Past Events

Learning to Confidently Respond to Difficult Questions

DRN Events – Emma Shackleton

  • 7 June 2024
  • 10:00 – 1:00 pm
  • This is an event for Doctoral Researchers Network (DRN) members only. You can find out more about the network here.
  • Paul Mellon Centre

Feeling anxiety or “freezing” around responding to questions in certain academic settings is a fairly common experience for doctoral students. Fielding unpredictable questions from audiences at conference panels and anticipating “defending” our work at the viva can be some of the more challenging aspects of a PhD. This can particularly be the case for students who have had the experience of being “othered” in the academy. Many university-led workshops address the art of giving presentations and explain the practicalities of the viva but do not fully address the common emotional and physical responses to high-pressured questioning.

This workshop, led by educator and academic Emma Shackleton, provides a space to reflect on these experiences as well as understanding the experiences of others. We will use these reflections as a jumping-off point to explore alternative ways to respond with assertiveness and confidence in these moments. Emma will bring a research-led perspective on this topic, drawing on her extensive action research which focuses on the importance of self-regulation in educational settings. With insights from this research, the workshop will explore some practical strategies and mindset shifts which will provide support for us all to enter with increased confidence into sometimes confrontational academic spaces.

About the speaker

  • Emma Shackleton is co-head of academic support at London College of Fashion and is herself a doctoral researcher at the Institute of Education, University College London. Her PhD research focuses on self-regulated learning within in-person and online educational contexts in art and design, with a particular focus on how learning environments can foster self-regulation for students’ success in their studies. In the past, Emma has worked as a coach, an editor and an author. She is the author of The Collier Campbell Archive: 50 Years of Passion in Pattern (Ilex) and co-author of The Art of Medicine: Over 2000 Years of Medicine in Our Lives (Wellcome Collection).