PhDForum Online Study Room

What is it?

Our online study room is freely available to help your motivation and make progress with your writing.  

Some describe the experience as akin to being in a library; a silent space to work alongside others.

Our room is open 24/7 (with short resets of a couple of minutes approximately once every 20-48 hours). It is a mostly unmoderated and unstructured space.  There are structured sessions on Wednesdays and Saturdays. More information is available in the room. You can choose to follow the writing schedule on those days, or ignore. The space is your to make it work for you and your time zone. If you have difficulty joining, please do try using a different browser.

Our room's access code is available when you register using our Eventbrite link here 

Why the room works!

Welcome to our virtual space which is shared with the most amazing humans. You have joined a wonderfully diverse group of people who come from different places across the globe. Each one of us bring something different to our community and since our begining in 2012 the community has been shaped by everyone. 

The co-production of the space is successful because of the mutual respect and kindness that is inherent in all we do. The creation of a virtual space open 24/7 would not endure without the generosity of time and commitment of those using the space. It works because we are 'we' not 'I'.

Our mental and physical wellbeing is important. Undertaking doctoral study and postdoctoral study can be isolating. Our space is there to reduce that sense of isolation and promote well-being. 

The motivation to create the room began when witnessing the devastating impact of poor mental health in the academy. We never know all of what is being experienced by others and choosing to respond with care and kindness can and does make a world of difference. 

Equality is at the heart of who we are. We celebrate difference rather than perpetuate 'normative' constructions of self that serve to oppress and fragment our shared humanity.

Being wonderfully human means constantly learning. That process means making mistakes. We are not perfect. Our sense of humours might collide. We may be experienced as unintentionally unkind. Should that occur, communication is the key and you can reach out to those in the room whom you trust and you can reach out to me (Donna). I'm in the room every Saturday morning UK time (8am-11am).

I created the space and help to maintain it as a means to be supportive of others. However, being part of this generous, knowledgable, supportive and inspiring community has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. I hope you find it the same in yours.

Always in pedagogical solidarity!             Dr Donna Peach

Finally, please:

Keep microphones on mute

Do NOT take a picture of the room and post it on social media

You can have your webcam on, or not.

Do use the chat box to introduce yourself and let others know where you are from and what you are working on. You will find other attendees very welcoming.

Make Time to Plan

We know that a ‘virtual’ retreat comes with distractions. Perhaps for this event you will find a different place to work, rearrange your desk or put up a sign ‘PhDForum Writing Retreat’. Change your email auto response you are ‘out of the office’. Make a contract with yourself and with us to plan when you will and when you will not access the internet.

To plan to succeed you need a plan. It doesn’t matter if you really know what is achievable or how this will work. Learning these things is all part of the writing retreat experience. Sharing goals is important – Tweet your goals to @PhDForum 

Make Time To Write

Ensure that you have times allotted in your day when you can write. Even if you are only going to enter the portal for one hour a day – maximise your writing in that time. Sitting for four hours at your desk while surfing the net does not constitute writing. Be clear on your goals – tell others in the portal what you aim to achieve; report back on what challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

Review & Recharge

We need to get away from a culture where time not writing is served with a side order of guilt. Taking time away is vital to your productivity, your well-being and to the scaffolding of an academic community where staff care and a balanced life is viewed as essential not desirable.

In your schedule plan for time to recharge. This is an essential part of your daily structure.