By Denis Kucukovic:
It comes as no surprise that the presenting of one’s work to peers of similar academic backgrounds can only foster the growth of both confidence and skill. This is especially true in a university setting. As such, Western Sydney University was proud to once again host the 2015 ‘Interventions and Intersections’ postgraduate conference of the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and the Writing and Society Research Centre. Made up of both staff and student committee members, the conference was dedicated to works in progress. All who attended were invited to unveil their latest work under the welcome professional scrutiny of Western Sydney University senior member staff. Although the committee members were bombarded with an expectedly massive workload and under a certain amount of stress, the rewards were plentiful. The success of the event could not have come without the support of the eager attendees and presenters alike. The committee was honoured and grateful to have both Dr Danny Butt (University of Melbourne) and Emeritus Professor Ian Malcolm (Edith Cowan University) as keynote speakers on the first and second day respectively.
The first day of the conference began with the traditional and uniquely humorous ‘welcome to country’ by Aboriginal elder ‘Uncle’ Gregg Simms. Acknowledging this, Dr Danny Butt began his keynote lecture on the future of archival research, officially launching the conference. The first day was greeted with enthusiasm, reflected by the dedication of a committee comprised of first time student members and staff.
Accommodating a large variety of disciplines, such as history, politics, cultural studies, writing, design, communications and music, the presentation panel sessions fostered both debate and academic growth. The most important aspect of these sessions is the fact that it is neither a competition nor an assignment. It is simply a willing representation of work that needs a foreign eye to ask questions that may have otherwise been assumed knowledge. Spread out to include morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea, the nine panel sessions were a success over the two-day period. Most popular, however, were the masterclasses that had a more particular focus on areas of academic research and execution.
The conference reached its climax through a friendly competition by presenting peers. The three minute thesis (3MT®) was incorporated into the conference to bring a dramatic close to the conference. Founded by the University of Queensland, the 3MT gives participants three minutes to present their entire PhD thesis. The three minutes are exact and final; one second over means disqualification. Prizes were given out for people’s choice, first place, and second place. The latter two spots meant instant qualification to the next round of the 3MT. The winners were:
Holly Kaye-Smith, first place/people’s choice and Adam Daniel, second place.
The committee ultimately thanks all attendees, including panel judges and those who undertook masterclasses, for making the event successful. Here’s hoping the next event is just as successful.
Academic Steering Committee members:
Professional staff: Ms Amanda McNamara