Ludmila Lupinacci Amaral
Porto Alegre, Brazil
When I first decided to apply to the Department of Media and Communications, the possibility of meeting, and engaging in intellectually stimulating discussions with renowned international scholars of the field was one of my crucial incentives. As someone who comes from a developing country, the idea of having contact with those who constitute the cornerstone of my academic background – and most of my bibliography! – had been, until then, nothing more than a distant daydream.
I evidently had a personal interest in enjoying the structure of a world-class institution such as LSE, and in the benefits that this experience could potentially bring to my curriculum and prospective career. Nevertheless, the central motivation for my application was my understanding that the Department of Media and Communications maintains a strong focus on the development of a broad set of research skills, both theoretical and methodological. After one year in the doctoral programme, I can confirm my impressions were spot-on. What is distinctive about the Department, I would add, is the interdisciplinary, but always critical, approach it provides and fosters.
Being a PhD student is, at the same time, a challenging, rewarding, stressful, inspiring, and emotionally demanding experience. However, in the Department of Media and Communications, the faculty, the staff, and the colleagues provide a welcoming and encouraging environment for early-stage researchers. I have always heard how doing a PhD can be a lonely and socially isolating process. My experience in this first year of registration, however, shows me that this is, thankfully, not always the case.
View Ludmila's profile.
Johannesburg, South Africa
I chose the Department of Media and Communications for my PhD primarily because it contained so many of the world’s leading researchers working on projects connected to the mediation of distant suffering, public action, and humanitarianism. It was an area that had interested me for a while, and LSE turned out to be the perfect home for my project.
The first day at school, as it were, was terrifying – a chance to meet academic heroes and accomplished first-year PhD colleagues from a range of backgrounds. It surprised me how approachable my supervisors, colleagues, and the Department in general was, and the intense reading and discussions of the first year made it one of the most intellectually fulfilling of my life. PhD study has meant developing a new relationship with reading, writing, and argumentation which can be equal parts intense and rewarding, but in moments where I’ve paused from worrying about how much I still don’t know and haven’t read, it’s incredible to see just how far I’ve developed already.
My own research has developed into a project looking at the work of journalists covering conflict and its effects in South Sudan – something perhaps unconventional to most media and communications departments. LSE has been probably the most supportive environment in which to be doing this work, though. The presence of so many colleagues interested in questions of the representation of suffering, journalism in difficult contexts, and postcolonial critiques of many ‘foreign correspondent’ studies has been a constantly valuable resource. Being granted the freedom – and support – to do practical fieldwork in Juba and Malakal in South Sudan really drove home that this was a space in which I really did have the freedom to do the practical work involved in pursuing my project where I needed to.
At the time of writing I am heading into my third year, and there is a great deal of writing and thinking still on the horizon, but I’ve no doubt at all that I’ve found the right academic home in which to be doing it.
View Richard's profile.
The reason I chose the Department of Media and Communications for my PhD may seem obvious, considering it has been ranked within the top 3 in the QS World University Rankings for Communication and Media Studies for the past three years. Nevertheless, the rankings indicators do not tell the whole story, as faculty in the Department not only excel in conducting research, but are always ready to listen, giving advice and feedback. In particular, I am very impressed by how much care and respect my supervisors have shown not only to my studies, but also to my professional development.
During my studies, I have had access to a large pool of research and teaching opportunities within and beyond the Department, which have allowed me to coordinate with external research institutions, organise international conferences, exhibit research findings, and write for publications. Additionally, I have gained knowledge and experience of engaging graduate students in seminar discussions through my role as classroom assistant.
Most importantly, however, my PhD journey would not have been the same without my peers. Although I expected LSE to attract talented individuals from around the world, I did not foresee that my cohort’s support and their enthusiasm for research and social change would help sustain me during the moments of self-doubt inevitable within the PhD process. The commitment to advancing knowledge and improving the state of the world demonstrated by my peers, faculty, and visiting fellows is as stimulating as the diverse events one can enjoy whilst studying in London.
View Ssu-Han's profile.