350MC Working with Photography in Context – Lecture 9

On Tuesday 25th November 2014, I attended a full day of lectures for my 350MC Symposium module. The start of the day was the same as any other session where we started with a half an hour session in our Working Groups where we continued to play around with the schedule of the Symposium event and contacting possible Guest Speakers. After this, we attended a practitioner talk with Paul Gaffney that lasted just over an hour including a question and answer section. We then had a short break before having a talk with Student Welfare about managing stress in the final year of our degree. After lunch, we then finished the day with a talk by Shaun Hides about turning research into an argument and structuring a presentation. Notes from this day can be found below:


Paul Gaffney Practitioner Talk:


As I’ve already been introduced to Paul Gaffney and his work during our second year trip to Ireland, I thought I would take this opportunity to relate this talk to my Symposium and take notes on his presentation skills. Please find these notes below:

  • His delivery was quite quiet making it difficult to hear what he was saying – however, he did apologise at the start of the talk that he would struggle to project his voice at this point in time
  • He seemed very relaxed and made the talk rather conversational in the sense that he didn’t read from a script – he had clearly done this talk before and knew the content well
    • He used his hands to express different sections of the presentation making it seem very relaxed
  • With this being said, he did occasionally say “erm” but I think that his memory and deliver was still really impressive
  • He made eye contact with the majority of the room (usually those that had their full attention on him) and occasionally looked back at the slide as a memory trigger and a way of explaining a particular concept
  • Although he stood behind a table where his laptop was placed, allowing him to skip to the next slide when necessary, he didn’t hide behind it – he was easy to see therefore easy to connect with
  • The lights were relatively dark within the room due to the presentation but some lights remained on as a way of allowing us to se him
  • Presentation
    • The presentation was very simple – it include titles and dates of projects of work, followed by photographs that were included in the stated collection
    • There was a time where he had to switch from the presentation to a video he wanted to show which disjointed the presentation slightly but he continued to talk through the transition whilst also knowing what he was doing
  • Half way through the presentation, music student in either the room above or next door started playing some relatively quite music but this still created a slight distraction to the presentation – admittedly this is nothing really to do with Paul Gaffney’s presentation skills but it has allowed me to think about our venue for our Symposium event

Questions and Answers:

  • You have to make something that’s meaningful to you to make it meaningful to someone else
  • Take in constructive criticism but make your own decision for what is best for you and your project


Managing Stress in the Final Year of your Degree with Student Welfare:

Presentation – Stress Management and your Dissertation

  • General triggers that increase stress
    • Avoidance of main task
    • Too many commitments
    • Perfectionism
    • Working to other people’s agenda’s
    • Not being realistic about time
  • Finding a strategy that helps you
    • Personal Audit of Stresses – top four stressors in your life right now
      • General work load – Symposium, #Phonar, Networking Skills
      • Family relationships
      • No time for self – due to work load
      • Housework
    • What helps you to de-stress?
      • Getting the work done
      • Zumba classes
      • Watching movies/television
      • Date nights
    • Relaxation – meditation/mindfulness
    • Strategies to tackle avoidance
    • Realistic downtime
    • Supportive people


  • What is procrastination? – The action of delaying or postponing something
  • What is your main way of avoiding things?
    • Think about this and identify it – this will help you identify it when it is occurring, allowing you to move on quicker
  • Reducing procrastination
    • Become aware – we can only change behavior when we become aware of it
    • Exploring and experimenting – trying to understand what your procrastination is about; it is important to give attention to yourself
    • Choosing to get involved – get support; get deeply involved in the subject; do not delay making a decision; reward yourself
    • Completing – letting go is important; recognize when you have done enough
    • Resting – reflect on your achievements once completed; enjoy the positive feeling; make positive statements towards yourself

Some practical steps:

  • Make an action plan
  • Break large projects down into manageable chunks
  • Learn to deal with interruptions
  • Recognize when the time has come to seek advice
  • Schedule breaks
  • Decide on a reward


Turning Research into an Argument and Structuring a Presentation with Shaun Hides:

This talk was based around looking through and discussing the word document shared below:

Turning Research into an Argument and Structuring a Presentation – Shaun Hides