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Postgraduate Researchers' Summer Conference

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Our Postgraduate Researchers' Summer Conference (PRSC) is an annual event for all research students. In 2023 it formed part of the MDX Research Summer Festival. You can find more information below.

PRSC2023 edition took place on 4 and 5 July 2023, a global showcase of the research carried out by researchers across all MDX Faculties, our Collaborative Partner Institutions and our overseas campuses.

It will be followed by the Knowledge into Action Lab, on 6-7-8 July.

Postgraduate Researchers' Summer Conference 2023

The 2023 Research Students’ Summer Conference took place on the 4th and 5th of July 2023, in-person at our Hendon campus, with some online paper presentations and Zoom connection to keynote addresses. 2023 marked the 12th year of the Summer Conference, with presentations by 100 research students and early career researchers from our overseas and London campuses and our Partner Institutions, with More than 230 attendees and presenters registered for the event.

Our Interim Vice-Chancellor Prof Sean Wellington delivered the opening welcome, outlining MDX ambitions for research as set out in the University's strategy to 2031, and stressed the pivotal role that postgraduate researchers have to play. Prof Joy Warmington MBE (CEO of brap, a progressive equality and human rights charity) gave a rousing opening keynote lecture that set the tone for the conference with its emphasis on radical creativity in research intended to pursue equality, ethics, inclusivity and sustainability. Day two included two further keynote addresses; the first from Prof Heidi Mirza known for her pioneering intersectional research on race, gender and identity in Education. There were strong threads running between the keynotes, with both speakers addressing the pressing demands upon emerging researchers to ensure that their research can make a tangible difference in the world. The third keynote performance was a play written by Zandie Ndlovu, a postgraduate researchers within the Transdisciplinary Programme. Her play ‘A Black Mustard Seed in a Bowl of Rice’ drew directly upon her doctoral research concerned to explore racism within organisational structures, cultures and everyday relationships. The performance underlined the potential for radical creativity in the ways that research methods and presentation of ‘findings’ can become something else – and have a profound impact. The conference came to a close with a plenary session chaired by Professor Kate Maguire, which included the Theme Directors, Prof Kurt Barling and Prof Johan Siebers; the Director of Postgraduate Research, Prof Vida Midgelow; and members of the Conference Organising Committee, Prof Jayne Osgood and Haider Alkhateeb. It provided an opportunity for audience participation and critical reflection on both the conference and postgraduate research study more generally at Middlesex.

Approximately 90 oral presentations and 11 poster presentations were delivered, spread across five time slots of 5 parallel sessions each. All sessions were well attended, with parallel sessions attracting a multidisciplinary audience with unreduced interest across both days of the conference. It was a remarkable demonstration of the diversity of disciplines and variety of research projects carried out by the MDX Research Community: sports science, psychology and psychotherapy, English, performing arts, childhood studies, natural sciences, computer science, business and management, law and criminology, covid-19 related studies, organisational theology and theological studies, design, engineering and mathematics and so much more that can be viewed in the Book of Abstracts. It was decided by the organising committee that prizes would not be awarded this year; in part to engender a greater sense of community and collaboration rather than competitive individualism (as outlined in the call for abstracts and the Chair’s welcome). The introduction of self-organised symposia, a new format of conference participation intended to encourage postgraduate researchers to organise sessions around shared interests.

Drawing inspiration from the wise words from bell hooks (philosopher, teacher, activist):

"The challenge these days, is to be somewhere, to belong to some particular place, invest oneself in it, draw strength and courage from it, to dwell in a community"

Presenters' work addressed the theme Radically Creative: Research towards an Equal, Ethical, Inclusive and Sustainable Future’ which provided a rich ‘somewhere’ to collectively dwell upon the potential for research to be bold, creative and impactful.

Our MDX research community is united by a commitment to generate knowledge that contributes towards fairer, healthier, more prosperous, and sustainable societies. Radical creativity plays a significant role in achieving this goal.

The Summer Conference 2023 was chaired by Prof Jayne Osgood and Dr Tuan Le (Programme), together with postgraduate researchers Patrycja Brodka Pedro and Haider Alkhateeb.

Participants' Hub

  • Keynote Speakers

Prof Joy Warmington

CEO of brap

Opening keynote address, Tuesday 4 July, 9:45am

Joy began her leadership career over 30 years ago designing ground-breaking learning programs for marginalized communities. Then came senior leadership roles in education, local authority and civil society, including 22 years as brap’s CEO, one of the UK’s most progressive equality and human rights charities. brap seeks to rethink our approach to equality in order to make “real” change. Our efforts are designed to generate evidence, be more ambitious about our work and encourage innovation. brap’s impressive work portfolio covers research, evaluation, organizational and individual development, and community support. Joy’s insights into making equity a reality are sought after by organizations seeking real solutions to exclusion and inequity. 2019 saw Joy awarded an MBE and named one of 50 “Women to Watch” by Cranfield University. As a lifelong learner and recent graduate in process work – a psycho-social method to democratize spaces and address conflict, Joy brings her unerring curiosity and appetite for change and creativity to her work. Areas of specialty: inclusion, anti-racism, organizational change, leadership development, conflict management.

Prof Heidi Safia Mirza

Emeritus Professor UCL Institute of Education

Visiting Professor Race, Faith and Culture Goldsmiths College

Keynote address, Wednesday 5 July, 9:30am

Heidi Safia Mirza is known for her pioneering intersectional research on race, gender and identity in education and has an international reputation for championing equality and human rights for Black, Muslim, Asian women, and young people through educational reform. A daughter of the Windrush generation from Trinidad and schooled in Brixton, Heidi is one of the first and rare 35 ‘Phenomenal Women’ Black Women professors in Britain. She is author of several best-selling books including Black British Feminism and Young Female and Black, which was voted in the top 40 most influential educational studies in Britain. Professor Mirza is a leading voice in the global debate on decolonisation and co-edited the flagship book, ‘Dismantling Race in Higher Education: Racism, whiteness and decolonising the academy’. She currently leads the IFS Deaton Race and Ethnic Inequalities Review which includes the impact of COVID-19 on Black and minority ethnic communities.

Keynote Performance

by Zandile Ndlovu and Pedro de Senna

A Black Mustard Seed in a Bowl of Rice

Wednesday 5 July, 12:00noon

Set in the summer of 2020 within a financial services organisation in the City of London, this play follows the experience of two young graduates as they navigate their first year of corporate life, and of their leaders who are confronted – and often confused with – this different new generation.

Set within the context of a global pandemic, a national work-from-home directive and a world confronted the reality of racial inequality following the murder of George Floyd, the play deals with the complexities of inclusion, and tackles everyday realities that for the most part may go unseen.

The play is performed by 5 actors, including 3 students from the Performing Arts Department, Middlesex University: Bohlale Mokhele, Roxy Barron and recent graduate Anthony Gretton.

  • Conference Programme

The unique poster design for PRSC2023 was created by Misa Murata, current PhD candidate in Graphic Design at Middlesex University. Misa created the line drawing based on the theme and represents radical creativity.

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We encourage participants to have a look at the FAQs sheet for the MDX Research Summer Festival. There you can find information about accommodation, parking and access requirements, and much more regarding the summer research events, to help you prepare.

MDX Research Summer Festival FAQs

We are starting the summer with a Research Festival at Middlesex! Find out more on how to participate in our twin event:

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