Two-day conference at the University of Central Lancashire was a valuable opportunity to showcase the impact of postgraduate students' work in a supportive environment.
The UCLan Postgraduate Research Conference held from 3-4 May was the first ‘in real life’ conference to take place on our campus for several years and was a valuable opportunity for postgraduate research students to present their research in a supportive environment. The event featured two full days of stimulating presentations and included a poster exhibition to showcase the breadth, depth, and impact of the work of our postgraduate research students.
Head of the Graduate Research School, Andrea Ferguson, spoke passionately about the year’s theme of belonging and wellbeing. Andrea said: “Undertaking research can sometimes feel like a lonely or overwhelming task. But it doesn’t have to. Being part of an inclusive community, understanding the benefits of diversity, as well as knowing how to support ourselves and others, can enable us to tackle these challenges in a positive way.”
Gallery01 / 07
"Being part of an inclusive community, understanding the benefits of diversity, as well as knowing how to support ourselves and others, can enable us to tackle these challenges in a positive way"— Andrea Ferguson, Head of the Graduate Research School
To open up conversations around the theme, two inspirational keynote speakers shared their perspectives. Beginning on day one with Richard Hall, Professor of Education and Technology at De Montford University. Richard discussed his work on decolonising research and how applying a decolonisation lens to research work can foster a greater sense of belonging. Day two featured Dr Emma Brodzinski who launched the PhD Life Raft Podcast in 2020 to help others manage issues such as imposter syndrome, maintaining motivation and managing tricky relationships. Emma explored the metaphor of Cornelia Parker’s Cold Dark Matter artwork as a way to navigate and even embrace the non-linear and often fragmented PhD journey, which resonated deeply with many of the attendees who will remember their ‘exploding shed’ moments for years to come.
Prizes for the best presentations over the two days were awarded by the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research & Enterprise), Professor StJohn Crean and the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, closed the conference with an address outlining the University’s commitment to developing its postgraduate research community before hosting a drinks reception to celebrate a successful event.
Training Co-ordinator, Jenny Gavell, noted how well the event had been received: “Over the two days more than 70 doctoral students gave their insights on subjects ranging from the propaganda nature of North Korean postage stamps to the production of environmentally friendly fuel from plastic. Their knowledge of their subjects and enthusiasm for research was inspiring and everyone engaged with the theme of belonging and wellbeing, creating an inclusive environment and tangible sense of connection.”
"Their knowledge of their subjects and enthusiasm for research was inspiring and everyone engaged with the theme of belonging and wellbeing, creating an inclusive environment and tangible sense of connection."— Jenny Gavell, Training Co-ordinator