Thesis Fest is a two-day, in-person event hosted by Curtin University Library focused on supporting Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students with skills to engage with research and support wellbeing. The program is designed to help you re-engage with your research, and to assist you in working towards final submission with confidence and success. Recordings can be viewed below.

Thesis Fest 2023 will be held from Tuesday 27 June to Wednesday 28 June. All HDR students are welcome to attend in-person for any or both of the days, or listen to the livestream. To see our program and register,please visit our EventBrite page here.

Please contact if you have any queries.

Thesis Fest recordings

Thesis Fest 2022

View Thesis Fest 2022 full program [PDF, 892kB]

View Thesis Fest 2022 speaker profiles [PDF, 336kB]

Dr Franca Jones
Director of Graduate Research
School of Molecular and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science & Engineering

Day one opening address: presentation iLecture [00:22:50]

Day one opening address: presentation slides [PDF, 1.46MB]

Jonathan O’Donnell
The Research Whisperer
University of Melbourne

Good networks in academia generally lead to more research collaborations, more career opportunities, and better profile for your work. But what happens when none of the traditional ways of networking appeal to you? In fact, what if those modes actively put you off getting out there and doing any networking at all? What if COVID has shut down many face to face events where you would have met people? This talk contrasts ‘networking’ with ‘community building’. It provides sound advice on how you can build a supportive community around you. It’s ideal for those of you who hear the word ‘networking’ and cringe.

Jonathan O’Donnell runs the Research Whisperer blog and @ResearchWhisper Twitter stream, about doing research in academia.

Building effective research networks and communities: presentation iLecture [01:02:50]

Building effective research networks and communities: presentation slides [PDF, 335kB]

Academic Networking Notes [PDF, 893kB]

Academic Networking Plan Template: activity Sheet [PDF, 187kB]

Role Within Networks: activity Sheet [PDF, 564kB]

Dr Andrew Cameron
Student Assist Officer
Curtin University

A healthy relationship with your supervisor can mean your time as a HDR student is productive and rewarding, but a negative experience can lead to delays, discouragement, and stress. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities of working with your supervisor and how to make the most from the relationship.

Getting the best from your supervisor relationship: presentation iLecture [01:01:50]

Getting the best from your supervisor relationship: presentation slides [PDF, 294kB]

Professor Amanda Salis
Senior Research Fellow
National Health and Medical Research Council

You’re sitting in front of your computer, you know something’s wrong with your writing, but you don’t know how to fix it. Sound familiar? Come to this 60-minute training with Prof. Amanda Salis and learn how to recognize writing that doesn’t flow, explain how to fix it, and write in a way that flows from the outset, using five writing techniques that promote flow. Bring something that you have written and that you would like to improve.

Make your writing flow like water: presentation iLecture [01:01:50]

Make your writing flow like water: presentation slides [PDF, 15.39MB]

Professor Christopher Reid
Dean, Graduate Studies
Curtin University

The pastoral role of the Thesis Chair: presentation iLecture [00:30:16]

Join us as two Professors from Curtin University open the floor up for questions from HDR students.

Professor Daniel Gucciardi
School of Allied Health
Faculty of Health Sciences

Associate Professor Susanna Castleden
Acting Dean of Research
School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Enquiry
Faculty of Humanities

Ask the Professor anything: presentation iLecture [00:54:15]

Hannah Allan
Director Research Services and Systems
Curtin University

Day two opening address: presentation iLecture [00:25:47]

Associate Professor Narelle Lemon
The Wellbeing Whisperer
Swinburne University of Technology

Self-care is about proactive action to support your wellbeing. Self-care is often described as a process, an ability, and often as engagement with behaviours that have one engaging with different wellbeing science that promotes subjective wellbeing. Self-care also requires personal and professional negotiations. We place constant pressure on ourselves to navigate the expectations that is placed on us during undertaking a PhD. Finding a sense of belonging and valuing the pace of care and caring is forever being negotiated. In this presentation I’ll focus on how self-care is not a selfish act, and that it should not be a hidden part of who we are as PhD students, scholars, and academics. I’ll share my 5 dimensions of self-care framework and unlock the potential in all of us to grow, maintain and protect our wellbeing with some tools that can assist us all to flourish.

Wellbeing and self-care during your PhD: presentation iLecture [00:59:18]

View the online downloadable sources for Curtin students

Professor Julia Richardson
Head of School
School of Management & Marketing
Curtin University

Drawing on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Adventure metaphor and her own experience as a HDR student, supervisor and examiner Julia will discuss answering the ‘call’, confronting your own resistance, connecting with guardians and magical friends, making a commitment, engaging with deep change, changing identities and new beginnings. Metaphors are a powerful tool to explore the psychological challenges of undertaking and completing the HDR journey. The Hero’s Adventure metaphor is a powerful framework, inviting you to reflect on your own thought processes and capacity to learn and adjust to a different way of thinking/being.

