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AHSS PhD Life Hacks 2017

The AHSS Postgraduate Research Community: Summer Seminar took place on 26th April in the Pavilion, University of Limerick. The second event in the series, the seminar was organised by AHSS postgraduate students: Niall Curry (Modern Languages & Applied Linguistics), Pam Wall (Culture & Communication) and Gerald Maher (History).

The theme for the seminar was PhD life hacks: Conference preparation, academic presentations and training for PhD researchers. The first speaker was Dr. Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin from Management and Marketing at the Kemmy Business School. Dr Ní Bheacháin’s talk centred on the ways in which research students can raise their academic profiles and develop research networks. She pointed to some of the many available yet under-exploited networking opportunities, at events such as conferences, seminars, and through peer communities.

Dr. Caoilfhionn Ní Bheacháin

The second speaker, Dr Darina Slattery from Technical Communication and Instructional Design at the School of Culture and Communication, spoke about conference presentations, both in terms of preparation and delivery. She highlighted the importance of audience awareness, the role of visual aids, contingencies and time management and gave practical recommendations for best practices in conference presentations. In a similar vein, the third speaker, Dr. Aoife Lenihan, from the Regional Writing Centre in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, spoke on creating academic posters. Dr. Lenihan gave practical advice on design features, useful resources and how and why academic research can be represented through posters.

Niall Curry

The subsequent two speakers discussed some of the training courses and resources available to research students in AHSS. Dr. Fintan Bracken, from the Glucksman Library, highlighted the scope of training courses organised by the Library, which include courses on referencing software, maximising your research impact and increasing your online visibility as a researcher. Similarly, Anne O’Dwyer, from UL’s Graduate School, spoke about the many courses arranged by the Graduate School, specifically those that concentrate on developing transferable skills, and the willingness of the Graduate School to respond to students’ needs and requirements.

Finally, Prof. Eoin Devereux, Assistant Dean of Research of AHSS, offered some closing remarks to the seminar in his talk A lonely road? Some practical tips on completing the PhD. Prof. Devereux shared his thoughts on, how to deal with pressure, stress and the focus on individuality in PhD research and academia. Drawing on his experiences as a student, supervisor and member of staff, Prof. Devereux recommended that students find a work-life balance, strongly recommending that researchers prioritise their own mental and physical wellbeing. At the core of his talk, he stressed the importance of being part of a community of researchers.

The seminar successfully allowed a community of researchers to form, and was well attended. It exemplified the desire for AHSS research students to build an open and fun community in which they can learn, share their travails, laugh and cry! With all of this in mind, the organisers would like to express their thanks to Dr. Niamh Lenahan, AHSS Graduate Research Centre, and Prof. Eoin Devereux, ADR of FAHSS, who supported the event in terms of, its organisation, and funding, for the venue and refreshments provided.

Any AHSS researchers interested in organising future events should contact Niall (, Pam ( or Gerald (

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