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The show must go on(line)! Institute for Media and Creative Industries students experience a virtual poster event

25 March 2021

4 mins

Students in the Institute for Media and Creative Industries (IMCI) recently presented their research proposals at a virtual poster event.

The academic poster presentations are part of the Researching Media Industries module, a core module for both the MA in Global Communication and Development/Social Change* and the MA in Media and Creative Industries. At the poster event, students collaborated in small groups to give interactive presentations of their posters outlining their research proposals to IMCI academics and students. These interactive poster presentations are one of the engaging forms of assessments IMCI students experience on their MA programmes.

Usually, the poster event takes place in a large, noisy exhibition hall with participants wandering around and engaging with posters. This year in the context of social distancing and online learning, like so many other aspects of learning and teaching, we needed to adapt.

A new platform called GatherTown was used to replicate the real-world experience of exploring a poster exhibition space. Users create an avatar and can move around the space, to speak to other students via video chat. Users can open the posters to full screen to read and interact with the presenters.

The module leader, Dr Jessica Noske-Turner, says the day was a huge success “The poster event is normally a real highlight for students, and I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to have the same experience this year when everything had to go online. But the platform was perfect and it was a fantastic event with some excellent student work.”

Students enjoyed the challenges of new experiences. MA Global Communication and Development* student, Gus Bailey, said “The poster event was definitely something new!”

Tosin Oloja, a current student on the MA Media and Creative Industries project agreed. “[GatherTown] reminded me of a game simulation I played when I was younger called ‘Habbo’, so that added the fun element to it.”

Shujita (Zilu) Su (pictured), also on the MA Global Communication and Development* programme, said “I have never experienced a poster event like this before, which made me very curious, excited and of course nervous. The whole process of the event helped me a lot in my ability of solving problems, expression, presentation and so on.”

Although it was a different experience preparing for an online poster presentation, all three students say they enjoyed presenting on topics they are passionate about. Gus’s group developed a proposal to explore audience engagement with ‘green’ marketing and social media; Shujita’s group focused on media representations of domestic violence victims in Chinese media, and Tosin’s group proposed research that would examine BAME representation in the British Film Industry. “I thought we were able to illustrate how important this topic is, especially in the times that we are in, as well as answer some of the questions that our peers had for us. This poster event was an opportunity to see everyone’s take on the issues and discussions surrounding the sector. Overall, the event was super insightful,” Tosin added.

For Shujita, the poster event helped to bring the student community together and overcome isolation. “I was touched when we had a group photo in the end. We looked like a huge family even though we may not have met each other in person,” Shujita said.

The Researching Media Industries module prepares all of our students for their next big challenge: the dissertation. Gus (who started in October 2020) and Shujita (who started in January 2020) are looking forward to undertaking research relating to the field of global communication, development and social change.

“I learned a lot that I never covered in my previous postgraduate studies, including writing skills, research skills, and academic skills, which definitely contributes to my future career” said Shujita.

“I’m looking forward to starting my Dissertation and applying everything I have learnt from a mixture of modules into one final project that I am extremely passionate about – even though I had no idea I was passionate about it until I started my MA! The Global Communication and Development* programme has provided me with a depth of knowledge and understanding that I never had before and it has enabled me to apply this new knowledge into everyday situations as well as my master’s education.” Gus said.

Figure 1: A ‘class photo’ of IMCI students at the 2010-21 Researching Media Industries online poster event
Figure 2: The 2019-20 Researching Media Industries poster event on campus – pre-Covid-19

*From 2021-22 the title of this programme will change to Global Communication and Social Change.

To find out more about the Institute for Media and Creative Industries and our programmes, please visit our website.

To find out more about the title change for the MA Global Communication and Social Change programme, please see the blog here.

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