Hannah Clancy – PhD Cultural Heritage

PhD Cultural Heritage student Hannah Clancy is studying part time and really values the flexibility within her course which allows her to combine her research with working full time. We found out more about her experience as a researcher at the University of Birmingham. 

Why did you choose to study a PhD in Cultural Heritage?

“After completing an undergraduate degree in archaeology and ancient history, I started to understand that the past is very much present, which sparked my interest in how we manage objects of the past and what that tells us about attitudes and the political/social/cultural climate of today. As I had such a positive experience studying at the university, it was a natural decision to continue my research.”

Why did you choose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham?

“I enjoyed my experience studying here and had a really supportive supervisor who encouraged me and saw value in my research.”

What are the best things about your course?

“The support from my supervisor has been really important. I’ve had a lot of encouragement to be brave and explore my ideas and develop my own concepts. The university itself is also a really nice place to study, particularly since the new library has been built and we now have more green spaces.”

What is life like as a researcher at the University of Birmingham?

“My experience is perhaps different to most as I work full time so I’m not on campus as much as I’d like. What has been really important is the flexibility, such as long library opening hours, the research room in the library, flexibility from my supervisor with regards to meetings and submissions (alongside plenty of good challenge to keep me on track). I’ve also had opportunity to take part in conferences and competitions such as Images of Research, which helps me to stay connected to a research community, despite working full time.” 

What support have you received during your PhD?

“Working full time and completing a PhD brings a lot of challenges and my supervisor has always maintained flexibility and understanding. Studying with the same supervisor for such a long time now means I consider him not just my supervisor but friend and peer. I’ve also been fortune to receive money from the university to undertake fieldwork in the cities chosen as my case studies.” 

Outside of your research, what experience have you gained and how will it help you in the future?

“I have been encouraged to take part in competitions, conferences and undertake voluntary research. This has developed my public speaking skills as well and helping me to articulate my research in a way that is understandable to different audiences. This is a skill that is important for researchers once they move into employment. Outside of university, I am a risk manager for a major bank, which is very different to my chosen research. However, I have found a way for these very separate things to complement each other. Risk management methodology has influenced my research methodology. Equally, the focus and analytical skills developed during so many years of study supports my day job. My career so far has shown me that having a variety of transferable skills is what employers look for and combined experience will continue to support me in that aspect, whatever route I take in the future.” 

Find out more studying for a Cultural Heritage PhD over on our course pages.