Reflecting on Victorian Representations Colloquium – what students think
Earlier this year, Leeds Trinity University held a Victorian Representations Colloquium. The keynote speaker, Dr Trev Broughton, offered the audience an entertaining and inspiring interpretation of the correspondence of the Constable family. Four postgraduate students from Newman University who attended reflect upon their experiences.
“As a second year MA student currently working on my dissertation, presenting a paper at the Colloquium required me to write an abstract and organise my preliminary reading of primary and secondary sources to reflect the point that I had reached and to identify how I expected my research to continue.
This process, although time consuming, was very beneficial. By rethinking my research questions I could query the focus of the dissertation. I found that, in order to present my work to others who were not specialists within the area, I needed to create a sharper focus in terms of specific aims, and to show how my preliminary findings related to these.”
“I enjoyed seeing other Masters level students giving presentations on their dissertations. The colloquium provided opportunities to meet and network with others who specialise in the Victorian era. I also had the opportunity to access archives which would not normally be accessible. And the day helped me to decide on my dissertation topic!”
“The experience of listening to academic speakers within the area was extremely interesting, enabling us to look with ‘fresh eyes’ at the use of primary materials to make an academic case.
Whilst all the papers gave aspiring historians new research ideas, the paper, ‘Hidden in the Grave’ was especially interesting, shedding new light on the social, religious and historical significance of burial practices in Victorian Leeds.
It was great to meet other students and exchange ideas and pick up tips. Rosemary and her team, indeed all the members of the University staff we met, could not have been more friendly and helpful. They went out of their way to make welcome and ensured we enjoyed the whole experience.”
“I found it useful to hear about other students’ work on the presentation of Victorian women in museums. I’d done work like this in my UG degree and it was good to see how this is undertaken at MA level – to see the high standard of work along with how academics collated information to aid their arguments.
Overall the experience has, I feel, made a significant contribution to our knowledge and skills.”