Finding futures

A blog about imagining futures, social and environmental change, and doing a PhD…


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Hidden Humanities?

I just came across this article in the Guardian – it really struck a chord with me and I thought it was worth sharing! In the article, author Gretchen Busl believes that research in the humanities can be “ground-breaking, life-changing” and yet, often, is ignored.  She argues that humanities research explores all sorts of important issues of human culture from ethics, class, gender, and race to climate change (and much more besides) and as such has a vital role to play in “navigating a complex and rapidly shifting world”.

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‘I am a worm’ (Continued…)

Part 2: writing 

Professor Simon Peyton Jones’s (SPJ) lecture is specifically about a) how to write good research papers and b) in computer science.  Neither of these are relevant to me at the moment (in the case of the former) and, I can only assume, never will be (in the case of the latter), but I think that what he has to say about writing clearly and concisely is valuable to anyone writing in academia, whatever discipline and for whatever publication. I won’t write a huge long post about what he says because it’s much more fun to watch it for yourself, but I’ve picked out a few key points. Continue reading


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‘I am a worm’ and other tips about writing and thinking for a PhD

“Most days you think ‘I am a worm’. This is the natural state of the researcher”. With these words Professor Simon Peyton Jones, in his brilliant and comforting lecture about how to write well in academia, lifted a weight from my newbie-PhD shoulders which had been severely hampering my enthusiasm to put fingers to keyboard and actually start writing – rather than just reading – stuff. I breathed a sigh of relief that I am not alone in my feelings of awe and lowliness in the vast lawn (permaculture?) of academia, or in my fear of being eaten alive by blackbirds….

In this 2-part blog post I hope to impart a few nuggets from Professor Peyton Jones and others about writing and thinking for a PhD that I have found useful. They proved mini eureka moments for me and have helped me to go about my wormly burrowing and decomposing with a little more confidence! Continue reading