My preparation for my PhD viva has officially started.

On my desk, I now have a Wiro-bound copy of my thesis, sticky notes, index tabs, highlighters, and a couple of guidebooks on viva tips.

I searched for thesis binding services in London. In the end, I asked a traditional, 100-year-old bookbinding and book restoration company, Blissetts, to print and bind my thesis (I’m going to ask them for my final one as well). I completed my order online, and the next day they contacted me, saying that at 418 pages it was too thick for Wiro binding. I asked them to split the document into two Wiro binds, one for the main text (256 pages) and one for the appendices (162 pages). Five days later I received the two books, very carefully wrapped. The thesis is printed on fine paper and beautifully bound, and both volumes look very nice!

I feel proud of myself for every page of them.

I first added index tabs on each section, and I have been re-reading the thesis while creating a page-by-page summary. At this stage, I spend only a couple of hours reading each day, but I will begin to prepare my answers to viva questions next month.



So, what am I doing at the moment?

Most of my time has been spent preparing my conference presentation. The physical format of the conference was cancelled and it has been moved online. I still cannot imagine what its online format will look like…

But, regarding communication, we will be relying on visual and audio materials. I must make sure to balance relevant and less relevant elements of information in slides, and ensure the clarity of my message in my own head.

At previous conferences, I realised how researchers’ non-verbal cues were telling more; I noticed how they had dressed, and watched how they greeted each other, listened to others speaking, chose their words when speaking, and talked with the audience.


The other day, while having dinner, Luca said that if he could travel back to his student days, he would like to do more networking with people in the same field. I was, in fact, thinking exactly the same thing; my only regret is that I should have networked more seriously during my PhD programme. It will never be too late to start on it, but the opportunities to meet researchers in the same field and in person were really special.


Aglio e olio, and Alsace wine (15 June)


Ham Cucumber, and Tuna Salad Sandwiches (16 June)