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Wednesday, December 19, 2018
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All the latest news, announcements and information about the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Research Training Programme 2018-2019.

There are also details about our optional skills and development training opportunities for PGRs, such as the Provocative Theory, Methods and Methodologies, Writing Groups and Research Online Web-Tech ‘121’ & Drop-in sessions.

There are also additional research training classes run by The Graduate School.


REMINDER: Book into all the Weds classes on Skills Forge so it is recorded in your Skills Forge Development section.



Roll over and click on the tabs below to browse each section…

The Research Training Programme 2018-19

The programme is designed for MA by Research and PhD students. Much of it is of particular interest to first year students but some (for example sessions about vivas or publishing) are relevant to all years. Staff doing PhDs and early career researchers are very welcome to attend. Some sessions guide you through the procedures for doing your degree, whilst others will help you with the wider intellectual and creative elements of being an arts and humanities researcher.

Note that many other activities take place in the Faculty and the whole University throughout the year that are of relevance. Watch out for notices about these on HARTS Online, social media, in emails, on noticeboards. Note too that Man Met’s Graduate School also runs a training programme, see pages 18–19, as does the Library, see page 19.

Unless indicated otherwise, all sessions are in the Open Space on the first floor of the Righton Building and take place on a Wednesday.

Apart from a few activities, you do not need to sign up — just come along!

Dr Myna Trustram, Research Coordinator

Core Series

Wednesdays, 13:00–14:30, Righton Building, 1st floor, Open Space

These sessions are at the heart of the Research Training Programme. They are designed for all students across the Faculty regardless of the discipline within which you work. Here we will address critical questions about how to do a PhD and an MA by Research.


Dr Myna Trustram (m.trustram@mmu.ac.uk) is convening three writing groups. The groups include elements that are taught but they also rely on student participation and practice.

An introductory writing group

9 Jan, 16 Jan, 23 Jan, 30 Jan, 6 Feb, 13 Feb
Venue, tbc

We will write, talk and read. The group is designed to help you become a confident and creative writer of academic prose. The approach is exploratory and experiential: you will draw on your practice whether as a historian, artist, theorist, curator, designer, sociologist and so on.

You will be encouraged to develop a writing style that meets the requirements of an academic thesis but that also expresses your own idiom and the particularities of your research. Likely themes we’ll cover are: ‘love the words’ (Dylan Thomas); academic writing; ways of reading; the literature review; voices.

You will be expected to write regularly both inside and outside the sessions and to come to all of the sessions. You will be encouraged to continue meeting together once this group has finished.

If you have questions or would like to book a place (by 10 Dec), contact Myna.

A writing-with-objects group

13 Mar, 20 Mar, 27 Mar
Special Collections, All Saints Library

These three experimental sessions will use objects from the Special Collections Museum to help you develop a distinctive writing style. It will suit students from any arts and humanities discipline and from any year of study. We will look, touch, talk and write.

You will choose an object that resonates with your research and through that object practise paying creative attention to the world of physical objects and language.

If you have questions or would like to book a place (by 25 Feb), contact Myna.

A writing group for third-year students

8 May, 15 May, 22 May
Venue, tbc

The notion of ‘writing up’ implies a mechanical task of putting down what you have discovered. It is rarely as straightforward as this. As you approach the final stages of your research, you need to find a way to manage your data, the writing task and yourself.

We will address the particular questions you have about how best to approach the writing of the thesis and you will share your writing with others for critical feedback. The approach will be peer learning and experiential. Guidance will be offered, but essentially you will learn together through sharing the pleasures and the difficulties of the final months.

You will be expected to come to all three sessions and will be encouraged to continue meeting together once the formal group has finished.

If you have questions or would like to book a place (by 23 Apr), contact Myna.

Methods and Methodologies

Wednesdays, 10:00–12:00, Righton Building, 1st floor, Open Space.
10 Oct, 17 Oct, 31 Oct, 7 Nov, 14 Nov, 21 Nov, 5 Dec, 23 Jan, 20 Feb, 20 Mar

Research in the real world has many challenges, one challenge is the need to draw upon other fields of enquiry and adopt an interdisciplinary approach. There are varieties of methods and methodologies across various arts, humanities, and social science disciplines including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. This is an introductory programme that will give postgraduate students a flavour of the expertise within the Faculty, and which is shared across arts, humanities and social sciences. The main thrust of this series will carefully examine a selection of methods, from traditional interviewing and questionnaire design, to the many and varied contemporary methods that push the boundaries of research. These sessions assume no prior knowledge, and are designed to engage students in a workshop environment. They are presented as stand-alones so that students can select the methods that are of interest to them.

Provocative Theory

Wednesdays, 15:00–16:30 (from 17 Oct), Righton Building, 1st floor, Open Space

This is a series of staff-led presentations and student discussions on key areas of cultural theory relevant for postgraduate researchers, all intended to encourage participants to think about interconnections between theory and practice in their own research. You may wish to participate in the entire series, but each session is designed to work independently so you can select topics that are most relevant to you.

The first half of each session will be a presentation by staff from across the Faculty, introducing a specific theme as it figures across different disciplines. Presentations will be followed by a group discussion when you are encouraged to relate the material to the development of your own practice. There will be a short list of readings on a weekly basis. If you’re planning to attend, you should try to engage with this.

Four of the sessions will focus on areas identified by students, commencing with the one on 28 Nov. These could be used to either develop ideas already raised, with directed reading selected by the group, or explore fresh theoretical ideas that have emerged throughout discussions in the series. The four student-led sessions are your opportunity to generate and provoke debate among yourselves.

Research Online – Web-Tech ‘121’ & Drop-in Sessions

Wednesdays, Righton Building, 1st floor, Open Space.

Lewis Sykes, HARTS Online Coordinator, offers training, support and technical advice on: online documentation, working with social media, setting up and structuring practice blogs and online research journals. You can book a one-hour session with him for 11:00 or 15:00 on the sign-up sheet outside room 1.11 in the Righton Building (from 10 Oct).

If you would like to chat with Lewis but can’t make these particular times, arrange an alternative time. He can be found on the first floor of the Righton Building most Wednesdays, 10:00– 17:00 during term times, or drop him an email (L.Sykes@mmu.ac.uk).

For anyone who currently runs a practice blog, online research journal or is interested in setting one up, there will be a bi-weekly ‘Drop-in’ from 10 Oct 2018 until the end of Spring term. Bring your laptop and some lunch and find out how other students are using the web, social media and other Information Communication Technologies to help structure, document and disseminate their research. There is no fixed agenda – the group will decide how to use the time to best effect. If you would like to attend, drop Lewis an email (L.Sykes@mmu.ac.uk).




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