Pint and PhD: an opportunity for research students to meet and share their work

How is the process of talking informally about your research? No researcher is an island, even though the research experience can be quite lonely for some, knowing how to share your research in a more informal way but still among peers is not only a good ability to have, but it can also open your mind and see what you are doing in a different light. In this post, Giles Penman shares his experience of talking about his research topic at the fortnightly Pint & PhD session organised by our Postgraduate Engagement Team.

The social distancing required to tackle the Coronavirus Pandemic has meant that many activities we are used to doing as researchers are now much more difficult. This includes meeting and sharing our ideas with each other, something we all perhaps took for granted before but now cannot do in person.

However, the Postgraduate Engagement Team at Warwick have come up with a solution to the temporary isolation of PhD researchers. Over recent months, they have hosted sessions called ‘Pint & PhD’ fortnightly on a Wednesday. Researchers from across the university are invited to speak briefly and informally about their research with or without PowerPoint presentations to an audience of Warwick postgraduates and staff. This means that we have heard from students in a wide range of departments and disciplines about a broad range of topics, including Information Technology in Nigerian schools, the efficiency of natural gas engines, and the development of microscopic antibacterial cleaners. After each presentation, audiences have asked probing questions and provided useful informal feedback and research tips.

This has been a wonderful opportunity for speakers to explain their research to audiences of curious non-specialists from the Warwick Postgraduate Community in an informal, stress-free environment. Speakers have had the chance to practice conveying often complex and detailed concepts in a clear and concise manners to an audience who frequently has no prior knowledge of the subject. And audience members have learnt something new in every session, while enjoying a pint of their beverage of choice, and providing the speakers with alternative perspectives on their research and helpful suggestions for improving and furthering their research. 

I have attended sessions as both an audience member and speaker. And, I must say, it is so much fun! I have learnt a lot. I have met and chatted with many different researchers I wouldn’t otherwise have met in the course of my work. And, I have spoken about my research and shared interests without any of the pressures associated with a formal conference setting. I have also gained new perspectives and ideas from other students at the same time. And you can too!

So, whether you research history, music, science, or engineering, or indeed anything else for that matter, and are curious about research in other fields, this is the event for you! All you have to do is: Bring your own favourite beverage, logon to MS Teams every other Wednesday evening, and sit back and enjoy the smorgasbord of brilliant research that the Warwick Postgraduate Community has to offer in a friendly setting. I promise you this: you won’t regret it! For more information visit warwick.ac.uk/pghub/pintandphd.

What did you think? Would you join us for a Pint & PhD? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk, or leave a comment below.

By Giles

Giles Penman is a PhD researcher supervised by the the Classics and History Departments at the University of Warwick. His research concerns the roles and audiences of ancient imagery on British civic cultural artefacts of the Great War. He has a background in Classics, Archaeology and Numismatics.

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