Thinking about conferences

22 Mar

I’ve had a good week for feedback, so feeling more reassured that I’m on the right track.

My RD1 was accepted by the Uni (that’s my research proposal outlining what I’m doing) so I guess I’m now officially a researcher at MMU! I also had some good feedback on my Lit Review from my supervisor. I went to the Lit Review workshop on Monday where I picked up some tips on how to improve it, and it also helped reassure me that I’m following a good structure and including most of what is needed in a good review.

I was hoping to attend a conference or two this year. So far though I’m just looking at things at MMU and maybe I need to try and get out into the wider world! I’m a bit shy with public speaking, but I was told in my induction that it’s acceptable for first years to just attend as a delegate, or possibly do a poster. Later on I will be expected to present papers. Hopefully my confidence will grow when I have a better idea of what my research is actually all about, and then I will want to share it with people.

So… I’m putting together an abstract for a poster at the Institute of Humanites and Social Science Research (ISSHR in future- this is the institute that funds me) student symposium in May. I was told to present a chapter of my research, but I have been a bit confused because I’ve only really done my introduction chapter so far. Is it ok to present an introduction at a conference? It would cover what my research is all about, how it expands from the relevant literature, and what method I decided to use to best meet the aims. I’m going to have to get some advice on this.

In June I’m doing a 10 minute talk at the History department student conference, which hopefully will be pretty informal and friendly. I’m hoping that preparing just 10 minutes will ease me into future conferences. I was asked today if I would be interested in giving a 45 minute paper as part of the History seminar series in March 2014. I feel so honoured to be asked, but I know this will turn to wobblies nearer the time when I actually prepare for it! I must sign up for some presentation skills workshops for next year.

I was also thinking to attend the Manchester Centre for Regional History conference this June, as this is the department I’m based in with my PhD but I haven’t really explored it yet and been properly involved. The theme is ‘unofficial histories’, which sounds interesting, but I couldn’t quite see how to fit my research into it to submit a paper. I’ve seen a few interesting-sounding conferences around, but need to think which ones are right for my research and will benefit me the most.

I’ve also seen that the Museums Association Conference is in Liverpool this year, so it would be a shame not to go. I attended a few years back when it was in Manchester (I was doing my MA Museum Studies at the time) and I really enjoyed it.

So next year a definite goal is to submit a paper for a conference, and really get myself out there!

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