Post-doc survival

June 6, 2016
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A workshop at the PhD by Design event at the Design Research Society conference in Brighton on June 27, 2016 – in collaboration with Joanna Boehnert (University of Westminster).

Download the outcomes of the workshop.

With the academic and industry-based research environment firmly embedded in neoliberal politics, precarious working environments area a problem even for those who manage to complete a doctorate. In many countries, early career academics face harsh prospects with low wage, insecure sessional teaching work and precarious fractional contracts.
Post-docs are vulnerable in times of extreme cost cutting measures by universities. We can work hard and hope to get that elusive permanent position that pays a living wage – but many of us feel like we can’t afford to risk the precarious work that we might have by campaigning for better conditions.

In this workshop we discuss working conditions for designers and design researchers. We will start with a panel that will discuss post-doc working conditions. This panel will catalyse a collective conversation on survival as an early career design researchers. What comes after the PhD? How does this differ across countries and shape this reality
collectively? Opening up discussions about what kind of environment this creates is timely, especially as ever more designers opt for research-led trajectories. What do we want and need to do our jobs well and have economically sustainable and emotionally satisfying lives? What kind of practices, skills and collective actions can help us in creating this environment?

With contributions by Cameron Tonkinwise (Carnegie Mellon University) and Dan Lockton (Royal College of Art).