Episode 62: Dr Richard Leahy


In this episode I’m talking to Dr Richard Leahy, who completed his PhD at the University of Chester earlier this year. Richard’s PhD is in 19th Century Literature and Culture, and his research explored the evolution of artificial light in the literature of that period. We talked about how he did his research, how he prepared for his viva and what happened on the day. You can find him on Twitter as RichardLeahyLit.

Get in touch if you want to come on a future episode! If you have any questions, comments or suggestions then email me, tweet at me or leave a comment on this post. And if you’re looking for more help with viva preparation, check out my books and ebooks – you can find details on this site about them!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Episode 22: Dr Richard Hinchcliffe

It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here! A brand new episode of the podcast, and not a moment too soon. I’ve known Dr Richard Hinchcliffe since 2005 when I was a newbie PGR. Richard directed the very first bit of training that I went on and gave me some invaluable practical advice (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out what it was!). Years later he hired me on my first gigs as a skills trainer.

Richard’s PhD research examined the theme of melancholia in the works of American author Kurt Vonnegut, and it was really interesting to me to hear about how he went about that research, and also what the run up to his viva was like. Richard is now Head of PGR Development at the University of Liverpool.

This is the first podcast in a looooong time! Adjusting to fatherhood is a daily process, but I think that new episodes will become more frequent over the coming months and I’m arranging interviews with several more Viva Survivors soon. In the mean time, please share the podcasts, leave comments, follow us on Twitter and drop me emails with suggestions or questions. It would be great to hear from you. Oh! And if you have already passed your viva, perhaps you would consider filling in my quick survey that I’m conducting? You can find it at tinyurl.com/VivaSurvivorsSurvey and more details about it on a previous post here.

Thanks for reading and listening, and thanks for your patience!


Episode 12: Dr Dawn Llewellyn

In this episode I talk to Dr Dawn Llewellyn, who did her PhD at Lancaster University and now lectures at the University of Chester. Dawn’s research was in Christian and Post-Christian women’s spiritual reading practices, and as always it was fascinating to hear about someone who has had such a radically different experience of research to me. Dawn had some great advice about preparing for the viva, and had an interesting story to tell about her viva. She is on Twitter, and you can find her at @DawnLlewellyn.

Any questions or comments? Then please let me know, either through the comments below or by dropping me an email. You can find the podcast on Twitter, if you haven’t already, by following @VivaSurvivors. Hopefully there will be at least one more podcast before Christmas, and if you would like to share your PhD and viva story on a future episode then please get in touch!

Episode 10: Dr Katy Shaw

In this episode I’m interviewing Dr Katy Shaw, who is the Subject Leader for English Literature and a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Brighton. Katy is also the Director of C21: Centre for research in twenty-first century writings. She completed her PhD at Lancaster University in 2007 and her thesis was on cultural representations of the 1980s UK Miners Strike. Following on from the last podcast it was great to hear more from someone whose PhD research is in such a different area to mine. As an early career researcher Katy had lots to say about life as an academic, and shared some valuable advice for PhD students too. Katy can be found on Twitter as @DrKatyShaw.

Please leave comments below! And if you’re happy to, then please tweet and share the site and podcast with others. I’m slightly shocked that we’ve reached ten episodes already, it seems like yesterday that I was just getting things rolling. I wonder when we’ll hit 25? (which feels like the next milestone) If you would like to be on the podcast then please get in touch, either by emailing me or by sending a tweet in the direction of @VivaSurvivors.

Episode 9: Dr Nadine Muller

In Episode 9 I’m talking with Dr Nadine Muller, a lecturer in English Literature and Cultural History at Liverpool John Moores University. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Hull earlier this year for her thesis “The Feminist Politics of Neo-Victorian Literature, 2000-2010”. It was really great talking to Nadine about her research and her viva, as her field is something really different to my PhD research, and to the research of other interviewees in other Viva Survivors podcasts so far.

Nadine also has a great interest in supporting postgraduate and early-career researchers, so we had a lot to talk about. She is the creator of the #phdadvice hashtag on Twitter, a community sharing their experience of postgraduate research. Her Twitter handle is @Nadine_Muller.

Any questions or comments? Let me know, either drop me an email or leave them below. Share your postgraduate experience and advice with Nadine’s #phdadvice hashtag. And keep track of the podcast on Twitter by following @VivaSurvivors!