Common Study Programme
DCGC candidates and key staff will participate in the Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology (CSP), a unique, international, collaborative, educational programme focused on postgraduates in criminology. Taking place regularly for over a quarter of a century, it originated in a EU-initiative to fund projects linking European higher educational institutions.
Current active participants are from eight different countries and include the following universities:
■ Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini (Greece)
■ ELTE, Budapest (Hungary)
■ Erasmus University, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
■ University of Ghent (Belgium)
■ University of Hamburg (Germany)
■ John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Centre, the City University of New York (USA)
■ University of Kent (UK)
■ Middlesex University (UK)
■ University of the Peloponnese, Corinth (Greece)
■ University of Porto (Portugal)
■ Utrecht University (Netherlands)
Twice a year in the Spring and Autumn, postgraduates (masters and doctoral) and academic staff from participating universities meet at one of the university centres for a five-day ‘Common Session’, involving
□ a three-day conference;
□ a welcome reception, conference dinner and other organised social events;
□ a CSP postgraduate council meeting that discusses the organisation of the conference and related issues, feeding back to academic staff;
□ the opportunity to visit a local institution of criminological interest.
The Common Session is centred on postgraduates in criminology, with academic staff and invited criminal justice and policy professionals in attendance. Most of the conference presentations will be given by postgraduates, though academic staff and other professionals will also present a small number of papers and undertake to chair sessions.
Presentations are discussed in a friendly and supportive atmosphere in front of an audience comprising masters students, doctoral candidates, academic staff, and invited professionals from policy, NGO and criminal justice fields. Given the participant mix, the emphasis in presentation and discussion is on clear communicability to a diverse audience, from policy professionals, to criminal justice practitioners, to postgraduates at second and third-cycle levels, to junior and senior academics.
Each Common Session is organised around a broad ‘critical’ theme. The accent is on issues in criminology requiring a broader social, ethical and political engagement, as well as ‘real-world’ applicability.
In both the conference and in the programme of social events Common Sessions are structured to enhance both formal and informal learning. Every effort is made to keep all participants together in the conference sessions (with minimal use of parallel strands). The aim is to reinforce the sense of a single group sharing an experience in the same event at both formal and informal levels.
Postgraduates from each participating institution are encouraged to attend the Common Sessions taking place during their period of study, and for one Session in the Autumn after their study has finished. Thus postgraduates have the opportunity to attend a number of Common Sessions and develop long lasting personal and professional ties of value to their future.
Papers are given in the standard format of an academic criminological conference: a series of one-and-a-half hour sessions, each of which is a panel of three presentations. Thus a paper presentation will last 20 minutes, with 10 minutes for questions and discussion. Postgraduates who choose to give a conference paper will receive support and advice from their own institutions. This will include advice on preparation, presentation technique, the use of audiovisual technology, the opportunity to rehearse, as well as a debriefing after the conference.
In each conference one or two selected postgraduates may also use their work at either masters or doctoral level to present a more extended dissertation. This will be publicly examined by a panel of three senior staff on the Programme in a session lasting an hour. Success in this ‘examination’ is marked by a special Programme Diploma. For those postgraduates pursuing doctoral studies, including DCGC candidates, this opportunity offers the invaluable experience of rigorous, public examination of more extended academic work.
In addition there are ‘staff papers’, usually one from each participating institution, where students have the opportunity to hear the latest research of academics on the particular theme of the conference. Policy, criminal justice and other professionals may also be invited to give presentations on the theme of the Common Session.
Many of the participants have Erasmus Student and Teacher mobility partnerships and contacts made at the CSP are often a stimulus for the development of active Erasmus Lifelong Learning Programme mobility. A number of bilateral and trilateral research collaborations have sprung up from relationships in the CSP. The Doctorate in Cultural and Global Criminology emerged from relationships forged in the Common Study Programme in Critical Criminology.
Doctoral candidates therefore gain a unique experience, not available in any other educational setting, where they may:
(1) travel to another university centre in Europe or the USA and participate in an international academic event;
(2) meet other postgraduates, academic staff and criminal justice and policy professionals based in up to eight other countries;
(3) present a paper, answer questions and respond to discussion in a standard conference format in front of a friendly and supportive audience;
(4) receive advice and support in presentation skills, as well as debriefing after the paper;
(5) take an opportunity if appropriate to present for public examination by a panel of three senior academics a lengthier piece of work based on their own research, and contributing to their final thesis;
(6) develop the skills of research work dissemination to a diverse, international audience;
(7) participate in discussion of presentations at masters levels, thereby gaining important pedagogical skills in communicating with second-cycle students;
(8) participate in discussion of presentation at a senior academic level, thereby contributing to their own professional development and acquisition of skills;
(9) network with postgraduates and academic staff involved in a diversity of criminological learning, teaching and research;
(10) take part in social events associated with the Common Session, thereby enhancing their
enjoyment of the event and promoting the process of informal learning.