People skills, facilitation, writing retreats, … and more in May

Our programme for May contains a varied range of opportunities, online workshops, writing retreats and shorter sessions, to support your development and to support your well-being in this time of uncertainly and to help maintain a sense of continuity.

Online workshops – Working with difficult people

The Company of Mind are providing a series of three shorter online workshops for the originally offered full day workshops, ‘Working with difficult people’. These online workshops will be presented in the Zoom software and will provide a mixture of ideas and interactive activities, with a further half hour at the end of each workshop for questions and discussion.

1: Wednesday, 13 May 2020 10:00 – 12:00 – Online workshop “People – Similarities”

2: Thursday, 21 May 10:00 – 12:00 – Online workshop ” People – Differences”,

3: Friday, 29 May 10:00 – 11:30 – Online workshop ” People and Change”

Follow the above links for further details and registration.

Facilitation

Would you like to learn more about the role of an effective facilitator? Facilitation skills are an essential part of the toolkit for managing group discussions, whether in formal or informal meetings and in group teaching, as well as for tutoring on our development programme.

.20 May 12:30 – 14:00 Webinar: Facilitation skills for working online

This webinar forms part of the LDC Development tutor scheme and, following this session we hope to provide opportunities for further practice in online facilitation.

Online presentations practise: We are providing second opportunity to gain practise in delivering online presentations in a friendly environment, with supportive feedback. Please contact me directly, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

06 May 09:30 – 12:30 Online Presentations practice session

Online Writing retreats

Our online writing retreats are continuing in May with sessions every Tuesday morning. These retreats provide a structured period for writing between opportunities for group discussions at share concerns and gain a sense of camaraderie.

  • 05 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 12 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 19 May 09:45 – 12:00
  • 26 May 09:45 – 12:00

We will be supplementing these retreats with shorter sessions to discuss different aspects of writing. Further information will be circulated to those on the email list.

Please note that we are using a single Eventbrite form for these retreats, which will serve as an email list. You only need to sign up once to this form, without obligation to attend specific events (The event date will regularly update, but this is solely so that the date of the next retreat appears in Liverpool Life!)

Brilliant Club

The Brilliant club are now recruiting PhD researchers as tutors in local schools for 2020-21. To find out more details, come to one of their webinars:

20 May 11:00 – 12:00 Webinar: Introduction to the Brilliant Club

This webinar will outline what the Brilliant Club does and the advantages of getting involved in this scheme. Further details are provided in our blog on the above link.

Mindfulness Interactive workshops

Following on from the workshop on Mindfulness techniques, we are offering weekly 30 minute yoga based  interactive sessions in May to help you develop a positive mindset and practice meditation. Presented by Priyanka Sakhavalkar, these sessions will include a mixture of relaxation and guided meditation

The sessions will run on Thursdays at 12:00 on the 7th,14th ,21th and 28th May.

To sign up for further information to join these events, please register on the Eventbrite form for these workshops.

Peers for PhDs

In May the group are hosting coffee mornings on alternative Tuesday and Thursdays as follows:

  • Thursday 30th April
  • Tuesday 5th May
  • Thursday 14th May
  • Tuesday 19th May

For further details please email Natasha Bradley at Natasha.Bradley@liverpool.ac.uk.

All postgraduate researchers at Liverpool are welcome to join any of the above events. Further events for June will be announced in our Programme Timetable, and communicated through this blog, PGR News @Liverpool, and on twitter at @livuniPGRDev.

The Scholars Programme – PhD tutor opportunities for 2020-21

image for poster

Preparing for opportunities after the lock-down?

The University of Liverpool works in partnership with The Brilliant Club to offer you the opportunity to join the Scholars Programme in 2020-21.

You are invited to a webinar on the 29th April or 20th May to learn more about these opportunities.

The Scholars Programme is run by The Brilliant Club, an award-winning university access charity. They recruit and train doctoral and post-doctoral researchers to deliver programmes of university-style teaching to pupils in schools that serve under-represented communities.

