Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Moving from Colombia to New Zealand was a great opportunity to pursue her professional goals, says Natascha Díaz Cardona who is currently completing her Doctor of Philosophy.
“I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colombia, and I love academia and teaching. When my husband and I were planning to move to New Zealand with our children we realised this was a good opportunity for me to pursue my professional goals.
“My PhD supervisor – Associate Professor Sharon Mazer from Te Ara Poutama, AUT’s Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development – was working at AUT and I knew that she had to be the one to guide me during my research. It has been the best decision ever.”
The support to succeed
Having access to a supportive community is essential if you’re doing doctoral study, Natascha says.
“The students that come to Te Ara Poutama can find the support they need to go through the process of completing their PhD. I love the staff and all the colleagues here because they’re generous, kind and supportive. It’s an amazing community and that’s important when one is doing a big task like a PhD thesis.”
Her biggest challenge has been time management, she admits.
“As a mum of two children and a part-time worker, there are moments when I feel I can’t cope with all my responsibilities. However, the support from my supervisor and colleagues who guide and share their advice with me makes me feel empowered.”
Performance and violence
For her PhD research Natascha is applying the theories of performance studies to analyse the political violence of her home country Colombia.
“My research is part of the developing conversation about the relationship between theatre and violence in Colombia, and internationally. I want to propose a different approach to see violence. The performance of violence can be analysed theatrically – which is to say, politically – and then redressed through social action.”
Natascha has already had a number of opportunities to share her research.
“I’ve had the opportunity to participate in two conferences – the 2017 Australasian Association for Theatre, Drama and Performance Studies conference and the 2018 International Drama in Education Research Institute conference – where I shared some of my research. I received great feedback and felt encouraged to continue on my path.”