SWDTP Conference 2017

‘Research in a Changing World: Critical Approaches’

Wednesday November 8th 2017

 Registration for the conference is now live! Sign up to attend at
The call for abstracts is now closed 

There is no deadline for poster submissions!



This year, the SWDTP conference is a space for bright, bold and creative minds to come together to discuss, debate and explore what it means to do research in current times. The title for the SWDTP Conference 2017 is ‘Research in a changing world: Critical approaches‘, with the conference organised to develop and share new ideas amongst students at SWDTP affiliated universities in the South West of England. This year’s conference is focussed around the new challenges that researchers are facing, from the rise of mistrust in experts, to the question of how PhD researchers can develop impact in today’s changing world.

The conference is free of charge and is open to all PGR students across the five SWDTP institutions (Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth & UWE) regardless of funding source.  It is a great way to meet other students, who are at different stages of their research, to share ideas and details of projects, plans and experiences, whilst hearing from respected academics via our keynote presentations. There will be lunch, coffee and afternoon drinks for those who attend, and it’s going to be a fantastic day, so please follow the Eventbrite link above and register to attend.

This is a great opportunity to network and engage with the research undertaken within the PhD academic community, alongside appreciating new research by prestigious academics and researchers via keynote speeches. We will also be working in collaboration with the student journal TOR with the view to producing a conference proceedings paper developed from student contributions.

Please see below the programme for the day.

10.00 – 10.30 – Coffee and registration.

10.30 – 11.15 – Welcome; Keynote speaker Dr Nikki Hayfield

11.20 – 12.10 – Student presentations (three streams).

12.10 – 12.30 – Coffee

12.30 – 1.30 – Workshops (three streams)

Closing the Borders? – Workshop with Lynn Linsdale on researcher resilience, listening and boundaries both inside and outside the PhD

Critical Encounters: The PhD Landscape – Workshop on getting published, with Dr Richard Watermeyer

Trust and Impact – Workshop with Albert Sanchez-Graelles on making an impact online and having a digital presence

1.30 – 2.20 – Lunch

2.20 – 3.00 – Keynote Speaker Dr Jon Fox

3.00 – 3.50 – Student presentations (three streams)

3.50 – 4.10 – Coffee

4.10 – 5.00 – PhD Plenary Workshop – Life After the PhD

5.00 – 5.30 – Keynote speaker Prof. Jane Elliott

5.30 – 6.30 – Conference Close; Drinks Reception

Keynote Profiles

We are very excited to have so much variety and quality in our keynote speakers, a short profile of each follows.

Dr Nikki Hayfield is a Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology. Teaching social psychology, sexualities, and qualitative research methods. Nikki’s research interests are in sexualities, marginalised identities, relationships, and alternative families. Nikki’s current research project explores how bisexual people form and maintain intimate relationships within the wider context of ‘biphobia’ and bisexual marginalisation (in collaboration with Lizzie Reed (UWE, Bristol) and Christine Campbell at St Mary’s University, Twickenham).

Dr Jon Fox is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bristol University. Jon’s main areas of research are in nationalism, ethnicity, racism, and migration. With each topic, he is interested in the ways in which ordinary people reproduce ethnic, national, and racialised forms of collective belonging in their everyday lives. Whilst appreciating the important role politics, culture, and the economy play in shaping social identities, Jon’s research pays special attention to the ways such identities are also the practical accomplishments of ordinary people engaging in routine activities. His research to date has examined these issues around questions of nationalism and migration in Hungary, Romania, and the UK.

Before joining the ESRC, Professor Jane Elliott was Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Quantitative Social Sciences, at the Institute of Education, University of London, as well as Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) which manages the 1958, 1970 and Millennium Birth Cohort studies together with the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (now known as Next Steps). In 2012 Jane became the founding Director of the Cohorts and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) programme. After three years at ESRC, Prof Elliott is to take up the position of Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter in September 2017.

To make your decision of which conference streams to attend, below are breakdowns of each stream. When registering on Eventbrite you must order your stream choices by preference, so please have a look below and we will try and get you into the streams you are most interested in. This year’s conference streams are as follows:

 “Closing the Borders?”

More than just about geographic, national or legal borders, this stream is also looking for contributions that address borders which may be disciplinary, conceptual, political or economic. For example:

– What borders are faced in the experience and practice of research, personal or professional?

– Do borders even serve any conceptual, theoretical or practical purpose? Should these borders be challenged?

– Should any of these borders be closed, is it possible?

– Are they being closed by particular practices or discourses?

– Should any of these borders be challenged?

“Critical Encounters: The PhD Landscape”

This is a more inward-looking stream, in the sense that this is about the day-to-day experiences of doing a PhD. ‘Critical encounters’ can refer to:

– the important turning points in the research process;

– the kinds of important interactions with your research subject or participants;

– the kinds of reflexive and critical thinking that we may (or may not!) be expected to integrate into our research.

– What are the tensions between normality and originality?

– How should we balance being critical and being self-confident as researchers?

– What are the kinds of critical encounters we can expect as researchers, at any stage of our careers?

“Trust and Impact”

In an age increasingly underscored by debates about trust (or mistrust) in experts as well as the ubiquitous discussions regarding ‘fake news’,

– how should we approach our work as experts-in-training?

– Is expertise a prize or a problem?

– To what extent is it even possible to be certain of our own knowledge or expertise?

– What strategies do we have to be able to communicate our work effectively for different audiences?

– This is closely bound up in discussions surrounding ‘impact’: can the impact agenda help mitigate mistrust in experts?

– How does a researcher have impact, and how do we do good research?

– What do experiences of fieldwork tell us about these kinds of issues?

– Can we integrate different methodologies to be able to deal with any of these questions?

Please sign up via the Eventbrite page, it’s going to be a fantastic day full of interesting debate, tasty food and wonderful company.  The registration deadline is 27th October.

If you need more information, or have a question, find us on Facebook and on Twitter @SWDTPConference. If you have any questions please also feel free to contact us on swdtpconference2017@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you on the 8th!

Promoted by Clare Stevens & Louise Hatherall, on behalf of the 2017 SWDTP Conference Committee.