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Christmas Conference Antici… pation.
For a number of years now, Final Year students from the Division of Communications, Media and Culture have gathered just before the Winter Break to present their own research work in progress.
Although it’s true that it is a requirement of the Researching Media and Culture module that students attend, I think it is much more than that. It is also a chance for the students to show off their presentation skills, testing out ideas and relaying their passions about a rich variety of different aspects of media. What’s more, they get to do this in a supportive collegiate environment, where fellow undergraduate researchers can share their own ideas and give feedback to their colleagues.
Although it’s fairly common for postgraduate students to participate in conferences, both externally and within the University, it is relatively rare for undergraduates to be afforded the same opportunities to demonstrate their skills of debate, argument and persuasion. These are all valuable skills that employers perennially look for in graduates from all backgrounds – not least Arts and Humanities graduates – and so I think it’s a really good way to get students to experience first-hand how conferences work, what they are for, and how best make use of the opportunity to air their views on a particular subject.
Additionally, after the students have been organised into themed panels, it is up to them to organise the smooth running of the day. It’s just like any proper, academic conference out there. The only difference really is that we don’t have invited keynote speakers or ‘faces’ from the various disciplines covered. This means that the focus lies with the students, and their own cutting-edge inquisitive project work. For me, this is what makes it an exciting prospect: to witness all those ideas firing to and fro. I’m sure it will generate a lot of curiosity from passers-by as well as those staff with an interest in their students’ work.
The conference takes place in the wonderful Crush Hall venue on Friday November 29th, from 10am until 4pm. All students will give a short presentation (around 15 minutes) of their work-in-progress towards dissertations and projects. They will introduce the research question, explain why it matters, situate it in relation to the existing literature in the field, and give as full an account as possible of work done to date and plans for completion. Papers will be grouped into themed panels of three or four speakers, with one other student acting as chairperson for each session.
Staff and research colleagues from the Division, School and elsewhere are most welcome to come along to the sessions to check out our students’ work.