From Oil to Flesh: Crucifixion and recycling

 

Throughout the ages, there have been many interpretations of the crucifix, from more traditional representations of the Stations of the Cross to abstract artwork, film and literature. From Michelangelo and Raphael to Salvidor Dali and Marcus Reichert to Damien Hirst and even comic strips like “the coyote gospel”, images have become more and more abstract. But how many of these incorporate our modern ideas of recycling? It’s not probably two things you might put together, but thanks to the work of Gunther Von Hagen, it’s all I can think about today.

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Tips on preparing for an academic conference (English Literature)

I’ve been to a few conferences, and I wanted to share some of my tips to help things go smoothly. As a PhD student, it can be an intimidating and nerve-wracking experience. Here’s my step-by-step guide, from writing an abstract to actually delivering your paper!

  1. Abstracts
  2. Writing your paper
  3. The week/day before
  4. On the day

1. Abstracts

Finding call for papers is easy using the upenn site. I often take an hour or so every month to scan through it to see if there are any relevant to me.

When I find one, I make note of the deadline date and the place the conference is being held in. These are important to know in terms of how long I have to prepare and to apply for funding if necessary.

When writing the abstract:

  • Read the spec very carefully and try to incorporate some of its terminology into your abstract.
  • Make sure you make it concise and specific. What is your argument? Why is it relevant? What evidence are you using?
  • Stick to the word count and make sure you include any extra info such as a bio, either in the same document or separate.
  • Don’t attempt to do too much: you can’t deliver an entire essay in a normal presentation of 20 minutes.

2. Writing your paper

When you are planning what information to include in your paper, consider these points:

  • make it as easy to follow as possible
  • signpost your structure and what you’re going to talk about at the very beginning
  • map our your argument at the start, then again all the way through

There are many ways to prepare a paper for a conference, depending on your style, your public speaking skills and your confidence. For my first conference, I choose to write my paper so I could have it with me. Then I planned the powerpoint presentation around my paper.

a 20 minute presentation is approximately a 2,500 word paper

After I had done a couple of conferences, I began altering my approach. I chose to design my powerpoint and then print it off, and plan what I am going to say around that. I think this approach is better – based more on the visuals rather than having them in the background. People respond better to visuals.

Remember – always put your contact details on the first and last slide – in case people want to contact you and network!

3.The week/day before

Important things to consider:

  • Find out where the conference is and take into account travel
  • If the conference is more than one day – do you have suitable accommodation? Check if the university can offer accommodation.
  • Can you get funding for attending? You may have to fill the forms in before, not after – so take that into consideration so you aren’t caught out.
  • Time your presentation and rehearse it (on your own is fine but might be helpful to rehearse in front of others too if it’s your first)
  • Make sure you have sent your presentation, have it on a memory stick, or have it emailed to yourself etc. I’ve known people who have been caught out with this.
  • Plan the journey and plan what is appropriate to wear – is it a graduate conference (casual) or a large, international conference that you might want to go more formal? If in doubt, I would always go somewhere in the middle instead of extremes – you want to feel comfortable.
  • Print your notes in a large font and mark where you are going to change slide (if that’s the technique you’re using).

4.On the day

Delivering your paper can be nerve-wracking! Make sure you’ve seen the agenda and you know where and when you will be speaking. If you have time – get your presentation downloaded before your talk, so it is there on the desktop.

S P E A K  S L O W L Y . . .

Look at your audience.

And good luck!

by  Layla Hendow, PhD researcher at University of Hull