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Sarah - career building during the PhD
Name: Sarah
PhD discipline: Architectural History
Area(s) of work: Heritage administration; freelance writer
Year of graduation: 2004
Date of Interview: 19/06/2008

Now Playing: Sarah - career building during the PhD
Sarah discusses the career building activities she engaged in during her PhD.

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Did you do any teaching? 

I didn't do any teaching, which I do slightly regret. I was going to do supervising for a course which was about Turkish architecture but the woman who was going to teach it got a job elsewhere and so the course simply didn't run. That was at a point on my PhD where I really needed to get it finished and so I don't teach. I think that is something I would have liked to have done. I did do a bit of lecturing but I didn't really do any teaching.

Was there anything else going on during that time that influenced later opportunities for you?

I didn't do very much else at university. I was very much focused towards doing my work but, because I had chosen a subject which was quite small and quite specialised, I got to know people who were working in a similar field quite well. I think doing that helped me get a job because I was asked to lecture for The Victorian Society which I then went on to work for. Doing lectures around the place and going to conferences really did make a big difference because people know you and you have become established, you have credibility as an academic. That is a very useful thing to have, whether or not you continue working in academia.

The Victorian Society sounds quite significant to you. Were there any other conferences or groups? 

Yes, I was the conference secretary for The Society of Architectural Historians. I joined the committee the same year that I began my PhD and that involved organising a four day conference for 100 people every two years, which is quite a big job. There were 100 architectural historians. As the conference organiser everybody knew who I was who was. That was incredibly important because it gave me the opportunity to meet people much more senior than me but in a situation where they would take me seriously and where they actually needed me to do something for them. You cannot put a price on that voluntary work. It was very hard work, it took a lot of my time but the rewards, in terms of the people I knew at the end of it, were just fantastic. I think doing voluntary work is really, really important.

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