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.

New book published, Journeying with Bonhoeffer

A new book on the martyr, double agent, theologian and inspirational church leader, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has just been published with Morning Star Press.

Bohoeffer authors B&W
Katherine Firth and Andreas Loewe hold their new book. 

Co-authored with the Dean of Melbourne, this book has a new accessible biography of Bonhoeffer, new translations of his poems, close readings from the Bible and The Cost of Discipleship, reflections, prayers and questions for individual or group study.

Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship while leading an ‘underground’ seminary, in hiding from the Nazi government and the church leaders who supported Hitler.

The work is both timeless and timely. Next year, it will be 75 years since Bonhoeffer was executed in a concentration camp, and 75 years since the end of World War II. At the same time, people around the world are working against current oppression and exclusion.

A book launch will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne on 24 November, followed by events in Sydney and other cities.

The book is available in paperback direct from the publisher, or most large online bookstores (including Amazon AU, Amazon UK, and Book Depository). Allow up to three weeks for books to be delivered (though our copies came through in 3 days!).

Australian book launch of How to Fix your Academic Writing Trouble

The authors.JPG

Katherine Firth, Inger Mewburn, and Shaun Lehmann, in Canberra. 

It was a delight to visit Canberra during the first week in November for a book event celebrating our book How to Fix Your Academic Writing Trouble. The event was held at Harry Hartog’s bookshop at the Australian National University campus, and it was a wonderful chance to meet readers and for potential readers to meet us.

I wrote about the launch over on my blog Research Degree Insiders

For more information about the book, including how to purchase it.

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

‘Should a PhD be hard?’ published in Times Higher Education

The Times Higher Education (THE) recently republished a post first published on my blog, Research Degree Insiders.

In the post, I say:

If you are finding the PhD hard, that’s okay. If you are being bullied or are getting sick because of the PhD, that’s not okay. Find a way to make the PhD hard like climbing a mountain, not hard like being hit with a stick.

Nearly 7,000 people have read the original post, and I’ve received many comments from students who found it helpful. I hope the THE version reaches, and helps, even more people!

Captivity and freedom in the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, invited talk

On 6 April, I will be giving a talk to the St James’ Insititute, Sydney, on ‘Captivity and Freedom in the Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’ before the Choir of St James’ King Street, directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones gives a performance of Philip Moore’s ‘Three Prayers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’.

Tickets to the talk are still available.

Here’s what I’ll be talking about:

‘Restless, yearning, sick, like a bird in a cage… hungry for colours, for life, for birdsong’.
From ‘Who Am I?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a theologian for our times: an intellectual who worked across barriers of race, denomination and language. For his role in heading an underground seminary, and his work with the resistance against the Nazi regime, he was imprisoned, interned in concentration camps and executed. Bonhoeffer’s writings invite us to ask about what captivity really means, and what it is to have freedom.

And here is a recording of Morning Prayer to whet the appetite:

Academic Writing Trouble published

Academic Writing Trouble: Why it happens and how to fix it, Inger Mewburn, Katherine Firth and Sean Lehmann (London: Open University Press, 2019) is now published.

Read more about it here, including links to purchase the book.

If you subscribe to The Australian newspaper, you can read the interview with Inger Mewburn by Erica Cervini ‘Collaborative Guide to Clarity of Expression

 

Beneath the Incense Tree CD publishes recording of ‘In Advent Heat’

A new recording of my lyrics for ‘In Advent Heat’ by the Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne, is published by Acis Records on Beneath the Incense Tree: Music for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, including works by living composers including many commissions for the choir.

‘In Advent Heat’ is a shimmering setting by Melbourne-based composer and musicologist Peter Campbell, for a work that can be sung through the whole Christmas season from Advent to Epiphany.

The words have become regular additions to Carol services in Melbourne as a poem, as well.

The words describe the journey of the Wise Men through an Australian desert (so different from the Middle Eastern landscapes they would have encountered. or the freezing cold so familiar from northern hemisphere carols).

Listen to the carol here:

‘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’.