- Course: MRes English Literature
- Year of graduation: 2022
- Nationality: English
What are you studying and why did you decide to study a Masters at the University of Leeds?
I’m doing a Masters by Research in English Literature, investigating disability and disfigurement in comic-book adaptations.
I studied at Leeds during my undergraduate degree and felt so supported by the staff on my course, who encouraged me to pursue my research interests. It was only natural to stay here because I knew I was going to be supervised by experts in the area! A special mention also has to go to the rabbits that live by the School of English, they never fail to brighten up my morning.
I received a lot of support from the university during my undergraduate degree – I’m the first in my family to attend, and as a member of the Plus Programme I had access to events, opportunities, and other support that all helped me feel like a valued member of the Leeds community. They gave lots of helpful talks on further study; without them I likely wouldn’t have stayed on!
What has been the best aspect of studying on your course so far?
I think the best aspect of studying a Masters by research has been the independence, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I knew that the taught Masters programme didn’t offer many modules that aligned with my research interests (medical humanities), and my personal tutor advised me to look into a Masters by research instead. I was able to come up with my own research proposal of something completely new, meaning I could follow my passion in a place where I know I’m supported by excellent staff.
Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.
During summer 2021 I was an intern on the Imagining Posthuman Care project, which explores the future of healthcare – particularly looking at care robots. It was a great opportunity to gain paid experience, and I did some really incredible things, including interviewing roboticists from around the world for the project website. Best of all was the exhibition we put on at the Thackray Medical Museum, which I helped source a lot of the images for – at the launch event I got to interact with a lot of the robots I’d been researching. It was a great way to spend my summer!
This experience was really valuable in getting my job after the internship – as a research support assistant on the Sensory Storytelling, Imagination, and Wellbeing project. I’m going to spend the rest of my Masters year helping organise events and interviewing people for the project, and it was my internship that gave me the skills that got me this job!
What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
Leeds is so modern whilst still retaining all that good Instagram-worthy old architecture – it’s really the perfect city for students. I really love having places like Hyde Park (Woodhouse Moor) nearby for hot summer days, but in winter you also get the Christmas market a short walk away at Millennium Square! We’re in a great place for days out too – York is only 20 minutes on the train for a complete change of scenery.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I’d like to stay at Leeds and do a PhD in English Literature. The past few years have really helped me flourish as a beginner researcher, and now that I’ve been able to gain experience on some projects I’d love to continue and work in academia.
What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
Leeds offers really great webinars and events to support you in your future career – I’ve been to so many great talks put on by the Careers Centre from people who work in some exciting roles! It was a chance to network, learn about what your degree can lead to (here’s a hint – English can lead to anything!), and to gain new skills.
What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
Doing an MRes can be difficult, like any degree, but I feel really supported by my supervisors. I was worried beforehand that I would be working totally independently and feel really isolated. I get regular meetings with my supervisors and they’re constantly in touch via email to offer advice or point me towards opportunities they think might suit me. There are also research groups if you have a particular area of interest that are nice ways to meet people in a less formal setting. You’re extremely well connected and supported!