Have you ever felt that your brain is so full of research ideas that it is about to burst? Have you ever felt that your PhD thoughts are so disarranged and colourful that they resemble a bouquet of flowers? Have you ever felt that it would be a lot better if you could just get all those ideas, thoughts, questions, provocations, melodies, patterns and research-related mess out there?

We, at the PGR Studio, certainly get these feelings from time to time, so we created a platform for PGR students to present, discuss, exhibit and perform their research, but more importantly, to share their work-in-progress ideas, thoughts and questions with other Arts, Design & Media students and members of staff. To this end, we set up a work-in-progress PhD research event on  24 January 2018 to provide a relaxed, informal environment celebrating the variety of ideas and approaches across the ADM Department.

Keeping with true ADM and PGR Studio spirit, we added an unusual twist to the event and conceptualised it as a research festival, where each participant was a headliner performing their own, unique act in front of a fan audience. We provided the concept, the space, the balloons, the red paper cups, the wristbands and the enthusiasm but it was our “headliner researchers”, who came up with brilliant, memorable acts and made the idea of a playful, fun but truly academic event come true.

The final line-up consisted of more than 30 presentations, provocations, performances and posters. We asked the speakers to deliver their presentations in the Pecha Kucha format, which allowed a concise insight into the heart of the research projects. Even though this form of presentation requires extreme focus and timing from the presenters, they managed to keep the presentations very engaging.

Our headliners were extremely creative with both the format and the content of their talks. We heard an an opera aria, saw a woven poster, experienced virtual reality, touched the topography, watched a video presentation, learnt about archive disasters and evolving research Pokemons and we were not bored for even a minute.

We organisers were quite excited about the venue itself as well. We were the first people ever to use the Hive; the multifunctional, multimedia, state-of-the-art space of the new Curzon B building. In order to use the equipment, members of the organising team even had to participate in specialist IT training, but it paid off, because the space was great not only for the presentations, but for the ice-breaking and networking activities as well. (And its eerie resemblance to the Enterprise from Star Trek  proved to be a great starting point for conversations too.)

We had proper, academic discussions, pseudo-academic games and stuffed our faces with pizza in a completely unacademic but rather enthusiastic manner. In the latter, we were supported by the BCU Student Union, who held a Pecha Kucha presentation about their activities and generously contributed to the festive spirit with games, nibbles and freebies.

As a result of all of this, the first ever ADM Research Festival did not go as we planned: it went even better. It was one of the most memorable events I have ever taken part at BCU and it makes me even more excited for the next big research event of the PGR Studio. The Research(er) Dialogues conference takes place on 6 July, 2018 at BCU and the call for proposals is already out! If you missed the Research Festival, make sure to join us at the annual conference. And if you were there, I know you will be there for sure in any case. 🙂  

Interested in more pictures from the Inside/Out festival? Check out our Facebook gallery here.

Interested in getting involved in our Research(er) Dialogues? The call for proposals is already out, click here!

 The original Inside/Out callout

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