In May 2020, University of Bath doctoral students were invited to work on a new collaborative project, 'Surviving in Exceptional Times'. The aim was for the students to look into how to best get on, manage, cope and survive in the exceptional times of lockdown, enabling them to develop and evidence skills such as problem solving, innovation, project management and team working. They were also challenged to produce a tangible output. Three initial sessions were held in Microsoft Teams, guided by an external facilitator Piero Vitelli, a transferable skills trainer.
We had no idea at the outset how many students would engage with it or how the project would evolve. Six PhD students, from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, spread across the globe, invested a lot of energy, enthusiasm and passion into this project. It was a great opportunity for them to work with a new cohort of researchers, who they wouldn't necessarily meet during their studies.
As an output from the project, the students decided to develop a series of podcasts documenting real-life stories of how people have coped since March. In particular they wanted to share projects or initiatives that might inspire others during this and future pandemics - and that will continue to influence people's lives even after things return to more normal.
The team has produced two episodes so far: first was an interview with Mr Nathan, an extraordinary octogenarian who reminds us to look for the positive in any situation; this was followed by a chat to Selina Robinson about rediscovering her love of music during lockdown.
Whether you're a University student, researcher or staff, they'd like to hear from you with your own story, which could feature in an upcoming episode.