Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Philippa, Geography and Heritage PhD student.

Hi, I’m Philippa a second year PhD student in Geography and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University (UK) (@philippa_carter on Instagram and Twitter). I’m researching landscape and intergenerational memory in North East England, working with the Land of Oak & Iron heritage project as my collaborative partner. I’m interested in the ways in which people understand and engage with their local landscapes and how this is mediated by their family relationships and collective memories. I don’t know if I have a ‘typical’ day, a lot of the time I’m just sitting in front of my laptop at my desk at home, so I chose a slightly more eventful day to tell you about…


6.40 – I recently came back to my PhD from maternity leave and we’re all still getting used to our new schedules. On the days my daughter is in nursery I grab a quick breakfast and mandatory coffee in bed before  she wakes up.


7.50 – The nursery run. Drop the wee one off before catching the train into Newcastle.


9.15 – My favourite thing about my PhD is getting to meet so many interesting people and find out about their lives and memories. I grab a hot chocolate and a scone before meeting with a colleague who is doing a mapping project I hope to work with as part of my research. This meeting ended up being very useful as the person I met with is not only doing research relevant to my project he’s also a PhD mentor, so I got some good tips.


12.26 – Very sunny but absolutely freezing in Newcastle today. Quickly popped into a couple of shops on my way to campus. Being in the city centre is great but can be distracting, so discipline is required!


12.40 – I do have access to a desk on campus but I often work from home so as not to waste the travel time. When I’m out and about I tend to treat myself to a nice lunch as it makes a change from scrabbling around the leftovers in the fridge in the house.


13.20 – I’m a TA on a Research Methods module for MA students with two seminars today on using coding to analyse data gathered from interviews. Quick stop to check my slides and do some printing before heading over to teach the classes. I studied on this MA course nearly ten years ago (can’t believe it was that long ago), so it’s interesting to see how the course has changed since I took it and reflect on what I would have found useful at the time.


16.10 – Teaching all done, heading back across Newcastle to catch the train and do the nursery run.


19.15 – Baby fed, bathed and in bed, cuddle up with the cat on the sofa whilst my husband makes dinner to check emails and watch a bit of TV.


21.40 – I quickly discovered that with a one year old to organise in the mornings the only way to get through the chaos was to make sure I have done as much prep as possible, so I always get my bag ready for the morning. Once that’s done it’s an early night for me, with fingers crossed for a full nights sleep!


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