Newsletter #3

Hi All

The end of November came and went without my finding time or inclination to finish this 3rd Newsletter. Now, it is the year’s end that approaches and, with it, here in Manchester, despite the mild weather, the wintry dark afternoons still encroach although at least the days are beginning to lengthen (albeit hardly perceptibly as yet). It’s a time to be cosily by the fire with a big, juicy research methodology book or two 🙂 So, in this year-ending/year-commencing festive spirit, what’s new in our doctoral researcher community?

From my perspective, the message is one of ‘steady as she goes’. We have, I believe, collectively-managed the reorganisation necessitated by Julian’s early retirement (many thanks to all concerned), and our community is continuing in its development in a number of ways – for example:

–> those in their writing up period are making progress towards a final text and a submission date (you know who you are!);

–> those heading for Panel soon (you also know who you are) are making good progress towards this goal – and this includes Sophia who has chosen to repeat the Panel experience with a new topic!

–>  and we seem to be building momentum regarding narrative methodology (as evidenced by: a) the impressive set of submissions for NM2012 in Paris in May)  b) research outputs (chapters, articles, and papers); and also C0 the developing Narratuve Natters discussion group (over a beer every couple of weeks here in Manchester); and

–> the Doing Research Multilingually theme which some of you have been involved in already has received a boost through the successful gaining of an AHRC research network grant (more on this soon).

Interest in joining the community remains solid and we have a steady stream of excellent applications, some by MA alumni – this is especially pleasing for us. For example, from March-May 2012, we will be joined onsite by Maria from Spain who is doing a research placement with us as part of her European Doctorate (based at Complutense in Madrid). Her topic is on CLIL and we have an application on the same broad topic area from Fitri in indonesia. Gary also has an MA EdTech & TESOL alumnus due to start in September. Watch this space for their profiles soon …

All such progress is pleasing given the gloomy context in which we are now slumped, in both macro and micro terms. At the macro-level, many of you are feeling the consequences of the economic crisis and it is a tribute to your determination that your doctoral studies continue regardless, or so it seems 🙂 As yet, the consequences of the macro-crisis for us in Manchester are unclear. However, at the micro-level here in Manchester – where the situation is also complicated by the upcoming introduction of £9K student fees as well as curbs on international student visas – we are undergoing a ‘Review’ of the School of Education’s ‘health’ (in economic, research, and teaching terms) and there may be some ‘turbulence’ ahead (for staff, not students I hasten to add). For sure, th future developments for our LTE team will benefit enormously from this dynamic and productive doctoral community – the quality of your work, the extent of your performances and publications, your success in meeting the targets in place (e.g. for Panel, completion on time, etc), and your swelling ranks – all of these evidence the important LTE (doctoral) contribution to the School’s PGR / research activities. Thank you!

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to Lou and Eljee for soming to talk to our onsite MA students all about their research topics and how these flowed out of their own MA-thinking some years back. Tanya also flew our flag at the PGR event on December 8th. I am also pleased that Tanya and Eljee will be leading some narrative training in February with the Year 1 students on the professional doctorate in Counselling Psychology.

In Newletter #4, there will be news to report re the NM2012 conference, and others too (such as Finland in June), and remind me also to talk about the Publications board on our corridor in Manchester and your works appearing increasingly on it!

So, all in all, there is much that is good in my end of year reflections. I hope the same can be said for all of you 🙂