Student Showcase

Showing off what our talented students are achieving! 

Graphic illustration of woman practising Tree Pose in yoga with a red sunset in the background

Chloe’s doctoral research (funded by the SWDTP) was based on the lived experiences of and ‘journeys’ with mindfulness. As part of the research Chloe worked with a group of participants, tracing their experiences of mindfulness as both a meditation practice but also as a way of living. Over the course of two mindfulness courses and follow up interviews, she witnessed the transformative effect that mindfulness had on their lives.

Frustrated with the unreadability of a 100,000 word PhD thesis, Chloe was keen to create something accessible that could communicate the transformative experiences that the participants had shared and decided on a zine based on a chapter of her thesis. 

To make the booklet interactive and mindful in its format, the zine includes a colouring page in the centre fold, along with three illustrated postcards.

Journeys with mindfulness is free to download here as a pdf, or you can read it on issu here. You can also request a printed copy of the zine and postcards here (these are free with a postage contribution).

Black Future Dr is a podcast dedicated to showcasing the experiences of black and black mixed doctoral students in the UK (including those pursuing PhDs, as well as professional and medical doctorates).

Episodes were released weekly from April to July 2021, and featured a different student, studying a different doctorate, at a different university. Every episode is hosted by an SWDTP student Nina Higson-Sweeney, a black mixed student currently studying towards a PhD in Psychology at the University of Bath. 

Each episode featured an informal interview between Nina and a host of guest speakers. Topics discussed range from supervision to mentorship; from non-traditional pathways to mental health; from the application processes to future careers.

You can keep up-to-date with Black Future Dr and Nina on Twitter (@BlackFutureDr and @n_higsonsweeney).

Emily Marsay is a part-time PhD researcher in Politics & international studies at the University of Exeter. For the past 7 years, she has been volunteering with a climate change campaigning organisation: the ‘UK Youth Climate Coalition’

This organisation sends a youth delegation to the COP negotiations every year, and Emily was fortunate enough to get her accreditation to COP this year through them. COP26 was largely considered to be the most exclusionary COP yet, with many activists from the Global South not being able to join the negotiations due to vaccine inequity, uncertainty and the high costs of travel and accommodation. Emily joined a sponsored bike ride Glasgow from London to raise money for youth climate justice activists from Brazil to be able to come to the negotiations. Find the fundraiser here!

Upon finishing the sponsored bike ride, Emily attended ‘COY16’ the – ‘Conference of Youth’ that took place before the official COP26. While at the COP26 negotiations, Emily protested in actions in the Blue Zone, an interview from one of which got picked up in the Irish Times! See the link here. 

Alumni Dr Alice Venn and colleague Dr Alix Dietzel have recently wrapped up a yearlong study focusing on just transition to a climate resilient city of Bristol. Their findings were widely covered in the UK media, including the BBC, Bristol Cable and the Independent.

Their project sought to find out what happens once a city sets out to pursue such a transition, as Bristol did in its One City Climate Change Plan. They wanted to know: is a just transition being interpreted and how is it being pursued? Who is involved in this process ‘on the ground’? Is their decision-making fair and inclusive? What are the barriers and what are the opportunities to just transition?

They found an alarming lack of diversity in decision making, very little room for critical debate, and confusion about how to achieve the One City Climate Change Plan’s ambitious targets in an inclusive manner.

Watch the recording below or read more here


Gareth Griffith TED X Talk

Gareth Griffith talked about mental health in a sell-out TEDx event with over 200 attendees at the Bristol’s SU building. The theme was ‘Finding Space’ and Gareth reports he was “equal parts excited and terrified” to speak at @TEDxBristolUni.

 “Talks are all incredible, it was a truly inspiring day with truly inspiring people. Thanks again to everyone else who came and made the day what it was. Let’s keep #findingspace to talk about mental health” 


Sam Whewall and Kalyan Kumar were both part of the the team who co-authored a report for the Social Mobility Commission. 

An Unequal Playing Field‘ delves into extra-curricular activities and highlights disparities in children’s participation rates depending on their social background. It includes recommendations made by the Social Mobility Commission for government, schools and voluntary organisations, including the introduction of a national extra-curricular bursary scheme for disadvantaged families. 

Sam wrote about the report in an article for the blog Transforming Society titled ‘Summer holidays and the geography of extra-curricular activities’ here.

