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MYSHKO Alena

I am originally from Minsk, Belarus, but had moved to Russia to obtain the first degree. My academic career began with bachelor programme in sociology at the Faculty of Sociology at Saint Petersburg State University (SPSU). During the programme, I spent a semester abroad at Stockholm University (Sweden), where I got involved for the first time with topics of human geography and environmental history, and concepts of urban resilience, resistance and regeneration. All of this evoked my deep interest in urban studies and cities development. My BA dissertation was dedicated to international airports within the framework of network society, with the fieldwork at Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg. Thus, it became my first one in the line of complex research on airports.

I continued my education at the same faculty with two-years MA ‘Global Sociology: comparative perspectives’, taught in English. At this time, I was deeply interested in intercultural communication and competences, therefore, I was included in the ongoing faculty`s academic grant ‘New cultural practices under globalization”. This theoretical paradigm was central for some conferences` presentations and my teaching experience as a part of MA. Moreover, I participated in another grant “Extension of Disciplinary Boarders of Korean Studies at St. Petersburg State University” supported by Academy of Korean Studies. After the first year, I was invited to International Summer Session at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul (South Korea). I have combined classes (mostly in Intercultural Communication as a part of the grant project) and cultural events with fieldwork at the Incheon airport. I graduated with MA dissertation in the investigation on transnational space of airports within the framework of social structuration (A. Giddens) with comparative analysis of case studies of Incheon and Domodedovo airport in Moscow.

Afterwards, to expand my specialization with foreign academic and every day life experience, I obtained the second master degree at the programme ‘World Cities and Urban Life’ at the Faculty of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London (UK). Along with compulsory courses in both remaking and navigating of urban life, as well as in inventive methods in researching cities, I took a course in cultural policy and city branding. Two of my course projects investigated in a topic I am especially interested in within urban studies` agenda - regeneration (mostly taking into account the UK experience) and new methods to study this complex urban process. Nevertheless, my main research project was still focused on an airport and experiencing it as a place in the age of surveillance. After the graduation, I keep myself updated with new ideas and publications mostly by attending open lectures (many of them were organized by LSE, UCL and Goldsmiths in London).

To sum up, my academic career in a sense is a manifestation of academic mobility: I have lived and studied in five cities (Minsk, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Seoul, London), attended a variety of sessions and conferences (South Korea, England, Switzerland, Belarus, Russia, etc.), met students and teachers from almost every country. During MA years at both SPSU and Goldsmiths I worked as student representative, so I am familiar to a certain extent with university`s structure, most common issues and arguments among professors, students and administration, possible ways and methods of influence. Also, two years in a row I participated at Educational Fair in St. Petersburg presenting my experience of studying at Stockholm University.

Well, my interest in society and its functioning principles brought me to sociology, and I have stayed in its domain for all my academic life so far. Thus, previously the urban topics I had researched were discussed mostly in the framework of sociological theories and concepts, but PhD at GSSI is my academic shift to interdisciplinary research in urban studies.

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