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From practising policy to a Politics PhD

Introduction

My name is Dayo and I am a second year PhD student at the University studying Politics. I am researching how underrepresented members of the public in policy making (in the case of my research, Black and Minority Ethnic young adults aged 18 – 25) are included in the process of policy making. I also work as a teaching assistant for politics related courses in undergraduate and Master’s level courses.

In Depth…

My route into PhD has been an interesting journey rather than a direct path. It has been a process of re-inventing myself and following my passion. My undergraduate degree was in Economics which I realised quite early on was not for me so I did not particularly excel in this degree. After a year out working, I figured out what my next steps would be so I did Master’s degrees in Human Resource Management and Management Psychology. I did well in these courses. Doing a PhD was something I had previously considered as it was suggested by my academic adviser during one of my Master’s degrees but I did not pursue it.

On graduating, I worked for about seven years in the private and not-for-profit sectors in Learning and Organisational Development. The knowledge and soft skills I gained at university meant that I was able to progress in my career by successfully utilising these skills.

Whilst I had no academic knowledge of policy making, I began to get interested in policy making as one of my jobs gave me exposure to this field. I then started to notice the lack of diverse representation in decision making bodies of public policy. There were ‘hidden’ and ‘silent’ groups of people who were not getting involved in decision-making.

I wanted to know why this was the case and also find solutions that would increase representation in policy making so that their experiences of issues could be taken into account when policy is being made.

Transitioning from being a practitioner to being back in university has been great; it has given me the opportunity to have the headspace to read and articulate the issues I am concerned about. I am doing lots of reading! What is also great and a highlight of my degree is that my fieldwork - working with real people in the real world - provides the opportunity to design an approach based on academic theories and study whether it works or not.

Skills gained from the practitioner work, in particular project management skills (time and resource management as well as organisational), are helping me progress with my PhD.

Through my journey, I have hopefully shown that a route to doing a PhD in Politics does not have to be typical. I have also shown that political parties and elections is just one component of a Politics degree.

So if you want to be the change, a degree in Politics could be for you!

Going Further…

If you are interested in finding out more about politics, here are some links you may find useful.

Politics degrees in Manchester: https://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/politics/study/courses/

Career options as a Politics graduate: https://www.socialsciences.manchester.ac.uk/politics/study/careers-and-employability/

Information about how Government works: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

Information on the UK Parliament: http://www.parliament.uk/

How research impacts on Policy: http://www.policy.manchester.ac.uk/blogs/

 

We all have the power, it starts with an idea

by YPU Admin on October 24, 2014, Comments. Tags: black, blackhistorymonth, BME, celebration, diversity, equality, ethnicity, history, and month


Black History Month UK was put into October to empower students to start the academic year as they wish to end it – successfully. Unfortunately, many institutions fail to directly engage students during this vital month. It is an opportunity to reach out to those students whose ancestry does not lie in the UK and demonstrate the success of their culture. Similarly, it is an opportunity to teach their peers to appreciate the diverse world we live in and just how closely connected we all are – whether that be sharing resources, cultural practices or swapping cooking tips. Where one has the resources and ability to do so, we should reach out to the student community and work to bring it together to empower, enlighten and celebrate the Black cultures. As BME Student Officer, this is what I have been working towards – cohesion among the BME communities in Manchester.

There is often confusion when we use the term Black, BME and even BAME in our daily lives – which is politically correct? Which do you fit into? If you do not self define as Caucasian, then you fit into them all as they are all used interchangeably across different organisations. This then leaves the question of what does this make of Black History Month which traditionally works around the history of African and Caribbean cultures; that choice is left down to you. There is no right or wrong answer. This year with Black History Month, I used it as an opportunity to unite as many different cultures across Manchester as possible under the theme of empowering, enlightening and celebrating. Working with a number of supportive students, we were able to employ the plan that has led to a month of celebration and education for staff, students and local community groups.

There are some individuals such as Morgan Freeman, who believe that Black history should not be confined to one month but incorporated into the mainstream archives. Although I understand his purpose, I disagree. Within the current way of the world we are living in, we need a period of time to focus attention on BME history. All cultures, including the English, have contributed to the world in their own way and no matter where you are in the world, this should be recognised. Black history (and BME history), will not be confined into one month forever, but for the time being we need to utilise it and educate ourselves as well as those around us in order to move forward, together into a future of diversity and equal opportunity.

Written by Tanisha Douglas.