Graduate profile: Alice Monter, PhD dual award with Paris

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Alice Monter
Alice Monter

There are many things I would do differently, were I to start my PhD all over again. Enrolling into a dual award program between Liverpool and Paris is definitely not one of them.  

The first thing that comes to mind is the advantages of a dual mentoring, which allowed me to explore two very different schools of thoughts and methodologies and come up with a mix that would fit both my personality and research style. It was a constant exercise in flexibility, decentering, and intercultural discoveries, three things that will make you a better researcher! Moreover, the double scrutiny that comes with a joint supervision and, eventually, a double viva - although daunting at first - proved a real boon in this respect. In addition to the multiple networking and career developments opportunities the program offered, it meant that my research went through a much more extensive peer-review process than it could ever have hoped to, had I registered in a single university.  

In terms of logistics, in a world were funding in the Humanities is increasingly dwindling, a dual institutional backup was also extremely welcome. It allowed me to travel to multiple conferences in both countries, and access a wide variety of primary and secondary sources. On that note, it is well worth knowing that registration in a Parisian university grants you access to all of them, library-wise! 

Last but not least, and no matter how generous your supervisors are, a PhD remains a solo, and at times lonely, project. Being part of two faculties, and research communities, was a real privilege  in this regard. I am forever grateful to the numerous early career researchers with whom I was able to share not only ideas, but also the oddly specific joys and sorrows of going through a PhD. There will come a time when beauty takes the shape of that obscure Word setting that you finally cracked and might just change the course of your last three months of redaction. Only a chosen few will understand you then. They will be in your lab, and they are worth gold! 

By Alice Monter