Why Become a Scholars Programme PhD Tutor?

  • Support local pupils from under-represented backgrounds to access university
  • Get expert training and real experience to develop your teaching and other transferable skills
  • Earn £500 per placement plus an additional £100 for designing a new course, and travel expenses
  • Disseminate your research to small groups of school pupils
  • Join a nationwide community of like-minded researchers making a huge impact on university access

Information for Researchers – 2020

The Brilliant Club will be running an online webinar on 29 April 2020 at 11am and 20 Mary 2020 at 11am, where you can find out more about the opportunity of becoming a Scholars Programme PhD tutor. Come along to find out more about the opportunity. To access the webinar, please follow the following links (Google chrome is recommended):

Wednesday 29 April 2020, 11am– https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/995686677

Wednesday 20 May 2020, 11am – https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/810030517

Successful applicants are able to select which terms they would like to work as a tutor in and whether they would like to deliver multiple-placements.

Tutors are supported by a training programme consisting of two full-days including sessions on tutorial pedagogy, assessment and designing a course handbook. Each Scholars Programme placement then begins with tutors accompanying their pupils on a university trip, followed by six further tutorials in their school. At the end of the programme pupils submit an assignment which is marked by their tutor.

You can find out more about The Brilliant Club and the tutoring opportunity online. To apply please visit the application form.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to email The Brilliant Club at apply@thebrilliantclub.org.

Alternatively, are you looking for a full-time position?

If you’re keen on working with young people and feel passionate about our charity’s aims, you can apply to our sister programme, Researchers in Schools. RIS is a full-time route into teaching for PhDs that incorporates elements from The Scholars Programme, along with a host of other features designed to get the most from your research skill set. For more information on RIS, including funding and benefits, contact us on apply@researchersinschools.org or visit www.researchersinschools.org

Our new online programme for April

We are pleased to announce a range of new online workshops, webinars and writing retreats for April, following the cancellation of all face to face workshops for the remainder of the academic year.

Al postgraduate researchers at Liverpool are welcome to join any of the events below. Further events for May and June will be announced soon and the dates will be be listed on our Programme Timetable, and communicated through this blog, PGR News @Liverpool, and on twitter at @livuniPGRDev.

Online workshops and webinars

We have expanded on our planned webinars for April, as follows:

16 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Using Twitter for Academic Purposes 
22 Apr 10:00 – 12:00 Mindfulness techniques to support self-isolation 
(Online workshop)
29 Apr 12:30 – 13:30 Webinar: Time-management techniques for
working in isolation

In addition, the Company of Mind have agreed to provide a series of three shorter online workshops for each of the originally offered full day workshops, ‘Practical thinking for researchers’ and ‘Working with difficult people’. These online workshops will be presented in the Zoom software and will provide a mixture of ideas and interactive activities, with a further half hour at the end of each workshop for questions and discussion. The first set of workshops are as follows:

08 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 1 –
Creative Thinking (Online workshop) – FULLY BOOKED*
16 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 2 –
Constructive & Practical Thinking (Online workshop)
24 Apr 10:00 – 12:30 Practical Thinking for Researchers, 3 –
Critical Thinking (Online workshop)

Each of these online workshops may be booked and taken separately. *Priority booking for the first session on the 8th April has been given to those who registered for the workshop for 31st March, and who will receive an email with further information.

Online presentations practise: We are also providing an opportunity to gain practise in delivering online presentations in a friendly environment, with supportive feedback. This first session will be trial session, please contact me directly, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

28 Apr 09:30 – 12:30 Online Presentations practice session 
(Online workshop)

Online Writing retreats

During the period of Covid-19, we will need to meet virtually, but we hope that by setting out specific and protected time for writing, with set periods of discussion and silence, we give those attending a chance to motivate each other and feel part of a wider, supportive community. Each session will begin with a short general discussion for those attending to share any concerns or good practice.

The upcoming sessions are as follows:

08 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
15 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
21 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat
27 Apr 09:45 – 12:00 Online Writing Retreat

Please note that we are using a single Eventbrite form; by signing up to this form, you will receive regular updates on this part of the programme and are not committed to attending on any specific date.

