Episode 32: Ask an Examiner 1

I’ve had a lot of requests over the past few years to interview someone who has experience as a thesis examiner. It’s not difficult to see why: there are a lot of mysteries around examiners in the viva. Who are they? Why them? How do they approach reading a thesis and examining a PhD candidate?

In the first of a new specials series, I’m very happy to welcome back Dr Katy Shaw, who previously came on the podcast in Episode 10 and Episode 14. Katy has lots of experience as a PhD examiner, so we had plenty to talk about – including lots of useful information for PhD candidates.

Let me know what you think of this episode; I hope to interview more examiners in 2015, so if there are more questions you want me to raise then get in touch: leave comments on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors or email me! And if you’d like to support the Viva Survivors Podcast, then why not become a Patron and check out my Patreon campaign?

Thanks for listening! (and reading!)

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 31: Dr Katy Vigurs

In this episode I’m talking to Dr Katy Vigurs about her experiences as a postgraduate researcher and her viva. Katy’s research was in Partnership Working, and at times she researched for it both full and part time, as well as lecturing and being a parent. Katy completed her PhD at Staffordshire University, and continues to lecture there now, as well as supervise PhD and EdD students.

Please leave comments or questions on this post, drop me an email or just tweet @VivaSurvivors. If you’d like to support the Viva Survivors Podcast, then why not become a Patron by checking out my Patreon campaign? The next episode, the first in a new specials series, debuts this Thursday, 4th December 2014.

Thanks for listening!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

 

Episode 30: Dr Murphy McCaleb

In this episode I talk with Dr Murphy McCaleb, PhD graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire. Murphy’s research area is Performance Studies, and his research focussed on ensemble performances. His viva was in February 2012, and he’s currently a lecturer at York St John University. He has also turned his thesis into a book and published it with Ashgate, and we had an interesting chat about that process.

As ever, please leave comments or questions on this post, tweet @VivaSurvivors or email me! If you’d like to support the Viva Survivors Podcast, then why not become a Patron by checking out my Patreon campaign?

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 29: Academic Jobs Special 2

For some the viva is a milestone on a greater journey into academia. If you are aiming to stay in academia after the PhD, what can you do to improve your chances – not just of getting that first position, but of sustaining and developing an academic career?

In this special episode, the second Academic Jobs Special (the first was way back in January 2013), I’m joined by Dr Jennifer Cromwell. I interviewed Jenny for one of the earliest episodes of the podcast, and it was great to have her back to share a little more of her story and where it has taken her so far. Jenny and I chatted about the life of an early career researcher, academia and what those who are looking for an academic career can do to set themselves apart from their peers.

If you’ve got any questions or comments about this episode, or any other, then please get in touch: either by commenting here, tweeting @VivaSurvivors, or emailing me. I’m sure that there will be more Academic Jobs Specials in the future, but for the next few episodes it will be more stories and advice from PhD graduates sharing their research and viva experience!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Viva Survivors Podcast: Patreon Campaign

I love making this podcast

I really do. This project grew out of a desire to help PhD candidates close to finishing their PhDs. I want them (you!) to realise that the viva is going to be OK – it’s not a mystery, there are real expectations to the viva, and consequently things that can be done to prepare. I hoped that by interviewing people from a variety of backgrounds this would come through.

After a while, I also began to think that it was an opportunity to share stories about what it is like to do reseach as a postgraduate researcher. Perhaps someone starting a PhD might listen to the podcast and find out what doing research is like – as well as hear about fascinating research. I love being able to hear about what people did for their PhD. There are currently 28 episodes in the archive, Episode 29 will be published on Monday 3rd November. I’m on track to hit my target of 32 episodes by the end of the year.

I want to do more: can you help?

In the last year I had to take time off from the podcast in order to adjust to becoming a dad! Now that I’ve stepped back up to it I’m enjoying it more than ever, and realising that I want to provide more. To help that process, I’ve created a Patreon campaign for the podcast. Patreon is a bit like Kickstarter, but whereas the latter is for a project that isn’t finished yet, Patreon is crowdfunding for ongoing efforts.

I’ve just started the campaign, but as support grows I’ll be able to spend more time on producing episodes, creating new content and expanding the output of the podcast. I have a couple of initial goals (like covering the cost of hosting, creating several pieces of writing each month and producing some focused tips-based episodes), but I also have big dreams. And I need your help to achieve both my goals and my dreams: providing a useful resource to postgraduate researchers in the UK and around the world.

So, can you help me?

If you can, great! The podcast will always be 100% free for everyone, and if you are able to become a Patron for the Viva Survivors Podcast then I can do some things to say thank you in return. I have a variety of things to begin with, like a “Thank You!” page of backers on the podcast, a pre-release notification that new content is coming to the site – and even early access to future episodes!

Patreon is straight-forward to set up, and it seems like a really useful way to support people creating things. Even if you don’t think that you can support the Viva Survivors Podcast at the moment, then have a look around and see what other amazing things people are doing.

Thanks for reading! I’ve really enjoyed the last two and a half years of producing the podcast, sharing the episodes and seeing it become a valuable resource. With your help I hope to continue this and do a lot more. Any help you can offer to support the Viva Survivors Podcast – by sharing the episodes, volunteering to share your story or becoming a Patron – is really appreciated.

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 28: Dr Anthony Whittaker

In this episode I talk to Dr Anthony Whittaker, whose PhD research produced a portfolio of original music compositions along with a commentary on the work. It was really interesting talking to Tony – fascinating because his experience of research was so different to my own. As with all of the other episodes of the Viva Survivors Podcast, we talked about the viva as well, how Tony prepared for it and what happened on the day.

Please leave comments about this episode on this post, or if you have questions then email me or tweet @VivaSurvivors. There are now quite a few more episodes lined up between now and the end of the year – including another Academic Jobs Special which will be the next episode. There may be other interesting news about the podcast in the near future, so follow me on Twitter to keep up to date.

Thanks for listening!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)