Episode 56: Q&A Special 1

Hello!

A few weeks ago I asked for your questions for a Q&A episode, and here we are! Thanks to those of you who submitted questions; there were only a couple of you, but the questions that were asked are really important to the viva process. I hope that the answers are helpful, I was able to share a mix of some of the research I’ve done in the last few years and also some of my opinions about how to prepare well. One of the questions wanted to know about the comparison between vivas in the UK and in Europe, something I don’t know a lot about: if anyone has any links to resources about this area then do let me know!

I had fun recording this episode, and if it seems like a useful thing then let me know, and maybe it can become a quarterly bonus or special episode. You can find me on Twitter as @DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors, or you can email me. And please get in touch if you want to come on the podcast to share your PhD and viva experiences!

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

Q&A Episode Coming Soon

Hello!

One of the few podcasts I regularly listen to is the Tim Ferriss Show: I highly recommend it, Tim interviews people about how they manage to be excellent in their fields. It’s a wild ride sometimes, and he has a huge variety of people on his show. I don’t think that the Viva Survivors Podcast is a “wild ride” but I think it’s great that there is such a variety of PhD graduates who come on here to share their experiences.

A few times now, Tim has had special Q&A episodes and listeners ask him all kinds of things – anything and everything really. It struck me a month or so ago that this might be a useful thing to do on Viva Survivors, at least every now and then. I used the poll function on Twitter to see if this was interesting to followers, and got a couple of positive votes, and also heard from several friends to say that this was a neat idea.

So let’s do it!

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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!

Nathan

Episode 21: Dr Jessica Goodman

In this edition of the podcast I’m talking to Dr Jessica Goodman, who recently had her viva at Oxford. Jess’s thesis looks at the work and experiences of Carlo Goldoni in Paris in the 18th century, and her research approaches this from many angles. It was fascinating to hear about how she did this research, as well as hear about how she prepared for her viva and what happened on the day.

Jess is currently working on her corrections and will start a position at Clare College, Cambridge, in the autumn. You can find her on Twitter here.

As ever, it would be great to hear your comments about this episode! Either leave comments after a post, email me or tweet at @VivaSurvivors (or the “real” me @DrRyder). Summer can seem like a quieter time in some academic circles, but I’m eager to interview more people so please drop me a line.

I also have a few new features that I hope to include on the site soon, and one or two interesting announcements… Stay tuned!

Episode 17: Dr Stacey Habergham

In this first podcast after my house-moving hiatus I talk to Dr Stacey Habergham, who completed her PhD in Astrophysics earlier this year. Stacey did her research at Liverpool John Moores University, and is now a post-doc and outreach officer there as well. You can find Stacey on Twitter as @AstroHabs.

Stacey and I talked a bit about some of the outreach activities that she is involved with, and she very kindly sent through the following links!

If you’ve got questions or comments about the podcast then please leave them on the post, or email me – or get in touch via the site’s Twitter account: @VivaSurvivors. And please get in touch if you would like to share your PhD and viva experiences!

Special Podcast Coming Soon – I Need Your Help!

A “special” podcast? What do you mean?

Periodically I ask if there is anything else that I can do on the podcast that would be valuable. And just over a week ago someone responded:

This is a great idea! I’ve been mulling it over and think that it would be difficult for me to do by myself. This is where YOU come in: do you have time at some point in the next few weeks to contribute to a special Viva Survivors podcast?

What might we talk about?

It would be good to look at trends in academia, the kinds of jobs that people go for, competition, skills that help in academic jobs, CVs, what helps you to stand out… There are so many things that we could cover! What other questions or topics could we discuss? Email me, tweet @VivaSurvivors or leave a comment below if you have some ideas.

What’s all this “we” business?

As I said above, I can’t do this alone. I work in parallel with academia as a skills trainer, but I’m not a researcher in an institution now. This is where YOU come in, whoever you are. What can you tell us about the academic job market? How did you get your position now? What skills do you use in your job? Or do you work in a careers service and have time to share your experiences with the podcast? Please get in touch!

New podcasts coming soon!

This doesn’t mean that I’m stopping the regular flavour of podcast! I’m always looking for more people to share their PhD story and their viva experiences. If you would like to contribute to the podcast then please let me know. And thank you to everyone who tweets, RTs and tells me about how valuable they’re finding the podcast. I do this in my free time, and it’s nice to hear that people are getting something from hearing the stories that our @VivaSurvivors are sharing.

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!