I’m just back from visiting the NUI Galway at the invitation of Kelly Coate, where I participated in a workshop for PhD researchers from the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies (CASSCS) interested in developing and contributing to the ThesisTalk blog. You can read more about the project here.
It was a friendly and enthusiastic group, and to be honest they had already begun to collectively process many of the key issues and ideas that I raised. Hopefully – if nothing else – I helped articulate these and contributed to formalising them into action points to develop the blog.
For me, the project as a student-led initiative is as exciting as its social media context, and the mix of enthusiasm and critical thought in evidence during the workshop should ensure the blog will evolve into a dynamic interdisciplinary and collaborative space, that will also be of interest to the wider doctoral community.
Some of the discussion focussed on particular needs within the group, such as how best to facilitate the specific cultural concerns associated with developing a bilingual blog. But I think many of the issues that emerged are characteristic of group blogs generally – particularly in balancing the needs for diversity and individual subjectivities within a coherent site-wide agenda and identity.
As part of my visit, I also had the opportunity to present my PhD research at the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). It seemed to be well received and generated some interesting and useful discussion around academic practice, social media and research methodologies. It was a nice opportunity to make some new acquaintances and see again some familiar faces.