Happy New Year!
The fact that I am saying that In February is some indication as to how busy I have been during the beginning of 2015. During January I was incredibly fortunate (particularly as I am still a masters student) to attend the PhD training school organised by COST Action IS1106 Offender Management in Europe and hosted by Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. This was my first trip to Barcelona which was incredibly exciting, but it was also the first time I have spoken away from the comfort and safety of Keele University.
The training school was organised over three days, with participants speaking on the first day (including me!), the tables turned on the second day as the trainers talked to us about their research, and the third day concluded with participant feedback (REF style) to the trainers and a brilliant question and answer session focusing upon research careers in offender management.
I spoke about the time I spent with the local IOM unit last year, making links to theory and my PhD proposal. Many other participants within my group talked about the research they are currently doing or research they have recently completed within a variety of disciplines, but all focused upon offender management. I found this session inspirational. Being so young in the academic world, it exposed me to types of research I have not experienced before and the feedback prompted me to think deeply about methodological, ethical and practical issues in a way I would not have done so at this point.
The trainer’s presentations on the second day were an advanced, intensive methods session for me. I make no apology for my interests in methods that focus more on qualitative and visual methods, so learning about the Super Visible and Picturing Probation research was invaluable for my research interests moving forward. I could easily talk about the impact the school had upon my academic/ research ability all day, and indeed have done to the academics and fellow students back at Keele.
What the training school did do for me, for which I am extremely grateful for, is improve my confidence and give me a network of amazing researchers to work with and keep in touch with as I move forward in my career. My expectation of the school was for academic and professional development, I didn’t expect the personal development I feel I have gained from becoming part of this COST Action. I am excited to remain part of this network moving forward.
My many thanks go to Fergus McNeill and all of the team involved in making this training school happen. I apologise that my feedback has not been very timely; unfortunately the end of the school meant a return to reality and the commitments within it!
You can read more about the action here : http://www.offendersupervision.eu/about
And read other reflections about the training school here: http://www.offendersupervision.eu/blog-post/reflections-on-the-training-school-in-barcelona
As always, here are some of the many pictures I took along the way!