: Reflecting on the complex pathways of Early Career Researchers


We’ll reconvene in the new academic year and plan from there…

A Symposium for ECRs in the Arts and Humanities
Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 10am-6pm
Number 70, Oxford Road, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5NH
£10* – bookable via the MMU online store

Early career pathways in the Arts and Humanities are often individual experiences tailored to reflect particular interests and ambitions but also moulded by the demands of academic institutions, funding bodies and external opportunities. These journeys can be as perplexing as they are rewarding and despite the various support structures it is not unusual to feel isolated or even lost, cut adrift in a sea of acronyms and policy that seem to change with tides. With this in mind NAVIGATIONS sets out to open dialogue around the various options available to ECRs.


We are looking for one paragraph abstracts from Early Career Researchers in the Arts and Humanities to be developed into 10-minute presentations that seek to provoke thought and discussion around issues salient to ECR’s experiences and concerns. Examples of possible titles include “The artist is not a researcher”, “The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) will be particularly detrimental to early career research” and “The notion of an early career is patronising and unhelpful”.

Six ten-minute presentations will be followed by a chaired one-hour panel discussion.

Please send your one paragraph abstract to before 12pm on the 7th of June 2017.

Selected provocateurs will be informed by the 12th June 2017.

The symposium will continue with elective workshops aimed at sharing the experience of established researchers in the Arts and Humanities who have been asked to develop their sessions in response to the question: “What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were an early career researcher” and in relation to pertinent topics such as ‘building networks and consortia’ and ‘developing an independent research voice’.

A late afternoon keynote address by Dr. Mick Grierson, Reader at Goldsmiths Department of Computing, will present his unconventional and multidisciplinary approach to pursuing an impactful early career research trajectory

The event will close with a ‘research poster’ and drinks reception and the opportunity for informal networking.

More information on the event programme and invited contributors will be listed here shortly.

* The nominal £10 ticket fee covers the cost of lunch, refreshments and the drinks reception. Faculty of Art & Humanities postgraduate students can claim this fee back via the Graduate School.

Please share the link below with colleagues and associates.

Update 27-04-17

Next Event

‘ECR Social’
Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 3-4:30pm
GM332, Geoffrey Manton Building
Free – please book via eventbrite

The next ECR Group meet up focuses on introductions and sharing current research interests. Through a series of engaging, quick-fire, one-to-one and small group exercises, we’ll mingle, interact and converse around our personal research projects and early career trajectories. It’s a chance to meet other ECRs, find out about the breadth of research within the faculty and discover shared areas of interest.

Steering Group

As per our last update, we’re keen to see the group move forward – and suggest setting up an ECR Steering Group to discuss and develop ideas for future events and activities. We’d really like for others to get involved so do join us for an informal discussion after next week’s ‘ECR Social’. Please express your interest with Magnus or Lewis.

Future Events

We’ve submitted a proposal for a symposium – ‘Navigating Early Careers in Research’ – to the pre-launch festival for the new Faculty of Arts & Humanities Graduate School. Please pencil Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 10am-6pm, venue TBC in your diaries.

While the programme is still in development it currently includes a morning session of ‘Provocations’ – 10 minute responses to topical issues such as ‘The artist is not a researcher’ and ‘The TEF will diminish research culture’. An early afternoon session of rotating discussions led by invited workshop leaders to offer insight and generate dialogue around relevant themes such as ‘Building Networks and Consortia’ and ‘Developing a Research Voice’. A late afternoon Key Note address will introduce a personal approach to pursuing an early career researcher trajectory – particularly through more unorthodox and multidisciplinary research. The event will close with ‘poster’ reception where participating ECRs can present their own research interests.

Update 27-03-17

Last Event

Thanks to Professor Berthold Schoene, Faculty Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange, for his informative, thought-provoking and candid presentation on “The Omnitasking Academic” and “Academic Careers” at the session on 1st March 2017. For those unable to join us, as well as those who did and would like to follow up, documentation is now online below.

Next Event

Please pencil Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 3-4:30pm, venue TBC in your diaries. The session will focus on introductions and sharing current research interests in some as yet undecided but engaging format.

Future Events

An opportunity to run a funded event comes via this call from Prof. Jim Aulich, Head of Arts and Humanities Graduate School – We think the ECR Group should respond – perhaps a symposium around the theme of ‘Navigating your way through an Early Research Career’? If you have an idea for an alternative event and/or would like to help develop a proposal contact Magnus or Lewis.

Steering Group

We’re keen to see the group move forward – and while we’re happy to co-ordinate activity we don’t want to set an agenda for too long without input from other ECRs. So we suggest setting up an ECR Steering Group to discuss and develop ideas for future events and activities. We appreciate this is very short notice – but with busy diaries before term ends the only available Wednesday is this week. If you’d like to get involved and can make (or can’t make) an informal meeting this Wednesday, 29th March 2017, 4:30-5:30pm, Righton Open Space (first floor) then please confirm or express your interest with Magnus or Lewis.


Documentation from the ECR Group meeting on 1st March 2017

Documentation, including introduction by Magnus Quaife and closing Q&A session of Professor Berthold Schoene’s (Faculty Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange) “The Omnitasking Academic” and “Academic Careers” talk.

Next Meeting of the Early Career Researcher Group – Wednesday, 1st March, 3.30-5pm, Benzie 308

Professor Berthold Schoene, Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Arts & Humanities
“The Omnitasking Academic” and “Academic Careers Talk”
Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 3.30-5pm
Room 308, Benzie Building
Free – please book via eventbrite

Professor Berthold Schoene provides an insightful look into what it takes to be a successful academic – publishing, bidding, conferences, public engagement, higher education politics and more – while also providing a clear overview of trajectories for academic career progression at Manchester Met, the chief criteria for promotion to Reader and Professor, career planning, as well as the institutional support that is currently available for career development.

Are you an Early Career Researcher in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities?

The Early Career Researcher (ECR) Group is a new forum to share ideas and experience with your peers. The aim of the group is help new researchers answer questions that they have regarding research, to develop a better understanding of the opportunities that are open to them by learning from each other, from experienced staff in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and key figures from the wider community. It will meet once a term with an additional programme of talks delivered by invited speakers – in response to an agenda set by the group.

To help create a forum where early career researchers can meet each other and explore synergies between each others’ research interests we’re also planning to run sessions of PechaKucha style presentations by group members of their current research interests and initiatives. If you’d like to take part please email Magnus Quaife –

While the AHRC’s formal definition of an ECR is:

“an individual who is within eight years of the award of their PhD or equivalent professional training, or an individual who is within six years of their first academic appointment. These durations exclude any period of career break, e.g. for family care or health reasons. The ‘first academic appointment’ is defined as the first paid contract of employment, either full-time or part-time, which lists research and/or teaching as the primary functions.”

we welcome anyone who defines themselves as an early career researcher to come along.

We also welcome final year research degree students interested in looking into future options and opportunities beyond their studies.