Joseph Rees has recently started a PhD at Swansea University and recalls the pivotal moment he found out he had been offered a scholarship.

A head and shoulders photo of Joe Rees

Joe's Memory

The Wallace Building Foyer is a place that holds a particularly special memory for me.

On 25 February 2020, I stood in the foyer and checked my email on my phone, and saw I had received an email informing me that I had been offered a scholarship to study a PhD at Swansea University.

I am coming to the final stages of my Research Masters at Swansea now, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Initially I was looking for graduate jobs, but also considered continuing my studies.

I was looking on Swansea’s website to see what PhDs were available and I came across a PhD in Human Geography, which my undergraduate degree is in. It is a PhD pathway course, which spans 4 years and starts with another Masters. At the end, I will obtain a PhD in Human Geography.

The PhD is part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ERSC) Wales doctoral training partnership. As part of my research, I will be studying the development of purpose-built student accommodation in Swansea over the next few years, analysing why so many high-rise student blocks are appearing in Swansea city centre, how they impact the economy, culture and aesthetics of Swansea, and how this relates to other cities in the UK.

As an extra-curricular activity during my undergraduate degree, I wrote a piece for someone who published their own thesis on purpose built student accommodation, so will be looking at it more closely in my PhD. As this was an area I was interested in, and the University and the ERSC were providing funding, it seemed like a great opportunity that could progress my career prospects going forward.

My end goal is to go into NGO management, or consultancy. I would also be open to going in to academia in the future.

I entered my memory into the Navy Plaques competition having seen the navy plaques around Swansea city centre. I thought it would be great to have something to mark that spot where I found out that I was accepted on to the PhD programme and the excitement that I felt about starting a new challenge.

I have always liked walking around campus before or after a full day of research, late at night or early in the morning. I like walking along the campus, by the boating lake or past the gardens. The campus and green areas are relaxing and help you to switch off after a long day. It would be an honour to be part of the history of Swansea University.