In recent months the Faculty has welcomed the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) into the fold. Due to their physical relocation from the New Cavendish campus to Marylebone, the previous 6th floor PhD Research Centre has undergone a significant re-organisation in order to accommodate both the existing FABE PhD students and the newly arrived researchers of PSI. Both groups worked with the Estates Department and external architects to ensure the refurbishment took best advantage of this great space at the top of the Marylebone building. A former classroom at this level has become the PhD space, while PSI have tailored the vacated PhD centre to best suit their needs. Although separated by lift shafts, the combined research accommodation essentially spans the Easterly half of the 6th floor and it is hoped there will be some opportunities to exchange ideas between the two groups in the coming months and years. The new PhD Research Centre itself can be found above the Interior Architecture studio, at the furthest end of the building.
While not without its hiccups, the move has prompted a timely re-assessment of PhD facilities and has also spurred on more wide-ranging discussions about the role of doctoral students and within the Faculty, especially in their contribution to the existing and developing research culture. The refurbished space accommodates 23 PhD researchers and Visiting Scholars in all. Each full-time student has been allocated a good-sized bright workspace with decent storage. The as yet unallocated spaces will either remain hot-desks for part-time and visiting international students, or are awaiting the new intake of PhD researchers in October. Along with new printing facilities, the current students are particularly pleased with a separate kitchenette and small dining area. As well as being hugely functional, this room has a fantastic view of the city – if seated that the right angle! Providing a little bit of breathing space away from the desks, the kitchen will no doubt be well used as a place to get some all-important perspective when deadlines are looming and to foster community with a few celebrations too!
Report by Sarah Milne, PhD Candidate and Student Representative on the Faculty Research Committee