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Communicating research through visual media

  A building on fire

Last August, when we started planning LSE’s third Research Festival, it was suggested that an exhibition of visual media, to take place during the Space for Thought Literary Festival and in the sleek surroundings of the School’s New Academic Building, be its central event. Any initial anxiety about whether the submissions would be either numerous or beautiful enough for such an event was swiftly put to rest as the posters, photographs and films rolled in from students and staff at LSE, Cambridge, SOAS and UCL.

The exhibition, on 1 March, provided a brilliant showcase of research across these institutions, and a reminder of the importance, and fun, of communicating research through non-traditional media. The 19 posters, 10 films and 32 photographs on display had all been produced in response to the simple but challenging question “What is my research about?” – a question that had to be answered in one still image, a short film or a striking poster. For researchers more familiar with communicating their work through a thesis or conference paper this might have presented a significant challenge – it is no easy task to identify the essential elements in a vast piece of work, the nugget among many research findings, and then to convey that nugget in striking, clearly understandable form – but all of our entrants explored the question with enthusiasm, excitement and considerable visual panache, as the images here show.

In a world of democratised media, fast messages and multi-platform communication, many would argue that the ability to convey research in these ways is essential. Today’s researchers are tomorrow’s policymakers, commentators, leaders, teachers – all required to get their messages across convincingly, often at speed and ideally with style. LSE’s Research Festival provides a great opportunity for them to practise these skills and, for those of us lucky enough to attend the exhibition, a chance to be reminded of the wonderful creativity that lies at the heart of the very best research.  

Jane Hindle, on behalf of LSE Research Festival Committee (Louisa Green, Research Degrees Unit; Dr Sarabajaya Kumar and Jane Hindle, Teaching and Learning Centre)

LSE submissions for the exhibition included:

1. Communist pre-election campaign, Greece – photo by Evangelos Georgas, Sociology. 

Evangelos Georgas Communist preelection campaign Greece


2. Templates, tales, and shrapnel of truth? Puzzling state making and the case of Somaliland – poster by Dominik Balthasar, International Development. 

Dominik Balthasar Templates tales and shrapnel of truth

3. Squatter’s loo – photo by Dr Sunil Kumar, Social Policy. 

Sunil Kumar Squatter's Loo

4. “I am”: beyond the eyes of others – photo by Dr Caroline Howarth, Social Psychology.

 Caroline Howarth I am, beyond the eyes of others

5. Internet and journalism online in Italy – film by Paolo Lucchino, Geography and Environment. 

Watch the video at LSE Research Online.

Paolo Lucchino Internet and journalism online in Italy 1

6. Revenue management – poster by Vassily Pigounides, Accounting. 

Vassily Pigounides Revenue Management

7. Exploring different life arrangements – film by Dr Edgar Whitley, Information Systems.

Edgar Whitley Exploring different life arrangements 1

Browse the festival entries in LSE Research Online

Find out more about the LSE Research Festival

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