Institute of Health & Society

Annual Postgraduate Conference

Annual postgraduate conference

Our annual postgraduate conference includes workshops and presentations by students and staff. It has a different theme each year.

On 05 June 2018 IHS held its annual postgraduate research (PGR) conference, organised through a committee of both staff and students. This year the theme was ‘celebrating our diversity’. This theme related to all aspects of postgraduate research: backgrounds, study population, methods and outputs.

The delegates fulfilled this remit successfully and showcased their research through posters and oral presentations. Dr Grace Lewis and Lara Ahmaro were awarded prizes for the best oral presentations in parallel sessions. Nadege Uwamahoro won best poster presentation by delegate votes, with Natassia Robinson and Laurie Davies receiving runner-up awards. The welcome address from Professor Allyson Pollock, Director of IHS, discussed the future career paths of the attendees and how diverse strengths and backgrounds could be drawn upon to enhance all our careers. A survey was also conducted by Nadege Uwamahoro, Beth Bareham, and Melissa Girling that assessed PGR priorities in evaluating public and patient involvement (PPI). This will feed into the ‘International Perspectives on Evaluation of PPI in Research’ conference to be held in November.

The programme also included two plenary and parallel double workshop sessions. The theme of diversity was epitomised by the stark contrast between the content and tone of the two plenary sessions. Professor Clare Bambra, IHS, presented findings from the interdisciplinary Stockton-on-Tees Study, 2013-2018, which discussed the high levels of social deprivation as well as health inequalities of the area. Later in the day, this was juxtaposed against research presented by Roger Burrows, Professor of Cities, centred on the extravagant wealth sunk into the newly built basements of plutocratic London. The talk served to highlight the problem of increasing spatial inequalities, which undoubtedly impact on health, and to remind us of the insights that can be gained from exploring the work of other disciplines.

Workshops were organised to appeal to the wide-ranging interests of postgraduate researchers with all the workshop leads based outside the institute. For the particular interest of the early stage postgraduates, Dr Simon Woods, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, delivered a workshop on ethics and diversity. For those at a later stage, Jenny Brady, Career Services, offered advice and support in future-proofing your career through action taken now. Dr Sue Lewis, Department of Geography, Durham University, hosted a workshop on ethnography which exemplified its suitability in understanding cultural and social phenomena that impact on health. Finally, Dr Gavin Stewart, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, enlightened delegates on the need to appropriately analyse secondary data in the attainment of robust research findings.

To add flavour to proceedings a bake off competition was organised, which saw a diverse range of cakes and other baked goods brought in by delegates. A prize was awarded to Julie Guest for the highest voted cake, but delegates certainly had a tough choice on their plates.

The event was organised by: Janice Fuller (Professional Support), Professor Elaine McColl, Dr Heather Brown, Chinyereugo Umemneku (Committee Chair), Grace Lewis, Dr Bethan Giffith, Samuel Hadjo, and Nick Walton. Thanks goes to all the presenters, workshop leads and of course delegates for making the day a huge success.

PGR conference 2018