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Upton Hall School

Last week TRS Chester welcomed Year 12 student Emily Fox, Upton Hall School (Wirral) as part of her work experience. Emily is studying Religious Studies, English Literature, and Design and Technology A-levels. She is going to study Philosophy and Religion at University and hopes to follow this with post-graduate studies.  Dr Dawn Llewellyn asked Emily about her visit.

What have you been doing this week?

I’ve been undertaking some research for Dr Wendy Dossett on how addiction recovery is represented in Parliament. This involved reviewing Hansard records, All Party Parliamentary Group membership and researching potential contacts, such as MPs and members of the House of Lords who have taken an interest in the experience of recovery. This research turned out to be immediately useful because, unbelievably, Wendy had a chance meeting with one of the Parliamentarians I had profiled at a conference she attended that same week! Wendy said she knew his significance and the arguments he had already made in Parliament because of my research, and this helped her to talk to him. It was exciting to know that my research had made a difference! I also organised a database of resources on Buddhism and Addiction Recovery. After that, I conducted some fascinating preliminary literatures searches for Dr Dawn Llewellyn’s work on motherhood and Christianity. I also helped the administrative staff prepare for Open Days and Student Experience Days.

Why did you want to do your work experience at TRS Chester?

I thought it would be good for me to see what the work is like in an academic department and if I can see myself doing this sort of work in the future! I really really love studying philosophy, ethics, and Christianity. I find it really interesting (and irritating!) that the media often misrepresents religion, particularly Islam. I feel that the media tends to generalise ‘religion’, especially around issues of ‘terrorism’ and studying religion helps to educate people outside of their local context.

What’s been challenging?

I’ve learnt this week how to do referencing and compile bibliographies. This was quite hard to start with but I’ve got it now, to an OK extent!

What’s been the most interesting thing about this week?

The best bit has been listening to the banter at the staff coffee break! It made me laugh when I actually understood one of the philosophical jokes that was made! I’ve learnt that academic work is more diverse than I thought. It’s not an office job, it’s really varied and it’s never the same day to day. There’s a more travelling to conferences, fieldwork, events and meetings for some staff. I thought it would be mainly teaching! TRS and the University seems a very tight-knit community. It’s a nice, friendly, inclusive atmosphere. There’s so much variety in staff research too – I’ve never been exposed to Buddhism, before, for example, or thinking about Christianity from a feminist perspective.

We loved having you, Emily! Thank you for all your hard work. We wish you well for your future studies!




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