PhD Behind the Scenes . the beginning .

“we are warriors, detectives, victims, cheerleaders, academics, brothers and sisters, hermits, and passionate advocates…”


From January to November 2015 I’ve ran a cross-School project as PhD student with other PhD students from The Glasgow School of Art.

During the project each participant built a personal archive of artefacts (words, images, sounds, drawings), regularly gathered in their own way, standing as distinctive interpretations of an internal processes.The focus was on us, as individuals; on building a closer sense of community and wellbeing.

After ‘PhD Behind the Scenes’, this blog is the after project for me. My personal digital archive that intends to help me focus, deal with procrastination and have a sense of short term achievement.


When we talk about the PhD process, what we present is a clean, objective image, and well-rounded examples of research. However, there’s much more to it than that.

The complexities and contradictions, the uncertainties and step-backs are all part of the process and challenge us to improve our research. Although unpredicted at first, it is a welcome battle where we play many roles; we are warriors, detectives, victims, cheerleaders, academics, brothers and sisters, hermits, and passionate advocates…

PhD Behind the Scenes aimed to be a tool for us as reflective practitioners: a reflection on our personal path and on the resonance of the PhD process within us. Above all, this project was an opportunity to bring the PhD community closer together. Behind our research, we are still people – and our network becomes stronger when we can share the personal stories underpinning our research approach.

The idea for this project was triggered by a discussion between some PhD and Masters students from the School of Design focusing on the personal experiences within our work. A call was sent to all PhD students at The Glasgow School of Art, and ten of us decided to embark on this six-month inter-school project. Each of us built a personal archive of artefacts (words, images, sounds, drawings, colours…), regularly gathered in a variety of ways. These archives stand as distinctive interpretations of an internal process, sparked by our studies. The focus was on us, as individuals – not on our research topic.

This exhibition presented a snapshot of an ongoing process of self-reflection. An assemblage of each individual archive. It was not a showcase of artistic skills, but an offering of our experience to initiate conversations about what’s behind a PhD at The Glasgow School of Art.


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