After a couple of years in non-voluntary presentation hibernation for the School of Psychology postgraduate students, the 2022 Annual Postgraduate Student Conference took place on 21st of April, 2022. This blog will introduce the ideas behind this conference, summarise the 2022 conference and share some insights from students who helped make it happen.
The APSC is a full day event, celebrating the postgraduate research opportunities at the school. It took place in a hybrid format with staff and students from th school joining both in person and online. Presentation type depended on the programme and MRes students present their research on posters whilst PhD students give short research talks on their projects. These are an opportunity for PhD students to hone their presentation skills, share their most recent research outcomes with the school community, and gain valuable feedback.
“I started my PhD in October 2019 and this was the first big in person conference that I had the chance to present my research. It was great to see other people's work as well as discuss research and socialize with staff members. The inspiration and knowledge exchange from in-person events was missed over the pandemic.”
Danai Papadaki (3rd year PhD student)
This year’s conference was the largest in-person event in the School since the COVID-19 pandemic. During four talk sessions, we heard presentations from 16 PhD students. The conference was also attended by 8 MRes students who shared their research progress on posters. The poster session following lunch was very lively and filled with research conversations. Through the wonderful atmosphere and occasional comments, it was clear how happy everyone is to be able to celebrate postgraduate research at the school in person.
“At the MRes poster session, I presented the preliminary results from my research project, on the topic of visual perception. The session allowed me to practice my presentation skills, and I gained some very useful and detailed feedback. It was also really great to see everyone else's posters, and to sit in on the PhD student presentations.”
Jennifer Magerl Fuller (MRes student)
The conference is organised by a committee of PhD students which this year included Vilma Pullinen, Nejc Sedlar, Naomi Lee, Danai Papadaki, Sanni Ahonen, Roisin Harrison, Justin Claydon and Ana Rozman. This format allows us, the students, to fit the structure to our skill development needs. It also provides a great opportunity for us to gain insight into conference organisation. Figuring out the scheduling, communicating with presenters and attendees alike, preparing an abstract booklet and (importantly) arranging catering are just some of the things which the team of 8 had to tackle. Based on the success of the conference, we managed this successfully!
“My main role in the lead up to the conference was to create a schedule for the whole event, including the timing of all the sessions and the assignment of different roles on the day. I really enjoyed this role, especially the fine tuning of the schedule through repeated discussions with fellow organisers. Seeing the scheduling work as planned felt very rewarding, especially when looking back at the various drafts and evolutions of the original idea.”
Nejc Sedlar (2nd year PhD student)
We are hoping the conference will become a regular and anticipated event at the school. To aid with the organisation in the future, the team has put together a package of resources that can be used in the future. We have of course also added a long write up of everything to look out for – making sure the communications are sent out in time, scheduling one final microphone check and so on. Looking at the growing number of PhD and MRes students starting on the programme next year, we are looking at this conference event growing even larger and more diverse. This is something we are all very much looking forward to already!
“I presented my research on ensemble perception of first impressions of trustworthiness. I felt both excited to give my talk and at the same a bit nervous because this was one of the first times I presented my work in person after these years of pandemic. But in the end all went well, this conference has been a great experience for me. Indeed, I found a very stimulating and friendly atmosphere, and I also received some very interesting feedback on my project and insights on future directions. I look forward to next year's APCS!”
Fiammetta Marini (1st year PhD student)
We would like to thank the school PGR coordinator, Professor Patric Bach who always made himself available for advice and discussion and took on the organising challenges with great enthusiasm. We also really appreciated the help of Dr Joost Rommers who is responsible for the MRes programme and helped with planning of the poster session. The event would not be possible without Ms Catherine Sutherland who provide thorough administrative support and Dr Cleland, Professor Sahraie, Professor Bach and Professor Phillips for the wonderful job they have done chairing the PhD talk sessions. On behalf of the organising committee, I would like to thank them for all their help!
I would also like to extend the thanks to all the guests and presenters. You have created an incredible atmosphere at the event. This enabled a range of research conversations which were beneficial for everyone. Thank you for joining us in this celebration of postgraduate research at the School of Psychology! We are looking forward to meeting you all again next year!