I came to Lancaster University as a visiting PhD student for 3 months. I was in the second year of the PhD and I was specifically looking for some university to visit where there was an interesting group of social scientists researching on environment & society relations. I found those engaging academics at CSEC within the Sociology Department.
Not only these group of experts have nurtured my thesis with their references, contacts, reviews, seminars and time invested in listening to me, but they also have been very open and friendly. They have always offered to help in whatever I needed, and they have been keeping track on my life; on the PhD and also beyond.
During my visit to CSEC I met really fascinating people at university (experts, recent Doctors and fellow PhD students) many of whom also became friends; I also gained some organisational skills by helping prepare an International Conference; I had great fun with the welcoming people of Lancaster town; and I further pushed the PhD forward with refreshing ideas and a better mind structure.
I can definitely say that my time spent in Lancaster has influenced my life in a great way.
Actually, I enjoyed it so much that I have been coming back every year since for a couple of months!
Katia Dupret Søndergaard
Lancaster University has given me the opportunity to recapture the rhythm of my PhD research and analysis.
The staff and fellow students have reminded me that intellectual exchanges are much more fun in an environment with enthusiastic, engaging, open and welcoming people. The Department of Sociology at Lancaster University is such a place. I hope to see you again soon.
Lancaster's sociology department is a welcoming and inspiring environment for thesis writing, even in the depths of an English winter. I came to Lancaster University towards the end of my PhD candidature to gain input into preliminary drafts of my chapters. Working with experts in my field of enquiry not only helped me solidify my research contribution, but also allowed me to learn how to tell a better story. My experience enabled me to engage with my topic on a deeper level, and exposed me to unique research activities and opportunities that have expanded my horizons and thinking. If you have the opportunity to visit this department, don't hesitate to take it.
In the spring of 2010 I spent three months as a visiting PhD student in the Department of Sociology. If you'd ask me for advice on the pros and cons of visiting Lancaster, I would say that the only con of going is that you may not want to leave again.
I applied to Lancaster because of specific expertise present in the Sociology Department that I could not find in my own surroundings - a technical university's Industrial Design Department. Looking back, I definitely found what I was looking for, plus much more.
To me, the expertise present in the department was of outstanding quality. Meeting some of my favourite authors in person was an inspiring experience and I was positively surprised by the level of warm-hearted accessibility of these renowned scholars. And of course it wasn't only staff that made my visit valuable; I've learned at least as much from interactions with my fellow PhD's. The atmosphere in the department is very open and activities like seminars, BBQ's, workshops, trips to the theatre, conferences, game nights and walks are on almost daily, which makes it easy to get to know people. These interactions and inspirations in combination with a good working atmosphere and good facilities have allowed me to make a true leap forward in my project.
Also contributing to the progress of my research was the town of Lancaster. Too small to form a real distraction and surrounded by the most beautiful nature, it offered a good combination - helping me to maintain focus and space out my work.
Visiting Lancaster has been an unforgettable experience for me and I definitely plan to return there in the future; in any case for the next Summer Conference. Maybe see you there.
I spent seven months as a visiting student at the Department of Sociology in 2008, and found the time fruitful and fun in terms of academic work, everyday life and leisure. I chose Lancaster University because of my PhD research topic which concerns domestic technologies, everyday life and design of future technologies. I had been inspired by writings and articles that originated from Lancaster University. When I arrived, I found a research culture in the Department that lived up to all my expectations. My own research progressed enormously during my visit. Staff in the Sociology department were helpful and friendly, and their academic expertise really contributed to my theoretical, conceptual and methodological thinking and writing. I was surprised by the informal (yet professional) atmosphere of the Department: you could contact any member of staff and they always found time to help you with your work even though they weren't your official supervisors.
In addition to the academic life in Lancaster, the city itself was ideal and provided plenty of opportunities and activities to pursue alongside studying. Lancaster is a small and picturesque town from which it is easy to get to bigger cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh. The beautiful Lake District with its fairytale villages is close by, so it is easy to escape to the countryside if you need a break from studying or city life.
My experience in Lancaster was memorable and I can recommend a visit to anyone who wants to advance their PhD study, to take part (and be warmly included) in an outstanding research community, to enjoy the friendly and cosy town of Lancaster and explore other parts of Northern England. Lancaster and its people have a special place in my heart and I really hope to return some day.
I visited the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) within the Department of Sociology in October-December 2012.The reason for visiting CSEC was that I hoped to be able to engage in, and learn from, a research environment with high expertise in the field of environmental sociology, science and technology studies, and public understanding of science. Well in Lancaster it did not take very long before I realized that I had come to the right place.
Besides attending the department’s joint seminars and lectures, as well as general seminars for PhD students, I audited two courses of relevance to my thesis (SOCL 521 and SOCL930). The course modules offered both width and depth which made it possible to elaborate on previous knowledge regardless of its extent. For me, as a PhD student in my final year, the courses made me think of previous knowledge in new ways, they allowed me to further specialize in my research, and they introduced me to topics I previously knew nothing about, all at the same time.
Well back at Örebro University, Sweden, I am starting to realize the importance of the stay. To see and experience other research and academic environments adds dimensions to the PhD studies which nothing else can, and the international character of Lancaster University’s sociology department gave insights into a lot more than the British academic system. The knowledge I got from being a part of CSEC’s and the Department of Sociology’s unique research environment made a significant contribution to my research project as well as to my development as a researcher.
I am glad that the stay became a reality and I would like to encourage other PhD students to take the opportunity to do the same.
Karin's latest publication can be found here