On Wednesday 25thSeptember, a number of CRACL members reconvened for the new academic year. The session began with an exploratory activity led by Postgraduate Coordinator, Cassie Kill, who encouraged us all to portray our research through the medium of Play-Doh. After much reflection (and some relaxing sensory play!) we shared our thought processes and explained the symbolic meanings of each of our Play-Doh models.
The different interpretations of the research process and the diverse ways in which we had all conceptualized our current thinking in a physical form was fascinating. It was also incredibly valuable to receive feedback from one another and to share our responses to one another’s work. Crucially, there was a sense of collective endeavor and, for me, a realization that the PhD does not have to be a solitary experience at all. Instead, being a member of a research centre like CRACL affords the opportunity to draw on the strengths of peers and colleagues – there is both strength and safety in numbers!
Later, Dr Julia Molinari shared her recent experiences of the PhD viva process, revealing illuminating insights and pertinent advice that was seized on excitedly by the rest of us! When Julia had been subjected to enough of a grilling on recent events, we settled down to an incredible lunch. From artisan cheeses to Turkish kofta, from freshly baked bread to refreshing, ripe fruit, we were spoilt for choice! The bring-a-dish format worked well and set a high standard for subsequent meetings!
Last but not least, Fatma talked about the emerging findings of her action research study. It was interesting to learn the changes in the attitudes and perceptions of teachers, parents, and children after conducting her action plan. I am looking forward to learning more about the main findings of her study in the future.