In addition, we have benefited from Kennedy’s involvement in the Indvil international network (Innovative data visualisation and visual-numeric literacy), led by the University of Agder in Norway. This collaboration has seen us attend a 2-day workshop in Norway as well as all contributing chapters to the forthcoming book ‘Data visualization in Society’, due out late-2019.
As we are all now in the writing up phase of our projects we have recently begun to explore the collective implications of our research for practitioners. The White Rose kindly funded a workshop for us three PhD students to dedicate three days to doing this. As a result, we are planning a dissemination workshop for practitioners, in Leeds, at the end of 2019. We are hopeful this will also lead to us producing a resource for practitioners that we can share more widely online.
How have we found our Network?
We have found the network to have many advantages, as well as a few challenges.
A key benefit has been having a ready-made network of two other students specialising in the same subject area. Through the regular meetings, training and events we have attended together we have developed supportive relationships. This has also been useful for sharing experiences beyond the academic content of our projects. Being able to compare the process and practicalities of doing a PhD with each other has also been a help.
The regular network meetings have been good too. Firstly, they have provided milestones to work towards for sharing our thinking at regular points throughout the projects. Secondly, by bringing together an interdisciplinary group of people, us students have benefited from receiving a range of perspectives from the range of fields represented by everyone in the network, academic and non-academic. Thirdly, having external, non-academic partners has constantly challenged us to think about what our research might mean or do beyond academia.
Having both financial and in kind contributions from non-academic partners has been a benefit. This has helped to subsidise both fieldwork and training. In addition, being able to hold conversations with the external partners outside of formal meetings has been beneficial at different stages in our projects.
There have been a few challenges associated with being part of the network. Firstly, having one supervisor in a different city makes it difficult to have informal chats with them in between supervisions. Secondly, working with external partners has led to a tension for the students between producing your own project and something of use to partners. However, learning from these experiences will no doubt be helpful when we (hopefully) undertake future research. On a more practical note, it was not at all clear how to access the financial contributions made by the external partners. In the event this was handled directly between student and external partner.
Despite such challenges, undertaking a PhD as part of a White Rose ESRC network has been very rewarding.