Events / Getting started

Looking for the Humans in Humanities? Try PGR Speed Networking

This is a guest post by Steph Dermott, 1st Year PhD Student in Faculty of Humanities

Amongst the excitement of embarking on my PhD journey, a word of warning often appeared in various welcome speeches and events… Loneliness. (And no, I’m not talking about that classic noughties dance ‘tune’ by Tomcraft)

At the time, it was difficult for this word to permeate my enthusiasm in a room full of other new PhD students, but after a few weeks it dawned on me that the ‘PGR community’ wasn’t as visible as I anticipated. I subscribed to all the various social networking sites and blogs, but for me the humanity in the humanities was still missing, and as someone who often finds it difficult to make new friends, I started to feel like maybe these three years would be a journey of solitude after all.

Fortunately, I did manage to maintain contact with one fellow PhD-er via Facebook, and attended various workshops and seminars in an attempt to find like-minded PGRs with similar interests. As a result, a small group of us started to meet up regularly for coffee, and it was such a relief to hear them discuss the same concerns as myself, and to have a break to socialise of course! We would talk about how we had all attended conferences and seminars in which the opportunity to ‘network’ was provided via wine receptions and ‘mingling’, and how we had all somewhat failed to do so, instead opting to cling to one person who we felt familiar with.

For me this came down to a lack of confidence. As a first-year PhD student, I still find discussing my research with other students slightly daunting, let alone with established academics, and the thought of presenting my work to others fills me with dread. It is for this reason that as a group I suggested we develop the idea of ‘Speed Networking’, in order to tackle these demons and connect with the wider PhD community.

The concept is quite simple… Adapted from the model of ‘speed dating,’ and now increasingly used within business and careers sectors, it serves as an efficient way to meet numerous people in a short space of time. In our case, each student will participate in two rounds of group networking, in which individuals will be given a short time to present their ‘elevator pitch’ to the group, followed by a few minutes for discussion/questions. The event will then also be followed by a wine reception to give more opportunity for discussion and socialising.

The event has limited places, hence we have advertised to only first-year students across the Humanities who may be experiencing similar concerns as a new PhD student. However, if successful, we hope to hold multiple or larger events to include all PGRs or possibly integrate this concept into postgrad conferences or other events.

We hope that all attendees will gain both social and academic links from this event, and look forward to meeting everyone on the day!


Event details:

12th March 2015 – 4pm-5:30pm

Graduate School Atrium, Ellen Wilkinson Building

Wine and Refreshments Provided

Signup via Eventbrite:

Follow us on Twitter: @pgr_networking

Facebook:  Humanities PGR Speed Networking




Steph Dermott (

Will Hall (

Lizzie Cook (


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