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Looking back on the PRIDE Conference from 5-6 April

Looking back on the PRIDE Conference from 5-6 April

An excellent summary of the conference provides Mary Beth Kneafsey, Postgraduate Research Strategy Manager at the University of Glasgow, Research and Innovation Services. You can read her impression of the conference below.

"The PRIDE networking event hosted by colleagues at the University of Vienna in their beautiful city was both beneficial as well as inspiring to me in thinking about my professional context and development. The opening talk of the conference was by Celia Whitchurch from the Institute of Education in London as an evening welcome event. Her work on ‘third space professionals’ has been of interest to me for some time as I’ve felt myself to be described by this term.  A number of the challenges that she articulated in her talk are things that have often vexed me in my own role, such as how our roles cut across internal boundaries, can be high in responsibility but low in authority and how we need to use our knowledge, personal credibility and ability to build relationships and partnerships to be most effective.  Hearing her articulate these as aspects of our roles and seeing all the nodding heads in the room helped me to see more clearly the potential strengths of these rather than as things to overcome. The second day of the conference held a number of panel discussions to hear different viewpoints from a wide range of stakeholders in doctoral education from experienced academics to student leaders to policy makers and research leaders. The discussions were wide ranging and covered how professionals in doctoral education support their various constituencies in a huge variety of roles – many of which are related to gathering and analysing information, problem solving and leading on new initiatives – and in the huge variety of agenda with which we must engage. There was agreement by all that a key aspect is respect – respecting our colleagues as professionals, being respected in return and recognising the value that we all bring to the projects we work on, whatever our job titles might be.  A fun element of the day was the world café style lunch where the speakers took tables and participants switched tables twice to different discussions. This enabled lively discussions on a range of topics but yet a relaxed and productive lunch with no crowds around the catering and the chance to chat to new colleagues and engage informally with the speakers and experts.  Something that came up in a couple of discussions is that many of us think about what our next job might be and don’t see a clear path to whatever this might be.  In development terms, this is challenging to know where to apply your effort but it is rather exciting as well – we all have such broad experience, the next opportunity could be almost anywhere."

Mary Beth Kneafsey, Postgraduate Research Strategy Manager at the University of Glasgow

To the presentations of the conference

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