The sports shoe: from field to fashion

Dunlop Green Flash, adidas Samba, Puma States, Reebok Classic, Nike Air Max, or Yeezy 350 … how many would hear in this  list the echoes of the broad sweep of global history, from the mid 19th to the early 21st Century? In a recent Research Blog post, a Birkbeck PhD alumnus recounts his long walk from his first pair of adidas in the mid 1980s to a book deal in 2015, via a global industry valued in the billions.

Self-styled sneakerhead, Thomas Turner researched his beloved sports footwear against a changing landscape of society, sport, fashion, industry, and technology – graduating in 2013 with a PhD in History from Birkbeck. To trace the footsteps in history of one of the most culturally rich and economically significant products of our time, the humble sports shoe, step over to the trail on the Research blog:

The Sports Shoe: A History from Field to Fashion by Thomas Turner

Announcing the launch of the Gwynne-Vaughan PhD Student Medal

The Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS) aims to highlight the activities and successes of our research student community. We are pleased to announce the inaugural Gwynne-Vaughan Medal which will be awarded to a Birkbeck PhD student able to demonstrate the most notable contribution to their field while undertaking their PhD.

The winner will be awarded a £200 prize and a medal at the BGRS Summer party on Monday 1 July 2019 and will also be featured on the BGRS blog.

Eligibility

  • This competition is open to all part time and full time PhD students at Birkbeck
  • Any achievements you include must have taken place while you were registered as a Birkbeck PhD student

Consideration of entries

  • All entries will be considered by the Research Student Sub-Committee (RSSC)

Deadline for entries: Friday 21st June

If you would like to be considered for this prize please submit a completed entry form, including brief student and supervisor statements by the end of Friday 21st June 2019.

Please email your competed form to graduateresearchschool@bbk.ac.uk

Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan, CBE, DSc; Birkbeck, University of London

BPSN Bulletin

ISSUE 6
This bulletin aims to keep postgraduate researchers informed of upcoming courses, events and opportunities in the Bloomsbury area.

  • In the spotlight – Bloomsbury Festival
  • What’s new? Voice, Presence and Impact
  • Book now! June courses available

In the spotlight

Bloomsbury FESTIVAL
Taking place over 10 days from 11 – 20 October 2019 across Bloomsbury’s major venues and hidden spaces, the festival aims to amplify creative development in Bloomsbury, give a platform to its emerging talent and create interesting collaborations across arts and science.

For more information visit the Bloomsbury Festival website here

Book now! Courses with places still available

8 June 2019: IMLR Saturday Research Training Workshop: Before, during and after the PhDSAS
This course covers publishing in the modern languages; the PhD viva, before, during and after; organising a conference and giving a conference paper; applying for an academic job, writing CVs, interviews.

11 June 2019: Publication Workshop 1: Writing a Paper, Authorship Issues and Getting PublishedLSHTM
This workshop will cover what journal editors are looking for; authorship issues; conflict of interest. Input from journal editorial staff and academic staff.

12 June 2019: Conducting sensitive interviewsLSE
Sensitive interviews include interviews about emotionally difficult topics or deeply personal issues, interviews with vulnerable populations or research that could have negative consequences for participants.

12 June 2019: Wickedness in Academic Research: How to Avoid Becoming an Innocent VictimLSHTM
To introduce students to some of the complexities around publication ethics and research misconduct and how these can be navigated.

13 June 2019: Your PhDilemmas: One-to-One Sessions for Research StudentsUCL
PhDilemmas can help with work blocks, loss of direction, feelings of isolation, lack of motivation and time and project management.

15 June 2019: Meeting the Challenge of the Part-Time DoctorateUCL
An introductory presentation highlighting the aims and objectives of the session will be followed by group work and plenary discussions on specific challenges and solutions.

17 June 2019: Visualising Data (Level 2): Creating Charts, Dashboards and MapsLSHTM
To guide research colleagues on how they can visually convey their research data via charts, geographic data and dashboards.

20 June 2019: Animal Research: Critical, Challenging & Creative ThinkingUCL
We will consider how animals are used in research both within the UK and at UCL, as well as the broad spectrum of societal opinions regarding animal use in research and how research is communicated to society.

20 June 2019: Overcoming Writer’s Block for Research StudentsUCL
This full-day workshop is designed to provide an awareness of writer’s block for PhD students. It includes strategies to both prevent and unblock.

26 June 2019: How to get Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistance with your researchLSHTM
To provide staff involved in research activities with guidance on how to set up and use an Artificial Intelligence (AI) research assistant.

