Italy-Wales partnership celebrated as first joint PhD student graduates
Milan-born Aldo Tagliabue has become the first student to graduate with a joint doctoral degree (PhD) from Swansea University and Padua University in northern Italy.
The 28-year-old (pictured) celebrated the award of the degree at an Award Congregation for the College of Arts and Humanities, held in the city’s Brangwyn Hall, which was attended by his mother Silvia and his sister Sofia.
Aldo began his studies in Classics at Padua University in 2008, before joining Swansea University’s Department of History and Classics in January 2009.
His studies focussed on the Greek novel, and the topic of his PhD thesis was a commentary on the Ephesiaca, a text written by Xenophon of Ephesus in the Early Imperial Era.
His interest in studying in Wales was sparked six months after he began his PhD, when he became aware of the KYKNOS research group – the Swansea and Lampeter Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World – which is led by John Morgan, Professor of Greek at Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities.
He had also wanted to experience studying in an English-speaking country, and after a brief visit to Swansea in November 2008, where he met Professor Morgan and colleagues from the KYKNOS research group, he made the move from Italy to Wales.
“In my first year at Swansea, my academic background was greatly enriched,” said Aldo.
“I learned a new method of approaching texts, with a special focus on narratology (the study of narrative structure), a discipline which is not popular in Italy.”
By the end of his first year at Swansea, he felt that his PhD research, under the supervision of Professor John Morgan, had benefitted significantly. He chose to extend his stay in Wales – a decision which he says led him to take an unexpected but important step to progress his studies.
“Discussions took place between Professor Morgan, Swansea’s Academic Registrar Huw Morris, and Padua University to explore the possibility of a collaborative degree,” he said. “And at the beginning of 2010, my PhD became a joint programme.”
He reached the final stage of his research in January 2011, before submitting his thesis in English. His successful PhD viva examination – or thesis defence – was held in Padua on March 31, with internal examiners from both universities, and external examiners from Italy and the UK.
Aldo now plans to pursue an academic career as a researcher or a lecturer in the UK.
He said: “As a result of the rich and varied experience I have had as a postgraduate student at Swansea, I will endeavour to continue collaborating with Professor Morgan and the KYKNOS research group.
“At the same time, I hope that many more Swansea students will be involved in joint programmes with European universities.”
Professor John Morgan added: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us to work with an outstanding young scholar from Italy.
“I am extremely proud of his achievements; Aldo will certainly be a magnificent ambassador for KYKNOS and Swansea.”
For more information about Swansea University Graduation Week visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/graduation/.