It’s my absolute pleasure to announce that registration for the British Society of Criminology 2017 Postgraduate Conference is now open. The BSC annual conference is a showcase of the very best of criminological research exploring power, inequalities, legitimacy, morality and justice. The team at Sheffield Hallam University have put together a really interesting postgraduate conference programme for research students at all stages of their PhDs, from advice on the writing process to building your academic CV. These sessions will be delivered by criminologists, so they are tailored to the needs and interests of criminology postgraduate researchers. This year, postgraduate students will present their papers in the main conference, which is a valuable opportunity to get feedback from established academics. Postgraduate students can also submit posters and this is perfect for those in the early stages of their PhDs; a great way to get feedback on insights from your literature review or research methods.
The conference is a space for you to connect with other postgraduate students. It’s an opportunity to showcase your work, to be inspired by the incredible range of criminological research and to get excited about your contribution. We very much looking forward to welcoming you in Sheffield.
Chair of the Postgraduate Committee of the British Society of Criminology
The course will take place at Sheffield Hallam University's City Campus. Day 1 of the post graduate conference will take place in our new Charles Street Building, just a very short walk from the recommended hotels. More information about the recommended hotels and booking details can be found on the Accommodation tab.
Registration will take place on the ground floor of the Charles Street Building and all day time refreshments and lunch will also be served in this area. The welcome will take place in lecture theatre 12.0.06, on the ground floor, with workshops taking place close by in the same building.
There will be a social event on Tuesday 4th July, close by to the conference venue. More detailed venue information to follow. Day 2 of the postgraduate conference will take place at the main City Campus, Owen Building, with refreshments in Chef Hallam Central on level 6. Workshop session will take place on level 10 of the Owen Building.
Tuesday 4 July
|11:45-13:00||Arrival & Registration|
Charles Street, Ground Floor, Sheffield Hallam University
Charles Street, Ground Floor, Sheffield Hallam University
|13:00-13:30||Welcome to Conference|
Charles Street, Lecture Theatre 12.0.06, Ground Floor
|13:30-18:00||Parallel Sessions, Charles Street, Levels 2 and 3|
Read more about parallel sessions
|13:40-15:00||Meet the Editors & Getting Published ||Can We really Publish Something New? Discussion on Publishing First monographs in Criminology||Securing your First Research Grant ||Making the Most of Academic Conferences ||Beyond the PhD: Finding and Applying for Jobs |
|15:00-15:10||Refreshments - Level 2, Charles Street|
|15:10-16:30||Meet the Editors & Getting Published ||Raising Your Academic Profile and Maximising the Impact of Your Research ||Securing your First Research Grant ||Meet the Examiners: The Viva ||On Being a Writer: Getting Started, Getting (Un)Stuck and Getting Good Results |
|16:30-16:40||Refreshments - Level 2, Charles Street|
|16:40-18:00||Making the Most of Academic Conferences ||Raising Your Academic Profile and Maximising the Impact of Your Research ||Beyond the PhD: Finding and Applying for Jobs ||Meet the Examiners: The Viva ||On Being a Writer: Getting Started, Getting (Un)Stuck and Getting Good Results |
|19:00-22:00||Postgraduate Social Event, The Graduate|
Wednesday 5 July
09:30-10:00 - Coffee
10:00-12:10 - Morning Session
12:15 - Join main conference
Carina O’Reilly is in her fifth year of a part time PhD at Anglia Ruskin University, entitled “Neighbourhood Policing: Legitimacy and Accountability in Community Engagement”. She is now also a lecturer in Policing and Criminal Justice at the same institution. In her non-existent spare time she edits Policing Insight and is a local councillor in Cambridge.
Life as a part-time PhD student can be pretty isolating.
Until I got my full-time job last year at my institution (thank you very much, please don’t change your mind) I was doing about five jobs to pay the rent, which meant, in the rare hours I did get to work on my PhD, I did so from home.
At the start, I didn’t really know anyone else working on the same kind of subject, or who was at the same stage, and I found it difficult to tap into the postgraduate networks that were on offer at my institution as I was always at work.
Conferences have very much been a bit of a lifeline.
Though you’d be looking at me for a long time before you were reminded of a shrinking violet, I have an imposter syndrome the size of a space hopper that follows me around and inflates whenever I’m put near proper academics.
The postgraduate breakfast at the Nottingham conference was therefore a genius idea, as there’s nothing like breaking the ice by spilling coffee over yourself. The organisers made sure there were vegan options, which was also lovely, as that meant more bacon for me.
Most wonderful of all was having a corner to squeeze into where we were more or less forced to make friends – which meant I had someone to talk to at every break time (other than my supervisor, who was wafting around being Busy and Important).
The postgraduate panel sessions were also a fantastic idea and I’d have happily gone to all of them had they not run simultaneously.
As it was, I went to the ‘Building Your Academic CV’ session which turned out to be the RIGHT CHOICE as I had an interview the week after conference (and if I turn out to be a crashing, transcontinental disaster of an academic I can blame Steve Tong and Victoria Silverwood).
This was dead helpful, as it was the first time I’d really fully understood what the expectations were at interview and what I needed to demonstrate – and I got to ask whether it might be a good idea to get the interview panel taking part in a role play as part of my teaching demonstration (from experience: yes, but you may never be able to look the Dean in the eye again).
