David Hicks is a PhD student at Durham University and a Lecturer in Politics at Bournemouth University. He is also a BU graduate with two degrees!

David describes his career journey as full circle, having completed his bachelor’s degree in sociology and social policy in 2018, he began working outside of academia, but quickly found himself wanting to return to complete a Master’s.

David Hicks, a Bournemouth University Lecturer in Politics, at his graduation with Bournemouth beach in the background.

He said, “There are a few reasons I came back to Bournemouth to complete my MA in International Political Communications. Firstly, I love Bournemouth as a place to live and, secondly, I won a scholarship which helped with affordability.”

“My academic journey has really surprised me. I started by not achieving the grades I needed at school, but my heart was set on Bournemouth. I had a great teacher who gave me a glowing reference which led to an interview at Bournemouth. If it wasn’t for having that chance in an interview, I wouldn’t be sitting here as a colleague to those same academics today. Nor would I have thought it possible I would be studying for my PhD with Durham University.”

David’s passion for his research was paramount, working towards producing a case study that shines a light on the British class structure by interviewing people who are living in positions of financial uncertainty. He said, “It’s about time that we stopped talking about these people in our community and started talking to them. They deserve a voice and society will gain so much value from hearing their stories and experiences.”

Commenting on a particularly proud moment of his teaching career so far, David said, “In the final weeks of teaching at Durham, I had a group of first generation students email to say what an impact I’d had on them. They highlighted how accessible I had made the teaching. I pride myself on being approachable because I’ve been in their shoes struggling with achieving high grades.”

David candidly spoke about his love for Bournemouth. He said, “Having lived away in Durham for a year it was obvious to me how much I love it here. The beach is such a highlight. I also loved the diversity of students and staff in the faculty. During my studies, I was working with students from so many different backgrounds and now as an academic that continues with colleagues and current cohorts. I have friends from all over the world whom I learned so much from during our year of study. I’d tell anyone considering this path to make the most of the available resources. If your tutors offer one to one sessions go to them, you’ll get a lot from them.”

On completing his PhD David hopes to continue teaching, and eventually will turn his PhD research into a book. David has plans to write four books in total, all relating to the sociology, history and politics of the working-class in Britain, including a biography of his great-great uncle, who was a Labour MP during World War Two.