Career Orientated Training

Student-led Symposium

Now entering its 4th year, the SGSSS student reps, (alongside our Associate Director of Student Experience, Dr Emmanuelle Tulle), organise a vibrant and interactive 2-day event at one of our member institutions. Focusing on topical issues affecting PhD students and the ever-changing landscape of research-based careers – it offers a welcoming space to meet other PhD students, share any concerns and discuss issues as a group.

The next Student Symposium will be held from 9-10th May 2019 at the University of Dundee

Programme for 2019

Thursday 9th May (timing subject to minor changes)
Time Session Speaker
11-11.50 Registration
11.50-12.00 Introduction to the Day Shonagh & Viktoria (Student reps), Jamie Pearce (Director) SGSSS
12.00 – 13.00 Looking after No.1: you and your well-being Dr Beverley Searle, University of Dundee
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.00 Career Planning Workshop Claire Robertson-Hunt, Careers Service, University of Dundee
15.00 – 15.30 Work-Life Balance Student Panel
15.30 – 16.00 Break
16.00 – 17.00 Creativity for Managing Stress Student Panel
17.00 – 17.15 Round up and closing

evening social event – Location TBC

Friday 10th May
10.00 - 11.00 Yoga at your desk + Breakfast (optional)
11.00 - 11.05 Introduction to the day Shonagh & Viktoria
11.05 - 12.00 Writing Workshop Gordon Spark, Academic Skills, University of Dundee
12.00 - 13.00 Impostor Syndrome as a Public Feeling in HE Dr Maddie Breeze, University of Strathclyde
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch and Closing

Guest Speaker: Dr Maddie Breeze, University of Strathclyde

Maddie Breeze is a sociologist and Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Education, University of Strathclyde. Her book Seriousness in Women’s Roller Derby was awarded the 2016 Philip Abram’s Memorial Prize by the British Sociological Association and she has researched and published on: imposter syndrome as a public feeling, feminist collaborations across academic career stages, widening participation, gender and sport, and young people’s political participation.

Imposter syndrome as a public feeling: All imposters in the academy?

In this talk I begin by considering imposter syndrome as a ‘public feeling’ (Cvetkovich 2007, 2012) in higher education. Feeling like an imposter is anecdotally ubiquitous among academics, and is commonly understood to involve sensations of not belonging, of out-of-place-ness, and the conviction that one’s professional competence, is fundamentally fraudulent, that it is only a matter of time before this is discovered, before being found out. Feeling like an imposter involves the suspicion that signifiers of professional success have somehow been awarded by mistake or achieved through a convincing performance, a kind of deception. Drawing on Cvetkovich’s work on depression, I argue that thinking of imposter syndrome as a public feeling involves three steps. Firstly, putting it in social and political context, mapping imposter syndrome according to the intersectional inequality regimes that characterise contemporary UK HE. Secondly, asking what feeling like an imposter can tell us about shifts in the structure and governance of UK HE including the oft-diagnosed new managerialism and neoliberalisation, primarily marketization, casualization, and cultures of audit and measurement. Thirdly, re-thinking imposter syndrome, not as an individual deficiency or private problem of faulty self-esteem to be overcome, but instead as a resource for action and site of agency in contemporary UK HE. I explore these three steps by presenting a short story about feeling like an imposter; a piece of semi-fictional auto-ethnography, which draws on precedents for using personal narrative to analyse academic labour, as well as those for writing fiction as a mode of inquiry. The talk concludes by considering the implication of making ‘imposter syndrome’ public, in particular by asking how claims to ambivalent insider/outside positions circulate in everyday academic talk.

Sixty places are allocated on a first come, first served basis and registrations will open via GradHub on Thursday 21st March. 

The SGSSS-DTP provide funding for this event, which can include hosting a notable guest speaker. In 2018, Mark Carrigan, Digital Sociologist, University of Cambridge delivered a session on ‘Science as a Vocation in an Age of Social Media’.

This event presents the opportunity for students to develop their own programme, focused on the needs of their peers. It offers the chance to bring students together as a network of support and inspiration.


The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) runs a professional internship scheme for PhD students at Scotland’s universities in their second and third years of study. Currently offered by public sector organisations through two open calls each year, PhD internships enable organisations to access the talent of an early career social science researcher for a three-month period to deliver a specific piece of work whilst developing a range of transferable skills for our researchers.