The study has also been covered in a variety of media outlets, including The Guardian, Classic Fm and You can see the full report on the website here

Congratulations to Hannah West (University of Bath, Security, Conflict and Human Rights) on being invited to join the Advanced Command and Staff Course at the UK Defence Academy (as shown above) for their module on Gender, War and the Armed Forces. This gave Hannah a platform to speak about her research at their end of course workshop.

Hannah said: “As an ex-military researcher it was stimulating to return to a military environment and share a critical perspective with the audience, provoking interesting debates around the gendered character of the military institution.”

Hannah’s also been utilising her creative side to produce a pair of videos based around her research and experiences.

Uniformly Served: Veterans in Conversation‘, which was funded by the SWDTP Impact Fund, involves eight local veterans, including a cross-section of ages, former ranks and services and captures conversations between them about their gendered reflections on military service.

She’ll Hold Her Own’ is a music video that captures Hannahs reflections on the gendered experience of military service and explores her reflections on her gendered experiences of military masculinity and femininity. 

Both videos as well as more information  and lyrics are available at Hannah’s blog: 

Congratulations to Jessica Armitage for winning both available prizes awarded by the University of Bristol’s School of Psychological Science to those graduating from their MSc in Neuropsychology and MSc in Research Methods programmes.

Taught Component Prize is awared to the student with the best taught component average mark across the Neuropsychology and Research Methods programmes. 

Research Project Prize is awarded to the best research project across the Neuropsychology and Research Methods programmes. 

Kalyan presenting his paper at CIES in San Francisco

In April 2019 Kalyan Kumar was invited to San Francisco to attend the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) conference themed on ‘Education for Sustainability’. 

This was in order for him to present his paper, “Effects of Decentralisation in School Management on Student Learning: Empirical Analysis of Young Lives Survey Data Using Multi-Level Modelling”, to the international audience

Kalyan with his awardHis research was chosen from the many presenters to win the Outstanding Early Career Paper Award, an award that comes with a £500 prize fund! 

His paper is currently in the submission process and should be published soon! 

Celia Robbins and Niall McLoughlin with their Better Lives Writing Competition finalist certificates

The SWDTP had not one, but two finalists in the ESRC Better Lives Writing Competition 2018-19, with Celia Robbins and Niall McLoughlin both making it to the last 12!

Celia Robbins entry “Tilting at windmills in a climate-changed world”, delves into the polarising opinions caused by wind turbines and how important it is to look into the causes of these attitudes with the need for renewable energy becoming more pressing.   

Niall McLoughlins article “How psychology can help communities cope in a changing climate” deals with the  effects that flooding has on its victims from a psychological perspective and how the levels of public engagement could help people to cope with the trauma.

To read their articles along with all the other finalists, view the competition booklet on the ESRC website. 

Chloe Asker Photo

Utilising the SWDTP Impact Fund, Chloe Asker organised a very successful 8 week mindfulness course. The sessions were run together as a group. allowing for bespoke classes that suited the needs of all of the members perectly. Throughout the course, the importance of group dynamics were heavily focused on, leading to strong sense of community.

Chloe Asker Relationship Mantras

This lead them to creating a zine based around the themes of acceptance, compassion, suffering and gratitude, a reminder of the work that they had done together.

Read more about Chloe’s experience and what she learned and read the completed zine in our news post, New ways of being together.

Congratulations to University of Bristol Politics PhD student Rosie Walters! Working with the Gender and Development journal, she organised and ran an amazing event on “Young Feminisms”!

The event featured representatives from:

Young Feminism Team


  • Oxfam
  • Integrate UK
  • The Association for Women’s Rights in Development

The talk attracted over 90 staff and students from the universities of Bristol, Cardiff,

 Exeter, Oxford and UWE. On top of that, hundreds more have watched the video of the event on the Gender and Development journal Facebook page!

Congratulations again Rosie, keep up the great work!


In what can only be described as a feat of endurance, Nasrul Ismail (Health and Welbeing, UWE) conducted 11 interviews across 6 countries in 2 weeks during March 2018. Nasrul used his Overseas Fieldwork Allowance to “undertake primary, in-depth, qualitative research interviews” essential to his PhD- which considers the effects of austerity on prisoners. He met with representatives from multiple different organisations, including the World Health Organisation; the European Court of Human Rights and the Irish Probation Service. Nasrul also met with three stakeholders in-between conducting interviews. 

The OFA funding allowed Nasrul to realise his ambition to conduct all 11 interviews face-to-face and in thecities in which the interviewees were located. 

