Student representation

Students are central to the DTP, and we have developed a new system of representation to ensure that your voice is heard in all of our decision making and planning. Please get in touch with your representatives directly about any concerns, issues, worries, or praise that you have. 

If you are interested in becoming a student rep please contact the DTP administrator: 

Akiho Suzuki

Akiho is from Sydney, Australia and is currently undertaking a PhD in music psychology at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Her research interest lies broadly in performance psychology and is informed by her own experience as a classical pianist. She started a website called Psyc for Musos ( in 2020 to share her research with a broader audience by providying evidence-based information and tips to performing musicians through easy-to-digest blog posts. 

As a student representative, I hope to act as a bridge between the student cohort and the organisation to ensure that all opportunities provided by the NWCDTP are always closely aligned to the students’ needs. I also hope to encourage knowledge exchange by providing the students with opportunities to share their research with the wider community.

Ambrose Musiyiwa

Ambrose is in his second year of his CDA PhD within the Drama Department at the University of Manchester and Community Arts Northwest (CAN). His PhD examines the performance practices of UK-based artists from refugee backgrounds. He has a background at the intersection between activism, migration, community action and coordinates Journeys in Translation, an international, volunteer-driven project translating Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge (Five Leaves Publications, 2015) from English into other languages. Books he has edited include Poetry and Settled Status for All (2022) and Black Lives Matter: Poems for a New World (2020). 

I am concerned about the underrepresentation of students from African, African-Caribbean, Black British and other minoritised backgrounds at universities in the UK. As a Student REP, I hope to be able to contribute, in any way possible, towards efforts to change this.

Camila Montiel McCann

Camila (she/they) is a third-year PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Liverpool. Camila’s research is in the field of language and gender studies and their PhD investigates the representation of women and minority genders in British broadsheet newspapers. Camila’s research interests are hegemonic femininity, intersectional feminism, right-wing populist politics, media discourse and critical discourse analysis. You can read Camila’s latest article on hegemonic femininity in Heat magazine in Gender and Language 15(3). 

I wanted to become an NWCDTP Student Rep because I feel that it is really important for students (both new and old) to feel included in a supportive community. A PhD can feel isolating and overwhelming and, with the turmoil and uncertainty of the pandemic, it is now more important than ever to do whatever we can to prioritise mental health. 

Chloé Duteil

Chloé is a second-year PhD student in History at the University of Liverpool, researching coastal, environmental and cultural history. Her doctoral thesis examines how the physicality of coasts as hybrids of water and land shaped the identities, cultural values, and social practices of their dwellers, with a particular focus on Brittany and Wales in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

To me, being a Student Representative is an opportunity not only to enhance postgraduate researchers’ engagement with the workings of the NWCDTP, but also to facilitate collaboration and discussion within and across institutions. Ultimately, student representation is fundamental in providing a space for PhD researchers to share their experiences, advice, or queries with others, thereby contributing to cultivating the sense of community in the North West.

Kate Westwood 

Kate Westwood is a final year PhD researcher in Linguistics. Her work, in collaboration with a Pupil Referral Unit, takes an interdisciplinary approach (from Critical Discourse Studies and arts-based, Participatory Research) to explore the language of those involved in school exclusion. The research is concerned with how the alternative discourses of young people can offer new perspectives on school exclusion. 

I took on a Rep role for the DTP to facilitate more communication between students and the DTP itself. The role presented a good opportunity to bring student voice to the fore to further inform the DTP on how it can work in the best interests of its students. 

Phoebe Kowalska

Phoebe is in her fifth year of her PhD in Arts and Humanities at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is a Designer and Researcher at MMU’s Manchester School of Art who specialises in challenging societal norms through using design thinking approaches. Her research investigates the process of consumers ‘Re-appropriating’ everyday objects with a focus on users in the North West of England, as it aims to foster impact for local businesses whilst exploring how the role of the consumer might be liberated, if at all. 

I wanted to become a DTP Rep to help bridge the gap between student and funder. Every contact that I have had with a representative of the NWCDTP funders has been great. This is because they are very friendly, highly supportive and people who genuinely care about their students. I want to try to help communicate this across to other PhD students, so students can learn what is available to them, and that the NWCDTP are there for them if they should require any help. 

Qudsia Akhtar

Qudsia is in the second year of her Creative Writing PhD at the University of Salford. Her PhD is entitled ‘Exploring the Fourth Space: Writing the ‘I’ of British-Pakistani Experience’. Her poetry has appeared in Acumen, Tower Poetry Anthology, The Ofi Press, and Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal. Qudsia’s work has also been commissioned by the New Creatives scheme. Her debut collection of poems Khamoshi is out with Verve Poetry Press in March 2022. 

Navigating a PhD can be a complicated process. There are the long hours of research, setting your daily goals and tasks, and working to deadlines. One can easily get lost in the process of cracking on with the thesis and then simply forget to prioritise time for themselves. A lot of the information that is compulsory for the student can become background noise if one is not made aware of the useful material that is available to them. As student representative, I feel that it is my duty to ensure that all students are updated on the opportunities and funding that are available, and to set up regular social meetings so that the PhD study becomes a collective experience and frankly, less isolating.  

Raha Athari

Raha is in the first year of her PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on diasporic memoirs by Iranian women, who narrate their memories of immigration after the Iranian revolution of 1979. She examines how the autobiographical narrators of these texts experience the traumatic consequences of immigration, which result in conflictual multiple identities. She also focuses, in turn, on the process of scripto-therapy and making sense of the past through narration in these memoirs. 

This is a very good opportunity to get to communicate with other students funded by the DTP in my own institution, as well as with other Reps. It has been very nice to get to know everyone along the way and have a better sense of the community we are a part of.

Zoe Miller

Zoe is in the third year of her English and American Studies PhD at the University of Manchester. Zoe’s thesis is titled ‘The Female Form: Violated Metaphors of Modernism’ and explores tensions surrounding sexual violence in modernist literature. She suggests that these scenes often assert their own significance as instances of violence or non-consent, working against the metaphors they are presumed to convey.

As a Student REP, I hope to be able to make the PhD process less daunting for prospective and current students. I am also looking forward to keeping a clear and more direct line of communication open between students and the NWCDTP, which I hope will encourage new collaboration and understanding.