Fiona Dakin

PhD Cohort 2020

HEI: University of St Andrews

Funding: AHRC DTP

Project Title: Illustration, Interpretation, and Invention: 151 Years of Visual-Arts Adaptations of the Poetic Works of Charles Baudelaire 

Supervisor: Dr David Evans, School of Modern Languages

What was your research about?

Approaches to illustrating poetry, using Charles Baudelaire as a case study. The final thesis included examples from comic books, abstract art, and photographs. 

What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?

At the time I wanted to become a lecturer. 

Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?

SGSAH provided a brilliant package of training, development and networking opportunities which helped me both to enhance my research (through funded archive trips to France and the US), and also to explore non-academic career options (through a fully-funded internship at House of Illustration and a wide range of training workshops and career events across different industries).

How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?

The sector knowledge that I gained through working on my PhD, as well as networking across Scotland through SGSAH and networking in my field through conferences, has allowed me to build a career in research funding. My first role post-PhD was at the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (UNESCO), working on their programme of National Chapters across the Global South. After two years, I moved to the international team at AHRC. 

And now?

My current role is International Partnerships and Engagement Manager at AHRC. I work on AHRC’s joint research funding initiatives with the US, Canada, and China. My day-to-day includes communicating with partners across the world in funding organisations, cultural institutions, and universities with the aim of developing joint activities, as well as drafting call specifications, briefings, and reports. This week I’m overseeing the launch of a new opportunity for UK researchers to undertake a 6-12-month visiting fellowship at two US Cultural Institutions. I’m also putting together a map of stakeholders across research and industry for our Creative Industries collaboration in Shanghai.

The image above shows me (on the right) in my current role, visiting an AHRC grant holder at the VR department at Goldsmiths.

One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?

Make use of opportunities for development – especially those that take you outside of your bubble. Apply for small pots of additional funding such as travel or training grants. A lot of people in research are really friendly and helpful, so don’t hesitate to reach out to people for advice or to collaborate. 

Where can people find you?

SGSAH; SGSAH ResearchTwitter: @FionaRhianDakin