Postgraduate conference brings sociology staff, PGRs and MSc students together
Postgraduates and staff in the Department of Sociology relocated to the Harbour Hotel in Guildford town centre on 16 February for the Department’s first face-to-face postgraduate conference since the start of the pandemic.
Following two years dominated by social distancing, the event offered an opportunity for students on our MSc and PhD programmes in the Department to come together with staff for an engaging face-to-face event centred on the theme ‘Does Research Matter’. Presentations and discussion throughout the day focused on the societal significance and impact of research, in relation to sociology, criminology and media and communication. The event was organised by Karen Bullock and Mike McGuire, and speakers included several staff and PhD students from the Department, as well as guest speakers from academia and the home office. Between the sessions there was plenty of opportunity for those present to catch up and discuss their work over lunch and coffee.
There is an increasing importance placed on research, its impact, and value provided to society. The postgraduate conference provided a fantastic opportunity to hear from a variety of researchers about their work and approach to research impact. It was inspiring to acknowledge and appreciate the many ways in which social research contributes to policy and societal changeJonathan Allen, PGR Student
Following an introduction from Andrew King as Head of Department, the first session of the day explored a range of examples of the societal impact of research taking place in the Department, from informing the development of relationships and sex education guidance in schools to the evaluation of different forms of policy. There then followed talks from two guest speakers – Thiago Oliveira on quantitative criminological research on policy and violence, and Anastasia Loukianov on the role of social science in developing better ways of living. After lunch, students took part in a session on career options and three of the Department’s PhD students presented findings from their work. The much-anticipated final session of the day featured Andy Feist, Research Programme Manager at the Home Office, discussing the contribution of social science to government policy making.
Presentations and discussion were lively and engaging, while the enjoyment among all present of sharing ideas, experiences and findings with one another face-to-face was palpable. Jonathan Allen, one of the Department’s PGR students said:
‘There is an increasing importance placed on research, its impact, and value provided to society. The postgraduate conference provided a fantastic opportunity to hear from a variety of researchers about their work and approach to research impact. It was inspiring to acknowledge and appreciate the many ways in which social research contributes to policy and societal change.’
Karen Bullock, one of the organisers of the event, said:
‘we were delighted to welcome staff and postgraduates for our first face to face conference since the start of the pandemic to discuss a range of issues related to the impact of social research in society’
All images taken by Robyn Muir.