English and Humanities PhD Conference

A friendly and supportive in-house conference, showcasing the work of doctoral students in Birkbeck’s English Department. 
Organised by students in the 2nd year.

13 June 2019, 1pm-9pm, Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

Free entry. All are welcome. Refreshments provided.

Keynote (1-2pm) by Anthony Joseph:

A discussion of Kitch, Dr Joseph’s fictional biography of the Trinidadian calypso icon
 Lord Kitchener (Peepal Press, 2018):

‘Kitch: A Liminal Life,
A Community of Voices’

Student panels at 2.15pm, 3.45pm, 5.15pm, 7pm
Plenary discussion: 8.15pm-9pm

For more information, contact: workinprogressbbk@gmail.com

The Art of Not Doing Conference – call for papers


In a culture that valorises busyness, productivity, pace and “progress”, stillness can be radical. Refusing, ignoring, omitting, not doing; sometimes the most political actions look like doing nothing at all. But who gets to not do? When and how is not doing a politicised, racialised, privileged, resistant or utopian act?

Through conversation, provocation, installation and self-care, we look at unproductivity as an activist practice and the ways in which caring, resting, suspending, pausing and breaking can be re/claimed as political acts by and for everyone, particularly those marginalised by the racial and gender inequalities of neo-liberal capitalism.

As part of this one-day conference, we are inviting paper proposals/provocations and interdisciplinary submissions from Birkbeck graduate students, early career researchers and individuals from wider academic, creative and activist communities. Alongside paper proposals, we welcome submissions of artworks, shorts films, and proposals for performances and acts of care. Please read the about section before submitting.

Deadline for submissions: 10th of June

Send submissions to: theartofnotdoingconf@gmail.com

Conference website

Janette Leaf on the 2019 Three Minute Thesis Competition

Professor Julian Swann, Director of the BGRS presents Janette Leaf (Department of English and Humanities) with the runner up prize for her 3MT talk ‘Locating the Sympathetic Insect’.

Why did I go in for it?

I guess what prompted me to go in for the Three Minute Thesis was the sheer challenge of whether I would be able to sum up my research in a short time and in a way that would appeal to a broad audience.  Whenever anyone outside my area of specialism asks me what my PhD is all about, I tend to say, ‘insect imagery’ and then try to gauge how much more detail to go into.  My hope for this competition was that it would give me a boost to expand upon my two-word ‘insect imagery’ answer without the equivalent of giving a full-blown paper, and I’m pleased that condensing the thesis into a maximum of 180 seconds really did help me concentrate on what’s attention grabbing and interesting in my work.  It also revealed a clear trajectory from horror to ecology.  I wondered if my supervisor might think I was crazy to compete, but he was happy for me to go for it and that was a nice endorsement in itself.

Supportive environment

Anyone who puts themselves forward for the Three Minute Thesis is given a short training session in presentation skills, and I went along to the workshop feeling slightly uncertain whether I would have the confidence to enter the competition.  There was absolutely no pressure to take it all the way.  A few chose not to, but most of us did follow through and we really enjoyed the experience.  During the training as well as on the evening itself everything took place in an incredibly supportive environment.  Even though students were competing against each other the overriding feeling was that we were all in the same boat sharing the same nervousness and the same excitement, and so there was lots of mutual help and encouragement. 

Presenting a paper free paper

I took my first degree in the 1980s and my return to academia (part time) is a comparatively recent phenomenon.  My business career has so far spanned marketing, transport logistics and property legislation, but never involved presenting to a large group of people against the clock.  I felt quite exposed talking about a research project designed by me, supported by only one slide and without the benefit of any written prompts.  Outside of university I perform with two choirs, so if I’m on a stage I’m fairly used to singing somebody else’s words.  Speaking my own words about my own special interest to an audience and panel of judges is a different matter entirely.  My thesis is on ‘Locating the Sympathetic Insect’, and I like to think of it as wonderful and weird.  The primary focus is on prose literature, whilst also incorporating art and film and entomological science, and I’m absolutely thrilled it was so well received.  Before the Three Minute Thesis competition I’d presented at a small number of conferences and had positive feedback, but I’d never done it without holding onto my notes.  I now feel I have the unhampered ability to put aside those pieces of paper so I can talk in a more spontaneous and engaging way at future events.  And that’s important to me as I am keen for my research to have the best possible impact. 

I’ve got the competition to thank for that leap and would encourage any fellow PhD to participate. 

