Facilitating online support for new researchers during the coronavirus lockdown

Are you a new researcher in the field of voluntary sector/action studies?  You may be a student, an early career researcher in an academic environment, or a new researcher working directly in the third sector.  If so, you may be interested in getting involved in VSSN’s online support for new researchers.

We held our first online chat with new researchers on April 27, 2020 – 10 people joined from universities and communities across the UK.  It was a really positive session, providing an opportunity for people to connect, talk about how they are feeling during these difficult times, and to give and get peer support.

Given the success of the session, we are going to facilitate these online sessions monthly.  At the moment the session is unstructured, but this may evolve.  For example, there could be a particular focus to each session; we could also organise breakout rooms for people who want to talk about specific issues.  Potentially new researchers will begin to make connections with each other and organise their own activities – such as an online writing retreat.  Anything is possible!

We are also offering a one to one peer support session of up to 30 minutes – providing an opportunity for you to discuss a research issue with someone from within the VSSN community.  If you are interested, please email me and let me know what you would like to focus on in the session; we will then connect you with the most appropriate person in our network.

The support for new researchers is being offered by Vita Terry, Jon Dean and Jane Cullingworth of the VSSN steering group.  Please note, you do not need to be a member of VSSN to participate – however, we do encourage you to join VSSN.  VSSN is a membership driven organisation that relies on its members for support.  Membership offers a number of benefits and is on a sliding scale; you can find out more here.

Please contact Jane Cullingworth at janecullingworthvssn@gmail.com for more information.


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