On Wednesday, 12th February, we kicked things off with our PGR Launch Event. To an audience composed of both PGRs and supervisors, we presented the mission and aims of our Group, highlighting, from the very start, the interdisciplinary approach which is going to be at the heart of our activities. The main goal is, in particular, to engage PGRs from different schools and departments and create a ‘forum’ based on our common interest in Language.
An important part of the discussion was devoted to PGR presentations, which will be one of our core activities. These sessions are meant to be a unique opportunity for Language@Leeds PGRs to discuss their work in a friendly and supportive environment. As early-career researchers, we know how crucial it is to receive constructive feedback on ongoing projects and build our presentation skills in preparation for conferences. We also announced that our first round of presentations will take place at the end of March and we invited anyone who might be interested to think about this great opportunity.
For the second part of our Launch Event, we all had tea and coffee together while discussing the future of the L@L PGR Group. In particular, everyone had a chance to talk about their training needs and topics of interest, which was critical because these will form the basis of activities such as workshops, seminars and talks by guest speakers. In order to do that, we had already emailed, prior to the event, a link to an online whiteboard application, so that everybody could share their thoughts or ideas beforehand. Our tech-savvy Lisa also generated a QR code, which we used during the event to facilitate access to the whiteboard from everybody’s phone.
Although the event was only one hour long, the message was clear: we all share a strong passion for language research and, perhaps just as importantly, we all love tea! But whereas the latter was not too much of a surprise, we were really pleased with the wide range of ideas put forward to revive our Group; from workshops on quantitative data analysis, talks on machine translation and interpreting, through to language and social justice, and support with post-doctoral applications, the diversity of our PGR research community seemed to be well represented.
The afternoon concluded with a summary of all the suggestions and other points that were raised during the event. Because of the number of proposals, we decided to send out a survey, in order to give everyone an opportunity to vote their favourite ideas. This will help our organising committee plan the next sessions and make them as relevant and interesting as possible.
In conclusion, we are really grateful to all those who came along to our Launch Event and we are looking forward to meeting even more PGRs. If you have not completed our survey yet, you can find it here; also, we now have a dedicated group on Yammer (join us here)! We will soon be announcing some new additions to our organising committee and the names of the first presenters for the March PGR presentation session. Stay tuned and feel free to get in touch at any time!