Sites, scents and a sense of self
Looking back at Spring School 2017
The seasonal schools for postgraduate research students – Winter, Spring and Autumn – are an important part of our innovative modes of distributed delivery.
Spring School is designed as an opportunity to not only bring the cohort together and build the relationship of the group but to deliver the skills required to be a world class researcher.
This year’s programme included a range of workshops aimed at developing critical writing and research skills. Students engaged in activities based around crystallising their research processes, articulating their own position within their context of inquiry, and reflecting on the multisensory elements of the methods and approaches that they are developing and applying.
A workshop ‘Artefacts, Sites and Processes’, hosted by Dr Frances Robertson and Mairi Mackenzie, involved object-orientated exercises, including a ‘smell walk’, a sense-driven journey around the Altyre Campus. Each student was also asked to communicate our practices and research contexts through the analysis of everyday objects.
Here PhD student Anna Spencer reflects on her experience of the event.
“There is a different quality to the cohort schools – being surrounded by a local community to that of being surrounded by your academic peers. This is the fifth school I have attended and I think I am now learning how to navigate them and make the most of the experience.
“Spring School 2017 had a clear developmental arc with specific moments of challenge and input along the way which demonstrated a depth of consideration to the cohorts’ current positions. In particular, the pairing of M.Res. students with PhD students in line with areas of common interest was really rewarding and offers a good precedent for how overlapping cohorts can interact over time with students clustering around shared themes.
“The emphasis of the week was to develop confidence in our sense of self – our practice, our position in the research and how we present this through our writing. Through contemplating site and scent we creatively explored the world views and assumptions we bring to our research. In order to better understand what is right in front of you, it must be viewed indirectly. It can be really liberating to look at your current research and practice through an entirely new lens.”
And you can also read about our programme of Seasonal Schools.