SAHGB Graduate Student Research Forum, St. John's College, Cambridge

St. John's second court

St. John’s second court

Friday, 2 May, 2014 The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain hosted their second Graduate Student Research Forum in Cambridge last week. St. John’s College was the appropriately selected venue for this event. The format of the forum was very successful. All graduates presenting were allocated 10 minutes, with a joint q&a at the end of each session. This reduced presentation format helped the speakers to focus on the essence of their research, or section thereof. A valuable addition to the forum were the two panel sessions that focussed on professional skills and navigating the precarious transition from being a PhD candidate into academia.  Alex Bremner (University of Edinburgh) and  Ayla Lepine (University of Nottingham) spoke during the first panel session on subjects related to publishing your research and how to become part of the research network. The second professional panel was in the form of a round-table discussion between Elizabeth Darling (Oxford Brookes University), Emily Guerry (University of Oxford), Frank Salmon (University of Cambridge) and William Whyte (University of Oxford).  The discussion picked up where the first session left off. Apart from general advice on transitioning to an academic career the speakers shared a lot of personal experiences and views on the development of the field of architectural history. The anecdotes and advice given during the two panel session added a lot of perspective to the forum on a subject not normally covered at regular conferences within the field.

The Forum venue, Roundtable Discussion with  Dr. Frank Salmon, Dr. Emily Guerry, Dr. Elizabeth Darling & Dr. William Whyte

The Forum venue, Roundtable Discussion with Dr. Frank Salmon, Dr. Emily Guerry, Dr. Elizabeth Darling & Dr. William Whyte

The student presentations covered a wide range of topics and methodologies. All stages of the PhD process were represented, from the early development of a hypothesis to the final stages where a clear concept of the argument is fully formed.

The Chapel

The Chapel, St. John’s College, Cambridge

The forum ended with a lively keynote speech from Prof. Deborah Howard (University of Cambridge). We were treated to an excellent dinner in the imposing setting of John’s Dining Hall, followed by an excursion to the pub.

Dining Hall, St. John’s College, Cambridge

An excursion was organised for the next day to examine some of the architectural highlights in Cambridge in a leisurely fashion.

The Bridge of Sighs withe the Wren Bridge in the distance

The Bridge of Sighs with the Wren Bridge in the distance

I sincerely hope this forum continues to develop along the successful lines that have already been set out, and I’m looking forward to next years event.

The impressive New Court of St. John's

The impressive New Court of St. John’s