Yesterday, I had the fine pleasure of presenting my research paper on the artist Kay Rosen‘s 063 at the Midwest Undergraduate Conference in the Humanities at Simpson College (aka MUCH. A goofy acronym, but whatever works for them I suppose.) I have formally presented research a couple times before at my home campus, but this was the first conference I had ever attended.
I first came to be acquainted with Kay Rosen last year when I pulled her piece The Works from the university collection to include in our class-curated show. There is so much to appreciate in Rosen’s work and I was very excited to have this conference as an opportunity to share my analysis of 063. I had a packed room, a small room (a whole 12 people at least!) but a packed room nevertheless. While the smallness of the room made me more nervous than I usually am presenting, I thought it went very well and my small audience seemed impressed. (While he was asking the other presenter questions, I peeked over the moderator’s shoulder at his notes and read a nice little “Wow!” by my name.)
Two issues conference organizers should consider in the future (though you could just chalk this section up to naysayers gonna naysay)
- The guest professor presentation and discussion should have finished well before student presentations were scheduled to begin again. I presented in one of the four sessions scheduled after lunch/guest presentation time. We had from 1:30-2:30 for four 10-15 minute presentations and then discussion. Since the presenter finished just at 1:30, we did not get started until around 1:37. Luckily for us, the second student to present did not show up, so we were just fine on time.
- Either the selection process should have been a bit more strict or the student faculty sponsors should have worked with their students more on presentation. I hate to look down on my compatriots but I sat through more than a few lackluster presentations and some one somewhere should have let them know that they needed to get their work into better shape (and not end every sentence with the inflection of a question?).