What was your involvement in the Disability in poetry and performance event?

I performed a fifteen-minute set of creative non-fiction and poetry that explored my own experience of being disabled. I also got a chance to perform poetry that I have written since starting my PhD that specifically explores disability in fairy tales.

What benefits do you think participating in the event has had, or will have, for you from an academic perspective?

It was lovely to be asked to be part of the event. Performing is always nerve-wracking but to be able to do so in front of an engaged and supportive audience is a great experience, and definitely the time to practice! Meeting other poets who are exploring similar themes in their work is also extremely helpful and always leads to thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion.

What professional development skills have you enhanced from working at the event?

The event gave me the chance to perform for an in-person audience, something I do not have much experience with doing. It was great to have that opportunity and to receive feedback which I hope will give me more confidence when performing going forward.

Why did you choose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham?

I chose the University of Birmingham because I had the support of two incredible supervisors. They both supported me with my PhD and M4C funding applications, so I felt they were really on my side from the beginning, which was beyond encouraging! My primary supervisor, Ruth Gilligan, supervised me for my Creative Writing MA dissertation, which I also did at UoB, and I got the idea for my PhD research during Ruth’s MA module on Intertextuality. Rachel Sykes is my secondary supervisor and they have supported me in my reading and research on Disability Studies for the critical element of my PhD. Between Ruth’s support for the creative element and Rachel’s for the critical essay, I have supervisors with expertise in areas key to my research.

What are the best things about your course?

The best thing about my course has been the opportunity to focus on something I am really passionate about and to be able to dedicate so much time to writing.

What support have you received during your PhD?

The support from my supervisors has been incredible. I can’t fault them! They’ve encouraged and supported me in progressing with the PhD and the expectations and workload has always felt manageable. But they have also been supportive of my writing outside of the PhD, which has made such a positive difference for me.