Alona Martinez Perez

PhD Student

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Tell us about your experience of studying a PhD in Sheffield

In 2011 I received a University of Sheffield Scholarship to do a PhD part time, on a topic that I wanted to research. My thesis is about arriving at a theory of the periphery in the European City, with a case study in Madrid.

Did you find it rewarding?

My experience was very positive and I benefited from a lot of support and flexibility from the staff, and especially my supervisor Dr Walker. The department and the staff allowed me to balance my studies with my work and family duties. I completed my course and took my three-month son Alberto to Sheffield to the lectures - incredible support.

It is great that the University is flexible in allowing chartered architects to pursue doctoral studies, which is unique in the UK and allow women in architecture to complete a thesis.

Were you happy with your supervision?

My supervisor was Dr Steven Walker. He was inspirational, strict and above all allowed me to develop my own thinking and writing.

Tell us about your career so far

My first role following my PhD was Lecturer in Urbanism at the University of Ulster

In 2016 I was invited as Visiting Professor at the University of Trento by Professors Mose Ricci and Pino Scaglione to speak about peripheral journeys, and with Lecturer Chiara Rizzi worked on a live project at the Comune of Ala (Trento) with a group of students. I also was awarded the AHRA PhD Symposium at Plymouth University based on my research on Peripheries. I have presented papers at the Society of Italian Urbanists in Milano and Catania, based on my doctoral work.

I am currently a Lecturer in Architecture at Plymouth University where I lead with Simon Bradbury on the MArch Year 1 programme.

What advice would you give to a current Architecture PhD student?

Make sure that you are always focused in your area, and that you really work well with your supervisor in developing your own work.