The Manchester Metropolitan University 13th Annual Postgraduate Conference will take place on Wednesday 17 March 2021. The committee is always made up of MMU postgraduate research students and this year is no different.
The theme for next year’s conference will be “Diversity & Research in Critical Times: Power in the Polyvocality”. This is a topic which we are all impassioned about and one of current debate and discussion, not just in research, but throughout every thread of modern society. We all agree that we are living through a huge turning point in history; not only due to the changes in circumstances brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the recent movements for climate activism, equal rights and unity across the globe. Arguably, never before has the population of the world been so united in their experiences and challenges; notwithstanding their passions and hope for a better world for all. From the impassioned political debates throughout the West to the genesis of a global climate debate from one determined teenage girl; the power of the individual speaking out and influencing others is truly immense in this new digital age where connection to almost every human being on the planet is literally at our fingertips! Join us for all of this and much more!
We got together during the lockdown and began planning. Not least because of the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also with the intention of reaching out to as many individuals as we can, we have decided that next year’s conference will take place online through digital platforms. This means that we can hold both live and pre-recorded sessions and hope to run these over the course of a few days and at more convenient times for everyone to attend. Our emphasis has been on inclusion and accessibility right from the start, and so we have encouraged our participants to provide their contributions to the conference content in as creative a format as they can! We hope to include podcast materials, graphic interpretations of people’s research, short videos, and as always, some reading materials; all to be enjoyed at your convenience!
So, time to meet the team!
My name’s Anita and I’m the Chair of the conference committee for this year. I’m a PhD researcher focussing on the conservation genetics of endangered African megafauna and working to evaluate the One Plan approach to conservation. My background is in biological sciences with a minor in German, but I have always had interests in genetics and conservation biology – my current project allows me to combine these to assess our current conservation strategies and hopefully improve outcomes for endangered species.
I decided to apply for a role on the conference committee for this year to gain experience in something unlike anything I have done before. Having attended conferences in the past, I was completely unaware of exactly how much work goes into their organisation behind the scenes – especially given the circumstances we currently find ourselves working under! Being on the committee for this year has brought a unique set of challenges, but along with them an amazingly supportive team of colleagues I’m lucky to be working with. This conference will be unique, and the first MMU PGR conference to go virtual, but we’re working to make this year’s the most diverse, inclusive, and engaging yet!
I am Chloe and I have worked as a primary school teacher for 5 years. I have a passion for working with children in the early years but have recently worked with children up to 8 years old. I am currently finalising my thesis on the Doctor of Education programme at Manchester Metropolitan University and my research focuses on exploring the autonomy and agency of children in the early years using notions of figured worlds.
On my Doctor of Education journey, I became a finalist in the ‘Three Minute Thesis 2020’ Competition as well as presenting at the PGR Conferences to network and question areas of my research. This was really valuable in order to think and rethink ideas which arose from the data I had collected. Although I have presented at PGR conferences before, I have never found myself organising one. When the opportunity arose to apply to be on the Conference Committee, I jumped at it and became the Academic Lead. This experience has been an interesting learning curve, I had not realised the fine detail which goes in to organising these events and I have enjoyed this challenge!
Greeting all! It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Anton and I’m a PhD researcher here on the planning committee for the MMU’s annual researcher conference. Prior to starting this journey, I worked in education for over 10 years before being frustrated with my ability to make real change. My old ‘life’ was working with youth offenders, people in the care system and those with SEN needs in the high school environment. My background is psychology and sociology with an especial interest in anything to do with the criminal justice system. I also currently work as a social policy researcher at MMU’s Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU), and hope my research into the rough sleeper communities will help these marginalised groups in some way.
This year I have volunteered to help plan the annual postgraduate researchers conference, mostly because I was so impressed with last year’s event. However, I also knew that we could improve on that, and give a voice to research and people that ordinarily might be missed. I was appointed to the role of event manager, which as it turns out, in a world of unpredictable COVID complications, isn’t easy. Regardless, I have a tremendous team around me and I have a funny feeling that this conference is going to be one of MMU’s best.