Methods webinars from LJMU

Liverpool John Moores University have kindly opened their series of webinars on methods to postgraduate researchers at the University of Liverpool. Further details and booking below:

27th April, 14.00-16.00 Writing Reflexivity

28th April, 10.0-12.00 Getting to Grips with Method and Methodology

28th April, 13.30-15.30 Focus Group Skills for Researchers

Please use your University of Liverpool email address when you register for any of the above events.

LDC Development Support for PhD researchers during Covid19

How solid are your plans for coping with the coming period of isolation due to COVID19? Are you confident of continuing with PhD work? What support would you like to receive from LDC Development over the coming period?

The University has recently announced the cancellation of all face to face workshops as part of the University’s response to COVID-19. In consequence, all face-to-face workshops in the LDC development programme are cancelled for the remainder of the Academic year.

Working at home for long periods can be a challenge, especially for those students who are used working on campus. The University encourages students to use Microsoft Teams to maintain formal meetings. Social contacts with peers and colleagues should be maintained online, too, to help us all retain the motivation and general well-being. Have you already arranged your support system? We would love to hear from you about different approaches, and to discuss them with other researchers, enabling everybody to stay engaged.

We are currently looking at how we can enhance our online programme. We would be very interested to hear your thoughts too! What kind of online programme would you like to see? Are there any topics we could add to our programme that would ensure further skills development? Please do get in touch and let us know what we can do to support you in this period.

Meanwhile, we are making significant changes to our programme as an immediate response to COVID-19 situation, which will include a greater range of online sessions as outlined below:

  1. Discussion-based webinars.

Webinar: Managing your PhD work during Covid-19’ 31 March 2020 12:30-13:30

This is a first in a series of webinars on maintaining research activities and social engagement throughout this unusual period. The focus will be on sharing problems and finding solutions. The idea is to move beyond just a presentation format and to encourage wider participation. There will be ample opportunities to ask questions and to share and discuss each other’s needs and experiences.

The webinars in this series will always take place around lunchtime, to give you enough time in the morning to focus on work but also to encourage you to take a well-deserved break!

2. Online careers events

Webinar: Developing effective CVs and applications 2 April 13:30 – 14:30

We are replacing the Workshop on Career Networking on the 26th March with a longer version of the webinar ‘Promoting yourself through networking’ and this will include additional exercises. The presenter, Sally Beyer is exploring options to provide additional online advice on career. More details will be announced soon.

3. Further online workshops

Many of our external presenters are offering to produce online versions to replace the longer workshops in our timetable for this summer that will no longer take place. We hope to announce further details soon.

4. Online writing retreats

Online Mini Writing Retreat 1 April 2020 09:45 – 12:00

During the period of Covid-19, we are moving our meeting online. We still hope that, by setting out specific and protected time for writing, the session can provide structure to your working day and a degree of community support. Please register for further details.

5. Online presentations

Many of you will be missing out on essential opportunities to give early presentations. Perhaps you were hoping to give a first talk at the ‘Your Voice’ PGR conference? The online environment is different, but we may be able to help you to deliver your talk, with accompanying slides and possibly an audience! Don’t forget that some people have to deliver their conference presentations online and that some job interviews are also done online.

We are looking to offer two forms of events:

  1. Practice session – similarly to ‘Academic Presentation’ workshops, the aim would be to give each participant 5 minutes to present their research. After the presentation, the participant would receive friendly comments on the communication, slides, voice etc. 2.
  2. Lunchtime short conferences with each talk lasts 10-15 minutes followed by questions from audience (other participants).

We understand that many conferences have been cancelled, therefore, if you have already prepared your presentation or paper maybe this is a good opportunity to share it. We are also exploring the possibility of organising mini-online conferences for different Faculties, or different field should there be wider interest. If you were wondering about your friends’ research maybe this is the right time to encourage them to apply and share their findings with you and others.