The Hero’s Journey: presentation iLecture [01:00:52]

The Hero’s Journey: presentation slides [PDF, 1.24MB]

The Hero’s Journey: presentation handout [PDF, 434kB]

Professor Amanda Salis
Senior Research Fellow
National Health and Medical Research Council

When you only have a short amount of time in which to talk about your research, whether for an elevator pitch, a three-minute thesis competition, or a conference presentation, this 60-minute training will help you make every word count. Topics covered include but are not limited to: how to show the importance of your research in such a short timeframe; how to make your presentation stand out from others; how to make your research understandable to non-specialists. The expected outcome is that you will feel confident about planning and delivering your research in short presentations.

Deliver your research in 3 minutes: presentation iLecture [01:03:06]

Deliver your research in 3 minutes: presentation slides [PDF, 16.2MB]

Listen to a panel of recently completed PhD students as they discuss motivation, staying on-track and how to stay well during the course of your research.

Dr Chantal Game
Faculty of Business & Law

Dr Robert Wells
Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr Damon Lalich
Faculty of Humanities

Dr Faaiz Al-Shajalee
Faculty of Science & Engineering

Chair: Dr Petra Dumbell
Academic Skills Advisor
Curtin Library

Stories from the valley of despair: presentation iLecture [00:58:04]

Book recommendation - Rest: why you get more done when you work less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Associate Professor Min Teah
Dean of Research
Faculty of Business & Law

Close and Reflection: presentation iLecture [00:09:00]

We invited students attending Thesis Fest to submit a networking poster to our poster wall at the event. The aim of the posters is to help HDR students to connect with like-minded peers to establish or expand your network as well as to aid cross discipline collaboration in shared research areas. We have made these posters available online after the event so you may continue to connect with each other to get the most out of this networking opportunity.

View the networking posters here via BlackBoard

If you are experiencing any problems accessing this file via Blackboard please view the Blackboard access instructions here [DOCX, 79kB].

Thesis Fest 2021

Selected recordings from Thesis Fest 2021 can be viewed below.

Professor Inger Mewburn
Director of Researcher Development
Australian National University

Academic writing in Covid times: presentation iLecture [01:02:17]

Dr Paul Kebble, Ms Chantelle Leach, Dr Benjamin Sacks, Dr Petra Dumbell
Curtin University

How to finish your PhD … based on wisdom from 80s rock ballads [PDF, 1.15MB]

Jack Graham Geraghty
Team Leader
Student Wellbeing Advisory Service
Curtin University

Wellbeing, self-care and success: presentation slides [PDF, 3.38MB]

Dr Ben Milbourn
Senior Lecturer
School of Allied Health
Curtin University

Talk to Me: Improving mental health - presentation iLecture [00:30:55]

Professor Sharon Parker
Future of Work Institute
Curtin University

Ask the Professor Anything: presentation iLecture [00:53:47]



“This event has given me more inspirations and encouragement to be more focused in completing my PhD”

“The academic networking has given me insight that the PhD is not that lonely journey I thought it was”

“There were some awesome tips surrounding how to balance life components with a PhD which are key to a successful and healthy long-term research program”.

“I have learnt that feeling a bit lost is OK. It is time to reassess and re-plan. I am encouraged by what I have experienced in these two days”.

“I honestly loved all the presentations and found them useful. I think you conveyed an excellent range of topics from pastoral/wellbeing issues through to practical and administrative issues”.

“Dynamic and approachable presenters across the board. It was clear how much energy and passion you all put into making this a great event. It was also great to meet all the HDR related staff. Thank you!”


“Just want to say I’m so pleased to be here, I [was] astonished with the details: the students’ posters, meeting the professionals and your smiley faces! I can say this is one of the best events I have ever attended in Curtin”.

“I completely changed my thoughts about myself and others. I was thinking that I’m struggling because I’m an international student, but now I realise that everyone has his own challenges. This thing makes me feel so much better”.

“Skills workshops are important, but these topics were so relevant and on point with things many PhD students struggle with. So thank you, I needed this – and so many students here today needed this”.

“I feel more like a PhD student now – rather than an observer of my process/of the PhD”.

“Looking through all my notes will help me reignite the enthusiasm I had lost to write. The way I look at my thesis from tomorrow will be different”.

“I understand that the challenges I’m facing aren’t mine alone, and have met some new people to experience, combat and conquer them alongside”.

“The fact that you’ve all worked so hard to bring an event like this to PhD students is an amazing feat. We need more events like this. But more importantly, people like the organizers who understand, empathise, sympathise and actually care about us”.