Tuesday, 16 July 2019

When a radio interview terrified me (Brooke Huuskes)


Brooke on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania | Photo courtesy of Brooke Huuskes
I love talking. So, it might come as a surprised that I used to be terrified of talking in front of people. I hated public speaking at school, yet my report card always said, "Brooke would be a good student if she didn't talk as much."

Getting over the fear of talking in large public spaces really came when I stumbled into the spotlight to talk about a topic that I knew the best – myself. Yes, back in 2011 I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for a cause, and I felt the cause was so important that I put all my fear aside and promoted the heck out of it. This meant that I had to be the face of the cause, which involved comment for newspaper articles and multiple radio interviews. Side note: I was eventually on live TV talking about the same cause but got there through winning best film at a film festival...

In summary, I have had a bit of experience with the media.

It was really no surprise, then, when I started entering public speaking competitions throughout my PhD. The 3MT (three-minute thesis) and FameLab were amazing experiences that really allowed me to passionately express my research in a forum that I love (talking) and developed my science communication skills. And I did alright, too! I won a few awards, including audience choice awards at FameLab (which I was pretty stoked about considering my microphone fell off. Maybe they just felt sorry for me? Anyway...).

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Top tips on designing infographics (Danilo De Oliveira Silva)


Photo by Gareth Harper | unsplash.com

How many people are reading the research you publish?

Let’s make it a bit more interesting and ask: how many people outside academia are reading the research you publish?

We live in a world where most of our research articles are inaccessible for non-academics due to our jargon and the fact that much of it is behind paywalls. I always find myself asking if we are doing and sharing research only for researchers, or do we want to share with the general community as well? If we want to make our research more broadly available, we are doing it wrong!

But let’s stop the criticism for a moment and offer some solutions instead.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Extending your inter-campus research community (Karen Strojek)

(Left to right): Emmy Frost (Archaeology), Anna Henger (History), Karen Strojek (Politics), Esther Manu-Barfo (Linguistics), Nicola Linton (Classics and Ancient History), Nicole Pavich (Media Arts & Screen Studies), Paul Northam (Visual Arts), and Justin See (Social Inquiry - Planning).
Photo by Greg Muller.
 
I’ve written before about broadening my research community across disciplinary boundaries, by taking part in conference organisation in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS).

Attending and working at university conferences is a great way to meet other graduate researchers and find points of commonality, but it’s not the only way!

Many Schools, and the Departments within them, have graduate student representatives who work with their department heads and graduate research coordinators to improve communications, and the intellectual climate in general, at a local level.

In my roles as a representative for my Department (Politics, Media and Philosophy) and my School (HUSS), I attend regular meetings with other School representatives - all graduate researchers - from the Colleges of ASSC and SHE.

A lot of our discussion is about university policy, infrastructure and facilities, supervision relationships, student wellbeing, and how we might work to improve social and professional networks between graduate researchers.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Spaces that matter for La Trobe researchers (Lauren Murphy & Ilan Abrahams)

Photo by Tyler Nix | Unsplash.com 
Where do researchers write? In this article fiction writers talk of productive writing sessions in the subway, on the couch with the TV blaring, and at a café, among other places. And in this article writing spaces range from “small messy rooms that don’t look out on anything interesting”, to bathtubs, beds, hotel rooms or a cabin on the shore. It seems that space is an ongoing interest for writers of all descriptions.

In April this year I (RED team member – Jamie) published a post called Spaces that matter for graduate researchers reflected on a research project on the spatial practices of graduate research that I am undertaking with colleagues in Thailand. After I published the post a number of people got in touch with me to tell me about the spaces that matter to them – on La Trobe campuses and beyond. Here are their reflections.
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Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Boost your visibility with VYT! (Jenny Fafeita)

Could you explain your thesis in 1 minute using an animated presentation? Yes, 1 minute!

As Training Coordinator in the library, I'm coordinating La Trobe's round of the Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) competition. VYT is a competition format developed by the University of Melbourne, and it's the first year that it's a formal inter/national challenge!

VYT requires graduate researchers to present their research in a 60-second, visually appealing, digital display. Cash prizes are available for the winners of La Trobe’s local competition and the winning entry will compete in an online international competition final.

