By Jessica Porter
The 2017 State of Australian Cities (SOAC) PhD Symposium was an event organised by the Australasian Early Career Urban Research Network (AECURN) and held as a precursor to the SOAC biennial conference. There was a diverse range of urban researchers in attendance, from a range of disciplines and covering a range of research topics. The Symposium provided a mix of seminars and small group sessions, where students presented their current PhD work.
The opening session ‘Welcome to Adelaide: The City of Corpses?’ was presented by Dr Matthew Rofe (UniSA) and provided the group with a thought-provoking interpretation on the media obsession with branding Adelaide (and South Australia) as the “murder capital” of the world. The subsequent seminars and panel discussions provided students with invaluable advice regarding the use of social media and research; publishing research; the use of writing groups; and the transition from PhD student to the world of academia.
In the small group sessions, I was a part of the “Playford” group, comprised of seven PhD students; a Senior mentor – Associate Professor Hazel Easthope (University of New South Wales); and an early career researcher mentor – Dr David Kroll (University of South Australia & University of Sydney). The themes of the Playford group centred around affordable housing, social justice, built environment and design. I presented my research, currently titled ‘Governmentalities of affordable housing in non-metropolitan Australia’, where I received thoughtful and supportive feedback from the group; most of whom are not within my research disciplines or fields. The symposium provided a supportive and creative space for students to test their ideas, seek feedback from peers and broaden their networks.