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PhD-run ‘What’s the Craic?’ Sessions: Discussing Research and Bringing our Research Community Together

Every year, two or three TJI PhD researchers organise the sessions entitled ‘What’s the Craic?’ Held on a particular day of the week, the informal discussions and talks bring the faculty, researchers, and masters student together to discuss work in progress, reflect on fieldwork, and hear draft conference papers.

The format of the sessions is ‘brown bag’ (bring your own lunch). The talks are held in amicable atmosphere in a seminar room of Dalriada house, the TJI kitchen, the cafeteria of the Crescent Arts Centre (during industrial action), or currently virtually due to COVID-19.

The sessions focus not only on particular research topics, but also on sharing useful tips and insights, such as publishing while writing a PhD or strategies on job searching. The sessions are held in-house, the invitation is restricted to the research community of Ulster University to allow for a comfort of sharing the work in progress and personal reflections in collegial and non-judgmental atmosphere. The fact that PhD researchers organise the sessions themselves allows the researchers to draw on the issues, which are most pressing to them.

This year the organizers particularly paid attention to providing a floor to first year PhD researchers who shared about their exciting research, which was a great way to learn about the new members of the community and make them feel welcomed. The list of speakers included TJI PhD researchers for the most part, and also staff, as well as invited guests.

The sessions have been running for many years, and will continue over the summer as a way to virtually bring together  our research community. The sessions will continue the upcoming academic year and, hopefully, the years to come.

For more information, please contact this year's organisers: Selbi Durdiyeva and Nisan Alici ( and

The list of WTC Sessions held in 2019-2020

WTC Sessions held in 2019-2020
9th of October 2019 ‘Grassroots conversations on border poll’ Eilish Rooney
29th of October 2019 'Life After PhD: Strategies on Job Hunting’ Alumni talk Ciara Fitzpatrick, Dáire McGill, David McKeever, and Nazli Kazanoglu
12th of November 2019 ‘Reflections on fieldwork in Turkey and Russia"

Nisan Alici and Selbi Durdiyeva

3rd December 2019

First year PhD students on their research:

‘Feminist exploration of the relationship between trafficked persons and the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland’ (by Danielle)

‘Victimhood in truth-seeking and justice mechanisms in the post-revolutionary Tunisia’ (by Nada)

Danielle Gallagher and Nada Ahmed
21st January 2020 'Communicating Difficult Research Topics through Art and Photography' Robert Sommer
11th of February 2020 'Notes from the Turbulent Field: Recent updates from Lebanon and Venezuela’ Omar el Masri and Cristal Palacios Yumar
25th of February 2020

'Effecting social change in deeply divided societies: the case of Northern Ireland'

Based on Linda’s PhD Research: ‘Women’s political agency and cross-community activism in post-agreement Northern Ireland’

And Leo’s PhD Research: ‘Consociational power-sharing - and social transformation in Northern Ireland & Bosnia & Herzegovina’

Linda Eitrem Holmgren and Leo Green
3rd March 2020 'Publishing your academic work' Mark Simpson
24th March 2020 'Reflections on Mubarak Trials in Egypt' Nada Ahmed
31st March 2020 'Liberia's Experiment with Transitional Justice' Aaron Weah
April 21st 2020 ‘Re-Imagining Spaces for Representation in the Divided City: The Cases of Urban Street Art in 'Post'-Conflict Beirut and Belfast’ Omar El Masri
May 19th 2020 GCRF Research Hub on Gender, Justice and Security Lina Malagón, Rory O’Connell and Bill Rolston
July 7th 2020 ‘What to Do When It All Goes Wrong: A Quick Guide to Guerrilla PhDing’ Michelle Rouse
July 21st 2020 ‘Building an academic career: ask anything!’ Catherine O’Rourke
July 28th 2020 Wrap up: Reflections on the Past WTC Sessions and Planning Ahead’