact.

Tell us about your PHD
My PhD project focuses on communication and community arts. I research multilingual street arts and community arts within the contexts of co-produced and collaborative productions. I focus on a concept called ‘translanguaging’ which provides a way of thinking differently about multilingualism. I am interested in how different elements of our communicative repertoires are employed within creative arts settings – and in how these intersect with, overlap with, and are entangled with the arts practices and creative activities which are taking place.

What is the impact of your project to date, and what are your future impact plans?
The impact of my project, and of the wider research project to which my doctoral research is linked, relates to understandings of multilingualism in every day life. I am particularly interested in how its findings can be used not only to develop arts and performance work with diverse communities and with multilingual groups, but also in terms of understanding processes of collaboration and partnership across sectors and practices.

Why is impact an important part of your project
My professional background is in higher education engagement – specifically within education. So for me, impact and engagement are interconnected. We achieve impact starting at a grass-roots level – through conversations, through working across disciplines and through engaged and collaborative working. And impact works both ways – it is bilateral, it is dialogic. This means the practices I observe in my research also have an impact me, on my work and on the broader field.
PGR Spotlight
The following text is a synopsis of a presentation given at the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre Welcome Event, University of York on 6th October, 2016. It focuses on how International PGRs can develop support strategies to enable them to focus on their research whilst maintaining supportive relationships with their families, who may be living overseas.

Being Wives, Moms, Daughters, Sisters, Aunts, Cousins…and PhD Students
LaTonia A. Siler-Holloman & Tiffany R. Holloman
Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds
As international PhD students, we find our academic work very challenging and exciting, however, our responsibilities do not end as students. We are moms, children, sisters, cousins and friends of wonderful people who live thousands of miles away. To fulfill our many roles, we have found it useful to implement three strategies to balance our research and family relationships: establish boundaries, tailor communication, and create quality time.

Establish boundaries. We informed loved ones of our limitations, then, helped them set up an efficient network that provides immediate support with ordinary or emergency situations. Instead of calling us, Mom can now go online to troubleshoot issues with her mobile.

Tailor Communication. Our loved ones have varying preferences and technological skills. We analysed those skills and now use the most suitable for each. We call the landline phone to chat with Grandma or use Facebook with the children and cousins.

Create Quality Time. We allot one day weekly for extended time with the family and friends and take out a little for ourselves.  Thus, we may watch our granddaughter explore her surroundings, play an online game with our nephew, or have date night.

We have found that these tactics, established early in the PhD process, have provided us with a rewarding balance in our various roles of students, family members, and friends.
PGR Internships

Many congratulations to...

Alex Prior (POLIS), who has  been accepted to a highly competitive PSA/House of Commons Committee Office Placement scheme, giving him opportunity to gain first-hand experience of parlimaentary processes during his 4-month placement. Read more...

Neda Nobari Nazari (Law), who has been offered a prestigious internship hosted by the Government Office for Science following a Research Council Policy Internships Scheme call. Neda will work for three months with the Home Office.

News from around the University
Leeds University Union (LUU) News
The first PGR Forum took place on Thursday 17 November 2016. The Forum provides an open platform to consult, discuss, and create opportunities between PGR Reps, LUU, and the University of Leeds.
Prof Claire Honess (Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies), and Melissa Owusu (LUU Education Officer) were in attendance and responded to questions from the postgraduate community. All PGR Reps and interested PGRs were invited to submit questions and to attend the event, which included a free lunch for participants. It is expected that further PGR Forums will take place during the academic year.


White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership
The Faculty of ESSL, along with all other Social Sciences Schools/Faculties at the University of Leeds, will be part of the
White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) from October 2017. Funded by ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council), The Partnership will build on the current White Rose Doctoral Training Centre (WRDTC) and will continue offering training and networking opportunities to PhD researchers in the Social Sciences at Leeds, Sheffield and York, and will also include new partners at the universities of Bradford, Hull, Sheffield Hallam and Manchester Metropolitan. This is tremendous news for ESSL and recognition of the high quality of supervision, training and development it offers to PGRs across a broad range of social science subjects.
Edward Boyle Library Research Hub
The newly refurbished Edward Boyle Library now hosts a Research Hub on level 13. This is a dedicated study space which PGRs can use for private study as well as for group work. There are a number of desks and computers available, as well as private bookable rooms. Training rooms for events are also available, including conference facilities. The Research Hub was officially launched on 24 October 2016.


RidNet - Researchers in Development Network Conference
The Researchers in Development Network, or RiDNet, is a PGR-led network of PhD students and early career researchers working in international development and/or conducting social research in developing countries.  Their annual conference aims to give students and early career researchers a chance to share experiences, ideas and methods.

The next conference will take place on 27 January 2017, with the title “I, Researcher: exploring the research experience – context, self and interdisciplinary practice”. Abstracts for presentation in different formats and under various themes are invited with a deadline of 16th December 2016. Further details can be found

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