The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives and working modes of many. In that regard, doctoral studies having a reputation of lonely and isolating work have become even more challenging. PhD students globally have been indicating several burning issues: access to information, meeting peers, networking and mental issues, etc. The Finnish academic environment has not been an exception from this new situation.
Responding to the circumstances, in spring 2021, Professor, Rosa Ballardini from the Faculty of Law at the University of Lapland launched peer-support meetings for the doctoral students of the Faculty and beyond. The idea has been to create a space, both for informal discussions as well as seminars on concrete topics. In the current format, the initiative organized two types of meetings. First, doctoral candidates have organized peer-to-peer chit-chats coordinated by Punam Noor. Within chit-chats, doctoral candidates support each other in their everyday doctoral work. They can receive feedback for their papers, help with translations and address practical questions regarding academic work.
Second types of meetings have taken the form of informal seminars on specific topics. Peer support seminars have been led by Professor Rosa Ballardini and Karolina Sikora from the University of Lapland in cooperation with the UArctic Thematic Network on Arctic Law. By far, the initiative organised meetings touching upon questions relating to the reconstructed Graduate School of the University of Lapland and the publishing process of articles in peer-reviewed journals. Forthcoming seminars will deal with questions of defending the article-based dissertation at the University of Lapland and applying for doctoral work funding.
Meetings will continue after the summer break.