Welcome to the first newsletter of the PhD society. It’s been an exciting past few months. Our launch event in May, saw students from a range of faculties come together to discuss how they saw the society taking shape in the future. There were some useful ideas and many of these are now being developed further and will be taken forward over the next year. One of the main aims of the society is to bring research students and staff across the university together, and this is what most of our work will focus on.
One of the suggestions that came out of the launch event was improving the links between students and teaching staff in some faculties. With this in mind, students and staff from the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (FABE) based on the Marylebone Road campus took a ‘Walk in the Park’ a couple of weeks ago. It sounds quite simple, but it's surprising how many people based at Marylebone campus have not ventured over the most polluted road in London, to the slightly fresher air of Regent's Park. Meeting up for a walking lunch around the inner circle of Regent's Park got students and staff away from the desks for an hour or so and actually talking to each other! Walking is good for general well-being, but it is also true that it can enhance sociability and give people a chance to take in their surroundings and interact with the environment. This worked really well to start to better integrate the research community across the faculty, and as the sun finally came out, it was a good way to meet some new faces and explore new collaborations.
We recently had the opportunity to meet with the university’s newly appointed Vice Chancellor, Dr Peter Bonfield, along with some of our PhD colleagues. Dr Bonfield was extremely enthusiastic and supportive of the PhD Society, and has suggested bringing together PhD Society representatives and the Graduate School to meet and discuss how our Society might best communicate the needs of the PhD student body to the university. Look out for an email from us - we will be asking what issues are important to you!
Part of the reason for the PhD society being set up of course, was because PhD students tend to be a disparate bunch, spread across a variety of locations, with many students not spending a lot of time on the campus itself. The PhD society website will therefore be an important tool for a lot of members in keeping up to date with what’s going on here. Please take a look at it here. There is now a calendar on the website, where faculty committee members can add on important events. If you have one to add, please see the link below for your correct contact. You can also check out our Facebook page where it’s possible to announce events and other news too.
FOCUS ON..... Impact of Urban Form on Microclimate and Human Health
FABE student Merhdad Borna has been at Canary Wharf, giving people at the London Festival of Architecture a chance to get a hands-on experience of how buildings affect air quality and flow, temperature and humidity. With nearly 9,500 deaths related to air pollution each year in London alone, this is now a significant health issue. An enthusiastic group of people turned up to find out what can be done with the latest technology to better understand the issues and start to make improvements. See more here.
The PhD Society will be hosting a research symposium in November. This will be a multi-disciplinary symposium, intended as an annual event, with students from all faculties welcome. The event will encourage more links across and between disciplines. Students will have the opportunity to present their work to a (hopefully!) friendly audience, gaining experience of presenting and raising the profile of the university's research community. We are in the process of inviting key note speakers for the event, and please feel free to suggest anyone. And if you're interested in being involved in this, please watch out for further updates.
We want to hear about what is going on in your faculty in future months, so that we can promote it here and learn from each other about what works (and what doesn’t!). In FABE, a series of quarterly learning lunches are being set up, to bring students and staff together and discuss their work. If you've got an event that you're involved in that you'd like to be featured next time, please let us know. And for updates on other events within the university or that other students are attending, please check the calendar on our website and our Facebook page.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
The PhD Society is completely volunteer run and we want to make sure that it fully reflects the range of students we have here at Westminster. It’s important that we have committee members from each faculty, so that we can represent the views of your faculty accurately and are able to find out about what is going on. We are still looking for committee members from the faculties of Media, Arts & Design, Science & Technology and Westminster Business School. This is a great way to build up a stronger research network within your faculty and to be fully involved in the work of the PhD society. If you'd like to get involved, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can see who is already involved here.
If you don’t want to be involved in the society, but you’re just doing something particularly exciting in the next few months, then let us know. We’re always looking for interesting features for the next newsletter, so please email us at email@example.com
Enjoy your summer and we’ll be in touch again in September!
By Holly Weir