Next month I am giving my first paper at an academic conference. When my abstract was accepted, I was delighted – especially as the event is taking place at the university where I did my first degree in the early 1970s. Then I started getting seriously nervous. A twenty-minute presentation began to seem like a really daunting task.
I did some teaching, many years ago, and have produced a few internet lectures, on the GEOSET site, now based at the Kroto Research Institute at Sheffield University. Making the GEOSET recordings was a doddle. I could practice on film, review my performance (with all the awfulness of noting my own particular hesitations and repetitions!) and then re-record an improved version. Being in a small room, with no audience other than the camera, helped hugely. (I urge anyone interested in having a go at the presentation of her/his research in a non-stressful setting to visit the little studio at the KRI. Victoria Blackburn (firstname.lastname@example.org) is now the GEOSET coordinator.)
… But back to my conference paper. The content is not really a problem. However, pacing and timing is. The 25-odd slides have taken me HOURS to produce. I have given much consideration to how much text to include, which images to use, the legibility of fonts and the best colours to employ; and I have spent time playing with the technology which allows you gradually to build up the information presented on one slide. Now I feel that the difficult work has been done, and I just have to prepare a script. Readers who are very familiar with the process of giving lectures illustrated with slides will consider the following statement as blindingly obvious: I have discovered that well-paced, apposite slides offer wonderful prompts to the speaker, making the whole process of delivery a great deal easier
A not very scary image of psychiatrist villain, Prof Strange (but note the nod to Freud)
I am going to be talking about portrayals of psychiatrists in fiction and I have had fun finding images. I include here a picture of Marvel Comics psychiatrist, Professor Hugo Strange. This innocuous, copyright-free image is misleading – have a look at how scary a villain this comic-book psychiatrist really is at: http://s959.photobucket.com/user/dHunter333/media/Misc%20Figure%20Pictures/88079-186109-hugo-strange.jpg.html