47 episodes

This is the podcast for you if you are currently doing a PhD; are working with PhD students; or just living with someone who is on a PhD journey.

The PhD Life Raft will focus on sharing insights and experiences around some common issues like anxiety, procrastination, precariousness, imposter syndrome, and work-life balance. We will talk to students, supervisors and experts in the field of wellbeing and mental health and share actionable tips and additional resources.

Doing a PhD is tough. The PhD Life Raft is here to help you get through.

The PhD Life Raft Podcast Dr Emma Brodzinski

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 22 Ratings

This is the podcast for you if you are currently doing a PhD; are working with PhD students; or just living with someone who is on a PhD journey.

The PhD Life Raft will focus on sharing insights and experiences around some common issues like anxiety, procrastination, precariousness, imposter syndrome, and work-life balance. We will talk to students, supervisors and experts in the field of wellbeing and mental health and share actionable tips and additional resources.

Doing a PhD is tough. The PhD Life Raft is here to help you get through.

    Managing Self Care on the PhD Journey with Catherine Pope

    Managing Self Care on the PhD Journey with Catherine Pope

    This week’s episode is both inspirational and a cautionary tale.  Catherine Pope was awarded her PhD by the University of Sussex in 2014. She talks about her own PhD experience both in terms of how she utilised her professional project-management skills within her doctoral journey but also how her own health was compromised as she undertook studying alongside full-time work.
     
    Catherine went straight into a Master’s programme having not been to university before.  She then went on to complete her PhD working weekends.  We talk about the challenges of that way of working and how to look after yourself along that journey.
     
    We talk about setting up useful routines and what to do when you are having a bad day.
     
    Catherine discusses her use of Focusmate to structure her routine:  https://www.focusmate.com/
     
    We also talk about doing things your future self will thank you for and Catherine proposes the idea of the ‘Minimum Viable Thesis’.
     
    You can find out more about Catherine’s work - including her books How to Finish Your PhD and How to Publish Your PhD here: www.phdprogress.com.


    Sign up to 'Notes from the Life Raft' and receive a weekly email with useful info to support you on the PhD journey: https://mailchi.mp/f2dce91955c6/notes-from-the-life-raft

    • 23 min
    Changing Your PhD Topic with Shanika Ranasinghe

    Changing Your PhD Topic with Shanika Ranasinghe

    Welcome to Season Five!! 
     
    What better way to start than with ABBA?!
     
    This week’s guest Shanika Ranasinghe is a fourth-year part-time ethnomusicology PhD student in the Department of Music – Royal Holloway, University of London.  Her thesis constitutes an ethnographic study of twenty-first century ABBA fandom.  
     
    In this episode we discuss how ABBA’s recent reform led Shanika to re-think her PhD topic and how she managed that shift.
     
    We also talk about the media interest that Shanika’s work has attracted - she has recently appeared on Swedish and British national TV, as well as UK, Australian, and New Zealand radio.   You can find The Conversation article that Shanika references in the interview here: https://theconversation.com/abba-who-actually-likes-them-167401 .  As we discuss, The Conversation can be a really useful platform for disseminating research material and often gets picked up by journalists.
     
    Shanika shares top tips about maintaining your integrity as well as the importance of community.



    Support The PhD Podcast on Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/thephdliferaft

    • 22 min
    How to Handle the Holidays - take 2 - with Chloe Bradwell and Rachel Hopkin

    How to Handle the Holidays - take 2 - with Chloe Bradwell and Rachel Hopkin

    In the great tradition of British TV we are re-running our Christmas special!
    This episode has not one, but two guests!  Chloé Bradwell is a Drama practitioner and SWW DTP funded PhD candidate at the University of Exeter and Aberystwyth University and Rachel Hopkin is a full-time, TECHNE funded PhD in the Media Arts department at Royal Holloway.  Like Chloé she has returned to study after experience in industry and has worked with two of the largest theatrical agencies in the UK.   
    In this seasonal episode we think about how to handle the holidays as a PhD student….
    We talk about guilt; we talk about exhaustion; but we also talk about how to make the most of what this period may offer. 
    Rachel is looking forward to a change in pace after a pressurised first term and Chloe’s plans for the holidays are built around spending time with her daughter.
    We talk about how rest can be a productive activity and Rachel also shares some tips on how to build a support network – even if you are an introvert!
    The PhD Life Raft will be back with a new season on 11th January 2022 but, in the meantime you are very welcome to join Emma for two special events. 
    The PhD Year Review takes place on 21st December - you can find out more here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/review-of-the-year-for-phd-researchers-tickets-180825422707
    Or you might want to kick-start 2022 with The PhD Plan-a-thon - you can save your seat here: https://emmab.kartra.com/page/plan-a-thon
     
    Wishing you a peaceful Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year! 
     