For these sessions you need to be able to access your microphone and send us your slides in advance. The session could be recorded, but with the recordings shared privately.

If you are interested in either of the above options, please email me, Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk with your proposed talk and any questions (NB Please use your University email as I need to know who you are!)

More details about all the proposed activities will be available soon. But should you have more questions please get in touch.

Similarly, should you have any other ideas or needs, please let us know! We can provide further support and discuss your ideas! Follow us on twitter, read our blog and keep an eye on our webpage (to be updated soon). All changes and new activities will be announced through these channels.

Shirley Cooper, shirley.cooper@liverpool.ac.uk

Research Writing – how to overcome challenges?

Empty Notebook

Most PhDs often have concerns when it comes to writing. What is a good writing? How to maintain the writing pace? How to structure, edit or revise your paper or thesis? It is hard to give definite answers – writing is a personal process.

Each individual will need to approach writing differently, as you may have found when discussing writing with your peers. It is important to find out what suits you best. So, it is important to seek out advice to help you feel comfortable about your writing. Here are a few tips to begin:

  • Check the institutional requirements. These are formally defined in the University’s PGR Code of Practice, Appendix 7, which includes advice on the formatting and presentation of the thesis. The editing process might take much longer if you do not consult this early. However, you should also check out any departmental advice for your subject area, for example they may have recommended minimum word count and advice on publishing your data. You could also view previously submitted thesis within your Faculty, School, or Department and see how their thesis and the arguments are structured!
  • Write as much as possible, as often as possible. Writing is not just about the thesis! Try to practice your writing when, for example, taking notes or preparing a presentation. Write down your thoughts occasionally. It will help you structure your sentences and arguments. Good writing comes with extensive practice.
  • Don’t be afraid of feedback, ask for it, and accept the need for revision. Article or thesis editing is a continuous process, and it will follow you from the start of the thesis until the submission moment (and possibly throughout the whole career). 

LDC Team has developed a webinar series to support your writing. The timetable for these sessions follows common challenges as they appear throughout the writing process.

Research Writing – Finding motivation and making a start  09 March 12:30-13:30 

The focus of this webinar is on the initial stage of writing. Topics include overcoming procrastination and different approaches to starting the process of writing. 

Research Writing – Producing an academic document      16 March 12:30-13:30, 

The focus of this webinar is on the construction of academic document and the ways you can build a strong and convincing, yet easy to read, arguments. 

Research Writing – Managing the editing process         23 March 12:30-13:30

The focus of this webinar is on improving clarity and fluency of writing. The topics will include the development of effective editing system and different approaches to reviewing the whole document. 

Writing retreats

LDC Development hosts regular retreats for postgraduate researchers, both two hour mini-writing retreats and full day writing retreats. Together we bring our laptops and collectively write together to accomplish our writing goals. It’s a great way to avoid procrastination and gain writing confidence. Many PGRs have attended the retreats previously, with positive feedback

‘I found that without interruptions, my productivity went up.’

‘I have had trouble focussing on my work recently and feel that attending the workshops would make me set aside time for writing/planning my project.’

‘It enabled me to work better on my writing tasks as I had peers around me doing the same thing in a quiet and conducive environment.’

There are still available places for the Mini writing retreats in March and April:

Mini writing retreat                              18 Mar, 10:00-12:00

 Mini writing retreat                        27-Apr 10:00 – 12:00

The LDC Development also offers   full-day writing retreats in May/June, with full refreshments provided for those who want an intensive day to make progress with their writing, whether you are working on the final thesis write-up, on publications, or your annual reports. The communal process also provides a chance to exchange practice and learn techniques from each other.

 One-day writing retreat                27-May 10:00 – 16:00

 One-day writing retreat              02-Jun 10:00 – 16:00 

 One-day writing retreat               09-Jun 10:00 – 16:00

Check our full programme timetable for details of all upcoming workshops.

LDC Development Team 

Invitation to events at Liverpool John Moores – New dates!

Postgraduate researchers have been invited to the following events offered by the Doctoral Academy Researcher Development Programme at Liverpool John Moores University.

