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.
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!
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!
You can read more about the 2019 Birkbeck 3MT Competition here.
On Thursday 2 May, Birkbeck doctoral students took part in the 2019 Three Minute Thesis Competition. Gabriella McGrogan was the overall winner and received a £500 prize.
2019 3MT Competition
On Thursday 2 May around 70 people attended the Birkbeck Three Minute Thesis Competition. This competition honed and tested the presentation skills of the PhD students who took part, and provided an exciting tour of a diverse range of our current doctoral research. Despite only having 3 minutes for each presentation, contestants (representing all Schools at Birkbeck) were able to convey their research in an insightful and meaningful way, and the event provided both celebration and insight arising from their achievements.
This event, which was held in the Clore Lecture Theatre, was the third time the Three Minute Thesis competition has been run at Birkbeck.
Winner: Gabriella McGrogan
During the exciting series of talks from Birkbeck PhD students, Gabriella McGrogan (Department of Law) was chosen as the overall winner for her compelling presentation ‘Against our Community Standards’- “Outsider” Witnessing of Atrocity and Social Media Censorship’. Gabriella is in her first year as a doctoral researcher in Criminology.
Gabriella told us her reaction on winning the competition:
“It was actually quite a shock! I went last, and had spent the short break prior to the competition repeating what I wanted to say over and over. I was a little overwhelmed by the brilliant calibre of all of the other contestants.
Not only was competing an excellent opportunity to practice public speaking (which I find daunting) but winning, and the conversations invoked afterwards, has helped to give me confidence that my work is interesting to a wide audience and may prove important. It has definitely encouraged me to consider how I can present it for public engagement again in the future.
Whilst competing is a little terrifying, the training and support of everyone at BGRS makes the experience much more comfortable – definitely have a go! It has helped me to condense a plethora of ideas and research into a manageable and coherent explanation. It’s also so enjoyable to engage with students from other departments and made me very proud of the diversity and innovation happening at Birkbeck.”
In addition to the overall winner, the judges awarded a £250 runner up prize to Janette Leaf (Department of English and Humanities) for her talk on ‘Locating the Sympathetic Insect’.
People’s Prize Winners
The overall winner and runner up were chosen by a panel of 5 Birkbeck experts (one from each of Birkbeck’s Schools) but the audience also played a key role and were asked to use their votes to choose a People’s Choice winner. The People’s prize was awarded jointly to ‘Lexter Woodley’ (Department of Geography) for her talk ‘An exploration on how female breadwinner couples experience and manage their home lives’ and to Pernelle Lorette (Applied Linguistics and Communication) for her presentation ‘How do you think they feel? Cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perception of emotion’.
This conference explores distraction and all its meanings and implications. Distraction is commonly thought of as a growing concern or even a sickness of modern society and digital culture. From mindless scrolling to heavy consumerism, the pursuit for entertainment and satisfaction is insatiable, leaving us vulnerable to ruling corporations. Does our lack of control transform us into a conformed mass that is susceptible to tabloid media and the rise of populism? On the other hand, distraction is not necessarily steeped in negativity. In fact, it has had a long and fascinating history. Its German equivalent, ‘Zerstreuung’, comes from the idea of dispersion. At the start of the twentieth-century, Walter Benjamin defined the term as ‘floating attention’, where experience is caused by chance rather than concentration. Does lack of focus in fact allow a sense of freedom and inspiration?