Loughborough Doctoral College

Training and events

Wellbeing Fortnight 2021

3rd March

An exploration of doctoral wellbeing with Lego Serious Play®

Jackie Hatfield & Tina Horsman - Student Services (Specialist Study and Strategy Support Service)

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

More info...

The session will explore how using Lego Serious Play (LSP), as a multi-sensory medium, can allow students to unpack complex problems and challenges relating to themselves and their personal well-being.  LSP allows the investigation, manipulation and representation of ideas physically before creating a verbal and textual response. 

*Attendees must have their own Lego available to participate fully*

LSP is a multi-sensory and multi-dimensional tool that produces quicker outcomes in a playful, non-threatening and non-judgmental way.  It allows particpants to quickly prototype the whole picture before creating a verbal and then textual response. It also helps us, facilitators, to see and support their thinking

Lego is clearly multisensory, through the use of the hands and eyes, which encourages the individuals to explore their thinking and promotes reflection and connections. The 3D model allows the of unpacking and processing of complex ideas from a chaotic muddle to a concrete structured relevant outcome.  The verbal exploration of the model is effective in deepening reflection and hence promotes metacognition and develops personal and academic independence.  At the end of this process the participants will have the opportunity to create a concrete visual representation of their personal well-being profile of needs to take away with them.  If appropriate, be used again to manipulate and interrogate, in more depth, smaller chunks of the whole.

The methodology is based on extensive research and its core theoretical elements are:

  • Constructivism (Piaget: 1951)
  • Constructionism (Charel and Papert: 1991)
  • Complex Adaptive Systems’ Theory (Holland; 1995)
  • Autopoietic Organisational Epistemology (Von Krogh and Roos: 1994, 1995, Weick: 2000)
  • Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: 1993)

This methodology (Lego, 2002) enables participants to:

  • To simplify what is complex.
  • Facilitate changes.
  • Create an overview of the chaotic and the complex.
  • Identify possible solutions to challenges.
  • Explore consequences of possible future actions.
  • Be a catalyst to dialogue.
  • Develop shared understanding, overview and acceptance.
  • Collect information and knowledge in a concrete way.
  • Implement and anchoring concepts and plans.
  • Create shared goals and direction – culture and identity.

The workshop will begin with a brief overview of the Lego® Serious Play® methodology and its origins.  This will be followed by a series of hands-on LSP activities which will involve modelling and then sharing well-being experiences and strategies.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • To share personal well-being knowledge and experiences with other students
  • To understand personal well-being needs
  • To establish personal well-being guidelines

Presenter biography: 

Jackie Hatfield - I have been supporting neurodiverse students at Loughborough University for 14 years. I work with a range of students, from those beginning their HE learning journey through to those pursuing the challenges of researching and writing their PhDs. I use Lego® Serious Play® to support students to reach their potential academically, socially and subsequently in the workplace.

Tina Horsman - I have been assessing and supporting students with neurodiversity for over twenty years. As a Lego® Serious Play® facilitator I am excited by the way this multi-sensory methodology is developing my practice and I am keen to extend this work to wider contexts within learning and H.E

Who am I? Working out what makes your perfect ‘job’

Dr Valarie Pinfield - School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering

(Online, Microsoft Teams)


More info...

As a doctoral researcher, we can easily become immersed in the narrow field of our research programme and can often think about our developAs a doctoral researcher, we can easily become immersed in the narrow field of our research programme and can often think about our development solely in terms of the subject-specific skills relevant to our research area. In this pair of workshops, I want to help us all think about our own development much more broadly, with the target of achieving a fulfilling and enjoyable working life in the future. We’ll do this through two workshops addressing complementary themes.

1st Workshop (Wednesday 3rd March, 10-12am): Who am I? Working out what makes your perfect “job”

  • We'll use two frameworks to help us explore our personal motivations, what's important to us about our work context, what we find satisfying and fulfilling, who we like to work with and othr perspectives.
  • Understanding these aspects of ourselves more deeply can help us get ore out of our work, and to choose work or a career that we will find rewarding.

2nd Workshop (Thursday 11th March, 2-4pm): Who can I become? Developing your professional skill set

  • We’ll take a look at the skills that are likely to be needed in the workplace of the future
  • We’ll discuss how we are/can/should be developing these and other skills as a doctoral researcher beyond those specific to our research field
  • We’ll think about how life beyond the university contributes to our skill development e.g. family life, sport activities, voluntary roles
  • A greater awareness of our (existing and developing) skills will help us to build a stronger skill set that can help us reach our ideal job.

*Whilst you will get the most out of the workshops if you attend both sessions, you do not have to attend both, they will be run as stand-alone sessions*

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • application of frameworks to support exploration of personal drivers for career choice
  • knowledge of resources to support career choice and workplace skills information
  • recognition of the personal and professional skills needed in the current and future workplace
  • appreciation of ways in which these skills can be developed in/outside work or university

Presenter biography: 

I am an academic in the Chemical Engineering Department, and was previously Head of Department for Chemical Engineering (2017-2020). My career has been quite “non-linear”, and has been driven largely by a desire to work on things that I found interesting. After graduating in physics, I worked at an industrially-focussed research organisation before doing a PhD, and then working at a chocolate factory for 3 years. A long period of family-management followed, including a career break and years of part-time working as a postdoctoral researcher whilst also being at the school gate morning and afternoon every day. After many months considering whether a career in academia, industry or school teaching would be my ideal, I was privileged to secure a lectureship here at Loughborough in 2012, and the academic role is one that suits me well. I am passionate about people development and have acted in formal roles as an advisor for academic staff and a mentor for postdoctoral staff as well as informally supporting colleagues. My perspectives are gleaned from working in companies as well as universities, working with some very wise bosses/supervisors/mentors, working on a voluntary committee of a charitable organisation, and in my personal life managing a home and family.

Taking Control of Your Finances!

Katherine Weston & Alice Brennan - Student Services (Student Advice Support Service)

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

More info...

Financial concerns can impact on wellbeing. If you are facing financial difficulties or want to avoid them in the future, this information drop-in session, provided by the Student Advice and Support Service, is for you! 

The Student Advice and Support Service can provide guidance on the following topics: 

  • Income maximisation, student funding, wages and tax
  • Managing your spending
  • Using a spreadsheet to plan your budget and cashflow
  • Dealing with the unexpected
  • Student Loan repayments – UK student loans

Ask questions in the session or alternatively submit questions in advance via this form.

You may also wish to watch this introductory video created by the Student Advice and Support Service.

Presenter biographies:

Katherine Weston has worked in the advice sector for over 20 years, working firstly at North West Leicestershire Citizens Advice Bureau from 1999 and then at De Montfort University Students’ Union from 2001. Within De Montfort University Students’ Union, she began as an adviser, progressing to Senior Adviser and then Advice Manager.

Alice Brennan has worked in the advice sector for over ten years. She trained as a Money Adviser at Toynbee Hall in London before relocating to Leicestershire in 2008. Alice has since worked for Leicestershire County Council Adult Social Care services and for Leicestershire Citizen Advice Bureau, and most recently as a Housing Adviser for The Bridge in Loughborough.