So you want to be a Doctor?

PhD preparation workshop

You are thinking about getting a PhD, but you are not sure about what is expected, how to go about it and whether it’s worth it. This workshop will help you to decide, and to prepare an application for PhD studies.

Many people want to get a PhD, to wear the red gown and to earn the right to be called Doctor. But it’s not an easy process. Doctoral education takes three to six years so it’s a big commitment. Many start, but few complete.

This workshop will help you to …

  • Decide if a PhD really is for you
  • Understand what a PhD is and is not
  • Choose a PhD program
  • Find a supervisor and persuade them to supervise you
  • Choose a research topic
  • Prepare your application
  • Prepare a research proposal
  • Increase your chances of acceptance into a program
  • Plan for your life as a PhD candidate

This workshop is a great way to start you PhD studies and make sure you succeed.

Who is it for?

All kinds of people do PhDs. This workshop is for you if…

  • You are employed at a university and are under pressure to get a PhD
  • You want to get into an academic career and need to improve your qualifications
  • You are employed outside of academia and want a PhD to differentiate yourself
  • You are retired and now have time to explore an area of knowledge in depth
  • You want to reflect on and consolidate your experience and knowledge in a field
  • You have a long-standing personal dream of being a doctor
  • You have applied for a PhD before and been rejected
  • You don’t have friends and family with PhDs to advise and guide you

How does it work?

The workshop takes place over two days. You must attend both days. It is held at Better, 91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold in Johannesburg. We can recommend accommodation nearby for people travelling to Johannesburg (not included in the fee).

The first day of the workshop will be spent learning about the PhD, how doctoral education works and analysing your reasons for wanting to do a PhD. We discuss how to choose a program and supervisor and go through a detailed process for deciding on a research topic. The day is very hands-on and we will have plenty of time to talk about your specific circumstances. We work through exercises examining what the information we share means to you.

At the end of the first day you will be set homework to do that evening, collecting information for and preparing your application. On the second day we will review your application and discuss how to strengthen it. Then we will spend time writing your proposal, discussing your proposal and improving it. This process also gives you a taste of what PhD study is like. We end the workshop by discussing how you are going to adjust your life to accommodate a PhD.

You get…

  • Two days with an expert on doctoral education answering your questions
  • Detailed information about what to expect from doctoral education
  • A checklist of questions to ask when choosing a program and supervisor
  • A detailed procedure for approaching a supervisor
  • A template for preparing a short proposal for your application
  • Insight into how to find and use academic literature to guide your choice of topic
  • A taste of what academic research and PhD learning is like
  • A personal review of your CV and academic transcript to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • A worksheet that helps you plan your life as a PhD candidate

About Judy Backhouse

Judy Backhouse wrote her PhD on Doctoral Education in South Africa, graduating in 2009 from Wits University. She has run workshops for postgraduate students and academic staff on academic writing. She has also run workshops for postgraduate supervisors at Wits University and at the University of Venda. She has worked as the convenor of a PhD program, including screening and interviewing PhD applicants. This course is a result of seeing a lot of bad applications and wanting to help applicants to improve their chances in applying.

You can learn more about Judy at:

Participants in some of Judy’s workshops have said:

“Judy has an amazing ability to create a safe space. Academic writing can feel so scary, and yet she made me feel that I could do it and that I didn’t have to be afraid of asking stupid questions.”

“This workshop gave me so much direction and clarity. I now know what I need to do next.”

Details

Dates:           Friday 6th and Saturday 7th October 2017
Times:          8:30am to 4:30pm
Venue:         Better, 91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold (entrance off Englewold Road)
Cost:              R3850
Booking:      Contact Candy on 011 327 6098 or create@better.joburg

Book and pay by Monday 2nd October to secure your place. (EFT details)

Contact us

From first draft to finished product

So you plan to self-publish your book? How much do you know about publishing, when your craft is writing?

When you dream of holding your book in your hand you envisage something well-made, with a cover that will draw people to it on the bookshelf, with text that you can be proud of: a book that bookstores and readers will want to have on their shelves.

The problem with self-publishing is that this dream is often not realised. You have probably seen some of the scrappy, amateurish results of self-publishing. Don’t let it happen to your book.

Here is your chance to understand all the steps in getting a book from first draft to a really polished product. Once you understand the process, you’ll have a better understanding of what you can do yourself and where you need help, as well as how to go about getting your book from a file on your computer to a physical artefact that you can exchange for money.

Join us at Better for a talk by Dane Bowman, Project Manager at Staging Post, a self-publishing service bureau at Jacana Media. Dane has guided many authors through the self-publishing process and has in-depth knowledge of all the steps involved. He will also be able to answer your questions about self-publishing.

When: Tuesday the 29th August, 5:30pm

Where: The Studio at Better, 91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold

Cost: R100 (free to members of Better) including drinks and snacks

Book by e-mail to create@better.joburg or call 011 327 6098. Find our EFT details here.

 

Craft Day – Puppet Making and Storytelling

We all love a good story and puppets are the perfect way to create characters for your stories. Join us for a day of puppet making and story-telling.

