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MPhil in English Literature

Finding my voice as a researcher and a future leader in a global community

“Inclusive and research-driven”

Postgraduate researcher Ashish Dwivedi (MPhil in the College of Arts and Humanities) discusses how his time at Swansea University has enabled him to socialise in a vibrant international and postgraduate community, build his CV and pursue his personal passions.

My research

My MPhil research at the College of Arts and Humanities focuses on animations, especially from Japan, and how these animations can offer fresh spaces for children's socialization. Before I came to Swansea, I completed my Masters in English Literature & Language from the University of Lucknow in India.

I was attracted to come to Swansea University because of my supervisor, whose research interests (in science fiction and digital humanities) easily coincided with mine. He has been extremely supportive and patient in our meetings, whether they’re in person or over Zoom.

A welcoming international community

The international community here at Swansea University is massive. And the University leaves no stone unturned in making sure that international students here are having the best time possible. It makes a huge effort to celebrate its multicultural community.

I still remember the Welcome Dinner for international students, which invited all of us to wear our own traditional outfits. Most of the people I live with- in the university accommodation- are international students, and it was amazing to see them clad in saris, sundresses and cheongsams. Swansea University is a melting pot, and I really admire the way it includes everyone.

Cultural flavour

I’m a person of mixed tastes, so Swansea, as a location, is paradise for me. It’s neither too urban nor too rural – it gives me exactly the sense of peace and fun that I want. I fell in love with the city at once. It has a cultural flavour to it, you have Mumbles and the Gower, the story of Swansea Jack… and I didn’t know the University was that close to the beach!

One of the first things I also noticed about the University was the number of social and academic societies it has – there are over 100. I ended up becoming an active member of the Shoreline Theatre Society. We perform plays written by our own members or classic plays, such as Hamlet. It has been a great way to meet new people, as all the theatre enthusiasts come together on one stage!

Supporting my research journey

The postgraduate research community here often organises coffee socials to discuss your research with other co-researchers, or even to just have a quick, intellectual chat. The community is filled with amazing scholars, from a range of disciplines, who have their own powerful voices and perspectives.

My College (of Arts and Humanities) has been very supportive, especially two individuals who I cannot thank enough: Dr Elaine Canning (Head of Public Engagement), and Liz Whitwell (PGR Administrator). They have been kind, flexible and approachable – Liz tells me there is no such thing as a stupid question!

I would also recommend taking some time to explore the library, which is much larger than it appears! The academic librarian, Dr Ian Glen, helped me a lot, giving me advice about how to use the catalogue and how to find books.

Developing leadership skills

I have participated in almost all of the postgraduate research training available here, which I found inspiring. Swansea University’s training and support is both focused on improving your research skills and employability.

Among my favourite moments here was when I was elected as Student Ambassador, and then PGR Subject Representative. These roles helped me to better understand how the University works, and enabled me to become the voice of the student body.  They give you a platform to express your own views, but they also make you a patient listener. It brings a great deal of happiness to solve a problem for another person.

I was also able to explore my professional interests in the College of Arts & Humanities at Swansea University. I volunteered at the Being Human Festival, organised by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council & British Academy, which led to me applying for a paid SPIN-internship with the Cultural Institute, working on the prestigious Dylan Thomas Prize. The Dylan Thomas Prize is an international literary award, and we celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, so this year was a little more special.

As part of this role, I interviewed three previous Dylan Thomas Prize award winners, which was an honour and an amazing experience in itself. I also wrote interview blog posts, updated the website and prepared podcasts. This internship will be my highlight for this year, and for my CV.

I would love to come back to this University to work in the future!

Learn more about our MPhil in English Literature.