Your PhD Survival Guide coming in December 2020

Accessible, insightful and a must-have toolkit for all final year doctoral students, the founders of the ‘Thesis Boot Camp’ intensive writing programme show how to survive and thrive through the challenging final year of writing and submitting a thesis.

Drawing on an understanding of the intellectual, professional, practical and personal elements of the doctorate to help readers gain insight into what it means to finish a PhD and how to get there, this book covers the common challenges and ways to resolve them. It includes advice on: 

  • Project management skills to plan, track, iterate and report on the complex task of bringing a multi-year research project to a successful close 
  • Personal effectiveness and self-care to support students to thrive in body, mind and relationships, including challenging supervisor relationships. 
  • The successful ‘generative’ writing processes which get writers into the zone and producing thousands of words; and then provides the skills to structure and polish those words to publishable quality. 
  • What it means to survive a PhD and consider multiple possible futures. 

Written for students in all disciplines, and relevant to university systems around the world, this unique book expertly guides students through the final 6–12 months of the thesis.

Pre-orders are now available from Routledge and all online booksellers.

Talking about music and life on ‘Reflections’ on 3MBS Radio

It was an absolute pleasure to sit down with Ted Davies (and producer Frank Prain) to listen to music from Tori Amos, through Britten and Bach, to works setting my words to music by Andrew Schultz, Micheal Leighton Jones and Peter Campbell.

You can tune in on 28 April at 4pm, or listen again online later.

Reflections is a weekly interview program that explores the life and achievements of an eminent local, national or international personality and includes fine music from our guest’s personal selection of favourites.

The program is broadcast each Sunday at 4pm and repeated at 3pm the following Friday.

Sunday 28 April – Dr Katherine Firth – poet and librettist

‘Bethlehem without a sound’ premièred at Christ Church South Yarra

A new carol-motet, commissioned by the Christ Church Music Foundation, with music by Melbourne-based composer Daniel Riley was first performed at Christ Church, South Yarra, on 16 December 2018 as part of their Carol Service.

The commissions was for a carol which spoke to the Australian setting, and I have therefore included references to lyrebirds and the gold rush, a loose translation from Dante’s Purgatorio in which he imagines the southern hemisphere ocean, and allusions to terra nullius and climate change. Nonetheless, Riley’s bejewelled setting and dynamic rhythms deliver the work as a glittering modern addition to the repertoire.

The newly written words for the commission can also be sung to Mathias’ setting of ‘A babe is born’ for congregational use.

Award for innovation

Here is the citation for the Student Success Staff Award for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation, which I was presented in December 2018.

Since joining the team, Katherine has demonstrated an innovative and inclusive approach to everything she has done. With very short time-frames Katherine negotiated spaces for each Learning Hub and for the Maths Hub at Bundoora while drawing together separate teams into one cohesive unit.

Katherine also successfully streamlined the processes of the team and is currently working on evaluation. One example of Katherine’s innovation involved identifying and negotiating an alternate space for the Hub due to the original’s unsuitability. Katherine was able to work with stakeholders to shift and set up operations within the space of a week.

It was an incredible honour to have the work in the Learning Hub recognised, alongside award for the Peer Learning Leaders for ‘Going the Extra Mile’ and Dr Pam Delly, Student Learning, for ‘Collaboration’.

Movement from ‘Southern Cantata’ on 3MBS Radio

Movement 4 of ‘Southern Cantata’ was broadcast on 3MBS radio on Sunday 4 February 5pm, as part of an interview with The Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne, for their ‘Reflections’ Program.

You can listen to the piece here:

Schultz, Andrew: Southern Cantata. Choir of St John’s Southgate/Graham Lieschke (From 36 minutes).

A broadcast of the full work is expected soon.

The score and a recording are available for reference only at the the Australian Music Centre website.

Post published on LSE Impact blog

My blog post ‘Writing a PhD in your second language: 7 reasons you’re doing great and 5 ways to do even better’ (originally published on Research Degree Voodoo), was republished on the LSE Impact blog.

