Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty hosts first research student conference with a full programme of speakers and breakout sessions

Wednesday, 01 May 2013

The Faculty’s first research student conference took place in Buckley Building with a full programme of speakers and breakout sessions.

Hosted by Glen O’Hara, Postgraduate Research Lead, the event opened with an informative summary of current web-based resources by Dr Melodee Beals, Senior Lecturer in History, Sheffield Hallam University. Her presentation showed just how much research can be undertaken via the web, including crowdsourcing for online voluntary Royal Literary Fund Fellow, Deborah Bosley, shared her experiences of fiction and travel writing to give a humorous account of the challenge of getting down to writing.

Many delegates clearly identified with her stories of doing anything rather than writing, including finding herself cleaning the skirting boards. Her tip for staying motivated was to keep a passionate interest for your subject, treat a thesis as an unfolding story, with changes of pace and developments in the argument.

After a ‘fantastic’ lunch, with ample time for networking, delegates divided into one of three breakout sessions: Writing a Literature Review, Presenting a Paper and Submission and Viva lead by experienced supervisors, Glen O’Hara, Annie Haight and Nicole Pohl. The breakout groups went extremely well, giving delegates a chance to discuss shared issues and areas of concern.

With social media enabling academics to position themselves beyond the confines of their institutions and engage with extended communities, Senior Lecturer in Education, David Aldridge’s absorbing account of the small victories he’s experienced through blogging as another, more considered, way to communicate with colleagues.

Similarly, Senior Lecturer in 19th Century Literature, Dinah Roe’s insights in how to use Twitter to position yourself as an expert were equally valuable. She cited the Golden Ratio of ‘following’ to ‘being followed’ as an important aspect of online credibility. She encouraged generosity and retweeting, discouraged one-way ‘broadcasting’ and advocated generating a mix of interesting and lighter Tweets. The conference, supported by the Graduate College Central Training Funds, had invaluable input from student volunteer, Jill Buttery.

The result was an extremely well-received event which contributed towards training and networking opportunities for research students in the Faculty. [gallery ids="3752,3751,3750"] Here’s what the students had to say:

  • I came away feeling inspired and re-charged
  • The programme covered issues of particularly pressing concern for PhD students without cramming too much in.
  • I found it extremely helpful and stimulating with all the sessions being of great use.
  • Lunch was fantastic!
  • The day was very well considered and all the sessions were very useful.
  • A really great conference – thank you!