SWDTC Conference 2015- Inspiring Research

On Tuesday 3rd November 2015, the SWDTC held its fourth annual conference – ‘Inspiring Research’. This year, the conference was hosted by the University of Bristol and was a huge success with great feedback from all those who attended. It brought together about 120 students from the social sciences and beyond to meet and share their research and also their experiences of postgraduate life.

This year’s conference engaged with the theme of inspirational research, looking at our role as researchers within the wider social and economic context. The day was about celebrating how our research can influence future social change and have a positive impact on individuals, communities and institutions.

The day was certainly inspirational, with student presentations, discussions and posters, workshop sessions, and three fantastic keynote speeches from  Professor Michelle Ryan (University of Exeter), Professor John Troyer (University of Bath) and Professor Eric Herring and Abdihakim Yusuf (University of Bristol).  Professor Michelle Ryan delivered a truly inspiring talk on her research on women in the workplace and the phenomenon of the glass cliff.  Her speech not only showed how our research can truly have an impact on social issues but also that inspiration for such research can arise from the most unexpected of places.  Professor John Troyer gave a witty and engaging talk on everything they forget to tell you about doing your PhD.  It was a refreshing speech and it made us all feel reassured about the research process.  Professor Eric Herring and Abdihakim Yusuf inspired us with a talk on their ground-breaking research (Somali First) which demonstrates just how effective collaboration can be.  The wider implementation of the research in society was particularly impressive.

Reflecting the overarching theme of “Inspiring Research”, the student presentations were structured around four sub-themes of impact, innovative methods, disrupting power relations and changing narratives.  A huge well done to all our presenters who shared their research and demonstrated how it can be engaging, exciting and reach audiences beyond academia.  It was truly inspirational to hear the wonderful work that you are all doing and how it will help challenge the status quo.

As well as formal presentations, there was a poster display and the competition was certainly tough! Congratulations to the winner of the Poster Showcase, Caroline Webb (University of Bristol) and runners up Jade Barrett (University of Exeter) and Kate Pincock (University of Bath).

A special thanks to all of the wonderful student presenters, academics and student discussants, workshop leaders and keynote speakers for their fantastic contributions and participation on the day.  Thanks also to all of those who attended, as well as to Professor Wendy Larner and Professor Sally Barnes for introducing and ending the conference.