Prof Carolyn Mair
University & Year PhD Gained
Bournemouth University, 2004
PhD Research Field
Tell us a bit about yourself – what was your PhD about and where did you study?
My PhD was concerned with what’s known as the binding problem in neuroscience. I was investigating how we make sense of the visual world given that we do this faster than the spatially distributed areas in brain would predict. I studied at Bournemouth University and also at SISSA in Trieste, Italy.
What do you do now? What did you decide to do next after gaining your PhD?
I’m now a consultant working with the fashion industry. After I got my PhD I wanted to working on far more applied areas and was fortunate to get a postdoc in the Computer Science department at Brunel University. I really wanted to move back to Psychology and in 2007, I successfully applied for an SL position at Southampton Solent University. I later became a Professor there (Prof of Applied Cogntive Psychology). In 2011, I was asked to give a paper at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. I was invited back to discuss how I could bring Psychology to to LCF and started working there in 2012 setting up a Psychology Department and developing Masters programmes in Psychology for Fashion. It was hugely important to me that the MSc should be accredited by the British Psychological Society and so I created it around their core areas while applying them to the context of fashion. The course was accredited and also won the 2016 award for the UK’s most innovative accredited programme. I later won the BPS award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Education and became Professor of Psychology for Fashion. You can probably note that I’m very proud of these achievements. In 2017 I left academia to establish my consultancy with the purpose for supporting the industry to become more ethical and more sustainable through a better understanding of human behaviour. I consulted with a large number of brands and companies on various topics and was quoted regularly in press and media. My book, the Psychology of Fashion was published by Routledge in 2018 and it has been a great success. Since 2019, I have been working with one of the world’s largest fashion companies and spend a considerable proportion of my time overseas. I work across the organisation supporting staff in many different aspects, all concerned with gaining a better understanding of behaviour.
Has having a PhD helped in developing your career? If yes, what has been the biggest impact? If no, why do you think that is?
Definitely. It taught me a lot about about myself as well as the domain. It made me both humble and proud. A PhD is a training in research skills and today, these are one of the most sought skills in industry.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer prospective students considering a PhD?
Choose your supervisor carefully.
And what one thing would you suggest that new PhD graduates should do next?
Focus, be determined and enjoy the challenge.
Lastly, what’s your favourite memory from your time as a PhD student?
Having the privilege to study at SISSA.
Want to know more about Carolyn?
Check out her website and her book using the links below:
Our interviews with PhD students and PhD holders
We’ve interviewed PhD students and PhD holders to ask them what life is like during a PhD, their career development post-PhD and their advice to new students and post-docs
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