Graduate School

New Perspectives

What is New Perspectives?

Djanogly-art-galleryOnce a semester, the Graduate School teams up with Lakeside’s Djanogly Art Gallery to put on an event called ‘New Perspectives’, which is attended by members of the public. It involves an exhibition and a relay team of six postgraduate research students each delivering an 8-minute mini-paper exploring the relationship between a work from the exhibition and their own research. Previous events have utilised works by Edward Burra, Laura Knight, and more recently In the Shadow of War.

Although New Perspectives began in the Faculty of Arts, the events are not limited to research students from art-related disciplines – in fact, The First Cut event featured papers from many disciplines; from Art History to Economics to Health. We are simply looking for participants to bring a new perspective to the works of art and also to their own research, so research students from all schools and departments are welcome to apply.


How does it work?

You first attend a walkaround with the Curator of the exhibition at the Djanogly Art Gallery to be introduced to the works that are to be included in the exhibition. If you’re interested in presenting a mini-paper, you select one piece from the exhibition and relate your own research perspective to it, submitting a short (250-300 word) abstract of your idea to the Graduate School.

Our panel then selects six abstracts to take forward for the event. If your abstract is chosen, over the following weeks, you receive coaching sessions and facilitated peer-critique. This offers guidance on how to translate your written work into an oral presentation that will engage and excite an intelligent but non-academic audience.

On the day, we have a final rehearsal in the afternoon at the Gallery, before the evening’s ‘performance’ to the public. This is usually followed by a drinks reception.



Why bother?

This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in going into a curatorial, programming or educational role in a gallery or museum. It is equally useful for research students intending to stay in the education sector or teach. It is an exercise in advanced communications skills and an opportunity to think about making your research accessible to different audiences, which is a crucial skill for careers in academia or other fields involving public engagement.

What some of our researchers have to say.. 

Before [New Perspectives] I concentrated on the more basic aspects of deprivation such as lack of income or good education, but the artwork made me think about other broader aspects of deprivation which are less researched such as environmental deprivation and overcrowding in different regions… it widened my perspective. 

Sameen Zafar, School of Economics

I have always kept very quiet in art galleries - never thought of them as places where you go to meet people, or develop new skills. Then I joined a team of PhD students from different University departments delivering mini papers linking the art work at Djanogly Gallery to our own research, and I had to do a rethink. In rehearsal, we shared good practice and developed the invaluable skill of communicating across discipline boundaries and, on the night of the public presentation - yes, we got to talk, in an art gallery, very loudly. One of us even played some music... A really enjoyable experience for us all, and useful, too. Try it if you get a chance.

Fiona Birkbeck, School of Education




Latest Event

26 November 2016 - 19 February 2017

Victor Pasmore: Towards a New Reality. By the beginning of his professional artistic life in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Pasmore (1908-1998) had quickly established himself as an assured painter of lyrical landscapes, figures and still-life studies. ‘Towards a New Reality’ focuses on the period from 1930 to 1969, a time that saw the artist’s transformation from one of Britain’s leading figurative painters to one of its foremost exponents of abstract art – what has been described as ‘the most revolutionary event in post-war British art’.

Previous Events

Burra Exhibition

New Perspectives: Burra Exhibition


The First Cut photo gallery

Take a look at the photo gallery from this 'New Perspectives' event.



Email Dr Eleanor Forward, Researcher Training and Development Manager in the Graduate School.



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