Shut up and focus on mutual encouragement

In this post, Mustafa Coban, a PGR from the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies in the College of Arts and Law shares his experiences of Shut up and work.

Shut up and work was for me initially, Shut up and write, though I’ve come to appreciate the ‘work’ phrasing is much more apt since there is all sorts of work involved in study and research before, during and after the writing process. It was, and still largely is, a time dedicated to writing, editing, and proofreading. A friend who was leaving the university after completing her studies told me about Shut up and work as I was starting my PhD programme. It took me some time to seek out a session, but once I found one, I found it immediately useful.

University of Birmingham University Graduate School. Shut up & work co-working sessions for PGRs. Weekly Thursdays 1pm-4.30pm; Monthly Mondays 10am-5.10pm. Tackle your to-do list and get more done!

I wasn’t entirely sure of what I expected. But I knew I wanted a time dedicated to writing and only writing. I imagined it as time free not only from reading, but the endless loops and interesting dives into reading, that only seemed to snowball as I chased one footnote, idea, or curiosity after another until I had a folder of pdf articles becoming too big to manage. That was in the early days of my programme, and while I still chase footnotes, through “shutting up and writing” I’ve become better at not trying to cover everything I’ve read.

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Do I feel included? Experience and thoughts from a part-time PGR

In this post, Susan Quick, a part-time PGR in the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) reflects on issues of inclusivity.

Whilst browsing the many training/job opportunities for PGRs recently I was reminded that ‘PGR/ Early career’ does not always mean inexperienced or young. Labels can be misleading even if they also help us to target training and exchange with our peers in a particular discipline or field. Two caring hands silhouetteYounger people need extra support to enable them to navigate the world of employment. Sometimes this means that bias is totally justified, but at other times it is more important to examine ‘need’ rather than age, career stage or some other protected personal characteristic. In my view the needs of applicants, whether for a job or a training course, should enable perspectives of ‘equal opportunity’ over and above those instilled in legal and institutional principles.

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