While I’m excited to be coordinating our local competition, I must admit to being a little anxious as well. I want the competition to run smoothly and, more importantly, I want our graduate researchers to enjoy the experience and have fun while they’re honing their skills. We offer VYT workshops to support graduate resarchers in their potential entries, but putting your hand up and participating in the competition brings a range of rewards.

So, why should graduate researchers enter VYT? What’s in it for them, other than the cash prizes? I asked last year’s competition entrants to reflect on their experience of the competition. What did they learn? How did they benefit from entering the competition?

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Conferences: Is it time you had a fashion makeover? (Jessica Peters & Deena Ebaid)

This post is cross-posted from the academic conferences blog Conference Inference, with kind permission. Thanks for sharing your experiences of conference organising with us, Jessica and Deena! View original post

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Camila Damásio | Unsplash.com
Don’t be fooled by the title, this blog post is not just for fashionistas. For those who are curious, the psychology behind fashion is quite fascinating and can even be employed to up your conference networking game. Take this blog post for instance – if it wasn’t for a love of fashion, conferences and twitter (#pinkpantsuit), we wouldn’t have been invited to write this blog piece at all!


For many people (the two of us included), fashion can be used to showcase personality, and help feel more confident and better placed to accomplish the task at hand. Think of the old adage “look good, feel good”. I (Jessica) have applied this notion in many aspects of my professional life – job interviews, psychological practice, and university teaching. For the latter, my fashion choices were particularly helpful when I first started tutoring undergraduate classes. I was nervous about public speaking and doing a good job and was only a few years older than many of my students. Dressing smart helped me feel more confident, competent and visually set me apart. So why not apply this principle to conferences?

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Giving career advice to your 16-year-old self (Megan Cook)



Bud Helisson | Unsplash.com
Recently, I was invited to head back to my old high-school to talk to Year 10 students who are currently engaged in a week-long intensive focusing on careers and the future.

It was fascinating to be asked to reflect on my own career journey, a career journey which has led me to work as a researcher in a university research centre.

While I never entertained the possibility of becoming a researcher during school (I’m not even sure I knew that there was such a career), I have been given a range of wonderful opportunities during my post-school years which have culminated in my decision to start a PhD.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Blogging your research

Photo by Hannes Wolf | unsplash.com
There's a first time for everything and the first time for the 'Blogging your research' series of workshops was Semester 1, 2019!

We (Tseen and Jamie - RED team members) wanted to run these sessions because we're both big fans of academic blogging, and have gained so much value from the practice both professionally and personally. It has been a lot of fun sharing our knowledge, tips, and strategies with highly engaged La Trobe staff and graduate researchers from different stages of career and a varied bunch of disciplines. And we have learned a lot in the process of bringing together these workshops.

One of the activities for the final workshop is to work with the class on writing, formatting, and publishing a blogpost. We wanted to make it live from within the workshop itself! So, that's what this post is: a communal post from the inaugural RED series of blogging workshops.

We asked our participants to reflect on the sessions they've attended and the discussions we've had. What was the most valuable thing they learned from them?

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

La Trobe - the most Wiki-engaged university in Australia?


Only six people ever read my doctoral thesis. Six. After years of research blood, sweat and tears poured into this document, that is the impact my work will have. It was that realisation that drew me to writing for Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is by far the largest encyclopedia to have ever existed, replacing - for free - what used to be a luxury item only a few decades ago. The encyclopedia is one of a set of projects hosted by the WikiMedia Foundation, which is refining its strategy through to 2030 to be a leader in the open knowledge movement.

Academic publishing readership versus Wikipedia’s yearly readership. 

Since I started editing and writing for Wikipedia in 2013, I’ve been busy trying to promote new ways of engaging academics, researchers and experts in improving its accuracy. By working with PLOS and the WikiJournals, I’ve helped develop ways to entice experts to write Wikipedia articles by combining the best bits of the encyclopedia’s massive reach, and the rigour of scholarly peer review. They’re likely to be the most-read work that most academics will ever write.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

You and your academic profile

Aspirational avatar | By Tseen Khoo
Did you know that every researcher at La Trobe now has a university academic profile page?

Yes, EVERY researcher!

Academic staff have always had one and now all graduate researchers do, too! This coincides with the issuing of institutional staff accounts for grad researchers, a move that gives everyone a great opportunity to present their researcher profiles as they would like.

This post is for all those researchers out there - no matter what stage of career you're at - who have yet to populate their academic profile page.