We will show you how to make hand-puppets, finger puppets, sock puppets, stick puppets and others. You get to experiment and make your own. Script your play, make the backdrops and share your stories.

Materials will be provided, but do bring along all your mismatched socks and anything else you want to turn into a puppet. Tea and coffee will be provided and lunches will be on sale, or bring your own picnic. Join us for an hour or two or stay for the day.

The Better studio and garden will be open from 10 am to 3 pm for a fun day of making. Make friends too.

  • When: Saturday 12th August, 10am – 3pm.
  • Where: The Studio at Better, 91 Oxford Street, Saxonwold
  • Cost: R250 per person through Quicket, R300 at the door. Children under 12 can attend for free with an adult.

Booking essential. Call 011 327 6098 or mail create@better.joburg.

So you want to learn to code?

Programming is a skill much in demand and lucrative. Do you want to add it to your freelance toolkit?

There are many sites out there that will teach you to code, but which do you pick? Exactly which languages and tools do you need to know? How do you get started? And what is the work really like? Will programming work for you?

Freelance software developer, Andrew Backhouse, unveils the mysteries and guides you towards your bright new future in this morning workshop.

  • Who: Those with no or limited programming experience who want to explore this as a new line of work
  • Cost: R500 (R400 for members of Better)
  • Time: 9:30am – 1:00pm
  • Dates: Thursday 10th August

Booking and prepayment essential. Call 011 327 6098 or email create@better.joburg.

Find our EFT details here.

Crafting

Creating is about joy; the satisfaction when you stand back and look at what you have made. Something exists where it did not exist before and you have made an impact (even a small one) on the world.

I’m not talking about great artists and architects. I’m talking about ordinary people who create because they don’t want to be consumers. They want to produce, to “make their own stuff”. They know that the homebaked pie with the slightly burned edge is better than store-bought perfection. These people cook and sew, knit and crochet, write and blog, draw and illustrate, code and tinker, perform and play, not professionally, but for themselves, for their families and friends and for each other.

Making with other makers multiplies the happiness. Sharing creative projects is an opportunity to forge links towards the common goal of a better world, rejecting mass-production for the individual, the hand-crafted, the expression of human ingenuity and capacity. We want to build a better, connected world.

Better is a gathering place for productive people. Come and meet your tribe here. Bring your thread and fabric, your needles and yarn, your pens and laptops, your brushes and ink or your dancing shoes. Come and share the joy with other makers.

The makers gather at Better every third Saturday of the month for a day of crafting (from 10am to 4pm). Bring your latest project or just come and experiment with the tools and equipment we have on hand. Chat to others and find common ground. We provide basic art and craft materials, sewing machines, some tools and inspiration (full list here). Bring specialist materials with you or buy from our kiosk (list of stock here).

Drinks (tea, coffee, wine, beer) are on the house, there will be rolls and sandwiches for sale or pack a lunch if you prefer. We have a great garden to picnic in.

R150 or a Better membership gets you in. Pay by EFT, cash or card at the door.

Booking essential.

Sewing lessons at Better

Itching to get creative? Wanting a totally original wardrobe? Trying to express yourself? Join the warm and wonderful women at Better for sewing lessons. (Men are welcome too!)

Come and learn

  • to use a basic sewing machine
  • different stitches and what they are for
  • sewing seams
  • making cushions, table cloths, aprons etc.
  • choosing a dressmaking pattern
  • to choose fabric and work out how much to buy
  • to use a dressmaking pattern from cut-out to made up
  • inserting a zipper
  • making buttonholes
  • and lots more…

Learn at your own pace with lots of guidance. We have ideas for easy projects for you to start with, before you move on to more complex ones. Choose what you want to make and take your time learning each step. Get help in choosing fabric and patterns and guidance on how difficult a particular pattern will be.

Better has two sewing machines and the tools you will need. We also provide practice fabric; you buy the fabric for any special projects once you start to get really creative.

Stephanie Buys is an experienced dressmaker and owns her own soft furnishings business, Certain Curtains. She will demonstrate techniques and be on hand to guide you through each step.

Enjoy the company of wonderful people and free tea and coffee while you work.

 

When: Every Tuesday morning 10am to 1pm in the Better studio (starts 20 June)

How much: R250 per lesson (R150 for members of Better). Pay cash or credit card at the door or make an EFT payment before you come.

Booking essential, so that we can plan effectively. Call 011 327 6098 or email create@better.joburg.

Better is a place for grown-ups to play. You must be 18 or older.

A Foot Out The Door

Freelancing (or self-employment) has shown you a freer, happier way to live, and it challenges and delights you every day.

You balance client communication and productive work time like a monk. You weave around packs of deadlines like Neo. You laugh at corporate euphemism. You’ve spent whole months alone, submerged in a massive project, and whole weeks glued to your favourite series.

You live on your terms, wear slippers whenever you like, take unplanned mini-holidays when things get too hectic, and prioritize your life in a way that makes sense to you.

The path you’ve chosen is incredibly empowering, but it can also be profoundly lonely.