    • 28 min
    The importance of reflection in the PhD process with Allan Kilner-Johnson

    The importance of reflection in the PhD process with Allan Kilner-Johnson

    This week we are welcoming back the marvellous Allan Kilner-Johnson!  Allan is mindfulness meditation teacher alongside his work as a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research at the University of Surrey.
     
    Allan talks us through the importance of the process of review within his own academic life.  We talk about how academia can be very forward-focused and how a lot can be gained from taking stock of the previous work and experience.  Allan draws on Kolb’s experiential learning model to illustrate how review sits within a productive work cycle.
     
    We talk about how it can be important to create moments of reflection for yourself within the PhD journey and how this time of year can be a particularly useful moment to look back at the past year in order to prepare yourself for the year ahead.
     
    Allan and I are co-facilitating a review of the year for PhD researchers on 21st December.  This will be an online event supported by a bespoke workbook.  You can find out more here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/180825422707
     
    You can connect to Allan here:
     
    www.allankilnerjohnson.com
    https://www.instagram.com/allankilnerjohnson/
    https://www.facebook.com/allankilnerjohnson
    https://twitter.com/thisisallan
     
    Here are the links to the publications mentioned in the episode:



    Daily Greatness Journal: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Daily-Greatness-Journal-Minimalist-Productive/dp/B08VBH5MLZ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=XDES0HRB3LSW&keywords=the+daily+greatness+journal&qid=1638796471&sprefix=the+daily+greatness+%2Caps%2C174&sr=8-3
    Legend Planner: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=legend+planner&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
    6 Minute Journal: https://www.amazon.co.uk/6-Minute-Success-Journal-Motivation-Mindfulness/dp/B08HZBTK2Q/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=6%2Bminute%2Bjournal&qid=1638796535&sr=8-6&th=1
    Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goodbye-2021-Hello-2022-Design/dp/1911682156/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1LKKKO8Y4VDH8&keywords=hello+2022&qid=1638796617&sprefix=hello+2022%2Caps%2C166&sr=8-3
     

    • 20 min
    Finding Your Voice with Rebecca McCutcheon

    Finding Your Voice with Rebecca McCutcheon

    This week’s episode focuses on ‘finding your voice’ - both in terms of having confidence to speak about your work but also the process of discovering a way of writing about your research ideas.  
     
    Our guest is Rebecca McCutcheon, a director and practice-led researcher, working across site-based practice, feminist performance and feminist theatre history.   
     
    Becs talks about her own journey into the PhD through her creative practice and the experience of being pregnant whilst undertaking her doctoral research.
     
    She discusses the importance of the team of people who supported her through her PhD.
     
    Becs describes the challenges of finding her own distinct academic voice and the advice that her supervisor gave her which helped to take her forward.
     
    Becs also shares her advice about how to begin sharing your work publicly.
     
    You can find out more about Becs’ work here:  https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/rebecca-mccutcheon(84c0dadc-dfa4-4449-a076-6bc3a7afd4cb).html



    Sign up for ‘Notes from the Life Raft’ - a useful weekly email to support you on your PhD journey:
     https://mailchi.mp/f2dce91955c6/notes-from-the-life-raft

    • 28 min
    Productive PhD Research Processes with Alison Miller

    Productive PhD Research Processes with Alison Miller

    This week’s guest is Alison Miller AKA The Dissertation Coach.  Alison created ‘The Academic Writers’ Space’ to provide structure and support doctoral students and academics and then, in 2000, she developed this work through The Dissertation Coach which provides programmes and specialist coaching for researchers.  
     
    In this episode Alison talks about her own experience of imposter syndrome during her doctoral studies and how she developed structures to support her own mental well-being.
     
    Alison talks about her ‘project management’ approach to the PhD and how she built an infrastructure for engaged and meaningful productivity.
     
    We talk about the importance of both internal and external tracking as a means to keep yourself on-course.   
     
    We also reflect on how clarity can be the antidote to procrastination.  
     
    Alison introduces what she terms “environmental alignment” as a means to set yourself up for success.
     
    We finish with the invitation to work with the version of you that showed up to work!
     
    You can find out more about Alison’s work here:  https://www.thedissertationcoach.com/
     
    You can find Alison’s book ‘Finish Your Dissertation Once and for All!  How to Overcome Psychological Barriers, Get Results and Move on with Your Life here: https://amzn.to/3nFmfx8



    Sign up for ‘Notes from the Life Raft’ - a useful weekly email to support you on your PhD journey:
     https://mailchi.mp/f2dce91955c6/notes-from-the-life-raft

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

Niblina ,

Mature students FTW!

Really enjoyed the episode with Elisa Webb. So refreshing to hear a mature student - and the first in her family to go to uni - talking so passionately and practically about doing a phd. Loved her pie chart tip, and encouragement to just think for 30 mins a day. I found it really inspirational. Thank you!

la la lady 12345 ,

Really great.

Great Podcast. Dr Emma, you have really great energy, I could listen to you all day! Really useful guests and information
-Lynn

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