Viviane Lucia Fluck 0

Petition for bookable PGR desks - foster mental well-being, create community and a place to leave your mug

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As PGR students of the HUM faculty at UEA our research represents the future output in terms of REF and the production of new academics and researchers into the Higher Education sector. Many of us are funded representing a significant investment from the University, others who are not funded work hard to pay their fees and juggle the twin pressures of employment and their research.

There is a large problem within HUM PGR community in particular – in that there is a lack of any discernable PGR research community that is exacerbated by the question of desk space. With space being a contested resource within the Faculty we recognise the pressures that have constricted or permanently removed school PGR offices over the last few years. However, in the bid to open up more space for seminar rooms and administration, the space within which to work with your peers has disappeared. The positive impact of connectivity – of productivity, improved mental health and the building of a thriving research community needs the space within which to form, work and grow.

The hot-desk space of 01. in Arts is greatly underused. Where students who work regularly on campus are forced to build little fiefdoms of books they are told periodically to move on, other desks remain empty. It is an uninhabited and removed space. We recognise that for PT students, those that work off campus and/or remotely there is a need for some hot-desking space on campus. However many of us PGRs that work daily on campus are not ATs and have no access to an office, or require a distinct space to work on campus that is free from the pressures of their caring responsibilities the situation is untenable. We need somewhere to work, somewhere to have our resources and somewhere to work and connect with our peers. Moreover, hot desks do not allow for the use of software which is often crucial to our research. Currently we need to re-download certain software each time we use a new computer in the hot desk area.

In order to facilitate this inclusion of PGRs onto campus working space we propose the solution of bookable space within the existing HUM PGR space and the new PGR space in 01. The separate schools could have an allocation of desks that within a designated area, students could then book on a term by term basis that reflects their research needs and would facilitate the start of a PGR research community. Those that need to use specialist software could install this onto ‘their’ term computer. Under this solution there would still be hot-desking space available for those who do not often work on campus. However, this solution would greatly diminish the isolation felt by many in our cohort and address the working space problems that face a large number of us.

Please sign this petition if you agree that it would be helpful to PGRs to try out a bookable desk space system.

(Photo: Mendel by Anonymous)

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