By Elke Close |
The moment when you finish your PhD is an incredible feeling. After so many years, you finally have something to show for all of the hard work that you have put into it. However, not everyone continues their academic career. This can be because you have decided that you do not want to continue in academia or due to the difficulty some experience in finding a position. When you choose to leave this life behind, what happens to your research?
Since finishing my PhD about two years ago, I have found myself thinking about this question more and more. Even though I no longer spend my days obsessing over one single topic, I do not want my thesis to remain on the dusty shelves of my bookcase. But because I do not have the energy or the motivation to turn the entire work into a publication, I have decided to explore some alternatives, most of which focus on the use of digital tools.
- Turn it into a podcast
Let’s face it, podcasts are everywhere. In the last few years, they have increased in popularity and a range of available topics. If you think about a theme, chances are someone will have thought of it already. In general, podcasts can provide a more informal way of approaching a certain theme and can allow you to talk about it without having the stress of a paper presentation. So, why not introduce a whole new group of people to the topic that you have been so passionate about for such a long time?
- Make a series of videos
A second option is the creation of a series of videos on the topic. Just as with podcasts, creating a video can be a fun a way of spreading your research and adding some visual elements to a primarily written piece of work.
- Use Social Media
Although the two ideas presented above offer some very interesting options, a lot of work can go into making such a video or audio track and often you need good material to do so. Those of you who, like me, do not have that much time or skills to produce audio-visual masterpieces, could turn to social media. More and more accounts and pages are popping up dedicated to a variety of topics. Personally, I find it a very interesting option as it leaves you with so many choices. You can create a group or page on Facebook, use Instagram to provide photos you’ve taken on research trips with educational content, or create a discussion forum about a certain topic on reddit. The possibilities are endless, but you need to know what you want to achieve in the end. You need to know what message you want to put across, and look at which platform is the best way to do so.
I started an Instagram account in the last months of my PhD called Hellenistic History as a way of using the pictures taken during my research trips and providing them with some context. However, after a few years, it has become one of the few ways in which I am still thinking and talking about history and a topic that had me lying awake at night for four years. Mainly, it is a small way in which I try to fill the void left behind now that I am done with my thesis.
Elke Close completed her PhD in Classics at the University of Edinburgh on the influence of the Greek polis of Megalopolis on the ancient federal state known as the Achaian koinon in 2018. You can find her older research on her academia.edu page or instagram account page dedicated to the history and archaeology of Hellenistic Greece. She recently started studying – again – with an educational masters in History. She currently works as an administrative clerk at a Bailiff’s office in Belgium.
Image © Elke Close, @hellenistichistory on Instagram