About My Blog & Me

This blog is about academia and me. It’s about academia and you. It’s about sharing my experiences of my profession, and about sharing knowledge and skills which are too often taken for granted. It’s about those academic voices which are either not heard at all, or are not heard enough. It’s about challenging dominant ideas of what academics should look like. It’s about redefining what it takes to be an academic and how academics are expected to present themselves, their lives, and their work. It’s about making ourselves and our profession simultaneously vulnerable and stronger, so that we can help change what makes us feel inadequate, ashamed, or unprofessional. So that we can help make academia more inclusive.

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Keep Calm & Take Time Off: Being Ill at Work

When you’re ill, do you keep calm and carry on, or do you keep calm and take time off? I’ve just come to the end of two weeks sick leave. Shingles seriously knocked me out, even though I noticed it and got anti-viral medication on the very first day the rash appeared. It was the first time […]

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The Twilight Zone: After the PhD, Before the Academic Job

You’re close to submitting your PhD, to passing your viva voce examination with flying colours, and to be awarded your doctorate. At various stages in these final months of your existence as a PhD student certain scary thoughts – of the practical kind – enter your mind repeatedly and persistently. When will my university email […]

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16/03/2016 “Writing for Survival: Publishing & Precarity in the Lives of Early-Career Researchers” (Liverpool)

I’ve been invited to deliver this paper at the The University Press Redux Conference in Liverpool. You can find the full programme here, and the abstract for my paper below.  The processes, practices, and politics of publishing have a substantial influence on the careers and the lives of early-career researchers. A book – be it under contract […]

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Making Your Mark: Academia, Social Media, & Employability

I delivered this invited talk as part of an event called The Digital Academic, organised by Jobs.ac.uk and Piirus and held on 23 March 2015 at the University of Warwick. The aim of this session was to introduce ECRs and PhDs to how social media can help your academic profile, skills, and career prospects, but […]

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Academic Job Interviews

Academic job interviews can take a variety of forms, and I’ve experienced a few different kinds of job interview – both from the perspective of a candidate, as well as from the perspective of a member of the interview panel. As with any public speaking engagement, preparation is essential and managing your nerves on the […]

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Academic Job Applications

It is notoriously difficult to advise people on how to get shortlisted for an academic job. In the end, someone can satisfy all of the relevant criteria but not get shortlisted simply because someone else satisfies them to a greater degree. The reality is that not all ‘minimally qualified’ candidates can be interviewed; this is […]

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Fail Better: Surviving the Slings & Arrows of Academic Fortune

Academia often seems filled to brimming with misanthropy merchants, doom prognosticators and naysayers. It is true, however, that we do have to deal with an unusually high degree of scrutiny, evaluation and appraisal in our professional lives. This can take a toll on even the most Polyanna-ish of characters. It is a tough gig, and […]

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The Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Unless you’ve been asleep in the library for the past few years, you’ll almost certainly have heard about the REF (Research Excellence Framework); but you might be less aware of exactly what it is, how it affects you as a researcher, and what you need to do to prepare. In this post I’ll highlight the […]

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