My name is Layla, and I am one of the six BILT Student Fellows this academic year. I will be on the ‘Research-Rich Education’ project, responsible for delivering the fourth edition of the Student Research Journal and the first in-person Undergraduate Student Research Festival, working alongside Caitlin. I am currently in my final year, studying part-time for my MA in English Literature. This is my fifth year in Bristol, as I also did my undergraduate study in the English department and wasn’t ready to leave just yet!
Before my BA, I worked at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the Education Department, as part of the Learning Projects team. This involved facilitating and coordinating the work of our education practitioners (often actors and directors by training) with a range of students from primary through Higher Education and providing CPD for teachers. The Globe is an innovate example of an arts-heritage-education hybrid institution, having a scholarly research mission integral to the organisation. This experience definitely informed my interest in modes of learning beyond the classroom, both informed-by and informing academic research.
As an undergraduate and PGT student, I have been inspired by the lecturers who have engaged students with their research. When first starting university, I felt like there was such a gap between the relevance and importance of my essays and the research of my tutors. Experiencing research-informed and research-led teaching as I have progressed through my time at university has worked to bridge this gap and encouraged my own explorations of the intertwined, integrated nature of learning, teaching, and research.
I am particularly excited to take on the role of co-editor for the Student Research Journal, as my own papers were selected twice for publication, and I participated as a peer-reviewer in the third edition. Having my essays featured in the Journal has been essential in encouraging my self-confidence and a sense of my work as ‘proper’ research. As I continue my studies, considering further study and pursuing an academic career, I can see a clear turning point in how I value and acknowledge my own research as a student through the BILT Student Journal, and I am so excited to be organising and facilitating this for another cohort of students. Sometimes the gulf between students and the university can seem broad and distant, so I am keen to continue building on the work of my Student Fellow predecessors to create a legacy and acclaim for excellence in undergraduate student research.
When I’m not writing essays about experimental women writers or learning about learning, I can often be found with a book (or a dog) at Brandon Hill Park in the sunshine, or at the Watershed when it’s rainy. I’m so looking forward to working with the incredible team at BILT this year, and providing a platform for all the inspiring and original research being done by the wonderful students at Bristol!
Met the rest of the Student Fellow Team 22/23