One of the most interesting aspects of my PhD so far has been my involvement in organising two events at the university. I have been orgainsing a Postgraduate and Early Career Symposium on Transformation and Innovation in the British Military with two fellow PhD students. This has been really interesting as we have been able to bring together a good group of academics together who are working on aspects of this process. It is shaping up to be a good event. We hope to have many interested people there and of course there will be an air power panel.
The second event I have been involved with is an air power workshop entitled ‘Exploring the Frontiers of Air Power Research.’ I have been organising this in conjunction with one of my PhD supervisors, Air Commodore (ret’d) Dr. Peter Gray. We have an excellent line up for this event including two keynote addresses. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of organising this event has been the process of putting together the panels. Unlike the symposium above we did not put a call for papers out but instead came up with themes that we wanted to explore and then invite people to give papers. I think we must have gone through at least three iterations of the line-up and when you look at it there are aspects missing that you would assume would be there. Most notably there is not operational air power there. We have tried to avoid it so that we can look at aspects that need to be covered but are often ignored because of the popularity of operational military history. It also led us to find people working on air power who previously we may not have thought to look for. All in all an interesting process.
Of course the organisation of these events has introduced me to those all important skills needed in the academic world; applying for grants and dealing with bureaucracy. These are skills that are important and while the ability to produce research is important these are skills that you must have in a competitive job market.