Laura Beattie

PhD 2018

HEI: University of Aberdeen

Funding: AHRC DTP

Title: The Politics of Community in Shakespeare’s Comic Commonwealths

Supervisor: Dr Dermot Cavanagh 


What was your research about?

My thesis looked at the processes of civic engagement and the political implications of everyday life within a community as represented in Shakespeare’s comedies, in order to reassess the importance of the comedies in Shakespeare’s thinking about politics. 

What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?

I wanted to do a PhD for two reasons: firstly, I just really liked academic study and writing so it seemed like an invaluable opportunity to devote most of my time to these things for a few of years. I also thought that I might want to pursue an academic career although I didn’t really know at the time what that would look like. 

Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?

I really enjoyed the research element of the PhD which I knew I would and I was fortunate to have a fantastic supervisor who gave me excellent support. I also really enjoyed teaching first year undergraduates which wasn’t something I was sure I would like. Another unexpected aspect I enjoyed was the public engagement and impact side of research.  

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

The fact that I had enjoyed doing teaching and the public engagement side of research made me think about careers where the engagement and facilitation skills learned through these experiences would be useful. I was also keen to pursue a career that would still allow me to have engagement with literature, culture and the arts. 

And now?

I work for the University of Edinburgh’s Heritage Collections as their Community Engagement Officer. My role is to work with a diverse range of audiences to engage them with our collections in projects that result in positive social impact. I am always learning something new which I really enjoy about my job. 

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

Make the most of the extracurricular activities available to you, especially if you are in the fortunate position of being funded and therefore more likely to have the time. These can help give you the experience that you need for a future academic or non-academic career.  

Where can people find you?

Twitter: @lauraihbeattie 

This article was published on 21 June, 2022