Visualise your Thesis – Stretching my Brain in a Different Direction

Earlier this year, my stepdaughter underwent open heart surgery. The procedure went smoothly (thank goodness!) and she recovered well, however during this time, I was a little scattered, and found it difficult to fit in concentrated blocks of time writing my thesis. Even when I did have an hour or two to spare, my brain was all over the place, and I could not get into the zone.

Feeling guilty if I did not continue moving forward in my final year of research, I decided to stretch my brain in a different direction – to enter the Visualise my Thesis competition, as a way to test my capacity to capture some of the key messages of my findings in a succinct (one minute!) visual way. Playing with layouts and finding images that suited my theme helped to distract me when I was most anxious. It also helped me decide on a tone for future presentations that were upcoming (and which I have since blogged about here and here).

The Visualise Your Thesis competition runs along the lines of the better known 3 Minute Thesis, however the output is not a short talk, but a one minute audiovisual presentation. The website says that:

Visualise Your Thesis is an exciting new competition that challenges graduate researchers to present their research in a 60 second, eye-catching digital display. Using a pre-supplied template, entrants are tasked with developing a striking looped presentation to encapsulate their research projects in short, engaging, digital narratives. Competition submissions are judged on their visual impact, and how well the content presents the research. The digital format allows for different levels of creativity, multi-media, interactivity and interpretation and is suitable for all disciplines.

The finalists have now been announced (I was not one of them) and so I thought I would share my entry here, rather than see it lost forever in the millions of files on my desktop!

My goal for entering this competition was not to win a prize – I didn’t even consider that a possibility. Instead, my goal was to see how I could translate my research into something very brief and simple, something that I would enjoy making and others might enjoy watching. It offered me a creative outlet at a personally stressful time, and still allowed me to be thinking about my research. I would encourage anyone who is currently completing a Thesis to consider entering next years’ competition. Having a one minute timeframe forces you to consider what parts of your work are truly central, and how you might communicate this in a multimodal format.

So here’s my entry; enjoy!

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