White Rose Medievalist Meeting

The first official presentation of our ‘Faith in Food, Food in Faith’ Network happened on the 22nd of November as the three of us were invited to take part in the White Rose Medievalists Meeting at the University of Leeds.

The White Rose Medievalists is an interdisciplinary group composed of researchers and scholars investigating different aspects of the Middle Ages, bringing together fields like archaeology, history, literature, languages and history of art. It aims  to improve the communication across disciplines for research funding purposes.

Prof. Julia Barrow chaired the session while Dr. Iona McCleery presented the Studentship Networks and we had the chance to present our projects to other White Rose Medievalists.

We were a bit scared about presenting after only two months into our scholarships but it was definitely a good experience. We had 10 minutes to introduce our research, our sources and our main aims and objective. Although a 10 minute presentation can sound like an easy task it may present some challenges especially for non-experienced students. One of the main difficulties is to deliver your message when you actually don’t have data to present but just a research project proposal.

After some thinking and a lot of blog reading about how to deliver a good presentation in 10 minutes, a few golden rules can be outlined.


  1. Keep it clear and simple. Academic presentations always have an outline, follow it!
  2. Include some motion. Especially if you don’t have data to present it is important to deliver your message in a visual way. Pictures, maps and suitable quotes are a good way to help you talk about abstract concepts.
  3. Rehearse the presentation several times. As Latins used to say Repetita iuvant! It is important to be fluent and the more you repeat, the more your speech will sound spontaneous. Just to give an example, Harvard brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor who gave a TED talk about her vision of a brain stroke from the inside, viewed more than 16 million times on TED.com (you are one of them, aren’t you?), rehearsed her presentation 200 times before she delivered it live.

As mentioned before there are several blogs and online resources available concerning public speaking and designing a presentation.  For more information, here are a few suggestions:

9 public Speaking lessons from the world’s greatest TED talks by Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo http://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/03/04/9-public-speaking-lessons-from-the-worlds-greatest-ted-talks/

The thesis whisperer, a nice blog on academic life on the 5 classic presentation mistakes http://thesiswhisperer.com/2010/11/25/5-classic-research-presentation-mistakes/

The next scientist website on how to improve PhD students’ presentation skills http://www.nextscientist.com/improve-presentation-skills-of-phd-students/

 The talk of Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor because if you are not one of the 16 million people we think you should be.  http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en




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