Creative Connections 5th July at DMU (1): a postgraduate research student perspective

On the 5th July East Midlands Writing PAD held their first event for DMU postgraduate research students: Creative Connections.  Here’s the first of our blog posts about the day: more to follow, including some video clips featuring the workshops and student feedback.

This event aimed to introduce PhD students (and staff) from across the disciplines to creative, arts-based techniques designed to encourage new ideas, connections and viewpoints.

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Thanks to Ekele Thompson Ochedi, PhD student in Architecture, and Sinan Baho, PhD student in Molecular Microbiology, who helped to run the event, for this blog post:

Postgraduate Research & Writing Conference
CREATIVE CONNECTIONS JULY 5

The conference which was held in the Hugh Aston building at De Montfort University started with the welcome address by Julia Reeve and Kaye Towlson.

Badge-making with collage at the start of the day

Badge-making with collage at the start of the day

 

The keynote speaker, Dr. Julia Lockheart spoke on “Writing PAD, a Grassroots Network”. A quote “It is not about writing; it is about thinking” (Harriet) which was part of her presentation really made my day and was to me like a guiding principle about research writing and a kind of unifying word for Writing PAD.

L to R: Julia Reeve, Kaye Towlson, Harriet Edwards, Julia Lockheart, Alison James

L to R: Julia Reeve, Kaye Towlson, Harriet Edwards, Julia Lockheart, Alison James

 

The first parallel workshop sessions were on Co-writing Design Territories: tools for collaborative writing, and Swollage: Reflecting on your Skills and the PhD Journey through Collage, coordinated by Dr. Julia Lockheart and Julia Reeve & Kaye Towlson respectively.

Julia Lockheart's 'Co-writing design territories: tools for collaborative writing' workshop

Julia Lockheart’s ‘Co-writing design territories: tools for collaborative writing’ workshop

Julia Reeve & Kaye Towlson's 'Swollage:reflecting on your skills and the PhD journey through collage' workshop

Julia Reeve & Kaye Towlson’s ‘Swollage:reflecting on your skills and the PhD journey through collage’ workshop

Swollage in action

Swollage in action

 

Dr. Julia’s workshop opened my eyes to some skills and tools for collaborative writing. The workshop among other things helped me to think about things from different perspectives and to see possibility in what seems impossible. Moreover, it encourages free-flow of ideas about co-writing.

Co-writing in action

Co-writing in action

 

The second parallel workshops were “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Build with LEGO” by Dr. Alison James and a Drawing-based Workshop: Research Building Marks by Dr. Harriet Edwards and I was privileged to attend the former.

Alison James' 'When the going gets tough, the tough build with LEGO' workshop

Alison James’ ‘When the going gets tough, the tough build with LEGO’ workshop

Harriet Edwards' 'Drawing-based workshop: research building marks'

Harriet Edwards’ ‘Drawing-based workshop: research building marks’

Drawing workshop: the finished product

Drawing workshop: the finished product

 

The workshop which revealed how LEGO can be used to enhance research thinking and writing process was highly beneficial. It showed that LEGO can be used to simplify and promote research processes. In addition, the use of models helped to stimulate participants flow of ideas about some subjects which were discussed during the workshop.

What does good writing look like?

What does good writing look like?

 

The question and answer session which was facilitated by Julia Reeve brought the conference to a close.

Panel discussion

Panel discussion

 

Participating in the conference was a rewarding experience for me. I would like to encourage those who are yet to attend this conference to do so at the earliest opportunity.
Sincerely, I want to thank the organizers of this conference for a job well done.

Ekele Thompson Ochedi, PhD Architecture student, DMU

It was really a nice new experiment to participate in this event as part of the organisation team. I got some experience even though the subject was not directly related to my discipline but I was able to connect some of its items to parts of my PhD study which relates to new ideas in poster design. If I get another chance, I will participate again with such events.

Sinan Baho, PhD Molecular Microbiology student, DMU

The Creative Connections team and participants

The Creative Connections team and participants

 

Thanks to Ekele and Sinan for their sterling support in organising the event, and to Annie Britton from CLaSS for her invaluable help on the day.

Also thanks to our stellar array of speakers/workshop leaders: Dr Julia Lockheart , Dr Alison James and Dr Harriet Edwards.

And finally many thanks to Jimi O’Callaghan for the excellent photography.

Julia and Kaye

More to follow on Creative Connections, as well as a report on The Centrality of the Body in Teaching and Learning event at NTU on the 8th July.

 

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