Last night I got to know the students and lecturers at bit more. So, what are they like?
There are 51 of us from different universities throughout Europe. We inhabit a two-a-room dormitory in a student hall of residence. The room is fairly basic although it does have free internet and wifi access. Phew! Refreshingly the majority seem to be quite positive in their desire to socialise. I’m immediately stuck by their mastery of the English language. It’s very humbling to realise that the the majority of these PhD students are describing complex concepts and theories which are not in their native tongue. I have difficulty in articulating my ideas from a mono-linguistic position! It endorses the view that we Brits are lazy when it comes to learning foreign languages.
It also, of course, shows the adoption of the English as the main language within the European academic circles. Indeed attending a conference in Slovenia which is conducted in English proves this.
There are about about 10 lectures who mostly stay for the first week and then are replaced by an new group for the second.
Today’s morning lecture was by Hannu Nieminen on The public sphere and social networks: transnational tensions which focuses on Habermas’ concepts of the public sphere . I’ve been to a lecture by Hannu before. He is an alumni from at the University of Westminster and presented his resreach into European media and communication policies: cultural defence vs. Americanisation?.
The second part of the morning session started what will form a large part of these two weeks, the Student Workshops. Each student has had to upload a 3,000 work PhD proposal a month ago. We’ve been divided into three separate flow groups. I’m in yellow. Through out the 12 days each student gives a 10 minute presentation summarising their research topic. This is then responded to by a student representative, a lecturer and the flow manager. It’s a provides very detailed and valuable feedback from sources other than your own institution.
The afternoon session begins with an engaging and stimulating lecture by Anastasia Kavada from our own University of Westminster on Developing research on web 2.0 platforms.
The final part of the afternoon is taken up with a very detailed Oral presentation skills workshop which entails mainly about how to get the most out of Powerpoint. This overruns quite considerably and, although very useful, everyone is quite relieved when it ends.