Storytelling is an age-old tradition that enables individuals and communities to make sense of themselves, explore a shared humanity, and convey the significance of tradition and symbolism between generations.

notJack teamed up with the Graduate Student Association to deliver a series of storytelling events, titled Storytelling Nights. Storytelling Nights was a relaxed and intimate space for students to come together, and articulate through their first personal experiences, what it takes and what it means to be a graduate student in Australia.

Storytelling Nights.jpgImage courtesy of the Graduate Student Association

Event themes included:

Crafting Creativity in RHD Studies

The craft of storytelling is essential to research. Research tells stories that encourage an audience to learn and to make sense of their experience of the world.

Creative practice and creativity do not typically feature in the advisory channels or resources for RHD students. Yet creative storytelling hones your researching craft, strengthening a reader’s intellectual connections with your purpose and findings. An outstanding thesis is one that tells an illuminating and unforeseen story, from which a reader may imagine the world better or differently. Despite this, it can be a risky and often times isolating to deviate from the stylistic expectations and conventions of structure and delivery that govern a predictable research and assessment trajectory.

‘Crafting Creativity in RHD Studies’ is a space for students from across faculty-lines to gather and share reflections, advice and techniques for strengthening their research creatively. Hear from research students at early, middle and late stage candidature on the aspirations, challenges and achievements for crafting and communicating creative academic writing. There will also be a space for you to contribute your stories on the place of creativity in academia if you wish.

This gathering is ideal for RHD students in early to mid-stages of candidature who are keen to experiment and potentially shape their research using creativity and creative practices. Late-stage candidates, as well as coursework students, with a genuine interest in sharing stories on, or inspired by, creativity and creative practices are also very welcome.

Here, Home & Me

Calling international women graduate students!

Every individual may be surprised by themselves. We think we know ourselves, until another place or time reveals otherwise. The “student-you” may be a very different self to the “home-you”. International women students must often draw on grit and resilience they never knew they possessed, to fulfil their dreams of study and work abroad. Often their sense of self is transformed, disorientated, empowered in complex and unanticipated ways.

All of you own a unique story about those parts of yourself you never acknowledged or thought existed.

You are invited to share in stories about the one or more lives you lead, about how you negotiate these alternately connected and exclusive parts of your same self. Is your international experience one of permanent contradiction? Greater consistency? Do you have an ‘essential self’ that keeps everything on point and pursuing the dream? From where do you draw the wit, strength or humour to negotiate your multiple lives and secret selves?

Storytelling Night is a relaxed and warm occasion in which to build connections and to celebrate what it is, and what it takes, to be an international woman student. Enjoy a meal and drinks, and wrap up your academic year in company.

This is a student-themed and student-focused event. All international women graduate students are welcome, no matter your point of enrolment. Alumni are also warmly encouraged to attend.

Storytelling Nights.pngImage courtesy of the Graduate Student Association

Off The Page

Writing a thesis is a mean feat. You complete it (or not) a changed individual. A lot else changes around you meanwhile. You and others question the sense of it along the way. What attracted you to research initially and do you make sense of that still? How do you explain to others – to yourself – the value of what you do?

Off The Page is a space to share stories on the passion, doubts, small victories and daily grit that is ‘doing a thesis’. The Graduate Student Association invites you to join with peers, share a drink and swap stories to give voice and sense to graduate experience at the University of Melbourne. This a student-led and student-focused event featuring your real stories.

You may be first-stage and bright-eyed, or coasting through your progress reviews. Perhaps you are on leave, or present at the desk in body only. Staring down the final phase of submission? Or, have you since lapsed and are feeling the sting of becoming persona non grata (or, is that persona liberata?) No matter your thesis trajectory, you are invited to share a story on what it means to be RHD. Let’s gather to celebrate the accepted publications, nailing the gnarliest conference question, happening on like-minded people who helped it all come together, and showing up to the page every…single…day in the effort to make something of a mere idea.

I, Graduate

Graduate students are pretty special.

The University of Melbourne is one of just two Australian universities in which graduate students out number undergraduate students. That’s a mighty lot of graduate experience! So many of you combine work, pursuits, and love with study. Thousands of you travel from overseas countries to be here. You negotiate bureaucracy, family, work demands, aspiration and self-doubt daily. Grit, guts and sacrifice got you where you are now.

GSA Storytelling Nights foster community for graduate students by providing a space in which to share a meal, swap stories, and make sense of graduate experience with their peers. This a student-led and student-focused event featuring real stories as shared by you.

How did you get here? What were your hopes and expectations? Have these changed and were any fulfilled? Where is your graduate experience headed now? Let’s gather to celebrate what is – and what it takes – to be ‘graduate’.

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