Sofia Polychronidou was delighted when her concept for PhD research was received enthusiastically by the University of Edinburgh, allowing her to delve into researching European Theatre and leading to her current role in a major cultural centre in her native Greece.
|Degree||PhD European Theatre|
|Year of graduation||2020|
At the moment
I always had the urge and curiosity to understand how art is created behind the scenes. This was my approach in my PhD, and it is what I am doing currently from a different standpoint: I am involved in the production of cultural events (concerts, performances, exhibitions, etc). I work as Production Coordinator at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC), the biggest and most prestigious cultural centre of Greece.
Your time at the University
While I was doing my master’s in London, I had sent several requests to several universities as a prospective PhD student, receiving all kinds of replies. My future supervisor answered only a few hours after she had received my email, saying that my proposal sounded interesting and that she would like us to discuss it further. Receiving that kind of trust from a person that did not know me at all, and who initiated the dialogue based only on my way of thinking, played a significant role in my decision to choose the University of Edinburgh.
In addition, to have the chance to study in one of the most prestigious universities in the world made me feel confident that I would have all kinds of support during this challenging period of my life, which I did.
There are a few other things I would like to point out that really helped make my time at the University:
The libraries, the collections and mainly the archives that I had access to by being a student at the University really made my research possible.
I participated in many seminars and workshops organised by the University and the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), which helped me find my own path during not only the first (and, perhaps, most chaotic year) but also throughout all my research years.
50 George Square was the friendliest place to be, including the student atmosphere, the teachers and but also the admin staff.
Lastly, I would like to mention the times I participated in either the University’s Open Days or in the several events organised by Student Recruitment and Admissions, sharing my personal story as a student of the University of Edinburgh to prospective students. It was always a pleasure talking with people who have their own fears and doubts about taking the next big step in their student life and inspiring them just by being present and honestly answering their questions about what it means to be a PhD student.
Your experiences since leaving the University
I left Edinburgh one year before finishing my PhD because I participated in the Erasmus+ Program, during which I was placed as a researcher in a University in Greece in the Theatre Studies Department. I must admit that this collaboration was not 100% successful, mainly because this particular university was not used to receiving PhD Candidates and as such it was not fully prepared to incorporate them and benefit from them. However, during my time there, I had the opportunity to meet other professionals who were working at the SNFCC, a connection that eventually, and after finishing my PhD, led to my current role as Production Coordinator at the SNFCC.
It’s easy to get lost in your own research. But it is important to develop yourself outside your field. If I was to start again, how I approached networking events that looked scary to me back then, would the only thing that I would have done differently. Talking to people within the field of academia about your ideas, not only is not that frightening as it might sound but it significantly helps in elaborating your own thinking.