Wrapped Up In Books 

Though I’m in my final year, today was my first time at a doctorate writing circle meet up. Prior to attending I spent time deliberating which 500 words of my research I should submit to my inner circle of the group for critique and discussion. 

I decided up my introduction and research questions as not only are they the foundations of my research but also useful for context for future work to submit to my group. The lucky things. 

In return I received work on Martian space dust with added terrestrial dust devil’s and the working context of teachers. It definitely made a pleasant change to be reading outside of my academic field and to see other research being conducted across campus.  

However, when the time came to attend, I was a bag of nerves. For the first time I would be sitting in a room of PhD students discussing research where I am an EdD. And the only EdD at that. I debated whether they’d spot me a mile off and whether my EdD would be viewed in a similar way to the PhD.

Thankfully the opening gambit was on the lack of biscuits, a topic I’m well versed due to the multitude of meetings I attend sans biscuits and from the occasional conference slide. I finally felt at ease, research chat a go-go.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are absolute bonuses to being in the EdD doctorate programme at The Open University. The way the programme dove tails with my work is exemplary, however it’s designed to be conducted at distant so my fellow EdD’s are scattered across the globe and see collectively once a year at Residential School. As Belle and Sebastian had put it, until now I had been wrapped up in books. 

The only downfall of the EdD programme is that even though I’m actually on campus I don’t feel part of the doctorate student community here. Recently the OU launched of our new Graduate School and though absolutely fantastic for our PhD doctorate students, the EdD wasn’t mentioned in any press release. Not once. *insert Mutley grumbling noises*
So, to the big question – how did it go? Well I had a great discussion with the session supervisor and also received some feedback from the other two students in my inner circle. All of which I put into practice straight away. In addition I saw how other doctorate students set about constructing their writing, the difference in styles, and to share our thoughts about the big push to thesis submission. It felt reassuring to hear that we all had the same concerns as we embark on our final year. Collective mutterings of ‘oh God’ and ‘holy crap’ were oddly comforting.

And next? The writing circles are held every month until June, so in the meantime I’m finishing my progress report due Monday and from that selecting my next 500 words to submit. I’m even looking forward to reading more about the micropolitics of the classroom and diurnal variations in dust devil’s activity. < I dream of the day a question on University Challenge comes up on this so I may impress my dog. He’s a tough audience though. 

Oh, and in the absence of biscuits I pledged to bake muffins for next time – I can’t give up on my Elle Woods persona entirely now can I? After all she is right, orange is not the new pink.
Until next time, I’m still…doctor in waiting 

Taking on Trolls

A few weeks back I had the pleasure to attend ALT-C and listen to a fantastic and insightful keynote by Josie Fraser – In The Valley of the Trolls (available on YouTube). In her keynote Josie advocated when dealing with trolls it was best to ignore, block, and delete.

Now normally I advocate of this method, however a troll in my community this week got a little more than they bargained for when writing this post on the Facebook fan page of Sainsburys…

I’m not going to get into the semantics of dairy for health, but as a vegan myself we are subjected to trolling pretty much on a daily basis. However, unlike in Josie’s keynote this isn’t just reserved to the world on online, it has been on many occasions to my face. I can’t even seem to escape it as some people I know even introduce me as ‘this is Hannah, she’s vegan’ (way to go guys). So ignoring, deleting, and blocking can then become somewhat trickier when the troll is standing right in front of you… 

In the situation with the lady that posted to Sainsburys she informed us that our cheese wasn’t cheese so should be called Gary and none of us would be invited to her wine and cheese parties in the future. Now this invite blacklisting would sadden some, especially as we are the ones that eat the celery at these parties. However the community and then Sainsburys chose *not* to ignore, delete or block, but instead fight back with humour to lessen the troll…


With a few hours the troll-fightback campaign had gone viral. Gary was truly born, adopted by all vegan/vegan friendly companies and vegans as our new word for cheese 

It even made the news and so the question is…what happened to the lady? 

Well, it seems the troll is now considering a candlelit dinner with none other than…Gary. 

Hope he brings some celery.