Coming into the week of Textualities 2017 the general feeling amongst my MA comrades appeared to be one of anxious trepidation. In the art of technological resources we were well looked after by Donna Alexander who introduced us to resources such as emaze and indeed the concept of Pecha Kucha. Meanwhile Dr Anne Etienne assuaged the nerves of all students attending by having us dance around the room one Wednesday morning and explored pacing and breathing exercises to have us prepared. Thus coming into the final days before the conference our worries were all our own. We were all well prepared in the technicalities of the occasion but it was another thing entirely going through with it.
— Daniel Lynch (@selloutforfree) March 10, 2017
My presentation focused on “Clerical Abuse in Irish Literature” and with a few days to go I had my slides prepared and pacing well practiced. However the revelations of Tuam in County Galway then happened. It would have been absurd to keep everything I had worked on the same and not mention the morbid elephant in the room and thus I set about changing and in some cases dismantling entire slides. In preparing for the Textualities conference I felt I learnt an early lesson for remaining flexible and aware that whatever may happen one must be adaptable.
On the morning in question I was privileged to open up proceedings and found the experience academically stimulating. I hope my fellow students felt as I did, that upon having to actually speak all fear dissipated. Pecha Kucha for the uninitiated involves twenty slides set to switch every twenty seconds. Initially I found the concept constrictive and perhaps a tad unfair. Having worked through it however, I believe it offers a new kind of presentation format which leaves no room for waffle and suffers fools lightly.
— English UCC (@EnglishUCC) March 10, 2017
After the opening panel we were offered insight into our work and the feedback I received has already gone some way into helping inform my work. Professors and students generously offered up examples of work that will most certainly frame much of my thesis’ narrative. Having gotten my own presentation done and dusted early, I was able to relax and enjoy all the other presentations throughout the day. The standard was impeccable and ranged from Joycean minstrel interpretation to examining famine roads.
In the future I feel my view of presentations will focus less on the anxiety of having to speak but instead on using conferences as an academic resource. Research is ultimately a lonely endeavour and it is not often one is afforded the luxury of receiving fellow academics opinions and insight. Nobody attends a conference to vivisect someones work for mere pleasure (I hope!) but we all have our blindspots. Conferences can offer something as simple as pointing research towards a new author or even as complex as applying a new theoretical framework.
My presentation stubbornly refuses to embed and can be found here. Photos used in the presentation are my own unless stated otherwise below.
Presentation Image Sources
Slide 1. Church. https://baptistspirituality.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/irish-church.jpg?h=450&w=600.
Slide 2. My own.
Slide 3. My own.
Slide 4. Paper Collage screenshots from The Irish Times, The Boston Globe, Omaha World Herald, and The Chicago Tribune.
Slide 5. Pope John Paul. http://media.vocativ.com/photos/2016/02/GettyImages-932527122111155188.jpg.
Pope Francis. http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Pope_Francis_Korea_Haemi_Castle_19_cropped.jpg.
Slide 6. Deliver Us from Evil. https://i.ytimg.com/vi/nk0Ml0lVFHk/maxresdefault.jpg.
Slide 7. Cropped images of Betrayal and The Raggy Boy from Goodreads.com.
Slide 8. A History of Loneliness. https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/517aoFLZWZL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg.
Slide 9. My own.
Slide 10. Calvary and The Magdalene Sisters.
Slide 12. Cropped images of the covers The Gathering and The Sea from Goodreads.com.
Slide 13. John Boyne. http://www.famousauthors.org/famous-authors/john-boyne.jpg.
Slide 14. The Vatican. http://media.worldbulletin.net/news/2014/02/05/349663-the-vatican-1.jpg.
Slide 15. Alter boy. http://margheritamaleti.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/altar-boy.jpg.
Slide 16. My own.
Slide 17. Communion Girl. http://swimtwobirds.com/first-holy-communion/.
Slide 18. Pen. http://student.ase.ro/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/pen.jpg.
Victoria Connor screenshot from http://risejournal.eu/index.php/rise/article/view/1264/1018.
Slide 20. Anne Enright. https://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/05/17/books/review/17subLEAVITT/17subLEAVITT-master1050.jpg.