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Seizing the Opportunity for Innovation: Developing the International "Visulalise Your Thesis" Competition

Ms Christina Ward,
Ms Ruth McConchie, Dr Julia Kuehns, Mr Wil Villareal, Ms Jennifer Warburton

University of Melbourne

Why does the traditional conference poster endure? In an increasingly digital world where video and animations are the standard for content creation, research communication has moved past the limitations of print. Since 2015, a small team of University of Melbourne librarians has collaborated with the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education (MCSHE) to hold an annual poster competition for graduate research students - part of a wider ‘Researcher@Library Week’. In 2016, this traditional printed poster competition was transformed into an ePoster competition. In 2018, with encouragement from the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research), the local competition was launched nationally and generated immediate, enthusiastic national and international registrations (

The challenge for Visualise Your Thesis participants: to produce an eye-catching and informative 60-second “audio-visual elevator pitch” that succinctly describes their research, and its potential bene ts, to a non- specialist audience. The competition is an opportunity for students to build and apply their digital literacy skills, ensuring they are industry ready and publicly engaged. Students work with new copyright and technological constraints to communicate to a broader audience. This sharing of research outside academia in a more accessible format is particularly important in our current information and research climate. Increasing the profile of researchers using standalone, shareable content that allows easy identification of their other work (e.g. ORCID inclusion, twitter handles) extends an invitation to the wider public to join conversations with researchers. This presentation will outline how a group of busy librarians leveraged minimal resources and strategic relationships to transform a local, paper-based, competition into an innovative international, digital showcase and competition. This initiative built relationships and capabilities within the University of Melbourne as well as across other Universities involved in running the competition. Visualise Your Thesis puts digital capabilities at the centre of academic engagement discussions and training, showcasing higher degree researchers and their research to the public.