Kerr Castle


PhD Cohort 2019

HEI: University of Glasgow

Funding: AHRC DTP

Project Title: Comfort TV: considering everyday television use as a mode of self-care 

Supervisors: Prof Karen Lury and Dr Amy Holdsworth, School of Culture & Creative Arts

What was your research about?

Audience-based research exploring comfort TV and the effectiveness of television viewing as self-care.

What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?

I was always keen to return to academia, and as soon as I landed on the role of comfort TV, on the strength and resilience we can draw from particular characters, people and viewing routines, I wanted to explore that idea further and I guess see if television served the same kind of role for other people as it did for me.

Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?

My relationship with my two supervisors. While I am immensely proud of what I achieved during my PhD and the originality of the project and its findings, I was so lucky to have the two best supervisors imaginable who became dear friends and who really did help me to achieve my potential. I could not have done it without them and I would say to anyone embarking on a PhD to really make the most of their relationship with their supervisors, it can be so valuable and rewarding.

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

Well, I still work in higher education! I was very fortunate that my academic experience and my previous career in video marketing set me up nicely for my current role, in which I get to draw both on my research experience and my creative abilities. My PhD helped me in so many ways that I didn’t really appreciate at the time, from developing my project management and communication skills to making sense of data and reporting outcomes. I wish I had appreciated a bit more at the time the practical skills and expertise I was developing and their relevance beyond academia, very easy to just see an academic career path as the only option, but the PhD has so much value beyond just that.

And now?

I work for the Quality Assurance Agency as a Quality Enhancement & Standards Specialist. We are a membership organisation operating across the UK, and essentially my role is to support higher education providers by leading on/supporting projects related to topics of interest for the sector – such as enterprise and entrepreneurship education, supporting student transitions, understanding the impact of the shift to digital teaching, learning and assessment during the pandemic on student engagement and achievement, etc. It’s a really varied role, which I love, and I’ve gained a wealth of experience so far from planning conferences and events, to conducting sector-wide research, to creating and often hosting a new podcast series.

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

You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do at the end of your PhD, but be mindful of the skills you’re developing and the different career paths available to you. I was very fortunate that I found a job that really played to my strengths and appealed to my interests, but it would have been very easy to fall into the wrong job and not make the most of the skills and experiences I had gained. You don’t need to have it all mapped out from day one, but be mindful of how you’re developing as a researcher and how valuable these skills and experiences are to employers.

Where can people find you?

SGSAH; SGSAH ResearchTwitter: @kerrcastle