Pictured: Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background (including previous study)

I studied Philosophy and Politics at Leeds, before completing an Ma at York in PPE. I have worked extensively in culture, and my studies and my work in culture have recently merged.

I was a mature student when I started my undergrad studies. Alongside studying, I have worked in music / the arts. I run an arts space around the corner from the University.

What motivated you to undertake a PhD and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I knew I wanted to carry on studying, and having the time to think about ideas. I’d really enjoyed my Ma, and had some ideas that I wanted to spend some time going over.

I really enjoyed my undergrad time at Leeds, and the School of Politics and International Studies department had some great people that I wanted to be around. The people in the department were great through the process of applying right through settling in in the first year, and beyond.

Please tell us about your research topic and what makes you passionate about this area of study.

I’m interested in what makes life worth living and how we can expand and preserve that for as many people as possible. Autonomy, freedom seems key to that. At the same time, I’m interested in where the world is heading, what work and distribution of resources might look like in the future. I guess what makes me passionate about this, is that I think things can be organised so much better than they currently are.

How would you describe the research environment and community in the school and in the university generally? Are you involved in research centres and/or do you work with other academics and postgraduate researchers whether inside the school or across the university?

I think the environment at Leeds, and in the School of Politics and International Studies in particular is great. I have a supervisor in Geography too - having supervisors across different schools really helps. I’ve worked with people in Media and Communication, and presented for Performance and Cultural Industries. The University in general has a great vibe, people seem very open to cross department discussions.

What would you say about the learning, training and research facilities in the School and at the University?

The facilities are good, some very understanding people.

Do you take part in any activities outside of your study? (eg. clubs and societies at the union or perhaps activities in the School).

I play football with a group of people from philosophy and related areas. Very Monty Python huh? I engage with lots of people from across the Uni with my other work - organising a venue near the Uni.

What are your plans once you have completed your PhD?

After the PhD I hope to continue having time to think about ideas, and hopefully have some impact. I’d like to write more, and continue to meet people who

What do you think of Leeds as a city?

Leeds is a great place to be right now. Lots of cultural stuff going on, affordable, friendly.

What would you say to someone considering a research degree in the School?

I think the School of Politics and International Studies is a great place to study. The atmosphere is collegiate, the wider Uni is a nice place to be, and Leeds is a great city to be part of.

Are there any other highlights of your PhD experience so far that you would like to tell us about (eg. any awards, conferences, publishing achievements or social events)?

I love going to conferences, having been to Cape Town, DC, Tokyo, Buenos Aires & Oxford in the UK. I’ve done research with the Media and Communication dept, and presented for Performance & Cultural Industries. Socially, its great to be part of a community who share ideas. I love that I can mail thinkers around the world and get into discussions with them.