Note these events are all moved to late April, not in March as originally advertised.

Monday 27th April, 14:00-16:00, Writing Reflexivity

Tuesday 28th April, 10:00-12:00, Getting to Grips with Method and Methodology

Tuesday 28th April, 13:30-15:30, Focus Group Skills for Researchers

All events are in this area of Liverpool – please see the Eventbrite registration form for venues. Please register using your University of Liverpool address.

* Organised by the Library at LJMU with speakers from across Liverpool including Fatiha Bouanani from the University of Liverpool.

Peers for PhDs: Tips to gain confidence and overcome imposter syndrome

An informal discussion led by Priyanka Sakhavalkar and Mohamed Hammad.

session logo

Thurs, 27 February 2020
17:30 – 19:30 GMT

Taylor Room, Sydney Jones Library

Please register here!

‘Imposter syndrome’ is a feeling of inadequacy that persists despite evident success. If not recognised, it can cause further anxiety and stress. ‘Imposter Syndrome’ is frequently reported by PhD students. Are there times when you think you don’t belong to the academic environment? Or that most of your colleagues are better than you are? Do you ever think that only luck has brought you where you are, rather than your work, commitment and personal success?

If you feel any of these, or other similar issues, you are in the majority of PGRs. This session, led by the Peers for PhDs team, aims to encourage PGRs to open up and speak about the ‘Imposter Syndrome’. The goal is to seek mechanisms that can help us recognise the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and to build our confidence.

Peers for PhDs is open to all PhD students at Liverpool. Contact the Peers for PhDs team to the join mailing list or come along to a session to find out more.

**Peers for PhDs is a student-led project aiming to improve PGR wellbeing at the university. We’re a welcoming and supportive group that hosts monthly meetings and regular social events with the support from Liverpool Doctoral College (LDC)**

The LDC Development programme offers two workshops with advice to help researchers overcome ‘Imposter Syndrome’ as they prepare for their ongoing career, within or outside research:

27 Feb  09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome       (Fully
booked)
2 July 09:15 – 12:30  Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     Booking   
opens soon

Further Peers for PHDs events this year:

26th March Thursday  Supervisory & Other Working Relationships in the PhD
30th April  Thursday  Wellbeing, mental health and sleep hygiene
28th May  Thursday  Networking, communication and negotiation 
25th June  Thursday  Stress relief with mindfulness

Making the most of Academic conferences

What do conferences offer to new researchers?

  • A chance to learn of the new exciting research in your area?
  • Opportunity to meet the big names’ in your research area?
  • Chance to network with peers undertaking similar research to your own?
  • A chance to make contacts to promote your future career interests?
  • Chance to present your work to a wider audience of subject specialists?

First-time participants might feel uncomfortable joining an academic conference, with rooms full of confident academics who all seem to know each other. However, it is crucial to keep two things in mind. Firstly, all academics were once first-time participants, and they know what it will feel like for a new postgraduate researcher. Secondly, proper preparation can help you gain confidence to benefit more from the experience.

Some ways that you can prepare for conference attendance:

  1. If you are presenting a poster or paper, these will need preparation. You might ask, what can you do to help your contribution stand out? Who are the likely audience and their research areas? What they will be interested in and what questions they might ask?
  2. As an attendee you can review the  research of key speakers, maybe undertaking background reading to help you gain most from their talks and possibly ask questions. Before or nearer the time you might view attendance lists to see if there are attendees who you wish to contact.
  3. You can prepare a ‘pitch’ to support your networking, to be ready to summarise your research in a brief but convincing manner, and with enthusiasm, when you meet researchers from other institutions.

LDC Development programme opportunities

The LDC Development Team offers support for those soon to attend their first  Conference. If you find it hard to structure a presentation well, or if you have difficulties engaging in conversation with established academics, you might begin with our online resources helpful. For example, ‘The ‘Good Networking Video, for example, deals with issues related to networking and includes thoughts and experiences from PGRs and established academics. (University of Liverpool password required). Further online resources support your preparation for poster and talks:

The LDC Development Team also offers a series of Webinars and workshops in these areas. Join us to learn ways to fully engage in the Conference experience and gain practical tips that can help you prepare well for your presentations or networking.

