‘Small Steps Matter: Research Towards a Better World’ conference held earlier this year in July.
Date: 7 August 2023
For the first time, the Student and Staff Research Conference was held in-person at the Graduate Centre on 4 and 5 July. The two-day celebration of London Met research and diverse research culture was opened by Vice-Chancellor Professor Lynn Dobbs, who praised the Graduate School and the University in general for all that has been achieved over the last few years.
Each day was opened by an external keynote lecture and closed by an internal one. The first by Dr Tinashe Mushakavanhu (Oxford University) was contemplative in nature combining elements of his personal journey with that of Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera. He was joined in conversation by Professor Matthew Barac and PhD candidate, Alessia Dalceggio.
The second external keynote lecture by Professor Jeremy Howick (University of Leicester) featured a combative challenge to the health system, presenting empirical evidence for the medical effects of empathy and empathy training, with the panel chaired by Professor Ken White and PhD candidate Shahab Hassan.
The bulk of the programme consisted of 20 minute talks by students, staff or student and staff-combined teams from all five Schools and three minute lightning presentations by new students, complemented by poster presentations throughout the conference. Topics included the experiences of Afghan refugees in London, black and minority ethnic women in Higher Education, women in Finance, digital communication and activism, foreign investment in Nigeria, rewilding in London private gardens, Chinese subtitling of Les Misérables, a multidisciplinary approach to diabetes, antivirals for coronaviruses, microplastics and human health, future recruitment in the health sector, ethics for impact and many more.
Highlights were provided by both internal keynote lectures: Day one was closed by an emotionally intense presentation on the concept of intersectionality and school exclusions by Professional Doctorate in Education candidate Ama Agyeman and Dr Mabel Encinas.
The second day was concluded with an impressive presentation on informal urban development, research co-production and sustainability in Lebanon, India and Sierra Leone by VC PhD Scholarship holder Hosn Houssami, Dr Bo Tang and Dr Beatrice De Carli.
The cautiously optimistic conference title, ‘Research to a Better World’ was alluded to in several talks that demonstrated the positive contribution of research to individual health, particular groups and communities, and society at large. It was also reflected in the constructive and positive atmosphere throughout the conference, which was rounded off by the award of prizes orchestrated by Research Student Coordinator Oliver Brooks. It was concluded by PVC Research & Knowledge Exchange Professor Don MacRaild, who referred to the many joint student and staff presentations and called it the best Student and Staff Research Conference to date.
The conference was a joint venture of the Research Student and Staff Liaison Forum (Dr Eirini Meimaridou, PhD candidate Subeksha Shresta), the Research and Postgraduate Office (Anna Kamyk, Oliver Brooks, Maeva Khachfe) and the Graduate School (Professor Klaus Fischer). All sessions were chaired by both a member of staff and a PGR research student.
Many thanks to the IT support team: John Lucken and Elliseo Heredia and Student Assistants: Alessia Dalceggio, Saima Zaheer and Sajida Hashemi, as well as Eddie Rowley from Students’ Union for making the conference possible.