RCUK-funded opportunities for researchers at the University’s cultural institutions

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‘Research speed-dating’

We are excited to announce that we’ve just recruited a new cohort of PhD demonstrators to deliver education sessions for secondary and post-16 students.

The recruitment and training programme for our new demonstrators is a flagship project within the University’s larger Research Councils UK (RCUK)-funded School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI). This scheme aims to help University researchers to directly engage and inspire young people. Our flagship project couples researchers from across the University with the collections at our cultural institutions and libraries to bring current research to life in a powerful and unique manner.

Therefore, this time it’s not just the Museum’s science programme which will benefit, as we have taken this very successful way of working with PhD researchers and are embedding it at Whitworth Art Gallery, John Rylands Library and within Manchester Museum’s humanities programme. This means there will be some exciting new sessions to look out for in the spring term!

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Mystery object task

Each PhD demonstrator has been chosen specifically to use their current research knowledge and skills to enhance education sessions; meaning that school and college pupils will benefit from having their very own expert in the room.

To prepare the researchers for this new challenge we invited them to take part in a day long training programme. This included an introduction to cultural learning with a mystery object activity using specimens from the Museum’s collection. After lunch the demonstrators had a chance to explore the Museum’s galleries to identify ways of facilitating groups in unique out-of-the-classroom spaces.

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Rewording research summaries

We ended the day by doing a spot of ‘research speed-dating’ to give the researchers practice of communicating their complex current research. They had 90 seconds to explain their research to a partner using clear understandable language. After a little feedback, they moved on to a second ‘date’ with only 60 seconds to spare this time. Before perfecting their explanations in a lightning-fast 30 seconds final ‘date’.

Armed with a refined idea of how to explain their research the researchers revisited and reworded their own short tweet-style summaries of their specific area of research. Throughout the day these 140-character ‘research tweets’ were displayed as a physical twitter wall.

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Research summaries twitter wall

With new sessions in the pipeline we hope that you and your students have the chance to meet our new demonstrators very soon!

Below are our demonstrator’s tweet-style research summaries:

 

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Sam – Life for ordinary #Romans growing old.  What did they do?  How did they cope?  Also, with 2000 yrs between then and now, #howdoweknow?

Twitter_logo_blueKarlina – I am interested in the effect of climate change on fish physiology so I study the effect of temperature and oxygen on fish swimming

Twitter_logo_blueNaomi – My #research: What did artist #WilliamBlake say about #JesusChrist in his artworks; what influenced Blake & how new & unique were his ideas?

Twitter_logo_blueKonstantina – I’m looking at archaeological skeletons and analysing their DNA to discover if they are related

 Twitter_logo_blueEmma – Were changes in climate, sea level or temperature responsible for fossil jawless vertebrate evolution and demise? Or are fossilization filters warping what we see?

Twitter_logo_blueStephen – Farewell Fossil Fuels! Processes that limit biofuel production are now understood. We are closer to making biofuels from plants feasible.

Twitter_logo_blueEvgeny – Did you know that teeth can help to improve your vision? Now you know. #stemcells from teeth may be used to enhance regeneration of injured eye.

Twitter_logo_blueMary – How have words meaning ‘mad’ changed over time? Can linguistic metaphor demonstrate whether cognitive concepts for madness remain stable?

CTwitter_logo_blueelina – By observing structural colour in nature, my research aims to produce colour in textiles without using colourants

Twitter_logo_blueCatherine – Could mixing and matching of modern-day viruses unlock secrets of the distant past?

Twitter_logo_blueJennifer – To save and show old sunken wood in water… in a museum

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Exciting opportunity for University of Manchester PhD students at our cultural venues

Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery and John Rylands Library are looking to recruit first or second year PhD students to deliver educational sessions for their respective secondary and post-16 programmes. The aim is to utilise PhD student’s expert knowledge to enrich the student experience for our formal school and college visitors.

This will be a paid position for the delivery of education sessions (which includes set-up and clear-away time where applicable). Delivery of sessions will be on a casual basis depending on demand. Demonstrators will receive full training in communication, facilitation and session specific skills before being requested to deliver any sessions. Further details of roles, responsibilities and payment will be given on enquiry.

Interested applicants at all venues should:

  • Be able to speak enthusiastically about their subject
  • Be able to communicate complex concepts in an approachable and engaging manner
  • Be interested in inspiring pupils to explore further study
  • Have excellent communication skills, preferably with experience of presenting to secondary or college students
  • Be organised, self-motivated, reliable and keen to work with groups of up to 30 secondary or A-level students
  • Be flexible and able to commit to dates up to one month in advance
  • Have some teaching experience (not essential)

Interested applicants for the Manchester Museum Science Programme should:

  • Be studying a Science subject at PhD level
  • Have a strong subject and practical knowledge in either genetics, molecular biology, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, climate change, geology, earth sciences, photon physics or a similar subject area (only one needed)
  • Have a passion for museum collections or be excited to work with them

Interested applicants for the Whitworth Art Gallery Programme should:

  • Be studying a Science subject at PhD level (ideally zoology or similar)
  • Have an interest and knowledge of animal anatomy and behaviour
  • Be excited to work with an art demonstrator in an art gallery/museum setting

Or

  • Be studying an Art subject at PhD level
  • Have experience in leading observational drawing
  • Be excited to work with a science demonstrator in an art gallery/museum setting

Interested applicants for the Manchester Museum Humanities Programme should:

  • Be studying Classics and Ancient History at PhD level
  • Have an interest and knowledge of Ancient Civilisations, particularly Greek and/or Roman
  • Have a passion for museum collections or be excited to work with them

Interested applicants for the John Rylands Library Programme should:

  • Be studying an English subject at PhD level (ideally English Language)
  • Ideally have an interest and knowledge of English language change from manuscripts, through printing and ‘modern’ changes, (opportunities to develop this further)
  • Have a passion for library collections, be already using the John Rylands collection for research (not essential) or be excited to work with them

Please apply by CV and cover letter (stating which venue’s programme you wish to be considered for and why), and send to Emily Robinson (Emily.robinson@manchester.ac.uk) by Tuesday 26th November 2013. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for one of the above roles please contact Emily Robinson by phone on 0161 306 1764.