Webinar: Preparing a Conference Poster  10 Feb       12:30 – 13:30
– An interactive session  reviewing what makes a good conference poster?

Webinar: Preparing an ‘Elevator pitch’   17 Feb          12:30 – 13:30
– An outline of the essentials to create a good elevator pitch for your networking.

Webinar: Making the Most of Academic Conferences   19 Feb         12:30 – 13:30
 – A view of conference attendance from the PhD perspective and delivered by two current PGRs .

 Pushing beyond imposter syndrome     27 Feb          09:15 – 12:30
– A workshop to help you understand your fears and develop techniques to overcome them.

Effective Networking at Conferences   3 Mar             13:00 – 16:00
  – A practical session focussing on conference networking and now to approach this, including practice to help you develop the important networking pitch!

Sessions focussing on Presentations skills

Further sessions will help you improve your presentation skills, prepare and even practice in advance of  a key presentation:

11 Feb  09:30 – 12:30   Planning and Preparing an Effective Research
Presentation
18 Feb   09:30 – 12:30   Delivering Academic Presentations
– repeated on the 17 March, and  28 April.
24 Feb   09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
1 – defining your message
2 Mar  09:30 – 12:30 Webinar: Enhancing your Research Presentations
2 – delivery

New to PhD Research at Liverpool?

  • Are you feeling confused and disorientated at the start of your PhD?
  • Are you seeking opportunities to connect with other researchers in similar positions?
  • Are you aware of what the LDC Development programme has to offer?

Starting the PhD can often be a bewildering process as you try to find a structure and make sense of what you need to do, not just to start your research, but to manage all those various administrative processes. Unfortunately, there is no generic roadmap for the PhD.

I liken the start of the PhD to setting out on a sea voyage in an unfamiliar boat, to an unknown destination and with limited charts. You might have some guidance from your supervisor, some supervisor can be very helpful but others may have limited time. Your first trip out usually involves considerable trial and error; you will need to learn many general skills and gain new knowledge, how to handle your ‘boat/research’ , how to communicate with the ‘shore/work with collaborators’ as well learning the navigation/research skills. The first destination may not be where you expected, as research is about exploring the unknown, but, the first voyage will give you a much better idea of how to approach the next trip.

Remember; Many other PhD researchers do feel  ‘in the same boat’ !

The Liverpool Doctoral College provides a range of induction material for new starters, including the LDC Handbook, and your School or Institute should also provide an induction.  The PGR Toolbox includes the Record of Supervisory Meetings, a tool that all PhD researchers must use. There is a range of online help for this tool.

For more information see Essential University Links and a video Introduction to the LDC Development Programme

LDC Development programme

The LDC Development programme also offers sessions with opportunities to network with  researchers from across the  University and share experiences. In particular, we offer two events of specific interest to those just starting the PhD at Liverpool:

  • Webinar: Effectively Using the PGR Toolbox  5 Feb  12:30 – 13:30 – learn more about this essential tool and an opportunity for questions.
  • Taking Ownership of your PhD 11 Mar         09:15 – 16:30  – a day of activities and discussions to help you understand the processes and milestones in the PhD, working with your supervisor, planning your own professional development and starting networking.

The programme includes a range of further workshops and  webinars to help new researchers develop the wider skills, particularly in communication and productivity to succeed as a researcher. See our programme timetable for details.

Peer Support – PostGrad Society and the Peers for PhDs group

Finding support from your peers can be valuable early on in the PhD, so that you build on their experiences. You will probably find it useful to both seek both communities within your department/school or subject area and with mixed communities from other areas.

There are a couple of University PhD student groups that offer frequent meetings on campus and are open to all PhD researchers; look out for events run by the PostGrad Society and also the Peers for PhDs group, who offer facilitated discussions to share  experiences and plan to move forward.