The conference featured a panel debate of leading academics.

Humanities PGR Student Conference 2013 hailed a success

The College of Humanities Postgraduate Research Student Conference 2013 took place from 30 April to 1 May, in the Queen’s Building, Streatham Campus. The conference was bigger and more interactive than last year, with over a hundred people in attendance and opportunities for participants to exhibit their practice, even if they were unable to attend in person.

The conference offered a unique opportunity to bring students from across the College’s disciplines into discussion about their research. Organised by students for students, this two-day event offered a platform for University of Exeter postgraduates to present current work in an academically diverse but rigorous environment. It also promoted networking between students and academic staff in the College. Current Humanities Postgraduate Taught students were also invited to attend the conference to allow them to explore the possibility of PGR study, give them a taste of further academic study and of possible career development.

Conference Committee Chair Mike Rose-Steel, a PhD student in the Department of English and nominee in the Guild Teaching Awards 2013 for Best Postgraduate Teacher, said “A conference organised by students meant that we were free to invent and focus on what we wanted to see; the College were really supportive and enthusiastic in helping us and the team worked well together. I would recommend anyone wanting to get more out of their research to join the Committee next year – everyone should have that chance.” The Conference Committee was formed of Postgraduate Research students.

Forming part of the conference was a keynote address by Professor Philip Schwyzer from the Department of English. Professor Schwyzer’s keynote speech ‘In Praise of the Untimely’ provided a stimulating opening to proceedings, mirrored by the lively panel debate that closed the conference. The debate featured contributors from many fields discussing ‘Challenges facing the Humanities’, including Rene Wyndam, a journalist and Exeter alumna, and Doctor John Love from the School of Biosciences. It was chaired by Professor Andrew Thorpe, Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Transfer.

The event also featured an exhibition of creative work by ten PhD students relating to the conference themes; including a poster exhibition, poetry readings, singing and martial arts. The exhibition was open to all and one exhibit, ‘Wall of Miracles’, involved external community engagement and interaction, with involvement both from students and from local and international poets. The event also featured an adaption of Shakespeare’s works by students from the Drama Department, ‘Stone No More’; directed by Evelyn O’Malley and performed at the Northcott Theatre last June as part of the ‘Shakespeare: No Copyright!’ festival.

The event attracted an unprecedented variety and quality of papers from Exeter’s postgraduate community, and all the panels and debates were well attended. Mike commented that “the conference had a great atmosphere; in the end, everything went brilliantly.”

For more information about the Conference, please visit the Humanities PGR web pages, or for more information on the Conference Committee, please see the Committee web page. Photographs from both days can also be viewed on the gallery webpage.

Date: 15 May 2013

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