On 21 January 2020, the first edition of the Will my PhD Change the World? Workshop series was held at LCF. This was focussed on the theme of Community Resilience and led by Prof. Kate Fletcher.
Kate Fletcher’s work is both rooted in nature’s principles and engaged with the cultural and creative forces of fashion and design. Kate’s pioneering work in the field, which ranges from developing ‘slow fashion’ ideas and practice to directional sustainability projects, including Fashion Ecologiesand Local Wisdom have engaged thousands of people worldwide with the fashion localism, the ‘craft of use’ and ‘post-growth’ fashion. Kate is Research Professor of Sustainability, Design, Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, University of the Arts London, she is also a co-founder of the Union of Concerned Researchers in Fashion which formed in 2018.
This informal session aimed to address PhD student’s specific questions and feed directly into their research. The five participants all came with two questions they wanted to discuss with the group during the workshop.
This session is the first in a series of four workshops by Post-Grad Communityto create networking opportunities while also directly feeding into ongoing research projects. The specific themes aim to bring together groups of students which can contribute to each other’s research. The collaborative activity also contributes to creating firm bonds between students with similar research interests. This is part of a pilot year to explore activities which respond to MPhil and PhD student needs.
"It operated like taking a seminar that further expanded my research, and allowed me to draw links to other disciplines and questions in those in a similar field of research." (Rawan Maki - student participant)
After a short icebreaker we got straight into the thick of it by dissecting and simplifying the questions each participant had prepared, finding similarities and classifying the different sets of questions. We then proceeded to using each question as a trigger for targeted conversation which answered the questions and drew on each participant’s experience and opinions. The session finished with a short activity in which students took turns in giving and receiving concrete advice to take the insights drawn from the session into practical aspects of their projects going forward.
"Having the leadership of professors, administrative support from within college, and a clear research focus, makes this very good value for time invested, which makes it different from a student-led activity such as a reading group." (Katherine Pogson - student participant)
This format will be taken forward and adapted for the three remaining workshops addressing the other UAL Research Challenges: Living with Environmental Change (13 February, Chelsea College of Arts with David Cross), Digital Futures (4 March, Tate Exchange), and Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (TBC).