Up for a blether
We chat to English Literature PhD student Veronica Vivi about LLC Blethers, an annual evening of academic storytelling.
Now in its fifth year, and running as part of the Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh, LLC Blethers is a night of “fast-talking, good-eating and fun-having”.
The event is organised as a competition where, as Lead Organiser Veronica Vivi explains, “contestants tell a story or introduce the public to an aspect of their research, their academic life or really anything that they find interesting/they are passionate about”. It’s inspired by the PechaKucha format, so speakers use just 20 slides, each lasting only 20 seconds.
“As it is a competition, we have both an overall winner and winners of categories like 'best use of the format', 'most creative/funny presentation' and so on. It’s organised within the postgraduate community in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC), but is open to all, and everyone in the University can come along and enjoy the night.”
LLC Blethers takes place at an informal venue near campus, "giving people the chance to mingle with fellow students and staff in an environment that is not the classic classroom/university building". Featuring a pub quiz, musical acts, a raffle and free food, "it is a night of fun, entertainment but also intellectual conversation, discovery and creativity. The contestants also leave with experience in public speaking and communication skills.”
A sense of belonging
Originally from Italy, Veronica is a graduate of our Literature and Modernity MSc and is now in the first year of her PhD on contemporary women writers, dystopian fiction and feminist activism.
She became involved in Blethers when last year's Lead Organiser, Valentina, was seeking someone to take over her role and make the event happen again, deciding that it would be a good opportunity both to help maintain a tradition and to get involved in LLC life in a creative way.
“Especially, as I am a first year PhD, I thought it would be a lovely way to better get to know fellow students and give other students, especially first years and January starters, the chance to take part in a department initiative.”
“As Lead Organiser, I coordinate the different aspects of Blethers as well as being the one in charge of its funding. However, Blethers would not be possible without the fantastic team behind it, putting a lot of effort into every aspect, from prizes to social media and entertainment.”
“I feel being part of Blethers gave me a sense of belonging and helped me find a place in the department at the start of my studies, but, more importantly, it allowed me to connect with other students within LLC in a non-conventional way.”
Would you like to take part in LLC Blethers 2019?
If you have something to say about any aspect of life, your research or exploding kittens in LLC, want to win a great prize and have something to put on your CV, LLC Blethers would like to hear from you. Simply email your proposed topic (in 150 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by 14th January 2019. The event is on 21st February 2019 in Edinburgh.