Kate Gadsby-Mace on why she chose Sheffield for her PhD

Kate completed her BA and MA at Sheffield and stayed on for her PhD. We asked her a few questions about Sheffield and her time here.

Kate Gadsby-Mace in Jessop West

Why did you choose to study in Sheffield?

I fell in love with Sheffield the first time I visited on an Open Day. It’s such a vibrant, friendly city, and the University reflects that. It’s also amazing to live in England’s greenest city and in the middle of the Peak District! Additionally, The School of English (SoE) had prominent specialists in my field who I was keen to work with.

What made the University of Sheffield stand out for you?

How much it invests in its students - not only academically, but in all aspects of their lives to produce well-rounded individuals. We’re encouraged to make the most of our time in Sheffield through sport, volunteering, extracurricular activities, and to care for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. I think that’s really important, especially during postgraduate research studies which can be stressful.

Sheffield is such a vibrant, friendly city, and the University reflects that. I’ve loved studying and living in Sheffield, so much so that I decided to stay and take a job at the University. 

Kate Gadsby-Mace, PhD English literature

What do you particularly enjoy about English?

No discipline exists in a vacuum, and I think English truly exemplifies the value of interdisciplinary research. You can’t study English without engaging with history, politics, social science and philosophy, to name just a few. I enjoy working with colleagues in different faculties and seeing how their expertise inform my own understanding and research.

What are you researching as part of your PhD?

My thesis was on British National Identity in the Eighteenth-Century and how this was expressed and discussed through the Gothic Literature of that period. The University of Sheffield was the perfect place for this as it boasts the Centre for the History of the Gothic, several prominent Gothic specialists including the co-President of the International Gothic Association, Professor Angela Wright, and an amazing postgraduate community who run the internationally-recognised Sheffield Gothic Reading Group!

How did the School of English help support you through the whole process from application to settling in?

The SoE has excellent resources available for students throughout the university life-cycle. The web pages are full of information and advice on applications and funding, and on arrival I was allocated a personal tutor who supported me during my PhD, alongside my supervisor. As I approached submission, I made use of the specialist Faculty PGR careers advisors.

Kate Gadsby-Mace in Jessop West

What are your top tips for any students thinking about studying English in Sheffield?

Get involved! Your department, faculty and other faculties will host regular research seminar series, reading groups, visiting speakers, festivals and events. They’re great ways to meet fellow postgraduates and friends, broaden your research interests and make helpful contacts across the University. They also look great on your CV.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Finishing my PhD! I submitted my thesis and passed my viva earlier this year (2017), and can’t wait for graduation. I’ve loved studying and living in Sheffield, so much so that I decided to stay and take a job at the University. The city, University, Students’ Union, people, lifestyle - I can’t praise Sheffield enough.

Tell us about being a postgraduate in the department.

You get your own desk in the department which you can personalise, and which helps you get to know your fellow postgraduates. There are plenty of reading groups and conferences to take part in, and we even have our own café downstairs so you don’t have to go searching for your morning coffee.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at Sheffield

Through the University and the SoE, I’ve had the opportunity to get involved with and contribute to many of the annual festivals that Sheffield hosts throughout the year. My favourites are Celluloid Screams (Sheffield Horror Film Festival), Festival of the Mind (creative collaboration between academics & local artists), and Off the Shelf (literary festival).

Anything else you'd like to add?

It’s worth mentioning that Sheffield University’s Students’ Union has been voted #1 Students' Union in the UK every year since 2009 in the Times Higher Education reports!! If you visit Sheffield, make sure to check it out, there’s always something exciting going on that you can get involved with - societies, sports clubs, and our very own cinema!


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