Precarity is, unfortunately, a familiar experience for many PhD students – particularly in the strange times that we find ourselves in.  This week’s episode touches on both the precarity brought about by the pandemic but also the on-going precarious nature of employment within the Higher Education sector.

My guest Bee Hughes, is a Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication and Chair of the UCU branch at Liverpool John Moores University.  

Bee talks about their own experience of the PhD process and the importance of assembling a team that support the work you are doing. 

They talk about researching during the pandemic and the challenges of undertaking a viva via MS Teams!  

We also discuss Bee’s frustration with the precarity of working as a session lecturer which led them to their work with the union.  

Bee outlines some of UCU’s current campaigns and how the union can support you if you are working within HE.

Here are links to further information:

UCU membership FAQs: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/10509/Future-of-the-profession-free-membership-FAQs

UCU pages on casualisation, including links to employment law commentary and campaigning resources: https://www.ucu.org.uk/socc_memberinfo

UCU Report Second Class Academic Citizens: The dehumanising effects of casualisation in higher education (Megoran & Mason, 2020) https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10681/second_class_academic_citizens/pdf/secondclassacademiccitizens

UCU Guidance on requesting permanent contract: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/3567/Fixed-term-regulations-requesting-confirmation-of-permanence

UCU Anti-Casualisation mailing list sign up (for members only): https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/5364/Login?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ucu.org.uk%2Felists

PGRs as staff, not studets: https://fundthefuture.org.uk/event/pgrs-as-staff-not-students/

#CoronaContract: https://coronacontract.org/

UCU Solidarity Movement: https://www.ucusolidaritymovement.org/

Pandemic PGRs Report: https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/11396/Falling-Short-report-Pandemic-PGRs?list=7268

Here are Bee’s contact details:

My website: www.beehughes.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BeeHughes_

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beehughes_art/  

And here is the link to the association for Art History that we mention in the episode: https://forarthistory.org.uk/

You can sign up here for ‘Notes from the Life Raft’ – a weekly-ish email full of support and advice for your PhD journey:


Receive Notes from the Life Raft

Sign up to 'Notes from the Life Raft' - a weekly(ish) email with research tips, information on events and ideas to inspire your PhD journey

You have Successfully Subscribed!