A guest article written by Penny Newell & Ella Parry-Davies, Research Students, Department of English
“Liberate yourself from peer fear!” It’s a piece of advice that sticks, offered to us by Jules Evans, New Generation Thinkers winner, blogger, and speaker at Research with Reach – a conference that took place on the 16th May at King’s as part of a student-led training programme in the arts and humanities.
The more you reflect on Jules’s words, the more they begin to radically shift how you picture your life in academia. The motto isn’t just about confidence and courage within your field, although it does mean both of those things. It’s about breaking out of the bottleneck of academia: embracing the PhD as a chance to explore ideas, not garrison them; to share your project with collaborators, across and beyond your field; to build lateral connections that go further than the narrow (and slippery) ladder of PhD to Professor.
Looking outside of the academe can feel risky for reputation and credibility – but the networks, dialogues and diversity we can develop through an engaged research practice make us more resilient in the face of harsh competition and shifting funding structures.