In late October, we had our first official Language of Access session, with three guest speakers who covered a range of topics, from medical archives to presentation style and social media.
Andrea Tanner spoke on London hospitals and opening up the historical registers of Great Ormond Street, previously restricted to their archive. The project involved the creation of a large database, and was soon expanded to include other hospitals across London and the rest of the UK. She also spoke more broadly about creating and managing large research projects, providing lots of useful tips including the notion of factoring in ‘wiggle room’ to all applications to allow them to change and imploring us to factor in volunteer costs. The session ended with a fun quiz in which we tried to classify historical diseases and afflictions according to their database classifications. More information on Andrea’s project can be found on the Historic Hospitals Admission Register Project website.
Ken Norman from New Tricks gave us a presentation about effective presenting, in an attempt to get us thinking critically about why we are presenting, who our audience are and what we are trying to get across. As well as clear practical advice, Ken provided us with useful hints and tips for increasing the efficacy of our presentations.
Melissa Terras presented the last session, a lighting session on the advantages of embracing social media. Drawing on her own experiences, she encouraged us to carve out our own space as researchers via social media.