I am a first-year part time PhD student in the Department of Psychology. My research is focusing on emerging multiplicity (the experience of having more than one self in the same body) and psychosocial functioning, with the hope to understand the non-clinical experiences. I hope my research will help reduce the stigma often attached to these experiences. I joined the conference committee to get experience in organising and delivering a conference, whilst gaining an appreciation from a wide range of fields. As an Academic Lead, I feel excited to meet and connect with other postgraduates and highlight a range of important and diverse research. I have found myself constantly being surprised at how much work goes into planning a conference – it was something that I never considered before! I’m excited to get to network with people from other faculties in the university, both my supportive colleagues and the attendees. I’m excited to be part of a wonderful team, who have made the unpredictable nature of planning during COVID extremely enjoyable. I’m sure this will be the best PGR conference yet!
I am a second year PhD student based in the Gothic Centre in the Department of English. My research centres on contemporary Gothic horror cinema emanating from the Basque Autonomous Community in Northern Spain. I hope my research will add to the growing conversation on not only Hispanic horror but the growing importance of regionally focussed research within cinema, art and literature. In this sense, the theme of this year’s conference truly appealed to me as finding power in polyvocality, particularly within Spain, is central to my own research. I joined this conference having had a wonderful experience attending the 2019 iteration of the event and being lucky enough to chair a panel discussion that year. I wanted to join this year’s committee in order to get a better sense of the ‘ins-and-outs’ of conference planning as well as to expand my participation in the MMU PGR community, having moved here from Ireland. I participate in the committee as support for event manager and marketing. This year’s team is so talented and motivated that I cannot wait to see it all come together on what is sure to be a very exciting, and certainly very hectic, day!
Hi, I’m Sals. I’m a 2nd year PhD student in the department of Healthcare Science. My background is in nutritional sciences and I am a registered Associate Nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition. The main focus of my research is novel approaches to diagnosing and treating chronic, fatigue related diseases. My doctoral project has allowed me to explore nutrition and lifestyle as both a potential cause and a plausible holistic approach to treating such chronic disorders.
I was excited to apply for a role on the committee for this year’s conference as I was keen to take part and gain some experience in the planning and running of a conference. Having attended several, I was interested in experiencing the organisational side of one. I have several roles on the committee; foremost, I am art director and brochure lead, as well as co-lead for marketing and communications alongside Anita. My role so far has been a great challenge to me as I had little prior knowledge of graphic design or marketing, but I have already learnt countless new skills and I am really enjoying it. I have also really loved being part of such a fun and exciting team of researchers and getting to know everyone and their research topics! I’m really looking forward to this conference, and I’m excited to see how our ambition for an entirely digital platform will work out. Covid-19 has certainly presented us with many challenges, but also opportunities to explore innovative ways of running things!
I’m Dom, a third year PhD student here at MMU. My research focuses on the importance of space and place to urban radical groups in nineteenth century UK popular politics. It uses an overarching space-place-location framework like a magnifying glass on the core sites and beliefs held by the radical diaspora of four distinctive settlements, during the fifty-two years between the end of the French Wars and the passing of the 1867 Reform Act. My academic background is in Continental Philosophy which via some ham-fisted forays into the social meanings of Utopias and utopian buildings led me to my present predicament.
Given the content of my thesis it is quite appropriate and exciting for me that I should find myself the Volunteers Lead for the 13th annual MMU PGR Conference, especially given that the change to a digital event presents us with new opportunities for engagement and challenges to overcome. I myself have prior experience of both volunteering and managing volunteers in both an academic and recreational setting. On the Sussex Coast, from which I hail, I was a part of several volunteer-led NFP historical sites, while during my undergraduate and Master’s degrees I managed a student run society for four years. As with some of my colleagues this will be my first (but hopefully not last!) excursion into the weird and wonderful world of conference organising, but I have full confidence that we can pull off a stimulating and worthwhile event, with only one or two minor calamities at most!
The conference committee are now welcoming abstract submissions for the 2021 event. Visit the webpage to find out more, https://www.mmu.ac.uk/research/research-study/events/pgr-conference/, and submit your abstract by the deadline on Friday 11 December 2020.
If you’d like to get involved in volunteering at the conference, or simply hear more about what’s planned, there’ll be a chance to meet the committee at a ‘coffee chat’ with the Graduate School in the new year. Book your place via Skillsforge.
Check out the conference podcasts on their Spotify page, https://open.spotify.com/show/5VhylsQeqE4bjz6k9pMwQd?si=C1PkU9KNSzSf33uyUN7DIA
You can contact the conference committee on their email address, PGRConference@mmu.ac.uk, or on social media, @McrMetPgrConf on Twitter, @mcrmetpgrconf on Instagram and search for the event ‘13th Annual McrMetUni Postgraduate Conference’ on Facebook.