Virtual conferences are kind of ideal, when you think about it. You can be anywhere in the world and join for a panel or the whole day, whether you are a presenter or audience member. That’s what we thought too, when we came up with the plan for a School of Advanced Study Postgraduate Conference. We want to share and showcase our research as far and wide as possible, and starting off the conference with a virtual day on 15th June lets us do just that!
Five of our research students and recent alumni will be presenting their work digitally, and we know that at least one co-supervisor from across the pond is taking this chance to see their protégé in action. Living on different continents, these two might never meet otherwise, but attending virtually will provide not only an opportunity to catch up, it will also be a chance to hone presenting and public speaking skills in the presence of a supervisor.
Fittingly for a conference named “Fragments”, these students will also be representing several of the School of Advanced Study’s institutes, highlighting how diversely the humanities can approach the theme of fragmentation. With speakers from the Warburg Institute, the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the Institute of Languages, Cultures & Societies, as well as the Centre for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, we are looking forward to the variety of topics covered and the diverse discussions they will surely inspire.
Having a virtual conference day also helps attendees save money all around without having to sacrifice any of the opportunities an in-person conference provides. Academic conferences are notoriously expensive for speakers and participants alike. Add hotels, meals, and air fare to the cost of a conference ticket – especially during summer months and for conferences in big cities – being able to present your work can add up to several hundreds of pounds – which is why for distance learners, this virtual format of the conference is a golden opportunity.
A distance-learner student told SASiety: “Attending a conference virtually brings the academic community right into my living room. It’s a boon for someone like me who lives across the pond. It breaks geographical barriers, making me feel involved and connected.” She further appreciates the unique advantages of the virtual format: “It provides flexibility, allows me to engage with my peers, hear about their research, and interact with them in real-time. I don’t have to worry about travel expenses, time zone differences, or even jet lag. It’s just a click away.” This sentiment is shared by many distance learners who believe that such initiatives embody the spirit of inclusivity, ensuring everyone, irrespective of their location, has a chance to participate, learn, and contribute to the vibrant academic discourse.
Our Postgraduate Conference is free to attend on both days, so no School of Advanced Study student has to pay out of pocket to get that vital conference presenting experience we are supposed to gain during our PhD programmes. And for those living outside of London, outside of the UK, or those with time and financial restraints, it means they do not have to miss out on an opportunity to present, hear new research, and network with the SAS community and beyond.
With all this in mind, we hope to see all of you join us on 15th June for our five fellow research students presenting online, as well as our virtual roundtable on Mapping the Arts and Humanities, and our Generative AI Tools workshop.
Tickets are free and available from https://www.sas.ac.uk/events/fragments-sas-postgraduate-conference.