As is usual at the BSC, I wanted to clone myself for the parallel sessions as there were so many I wanted to go to.
The postgraduate sessions were (unusually) mixed in with the main presenters, so I found myself chairing and presenting my research in a session that clashed with loads of Proper Academics. On the upside, the small but perfectly formed audience who came to listen to us were genuinely interested in the work we were doing, and it didn’t look like quite such a fix when I picked on my supervisor to ask a question.
I’d strongly recommend that doctoral students try to present at conferences even if you don’t feel like you’ve got anything to say. People are very polite and tend not to throw things, especially not free food, and even an outline of what you plan to do can be fascinating to your listeners. One of the best presentations I’ve ever seen was from a researcher who spoke for 15 minutes about how her PhD had gone horribly wrong and she pretty much had to give it up and start again.
You also get to make friends. The people you present with will become your new best friends for the remainder of the conference, and anyone who asked a nice question will become your hero. Don’t build shrines to them, it’s a fire hazard, apparently.
Do also talk to random strangers at every possible opportunity. They won’t think you’re crazy, they’ll almost certainly be terribly grateful, unless they’re a really Busy and Important Proper Academic, and they’ll be surrounded by other people anyway so give them up as a bad job.
Unless they’re a personal hero of yours, in which case a little gentle stalking in the coffee queue is a good and not at all creepy plan. Just ensure your attentions are flattering rather than disturbing and they will very likely be delighted to talk to you.
Go to everything. Go to the drinks reception, sign up to the dinner, if you’ve found people vaguely working in your area to stick to, then brilliant, but even if you haven’t, go anyway. If you stay in academia you will be running into the same people for the rest of your career. The more strangers you talk to at your first conference, the fewer you’ll have to talk to at the next…
And remember what you’re there for. I came out of some of the conference sessions – one on police leadership and one on police governance in particular – absolutely fizzing with enthusiasm for the research I was encountering. That’s what we’re in this for – those moments that remind you that we’re pushing at the edges of what we know and that you, yes, you with the awful research question and the 300 downloaded articles you haven’t read, you’re part of it too.
And finally, do, at some point, go to the pub. This is a VERY IMPORTANT SHARED CULTURAL EXPERIENCE that also allows you to drink unwise cocktails and bond with all your new acquaintances. I promise you, there is absolutely nothing that will cement your new friendships than sharing a minor hangover and a sense of existential dread. I loved Nottingham, I can’t wait for Sheffield – and I hope to see all of you too. I’ll be the one nearest the coffee with the bacon stains down my shirt; come and say hello.
Jayne Price, is a PhD student within the department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool. Her research explores the ‘pathways and transitions between juvenile and adult penal institutions’. Jayne shares her experience of attending the last year's BSC postgraduate conference at Nottingham Conference Centre.
During my first year of study I focused on literature available about my subject area. Moving from a taught master to a PhD I was conscious to ensure that I retained a social network of researchers outside of my department. I decided to attend the BSC PG conference as it came across as extremely welcoming and supportive community through the social media channels that I had previously engaged with. I chose to submit an abstract that demonstrated an overview of the literature within my subject area and outlined the gap where my research would fit in. I was delighted when my abstract got accepted for the conference but also quite nervous about presenting on such a large scale!
When I arrived at the conference I found that most people I spoke to were similarly nervous. That said, when presenting my paper it was to a smaller audience so not as daunting! I actually found that this meant the questions posed by others were thought provoking and started a great conversation about the field of study. Although my research was at such an early stage that I didn't have any fieldwork or findings, I used the opportunity consider the structure of my literature reviews whilst in their development. I also submitted a paper to the BSC PG blog which was a great way to start writing for an audience in my first year.
I have since joined the committee and had a brilliant year arranging inclusive events. I look forward to meeting more PGs at this years conference.
As a third (ahem, final) year PhD student it wasn't too long ago that I attended my first big academic conference. It was towards the end of my first year and I hadn't yet begun my fieldwork so I was attending the conference but not presenting my research, though don't feel you can't present a paper if you haven't begun your fieldwork yet (I'll go into this later).
My PhD is linked to a large ESRC funded research project so luckily for me I already knew a few students and academics who would be attending and presenting at the conference. This meant that I could have easily just talked to the people I knew, but I felt this would not be making the most of this experience.
Instead I made sure that I attended sessions that were relevant to my PhD theoretically and methodologically and engaged with those presenting through asking questions, speaking with them during the social parts of the conference and I made sure that I followed up on Twitter or email so that I could maintain that link and begin to build a network. It is easy to feel intimidated or to get 'starstruck' when you meet a big name in the field, remember that everyone is human and most people are interested in the new work that is being done by junior researchers.
I also introduced myself to the early careers network committee and made sure I went along to the social events they'd organised. All in all it was a really good conference; I plucked up the courage to ask a few questions and spoke with academics researching in my area, and have since kept in touch.
Below are some tips for getting the most out of your first big conference taken from my own experience and from some very helpful colleagues:
Before the conference:
At the conference:
Melissa Pepper is in her third part time year of her PhD at the University of Surrey working on a thesis tentatively titled ‘Doing More for Less in Changing Time: The Use of Volunteers in Policing’.
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