The silence inside the PhD Center at IDS UK is only broken by the continuous clicking of keyboards, shuffling of papers, low hum of heaters (or air conditioners, depending on the season) and the occasional hushed conversation. Tucked away in a remote corner of the PhD center is what we call the “side room”. This small space serves multiple duties as coffee station, meeting space and phone booth. It is also where the reciprocal inquiry about our respective areas of work often takes place, ideas around topics of common interest are shared and – in my experience – small “ëureka!” moments happen.
This – unfortunately – does not seem to take place very often elsewhere between focusing on carving out our very narrow slices of human knowledge, preserving the relative quietness inside the PhD Center and trying to maintain some form of social life. Among a group of student researchers with very diverse cultural and professional backgrounds who work on various topics in a multidisciplinary field like Development Studies, this cross-pollination of ideas should be a more common occurrence.
Alas, the transient nature of the side room limits opportunities for such exchanges. Hence the idea behind starting this blog, having its namesake as that little space adjacent to the PhD Centre but with extended usefulness to share reflections, ruminations and observations on the world of International Development as well as the trials and tribulations of working on a PhD in Development Studies.
Here is to more ëureka moments!
Hani Morsi is a PhD candidate within the Participation, Power and Social Change research team at IDS.