Birkbeck PhD Awards April 2019

Birkbeck Research Degrees awarded in April 2019

Birkbeck awards over 100 PhDs each year. In April 2019, 11 Birkbeck Doctoral Researchers were awarded a PhD for their work in the following areas:

School of Arts

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND HUMANITIES

DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF ART

School of Business, Economics and Informatics

DEpartment of Computer Science and Information Systems

DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT

School of Law

Department of Law

School of Science

DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy

DEPARTMENT OF History, Classics and Archaeology

  • 1 PhD in Medieval and Modern History
  • 1 PhD in Ancient History, Classics and Archaeology

Birkbeck 3MT Winner Gabriella McGrogan talks about the 2019 competition

Gabriella McGrogan (Department of Criminology) was overall winner of the 2019 Birkbeck 3MT competition for her entry, “Against our Community Standards’- “Outsider” Witnessing of Atrocity and Social Media Censorship”.

Birkbeck doctoral researcher Gabriella McGrogan tells us about taking part in the 2019 Birkbeck 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Trying to figure out how to condense something you’ve been passionately thinking about and shaping over many months, into around the same amount of time you spend brushing your teeth before bed, seems beyond tricky. My supervisor suggested that the Three Minute Thesis competition would be a great opportunity to refine the key points of my project and give me a handy synopsis to roll out at conferences, meetings and in the pub. This seemed worthwhile, if only to avoid the baffled looks my poor friends give me when I’m trying to explain what I do now.

Developing skills

Having worked as a TA in secondary schools in London and Paris, I thought I might have had an advantage in the public speaking stakes. What could be more terrifying than getting 35 teenagers to first, be quiet, and second, listen to you? As it transpires, academic conferences are. Put on by famous institutions and renowned journals, full of ‘grown-up’ academics who have earned themselves the blue tick on Twitter, my first attempt earlier this year was nerve-wracking. The competition was such a brilliant opportunity to develop skills and alleviate imposter syndrome!

Speakers and members of the audience at the 3MT reception

Communicating research

Almost exactly three years ago, I submitted an application to study for Birkbeck’s MSc in Global Criminology. Up until then, I had completed two degrees in Literary and Cultural Studies, but realised that I wanted a change. It’s an understatement to say that the existence of Birkbeck has changed my life for the better. I think the competition, and ensuring my research is accessible and comprehensible to as many people as possible, is a great way to embrace and celebrate the ethos of the college. My research will benefit hugely from the interaction and input of those outside of my discipline and academia in general. Most importantly, I got to engage with students from other departments and learned some fascinating things from their presentations!

I’d strongly encourage any students considering taking part in future to do so. The tips I gained from the training alone were well worth the time spent and I’ve definitely noticed I can explain my project with ease in the aftermath!

Speakers and members of the audience at the 3MT reception

You can read more about the 2019 Birkbeck 3MT Competition here.

BIMI-PITT Research Workshop: Displacement in film and visual culture

BIMI-PITT RESEARCH WORKSHOP: “DISPLACEMENT IN FILM AND VISUAL CULTURE”

WEDNESDAY 15 – FRIDAY 17 MAY 2019

The third edition of the biennial research workshop organised by Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) and the University of Pittsburgh Film Programme will take place Wednesday 15 May to Friday 17 May 2019 in Birkbeck Cinema.

The idea of the workshop is to bring together faculty and postgraduate students from Birkbeck and Pittsburgh to share their ongoing research, to get to know each other in person, and to develop collaborative research projects together.

Previous editions – “Cinema and the City” (2015) and “Urban Change” (2017) – have been both productive and enjoyable occasions, generating several joint research initiatives, including journal publications, student and staff exchanges, public lectures, curatorial projects, and study days.

The forthcoming edition is entitled “Displacement”, a theme that for the purposes of the workshop can be interpreted from any angle or approach, as long as there is some connection to film, moving image, or visual culture.

Free to register

The workshop is free and open to all, regardless of affiliation. However, we will be especially pleased to welcome Birkbeck staff and students from Arts, Law, SSHP, and Science, across the range of research areas and disciplines that BIMI is committed to representing as part of its mission at Birkbeck: Applied Linguistics, Cultures & Languages, English & Humanities, Film & Media, Geography, History, History of Art, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Psychological Sciences, and Psychosocial Studies.

If you would like to attend the workshop, please register here, as this will help us to know who is coming:

Alternatively, you can let us know by email (bimi@bbk.ac.uk). We look forward to seeing you there, as it is the quality of discussion and conversation that has made the previous workshops such memorable events.