CSI Graduate Students take on the Two Minute Research Pitch challenge

January 15, 2019 by Denise Ing

On January 11, Cinema Studies Institute master's and doctoral students challenged themselves with presenting their research in an engaging, accessible and compelling way - in under two minutes. Before an audience of their peers and CSI faculty, participants spoke succinctly on a wide range of topics such as the gross out comedy, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, Newfoundland film, and dopplegangers.

Event host, Prof. Brian Jacobson took inspiration from "The Price is Right" to help alleviate some of the nervousness in the room. “Sharing one’s project ideas can be a great source of anxiety for graduate students — we know this," said Prof. Jacobson, "But discussing research can also be tremendously stimulating, and I was pleased to see how energized everyone became with the very first pitch."

However, participants in this inaugural edition of The Two Minute Research Pitch gained more than an adrenaline rush.

"Aside from this energizing quality, events like this allow students to practice sharing their ideas with clarity, brevity, and even style," said Prof. Jacobson. "What’s more, events like these have tremendous value as forums for forging intellectual community, especially for a growing PhD program like ours, in which cohorts separated by four or five years may have never met, and in which students may not realize that they’re working on similar ideas or with related methods. Identifying those connections is important, and we want to create opportunities to do so, and not just at the seminar table.”

As both a co-organizer and participant in the event, doctoral student, Kate J. Russell was happy to find a receptive audience. "The reaction to the event was overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of comments about how fun it was!" she said, "It was a really nice way for the grad students to come together and learn about each other's projects in a low stakes environment, and also build confidence in pitching research ideas."

Graduate students who missed the Two Minute Research Pitch will have their chance next year; the challenge is expected to become an annual event.