Opportunities listed here have been collated because they involve voluntary & community sector organisations and community groups and therefore offer you the chance to hear from different people and perspectives about important social issues. Approach them as listening exercises - listening to people who are working to change things for others. They know what the important questions are to ask, where new knowledge would genuinely help. You could spark the start of your dissertation at one of these events!

Feel too busy for extra things?

At the Community Research Initiative, we think it's really important to try and broaden the conversations you have, outside of academia. It doesn't have to be so extra - a conversations might just illuminate something you've learned in a lecture or lead to a dissertation project. Things you have to do anyway!

Opportunities to think about

Research Volunteering. Maybe your diss seems a bit too much to commit to working with a charity. Or perhaps you already have a very fixed idea. Not to worry - with the skills you have as a student and new ones you're gaining during your master's, you could still be super useful to a charity and have real social impact! Skills like critical thinking, reading widely and consolidating new information, managing data, presenting information, problem-solving. We've created volunteering opportunities for you to use these skills and hone them - perfect for life after your master's! You can do this as a one-off or regular thing! It can be online, in your own time. Check out the Volunteering Directory for these opportunities.

Volunteering fair. This is when lots of voluntary & community sector organisations will take over the Cloisters! You can speak directly with representatives from different charities to hear about their important work. Why do we suggest this, you're not looking for volunteering this year? Well, these conversations can be to speak ideas about what would make a really useful piece of research - your dissertation!

Specialist discussion panels. watch out for more details. Throughout the year, we hold community discussion forums will be themed according to different areas, for example heritage, education. and are a great way to hear first-hand about the important work done in the community by our local voluntary & community sector. You will have the opportunity to ask questions about what their research needs are, what they think the Big Questions are that, if answered, would lead to real change in people's lives. Like the Fair, these discussions could offer real opportunity to make connections and spark new ideas that will help with your dissertation when the time comes.

Social Hackathons. In Reading Weeks 1 & 2, we host full day Social Hackathons where groups of students volunteer to work with a charity on a problem defined by them. A great way to try out a new way of working and gain real insight into the work of a charity. Make new friends, learn new things, explore a new place in London - these can be really transformational experiences.

Charity Consultancy Challenge. A new opportunity, this is like a Social Hackathon but for a week. A great way to get a deep dive into a charity's work and reflect on your own academic learning. Perhaps the two can come together through your dissertation!

Creating Connections: facilitated events between students, researchers, and voluntary & community organisations. Literally to make connections and share ideas. You never know what might come out and everyone who comes to these events is open-minded to make connections, whatever form this may take and for whatever goal.