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School of Geography

Fieldwork at a 2014 Summer Rave

From the alternative to the liberalization of nightlife in Geneva: the “right to party” as a hedonist measure of the right to the City

Supervisors: Prof Paul Chatterton, Dr David Bell
Funding received:

  • 2014     Foundation Barbour, Geneva, Switzerland. PhD support grant
  • 2013     Foundation Barbour, Geneva, Switzerland. PhD support grant
  • 2012     Foundation Barbour, Geneva, Switzerland. PhD support grant

Why did you decide to study for a PhD, and why Leeds?

I would regard myself as a “culture-voyeur”. I developed a constant appetite for music and contemporary art when I was a student which I have pursued ever since. I do believe that culture (by which I mean cultural objects but also practices and spaces) play a key role in the way we built our identities alongside the places we live in, which give us meaning and attachment. The idea of throwing myself into the adventure of a PhD was born from this cross-interest for the relationship between culture and space. Through Cultural Geography I had the chance to meet my supervisors, Paul Chatterton and David Bell, who had conducted inspiring research within my research area. My PhD explores spaces of nightlife, culture in the night and the effect of urban change. Initially I moved to Leeds for academic reasons and found a supportive and stimulating academic environment along the way... and an exciting cultural scene to explore!

What is your experience of PhD study in the School and what skills have you learnt?

Being a PhD student is an informative and intense experience. It majorly affects your personal life and gives rise to all sorts of questions about what you are interested in, and helps you develop yourself intellectually and professionally. I see the process of my PhD as a constant shift between solitary hours of writing and my integration into the academic family I’ve encountered. You can only achieve a PhD on your own as no one will write it for you!

The School of Geography is particularly supportive towards post-graduates: we have our own office (and don’t need to hot desk), which helped me embrace my PhD as a “real job” and find my line of work. It also helped develop the feeling of community. We have access to an online tool, where I have been contacted for conferences and job opportunities. And we obviously get given a whole range of support, helping each other in our work: supervision, cluster meetings and reading groups, etc.

It would be hard to tell what the best part of my PhD as I (fortunately!) find this experience so positive at so many different levels. I think overall, the relationships I have built with my supervisors and PhD fellows comes first, as I never expected how many personal connections I would make. I must stress that encountering my research participants was extremely important for me as a researcher and an individual. Making sense out of other peoples’ experience is a lesson for life!

What are your career aspirations?

After I finish my PhD, I hope to have the opportunity to keep exploring the cultural geographies of cities. The academic world is highly competitive and suffers from the climate of austerity we live in. But I have great hope that I might keep researching and will find opportunity to share my interests with students. My research is also empirically grounded which should hopefully open ways to influencing public policies.