LLC Blethers is a night of academic storytelling talking about any and everything students in the school of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures want to have a blether on about (in case you don’t know, at it’s simplest definition, blether is a Scots word for a chat). To help give the event a little something extra, all the presentations are given in the PechaKucha style, that is, they are done using slides that contain only (or at least predominantly) one image each. There are 20 slides allowed, and each slide is on screen for 20 seconds.
IncitingSparks.org wanted to make sure that these great presentations have a digital life beyond the Blethers night, and so we did a little low-budget filming of the Blethers presentations from this year. Below is a short description of each presentation and a video of the event live and as it happened. We hope you enjoy (and please excuse some of camera wobbles and less-than-perfect framing — just think of it as an aesthetic choice to give the videos an “authentic” feel).
Amateur Psychopathy 101 or:
How to Tell if your President is a Psychopath
Feeling utterly alienated from the US after Donald Trump’s election, Vicki turns to her gothic roots and to the Hare Psychopathy Checklist to get some (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) validation for what she was already wondering: is Trump a Psychopath?
Field Work: From Crooks to Books
Angus gives us a quick peek into the life of a shepherd (with all the cute pictures of puppies and lambs you would expect!), while also offering some insights into how shepherding is helping him to think of the connections between humans, animals, and the “natural” world.
How Not to Organize a Conference:
A 6-Minute Masterclass
Harriet MacMillan and Anahit Behrooz
Harriet and Anahit present a comical guide through their first experience planning a post-graduate conference. Some of the advice is specific to the University of Edinburgh, but whether you are an Edinburgh student or a student from elsewhere, Harriet and Anahit give good tips for how to get funding, share some mistakes they made so you don’t have to, and give you the inside knowledge on their best successes.
I was a Teenage Film Geek
Heather talks about her journey from teenage film geek to Film Studies student. She talks about studying and discovering film theory, endlessly studying sequences of films that she hates, as well as those that she loves, and having Oliver Stone refuse to answer her question that one time….
My Personal Trial: A Night at the Theatre
During a night out at the theatre, Gina discusses her unexpectedly dramatic experience around something most of us take for granted: the toilet. Through this experience, Gina unpacks her increasing awareness of the importance of gender neutral toilets for those of us who do not fit into the neat categories of male and female, as well as her progressive journey to better understanding her own identity.
Picture Books For Grown-Ups:
A History of Illustration in Four Books
Tess starts with her admission that she is a bibliomaniac (Hi, Tess!). She then takes us on a visually stunning exploration of the ways in which book illustrations have been made and used over time. She focuses on four books for her talk: Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), Sidereus Nuncius (1610) by Galileo, History of British Birds (1797) by Thomas Bewick, and The Kelmscott Press Chaucer (1896).
Project Myopia: Crowdsourcing a Diverse Curriculum
Rianna talks about the massive problem of myopic, non-representative curriculums in Western universities, and about her new project, Project Myopia, launched this year with co-founder Toby Sharpe. Rianna talks about the start-up of this amazing project, which, as she explains, and as stated on the project website, “is devoted to diversifying university curricula through crowdsourcing material from students, revolutionising the way that curricula are designed. We plan to display regular submissions of material (visual, literary, cinematic, musical etc) students feel their curricula would benefit from, focused on increasing diversity”.
The Merits of Weird PhD Topics
Juliet talks about some of the reasons why someone would take on, not only a PhD, but a PhD on a weird topic, like, for example, Juliet’s own topic of flirting. Juliet begins by describing how she first started studying flirting (spoiler: it started with a dare for the prize of a Mars Bar!) and then discussing some of the benefits and surprising ways her topic has become relevant.
Who Let the Vlogs Out?
Aran Ward Sell
Aran talks about his experiences with his vlog on all things related to the PhD process, from applications on forward. He gives some tips on what has and hasn’t worked for him, shares some of the responses he has received on his vlog, and talks about the ways that vlogging is helping him connect with people around the world.