CMNH works to develop research careers, with especial regard to doctoral students and early-career researchers, in accordance with the principles of the Research Concordat; specifically:
- Principle 1, Recruitment and retention: The University-funded doctoral studentships located in CMNH have all attracted applicants of the highest international quality; and award-holders have been appointed after a rigorous application process overseen by the Arts and Humanities Doctoral College, as was also the case TECHNE-funded studentship with respect to national competition.
- Principles 4 and 5, Promotion of, and researchers’ own pro-active engagement with, career development and life-long learning: Placing our PhD students and early career researchers at the centre of our activity ensures that they develop a range of mutual, collaborative and collegiate skills, enabling them to build a sound career platform.
- Principle 6, Diversity and equality: Our commitment to equality and diversity is reflected not only by the make-up of the Centre’s steering group and researcher membership and the ethos of the Centre’s activities and events, but also in the opportunities afforded for organising, chairing, speaking and participating in those events.
Early Career Researchers
Early Career Researchers have opportunities for engagement in CMNH’s activities in a number of ways:
- Through membership of the Steering Group.
- Through having an active shaping role in the design and conduct of Centre events and the invitation of speakers.
- Through presenting research papers at Centre events.
- Through participation in activities with external research partners.
- Through membership of collaborative supervisory PhD supervision teams, building further research capacity in the University.
- Through curricular planning and development.
In addition to supporting University of Brighton ECRs, the Centre has also provided academic advice and institutional support for external applications for Post-doctoral Fellowships to be located within CMNH, and offered guidance to other potential post-doc applicants.
Postgraduate research students students are conceived as central to the Centre and its work, particularly but by no means exclusively through the leading roles they play in organising and undertaking the activities of the ‘Understanding Conflict’ research cluster. This brings together a critical mass of some eighteen doctoral researchers from right across the University of Brighton, a number of whom hold fully-funded studentships awarded under the University’s Studentship Scheme and its Scheme B Research Investment Scheme, or by the AHRC/TECHNE and AHRC/Design Star consortia of which the University is a member. PGR students located in CMNH also participate in the student-run, interdisciplinary Critical Studies Research Group which holds a weekly work-in-progress seminar for the presentation and discussion of research by doctoral students and early career researchers.
Doctoral students within the Centre have:
- Taken principal responsibility (with support from administrative and academic staff) for programming and co-organising the CMNH Annual Symposium in 2013-14.
- Taken part in discussions about CMNH’s participation in the European Observatory of Memories research network including attendance at a preliminary meeting with EUROM colleagues held in Barcelona in February 2015.
- Attended as delegates, delivered papers and chaired across the full range of CMNH events.
- Nominated one of their number as Postgraduate Student Representative on the Centre’s Steering Group.
- Participated in researcher membership meetings to plan new activities and directions for CMNH’s work.
- Initiated, programmed and participated in a reading group, ‘Beyond History and Memory: On Complex Temporalities’, January – June 2016.
- Participated as a collective in the ‘Spatiality and Temporality’ International Symposium in April 2016 in Warsaw where six of CMNH’s PhD students (accompanied by the Director and a member of the Steering Group) presented and chaired two panels of speakers on the theme ‘Negotiating Complex Temporalities in “Post-conflict” Spaces’. The visit also provided the opportunity to explore manifestations of Warsaw’s 20th century history and current politics of memory, including guided historical tours of the central cityscape and of the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. The visit were supported by the Doctoral College Research Student Conference Fund.
- With colleagues at the University of Sussex, programmed, organised (with support of CMNH’s Administrator) and chaired the annual Postgraduate Research Conference 2015-16, on the theme of ‘Subversive Histories for Public Cultures. The Politics of Life History Research’.
Working within the ‘Understanding Conflict’ cluster, doctoral students in CMNH, have also:
- Played a full part in forward planning of the Cluster’s activities at Working Group meetings held throughout the year, including an annual Away Day.
- Taken responsibility for programming, for organising (aided by the Cluster’s administrator) and for chairing its Launch Symposium in March 2014, subsequent Annual Conflict Cluster Symposia in June 2015 and March 2016, and the ‘Complicity’ conference in March/April 2015..
- Undertaken the editing of proceedings from annual symposia for publication in our in-house Working Papers in Memory, Narrative and Histories series.
- Initiated and led a range of events, including reading groups (eg the Judith Butler reading group April – November 2014; the Laleh Kahlili reading group and workshop in May – July 2015), master-classes (eg Wendy Brown [U of Berkeley] Masterclass November 2013, ‘Conflict, Revolt and Democracy in the Neoliberal World’), and conferences (eg Ontologies of Conflict June 2014) and created, organised and introduced The Metacinema Club, a series of screenings and discussion of documentary film held in a public venue in Brighton..
MA students also regularly participate in CMNH’s events and are encouraged to play a role in their organisation. Besides enjoying the stimulus of active engagement with doctoral students, MA students also find opportunities for career development arising through their involvement:
- A student on the MA Cultural History, Memory and Identity has been encouraged and supported in developing her research for an edited collection on The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain, stemming from a CMNH collaborative partnership and conference to be published by Manchester University Press in 2016.
- Two students on the MA Cultural History and Identity won eight-month formal placements within the Brighton and Hove Black History community group as an integral part of CUPP-funded skills and knowledge exchange. Black History and Cultural Memory: The India Gateway Commemoration Project. A student placement evaluation can be accessed here.
- A postgraduate student from the University of Utrecht, following the MA Cultural History, Memory and Identity at Brighton, became a Visiting Research Fellow in the Centre to bring to publication (guided by the Director) issue no. 2 of Working Papers in Memory, Narrative and Histories, on ‘The Brighton “Grand Hotel” Bombing: History, Memory and Political Theatre’.
- A student recently graduated from the MA Cultural History, Memory and Identity was invited and supported to a deliver her first academic paper at the Cluster Annual Symposium in March 2016.
Mentoring and development activities and schemes
Mentoring and development activities occur informally and organically in the course of engagement by early career researchers and PGR students in the activities described above. More formal opportunities for mentoring occur through:
- Engagement of ECR staff in collaborative supervisory PhD supervision teams, building further research capacity in the University.
- Involvement in curricular planning and development.
- The ‘Understanding Conflict’ Cluster’s mentoring scheme whereby second-year postgraduates actively engage with new students.