A very important element of your PhD journey is your relationship with your supervisor.  

In this episode I talk to Dr Chris Megson, Reader in Drama and Theatre and Director of Postgraduate Research Education, in the School of Performing and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London.  Chris has supervised many doctoral students and been awarded the inaugural Researcher Supervisor of the Year prize at Royal Holloway as well as being shortlisted for the national Times Higher Award (2018) in this very competitive category.  

Chris begins by talking about his own experience of the PhD and the challenges of combining study with full-time work.  

Throughout the interview Chris stresses the importance of good communication between the student and supervisor.  If you are finding communication a challenge this resource might help you: 


Chris talks about how he finds working with doctoral students one of the most rewarding aspects of being an academic.  He gives the reminder that your PhD application was accepted because it looked interesting and exciting and the supervisor(s) wanted to work on the project with you!  

He says supervision “it’s not a kind of cross that we have to bear or a burden on our backs. It’s one of the main reasons we’re in the job”.

Chris discusses the importance of having a collaborative mindset not only when developing the professional partnership with your supervisor where, for example, you need to establish timelines that accommodate the demands on both parties.  But also of collaborating with peers and other academic colleagues as you enter into the community of the academy.

The interview finishes with a reminder to avoid “ostrich syndrome” – keep your head out of the sand and keep in dialogue with your supervisory team.

You can contact Chris chris.megson@rhul.ac.uk or find him on Twitter @chris_megson

As an extra, here is a link to a playful piece but you might want to take a look and consider what sort of relationship do you have with your supervisor: https://theconversation.com/ten-types-of-phd-supervisor-relationships-which-is-yours-52967

Did you find this episode useful?  Let us know at phdliferaft@yahoo.com

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