Connected PhD

The Doctoral School is pleased to introduce you to the Connected PhD, a co-working initiative for SOAS doctoral researchers through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The need for staying connected and working together is more critical now than ever, and there has been a strong demand from our PGR community for peer-led small-group activities such as reading groups, writing retreats, presentation rehearsals, and methods workshops. However, organising such activities is easier said than done, especially while we are all dispersed and isolated.

This new initiative aims to provide a framework to facilitate such efforts. All doctoral researchers and supervisors are invited to propose sessions, and the Doctoral School will provide support for the session leaders in identifying potential collaborators across SOAS and in preparing and promoting their events.

If you would like to get involved, here are several ways to start.

  • You can find the research interests of your fellow doctoral researchers at SOAS at this linked page: View Colleagues’ Research Interests (login required)
  • If you would like to add your interests to the above database, or amend the ones that you have added earlier, please use this form: Register Your Research Interests (login required)
  • You can also check out the past and current activities listed below on this page to get ideas.
  • If you have an activity to propose, please fill out this form: Propose a Session (login required).

Should you have any questions about the initiative or would like to discuss your ideas for a session, please contact Dr Yenn Lee at in the first instance.

Here is a list of the current and past Connected PhD groups.

2022/23 sessions

Sexual Misconduct Reading Group

The issue of sexual misconduct has gained increasing attention in recent years, especially in light of #MeToo campaigns in several countries and emerging popular culture discourse around sexuality more generally. We hold fortnightly meetings on campus and aim to co-design a reading list that will facilitate critical discussion on different aspects of sexual misconduct from various disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, with a focus on the Global South. The first meeting will take place on 20th January at 14:00.

If you wish to join the group, please email Mini Saxena ( or Atreyee Sengupta ( for further details.

Research Society for History of Art Postgraduate Encounters (ReSHAPE)

From Islamic antiquity laws to fake Chinese paintings, from Sabaudian Royal Palace to Hong Kong artists’ studios in the UK, from Victorian adventurer's camera lens to Japanese connoisseur's notes, art researchers today are increasingly required to demonstrate transcultural and interdisciplinary understandings. ReSHAPE is a monthly seminar series for and by doctoral and early career researchers in History of Art at SOAS, providing a platform for participants to discuss current developments in the field and share the progresses of their projects. If you are interested in joining it, please contact Yitao Qian (

Brown Bag Seminar Series – International Development

This monthly seminar series aims to provide an informal space for research students and staff to present their works-in-progress, share ideas and discuss themes across the interdisciplinary field of international development. These sessions will be held on the last Tuesday of each month. If you are interested in taking part, please email the session leader Helina Shebeshe (

Insider-Researchers’ Collective

This is a network of doctoral and early career researchers who see themselves as part of the subject of their academic inquiry. We set out to help one another in addressing the complex challenges of being an ‘insider-researcher’ through resource sharing and regular meetups. If you are currently researching a group, organisation, or community where you are also a member, and if you would like to connect with colleagues navigating similar challenges, please email Dr Yenn Lee ( for further information.

2021/22 sessions


Lasting about 30 minutes over a cup of tea, this informal fortnightly session is open to all doctoral and postdoctoral researchers who are in some sort of a writing process. The group will chat, hold each other accountable, share ideas, tricks, and resources, as well as sorrows and challenges of writing. If you are interested in joining, please email the organiser Jens Augspurger ( 

Migration Brown Bag Seminars

This new bi-monthly seminar series aims to provide an informal and constructive space for research students and staff across disciplines to present their work-in-progress and share ideas around the topic of migration. If you are interested in taking part, please email the session leader Helina Shebeshe ( 

How to SOAS

This series of workshops is designed to help the newest MPhil/PhD cohort to settle into life and study at SOAS. The first topic will be how to use Zotero, a reference management tool, effectively and future sessions will cover other resources at your disposal. Sessions will be held online at first and move into a hybrid format by Term 2.

The series will be led by Jennifer Schofield, a long-term SOASian (BA, MA, and currently MPhil/PhD) with vast insider knowledge. If you are interested in participating in one or more workshops, please get in touch with her at


Manchu Reading Group

This special interest group meets once a week to read and discuss archival sources in Manchu to improve our proficiency of the language and enrich our PhD projects. The members' research interests currently include: Christianity and Jesuit missionaries in China, textual and visual translation practices, Qing court art, archaeology and death rituals, Manchu women and their historical clothing, patronage of Tibetan Buddhism, and the European palaces at Yuanmingyuan.

If you are interested in joining, please email Nixi Cura (

What next after ethnographically informed fieldwork?

This is a discussion group for doctoral researchers who have returned from fieldwork that has involved ethnographic approaches or techniques and are now figuring out the next steps while being overwhelmed with volumes of data and field notes. It will provide a platform for sharing ideas, concerns, and resources, which will help participants to advance their thesis writing.​

If you are interested in joining, please email the session leader Manish Maskara (

Cold Turkey Writing: Getting Stuff Done

In this weekly 3-hour session, we are writing 3x45mins distraction-free. In short breaks, we are sharing our progress. The idea is to use this session to produce new, imperfect, not-yet-edited writing rather than cherry-picking tasks or working through previously written stuff. After the 3 hours, you will have a good base of text that you can work on the remainder of the week.

If you are interested in joining, please email the session leader Jens Augspurger (

Marxism in 2020

This fortnightly reading group revisits Marxism in the light of everything that has been happening around us in this extraordinary year, ranging from the George Floyd protests and the #MeToo movement to the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to create a collaborative learning space where members will further reflect on the significance and limitation of Marxism for our intellectual thinking and activist organising.

If you are interested in joining, please email the session leader Xianan Jin (

NVivo Meetup

If you are using NVivo for managing and analysing your qualitative data for your current projects and would like to discuss any aspect of it with a small group of fellow users and exchange ideas and tips, please contact the session leader Dr Yenn Lee ( The meetup is normally held on the last working day of the month.​