It doesn’t have to be.

Freelancers know what freelancing is like. The self-employed understand the highs and lows of being self-employed. We’re like you.

Join us for A Foot Out The Door, our monthly freelancer social, and share series recommendations, tales of hellish clients, tips on getting out of bed before 11am, useful contacts, and wine. Lots of wine.

A Foot Out The Door is a monthly gathering organized and hosted by Better, a co-working space for freelancers. It happens on the first Friday of each month. R50 or a Better membership gets you in – the drinks and snacks are on us. 4pm – 7pm.

Creative flow playshops with Ira Bekker

Flow is a mental state of being fully immersed in an activity with a feeling of energized focus, involvement, and enjoyment. When you are in a state of flow, you lose awareness of all other things. The idea of flow was suggested by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi who argues that being in a state of flow is the “optimal experience” of happiness.

The creative flow playshops are about experiencing this state through drawing and painting activities. These are not art classes; rather they are an opportunity to lose yourself, to forget what is going on around you, while you become absorbed in colour, texture, pattern and the act of making. They work for artists and non-artists alike.

If you think you are not creative, these playshops may make you think again. You’ll discover that you can make beauty without any skill in drawing, or training in art. The end result is not what matters, its the process of doing, so you don’t need to judge the “art” you produce. In fact you are encouraged to use the pieces you create to create subsequent pieces. You will cut them up, repurpose and reinvent them throughout the process.

If you are an artist who needs to loosen up and escape your inner control freak, these playshops allow you to explore the unexpected in a safe space where no-one, and particularly not you, will judge the outcome. Be in the moment. Watch the colour meander across the page, going where it will. Play and experiment with new materials and techniques, just to see what happens. Make a mess, make beautiful mistakes. Remember why you love creating.

About Ira

Ira Bekker used to think that being creative is just for the lucky few until she came across the idea of creative flow and never looked back. She currently works as a textile artist using natural plant materials to print onto fabric and is passionate about leading others up the garden path towards their own creative lives.

Details

What: A series of six mornings of play in the Better art studio, starting 23rd August to 27th September.

When: Wednesday mornings, 9:30 am to 11:30 am

Where: The studio, Better, 91 Oxford Road, Saxonwold

Cost: R1700 for six sessions (R250 per session, plus R200 for materials). Members of Better pay R1280 (R180 per session, plus R200 for materials)

It is essential to book and pay by the 21st August.  Call 011 327 6098 or email create@better.joburg. EFT details here.

 

 

 

Note: Better is a place for grown-ups to play, you must be over 18 to join Better or attend events at Better.

Colour mixing workshop (for Hannah)

If you are just starting out with painting the range of colours available can be confusing. Which colours do you need to buy? How do you go about mixing the colours you need?

This workshop will give you an introduction to the basic colours, show you how to mix colours and give you a feel for the different shades you can get from a few basic tubes of paint.

You will construct a comprehensive colour wheel from primary colours as well as mixing darker and lighter shades of different colours. You will also experiment to see the effect of starting out with slightly different primaries.

Take home your colour maps as references for your own painting.

We’ll be working in acrylics, but the principles apply broadly. No experience or artistic ability needed!

 

Who: Anyone* who wants to learn more about painting and the use of colour, or just needs a refresher or a morning of exploration

When: Weekday morning, 9:30 to 12:30, enquire for the next dates

Cost: R150 including materials, free for members of Better (EFT details)

Please book to secure your place on 011 327 6098 or email create@better.joburg

 

*Better is a place for grown-ups to play. You must be 18 or older to attend events at Better.

 

Making a creative space in a practical life with Gail Schimmel

The question that I am most often asked is how I manage to make space to be a writer when I have a day-career as a lawyer and am a hands-on mom.

The answer lies in a new way of thinking about our lives – gone are the days of each person only being allowed one job or role. The new catch phrase is “portfolio living” and the idea is that each of us has several portfolios. Gone are the days when we have to choose one expertise – there is nothing to stop one person being an expert in two, often unrelated, things.

Many people experience extraordinary frustration because they want to be more creative, but they can’t figure out how to make a creative space in their practical lives. They know that they don’t want to throw up their careers and become a starving artist, so they give up on their creativity all together.

Join me for a fun morning where we explore how to make a creative space in your practical life – and what your creative space might be. Interactive, creative and lots of fun.

 

Gail Schimmel is the author of three novels – Marriage Vows (2008), Whatever Happened to the Cowley Twins (2013) and The Park (2017). She has also written a children’s book (Claude & Millie, writing as Gail van Onselen) and a text book on advertising law. Gail’s short story was runner up in the 2016 Short Sharp Stories award. She runs her own consultancy as a lawyer specialising in advertising law. Gail lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two children.

 

Date: Weekday morning, 9:30 to 12:30 am, enquire for the next dates

Cost: R550, including refreshments and all materials (R450 for members of Better). EFT details

The workshop is limited to twelve participants for maximum impact

Booking essential! Contact Patience on 011 327 6098 or patience@better.joburg.