St Mary’s Presents Student Research Awards

St Mary’s University College, Twickenham recently held an annual conference and awards ceremony for postgraduate research students at its Strawberry Hill campus.

Postgraduate research students and staff were invited to a day-long conference, which provided an opportunity for them to present and discuss a range of research ideas in a friendly and supportive environment. The day culminated with an awards ceremony in the Waldegrave Drawing Room at which prizes were presented to staff and students by St Mary’s Vice Principal Dr Claire Taylor.

Jessica Hill (School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science) was given first prize in the student oral presentation category with her paper ‘Compression garments and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage: A meta-analysis’. Second prize was awarded to Natalie Airs (School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science) with her research ‘”What’s masculinity got to do with it?” Examining the factors that affect body image, eating and health behaviours in men’.

Jackie Thomas (School of Theology, Philosophy and History) won first prize in the student poster presentation category with her research ‘First profile of UK Hospice Chaplains’. Alexandra Atack (School of Sport, Health and Exercise Science) took second prize with ‘Biomechanical analysis of rugby place kicking technique: Two case studies of professional players’.

There were also two additional staff awards.

Prof Chris Keith, Professor of the New Testament and Early Christianity at St Mary’s, won the Experienced Researcher Award for his research entitled ‘The Indebtedness of the Criteria Approach to Form Criticism and Recent Attempts to Rehabilitate the Search for an Authentic Jesus’.

The research is primarily concerned with the usage of so-called criteria of authenticity in historical Jesus studies. Prof Keith argues that the criteria of authenticity have not worked and cannot work as a historiographical method because they are essentially rooted in the historical positivism of modernity.

The Early Researcher Prize was awarded to visiting lecturer Kim Salmons with her paper ‘Anarchic Appetites: Vegetarianism and The Secret Agent’. The paper examines Joseph Conrad’s critique of capitalism in The Secret Agent through the rhetoric of vegetarianism. Using the association of anarchy and vegetarianism in the writings of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, Kim considers the symbolic meaning of the ‘natural’ diet and how this allows audiences to locate the opposing forces of anarchy and capitalism within the context of Promethean mythology, employing the analogy of raw and cooked food.

St Mary’s Research Co-ordinator, Claire Tapia said, “This was our third annual student research conference and demonstrates the continued development of our research profile through the wide range of work that is being undertaken by our students. We were delighted that Dr Claire Taylor was able to present the awards on the evening, demonstrating the strong institutional support for postgraduate research.”

Dr Claire Taylor commented, “St Mary’s is a teaching institution, which is underpinned by scholarly activity and research. We are a community of learners, teachers, scholars and researchers, and these awards celebrate this ethos.

“St Mary’s has experienced a significant growth in postgraduate research, with only 18 students just a few years ago, growing to around the 50 we have today. Events such as this offer the opportunity for our students and staff to come together, discuss and celebrate the research within the University College and I look forward to many more like this in the future.”