What we’ve been up to: interdisciplinary seminars

With the new academic year on the horizon the BPI team are busy planning an exciting suite of events and activities for the coming year, building on last year’s successes and learnings. In the 2018-19 academic year we ran a wide range of events, from a one-day conference on 50years of Poverty Research to an NGO-Academia Collaboration Forum on Poverty and Malnutrition in Low-and Middle-Income countries, and from a book launch to interactive workshops. Whilst many of these events welcomed and encouraged external participation our main focus for our first year of activity was on building internal awareness and engagement, both of the BPI itself but also across and between researchers working in different poverty-relevant fields.

In October 2018 we therefore launched a new interdisciplinary lunchtime seminar series on broad themes relevant to poverty research. The key aims of this series were to facilitate networking, to showcase the range and value of research taking place on poverty-relevant themes across schools and faculties, to expose researchers to different perspectives and approaches, and to set collaborations in motion. We also welcomed participants who are not currently working directly on poverty-focussed projects, as a key purpose of these seminars was to bring together researchers working in relevant fields and to try and expand the community of UoB researchers engaged with poverty-relevant issues.

This seminar series explored a diverse range of topics, and prompted lively debate and discussion within the rooms. This year’s topics were:

All the seminars were very well attended with highly interdisciplinary audiences. All six faculties were represented across the series, including researchers from engineering, veterinary sciences, population health, history, chemistry, English, human geography, biological sciences, linguistics, experimental psychology, earth sciences, archaeology and anthropology, and translational health alongside a wide range of social sciences. These attendees spanned all career stages from Masters students to Professors, with around 50% of attendees at PhD or early-career stage. The range of speakers were similarly diverse, with at least three faculties represented in every panel including an average of 1.5 PhD/early-career, 2 mid-career and 2.5 senior-career speakers per panel.

We are pleased to announce that we will be continuing this seminar series in the 2019-20 academic year, alongside a portfolio of other exciting activities and initiatives. This year’s seminars are looking to explore a range of interesting topics, including the intersections between poverty and themes such as gender, conflict, infrastructure, technology, mental health, and sustainable energy.

Keep an eye on our website and twitter for more announcements, and feel free to get in touch via bristol-poverty-institute@bristol.ac.uk if you have any questions or are interested in learning more about the Bristol Poverty Institute. We look forward to hearing from you!