There are two key study spaces for most scholars: the library and their desk at home. When the UK went into lockdown in March and scholars could no longer physically go to the library, their desks became more important than ever so course, it became vital that their study-from-home space reflects who they are.

And as I write this blog whilst working from home with a desk I made out of my previously-unused ironing board, I have the same level of desk-envy for these six great desk set ups that I’m sure many of you reading will too.


Sergio Andrs Moreno, Colombia

Sundays are for self-portraits. I wanted to take pictures, so I decided to capture my space now that I should stay at home to study.


Zahraa Daweri, Iraq

My desk reflects my Chevening journey, as I have kept a variety of token items that I’ve collected over the previous months on the desk board. From my first archery session at the beginning of my course, to my tickets to the fireworks display from New Year Eve in London which I attended with my Chevening friends, to the postcards that I got it when I visited Norwich city with my host family from Host UK. It is all in order to keep my studying environment a space which continues to inspire me.


Dito Adisuryo, Indonesia

One of the things I did when all campus activities were cancelled was organising my messed-up desk. It isn’t too different from the previous arrangement, but I did reassemble the books and other items so that it looks neat, clean, and practically accessible when needed.

The first weeks of lockdown were in the last weeks of the classes, assignments, and the (cancelled) field trip. These were replaced with interactive virtual-learning experiences instead. Due to this situation, books in particular, needed to be neatly placed for any immediate needs, or just for reading to look for inspiration and ideas.

On the upper board, I had previously put the “There is No Planet B” poster from the climate march in the beginning of autumn, the #ChosenForChevening blue poster, a situational map, health and safety Information, the blind world map (reversely, UK map), Chevening Indonesia Badge, and some volunteering opportunities. Then I some other items such as an FCO event invitation, Explore-Scotland Map, and some papers and maps from previous trips in London, the Scottish Highlands, Chesire, and Liverpool to remind me of #MyCheveningJourney.

Finally, I also put a poppy and a “Thank You” paper (also in my native language) to express my sincere gratitude to all heroes, people in the frontlines of this outbreak, and all who still dedicate themselves in these unprecedented situations.


Kyra Ballesteros, Philippines

This is my desk in my London flat. Before the lockdown, I usually enjoyed studying at the UCL student centre, or at various cafes near Hackney. But quarantine has made me appreciate my space, a tiny corner of my life over which I continue to have some control.

Besieged by uncertainty on many fronts – in terms of our studies, the health of the community to which we currently belong, and the health and safety of those we love back home, none of which I can influence in any significant way – it is good practice to make the bed every morning, and to arrange a desk.

The photographs feature family members – my father, mother, cousins – and friends, as well as select moments from home; all tethers to memory.

The desk reflects and reveals habits, behaviours, and very personal needs: I have a Beurer lamp to address some anxiety, a glass jar of bookmarks collected from different book stores, shelves of nonfiction written by women, and my journals and notebooks. More and more, personal objects accumulate symbolic weight, becoming more embedded in my personal history. I’ll come to think of my journal as a journal I wrote in isolation, for example. Or the books as carriers of stories I read during quarantine. Arranging these belongings ‘home’ me when I feel most adrift.


Natasha Joibi, Malaysia

While browsing through an old copy of Historic Scotland magazine, I came across an article about the history of plagues in this country. It was an intriguing read and a timely reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. So, I carefully tore off the cover page depicting a plague doctor, and turned it into the centrepiece of my desk!


Wendy Nam-Phuong, Vietnam

When I decorated my dorm room for fun last year, I never thought that one day I’d spend 24/7 in this little cocoon.

But for the past months of lockdown, having a bit of space to call my own has been a blessing. My room has become a perfect hideaway for me to study, relax, and cook my favourite recipes – all of which are therapeutic against anxiety and stress.

Thank you to all of our scholars who submitted pictures and stories to this theme. Entries were submitted in April and May whilst the UK was in lockdown.

To submit your own pictures and stories to the latest themes, please check your most recent Scholargram for submission details.

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