For those PhD students for whom English is not their first language, writing a thesis can be a daunting task and a source of some anxiety too. Katherine Firth has worked with many of these students and as well as offering reasons why they should feel reassured, also provides a short list of simple pointers to help improve their skills. Identify your common errors, practice regularly, and don’t become preoccupied with “sounding academic”!

Read the full blog.

 

Centenary Anthem for Trinity College Chapel

A new anthem was commissioned for the century anniversary of the Horsfall Chapel at Trinity College, the University of Melbourne, ‘Sunlight Touches the Roses (Horsfall)’ with words by Katherine Firth and music by Peter Campbell. The anthem was directed by Chris Watson and sung by the Choir of Trinity College, one of the premiere sacred music ensembles in Australia.

The first performance was on Friday 6 October 2017 at a service for Founders and Benefactors of the College, and a second performance on Saturday 25 November for the anniversary of the consecration of the chapel.

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The words and music draw from the present setting of the building, its history as the chapel of Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall (in 1917 Trinity College and Trinity Women’s Hostel), from the prayers and hymns in the opening services of the new chapel, and ends with a doxology of hope for the future.

Read more about the chapel and the chapel choir.

Deck the Halls with Advent Heat

Peter Campbell and my first every collaboration, ‘In Advent Heat’, will be performed at three concerts in Melbourne and Bendigo. (This makes 6 performances of 3 seperate works in the space of a fortnight!)

Join Melbourne chamber choir Polyphonic Voices and kick off the festive season with Deck the Halls, a distinctly Australian-flavoured concert of Christmas music featuring celebrated local composers alongside more traditional Christmas carols and everything in between. Guests will be treated to suitably themed drinks and nibbles ahead of a performance that will feature unaccompanied choral music from the past 500 years, from countries such as Argentina, Finland, Germany, France, the USA, UK and Sweden. Interwoven throughout will be arrangements or original compositions by young Melbournians Dan Walker, Daniel Riley and Peter Campbell, and a new composition by talented Sydney-based composer Alice Chance. With two performances in Parkville’s beautiful Wyslaskie Auditorium, there’s no better way to entertain the prospect of Christmas and holidays!

This program will be repeated a week later at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral in Bendigo on Saturday 9th December at 6pm.
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Event details:
Deck the Halls, presented by Polyphonic Voices
Friday 1st December, 8pm
Saturday 2nd December, 8pm
Drinks and nibbles served each evening from 7pm
Standard $40 / Student $20
Wyslaskie Auditorium – Centre for Theology & Ministry
29 College Crescent, Parkville VIC 3052
Tickets from www.polyphonicvoices.com

Southern Cantata for St John’s Southgate

A new commission for the St John’s Canata Program.

World premiere of a new cantata commissioned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of St Johns Cantata Program

Southern Cantata (Opus 102, 2017)
by Andrew Schultz, libretto by Katherine Firth

for 2 soloists, chorus and period instrument orchestra of strings, trumpet, theorbo, timpani, harpsichord and organ

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
Kate Macfarlane (soprano), Robert Macfarlane (tenor)
dir. Graham Lieschke

Guest Preacher: Tom Peitsch
Pastor of Outer Eastern Lutheran Church & former pastor of St Johns Southgate

Cantata in Context 8:30am in the Chapel
Discussion with the composer and poet about the  new cantata

Read more

 

Judges report on Nakata-Brophy Competition for Young Indigenous Writers with Overland Journal 2017

‘Nakata Brophy Prize: Judges’ notes’ by Jennifer Mills, Katherine Firth and Tara June Winch was published in Overland (227 Winter 2017).

The winning story, Evelyn Araluen’s ‘Muyum: a transgression’ is available to read at overland.org.au.

The two runner-up stories, were Amy McGuire’s ‘Tea and dying’ and Allanah Hunt’s ‘Invisibility isn’t only a power superheroes have’.