Nasrul’s work is a perfect example of the fantastic opportunities presented by OFA. He received manyoffers for future collaboration, including: the offer of an internship in Vienna; offers to present guest lectures and an invitation to deliver a keynote speech at the 2nd International Correctional Research Symposium, Prague, in May 2018.       

It looks like Nasrul is going to be kept pretty busy!

University of Bath Psychology student Hope Christie won the Ede and Ravenscroft Best Research Student Prize at the University of Bath!

Hope delivered a presentation about her research at an open event at the university of Bath. The competition was fierce as Hope reported that the other finalists had also delivered “amazing presentations”.

As well as a fantastic experience and prestigious title, Hope’s victory will be reported to the University of Bath Senate. Well done Hope! 

Tamsyn Hawken (Psychology, Bath) has won a Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group ‘Rising Researcher’ Award.

In order to win the award, Tamsyn had to demonstrate multiple skills. First, she had to give evidence of her unique approach to her research questions. This includes her study utilising biomarkers of stress- you can read more about Tamsyn’s trip to Spit Camp further down the Student Showcase page. Then, she had to demonstrate the long-term impact of her research on the field and identify personal characteristics that have helped her to overcome personal adversities and research difficulties. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the stress researcher chose resilience as the focus of her personal characteristics. Finally, her supervisor- Professor Julie Turner-Cobb- wrote a supporting statement.

Tamsyn said: “I’m feeling really delighted to have received the award. It feels like a really nice way to have my achievements thus far recognised. It also comes at a very good time in terms of motivation, as I approach the final stage of my PhD this award has given me a real boost to believe in myself and the work I do.”

As part of the prize, Tamsyn has been invited to talk about her research at the PsyPAG conference in July, where she will talk more in depth about how her resilience has supported her research. If you can’t wait till July, don’t forget to check out Tamsyn’s blog today!

Sam Whewall (Education, University of Bath) and his supervisor- Dr Michael Donnelly– have developed a new method of mapping individuals’ geographical imaginaries. They use this participatory research method to study the role that geography and geographical perception play in Higher-Education decision-making.

They asked participants to colour-code a blank map of the UK according to where they might like to live whilst at university. Then, the participants were interviewed and asked to explain how they constructed their map. The exercise highlighted participants’ beliefs, misconceptions, feelings and perceptions.

An article about the participatory research method was published in the NCRM‘s newsletter- Methods News.The article goes into more detail about the mapping tool. You can read it here.

Sam is also a new addition to our Student Blogs page as he has started his own blog – a journal of his research, his daily life and- hopefully- his travels too.

We’re proud to report that Exeter Psychology researcher Miriam Cohen had a very successful Overseas Institutional Visit to the University of Cape Town in South Africa. 

Miriam worked on the launch of a new project, delivered a talk; attended a workshop on gang violence; tutored a Masters student and more! She made some fantastic contacts with PGRs and academic experts and hopes to continue the collaborative work and the friendships that bloomed in SA.

 You can read more about Miriam’s trip by visiting the post on our homepage!

Max Taylor (Political Science and International Studies, University of Bath) visited Brussels and Beijing to conduct EU research fieldwork. He completed 45 interviews; attended the EU-China Dialogue and has been asked to present his research at a future high-profile event!

Max has written two informative blog posts about his visits, in which he offers advice to other researchers conducting Overseas Fieldwork and shares his experiences of being abroad.

Find his Beijing blog post here

Find his Brussels blog post here 

Alice Venn (Environment, Energy and Resilience, University of Bristol) appeared on The Cabot Institute’s podcast- CabotCast- to discuss the effectiveness of the Paris Agreement and the potential effects of President Trump’s withdrawal from it. 

She made some great observations, so if you’ve got fifteen minutes, give it a listen:

Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud here!    

Dan Godshaw (Sociology, University of Bristol) went to Westminster to present his research to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees (APPG). His talk was attended by parliamentarians including Paul Blomfield (Shadow Brexit Secretary), Thangam Debbonaire (MP for Bristol West), Afzal Khan (Shadow Immigration Minister) and Stuart McDonald (MP).

As part of his placement, Dan collaborated with the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG) to produce a report which calls on the Home Office to implement its own guidance on detaining vulnerable people properly and without delay.

Schumacher Institute Logo

Congratulations to Cameron Hunter (Political Science and International Studies, University of Bristol) who, following a successful placement, has been made a Fellow of the Schumacher Institute!