By Laura Harrison |

As Fraser recently mentioned, it has been brought to our attention several (many) times that while this blog is called Pubs and Publications, we have yet to talk about pubs. We also didn’t talk about publications until a few weeks ago, but why quibble!

The pub and drinking culture, whether you choose to engage with it or not, is a big part of the PhD process. Networking happens at the post-seminar receptions and dinners, supervisors and students bond over a pint, infamous conference hangover stories are passed down to the next generation, and the hunt for free wine becomes part of the life of a PhD student.

The first common pub experience is the Post-Seminar Pub. This generally involves attempting to maintain some level of decorum whilst your teachers and professors drink you under the table. Attempting to keep up is futile- they have been in training for this probably since before you were born.

How I would occasionally like to respond to this question

How I would occasionally like to respond to this question

Next up is The Hemingway, or ‘write drunk, edit sober.’ Interestingly, it appears Ernest Hemingway himself is probably not responsible for this sage advice, and yet to ‘Hemingway’ a piece of writing has become a common phrase. After some dedicated research, I have discovered this does not at all work for me. Some people, however, swear by having a pint before tackling writer’s block. You do you.

My personal favourite is the Pub Quiz. After spending the vast majority of our time around some of the brightest minds in the world, sometimes you need to give your academic ego a little hug. Enter…the Pub Quiz!  Go out and destroy some undergrads and increasingly tipsy stag dos with your knowledge of obscure bits of history, 90s boy bands, and Canadian place names.  Of course, the inherent danger of the Pub Quiz is when the rival team of geniuses takes you and your intellectual capabailities down many notches. Luckily, there is always next week!

Perhaps the most notorious pub experience is The Conference. Conferences are essentially post-seminar drinking…on steroids. In my case this often involves talking incessantly with my peers, then meeting my academic idols and promptly becoming a mute fangirl. Occasionally some conference organiser decides it is a good idea to throw all the nerdy academics in a room with music and encourage them to flail about in approximate time to the music…bless them.


I suspect Jan Steen was actually depicting a seventeenth century historical conference

Whether you are a one-glass-of-wine type, a dedicated Hemingwayer, or the leader of the conference Cha Cha Slide, the pub and drinking culture is an aspect of the PhD we generally don’t really reflect on- just partake in.  Perhaps it is a conversation we should be having.


Laura Harrison is in the editor-in-chief of Pubs and Publications, you can check our her bio (and the rest of the committee) on our Who We Are page.  You can also find her on Twitter and on


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