Newsletter #8 (Nov 2020)

Well, it’s been a long time (five years) since I posted a Newsletter. I never intended to leave it so long … but one thing led to another …

In recent years, this LANTERN community has been spurred on by others (Eljee, Susan, Nahielly, and Min especially, to whom a big Thank You is long overdue), and as they have graduated and moved onto to new pastures (at Sussex in Eljee’s case, at Manchester in Susan’s, Min’s and Nahielly’s), LANTERN has become gradually much quieter.

The combination of the COVID-reminder of the importance of our online communities (for both doctoral students and early career researchers) and the arrival of new members this year (for whom online support is the norm rather than an add-on) has prompted me back into LANTERN activity …. and it feels like coming home having been away for a while 🙂

In practice, this means that this space is being tidied up, brought upto date as much as possible, and, as Xian and Jing become more familiar and confident with the behind the scenes management of LANTERN, it will be a freshly energised space as well.

So much has happened, and there has been so much to celebrate, and so much is happening …. it would be an ambitious task to try and comment on all of this – instead, I just want to remark on a heart-warming aspect of LANTERN’s presence. I asked some of our alumni if they could come and speak with our new colleagues, telling them briefly about their completed PhD studies, their experience of doing the PhD, and their experience of publishing too. The response has been overwhelming.

To date, we have had two such talks (Khwan visited us on 6th November; and Tinghe Jin … who is a research associate rather than an alumna … was here on 13th) but the series is rapidly stretching out to the end of 2020 and into 2021 (with Susan Dawson on 20th, Magda Rostron on 26th, Olga Dolganova on 4th December, and then another associate on 11th, Eva Polymenakou, just leaving the 18th December unclaimed as yet).

This willingness, enthusiasm even, of alumni and associates, to visit our ongoing community is very pleasing, a consequence of the value of LANTERN in years gone by. I hope this ‘rebooting’ can build on this valued past and recreate a purposeful, supportive, and similarly valued present ….

Can I therefore warmly invite you to re-engage with LANTERN, update your profiles, post your news, share your ideas, plans, questions, invitations, whatevers … and let’s find our LANTERN to help us through this COVID-tinged wintry time ….