KEDS MA Student Presents Paper at Hawarden Seminar

The following comes from one of our MA students, Anthony Royle. It sounds like quite an experience and we hope the account, in Anthony’s own words, will be an encouragement to you in your own studies.

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Last Thursday (6th April), I had the privilege of presenting a paper at the annual Hawarden Seminar on the NT use of the OT at Gladstone’s Library in North Wales. The seminar is headed by Susan Docherty (Newman University) and has some of the most prominent scholars in the field (Steve Moyise, anyone?) in attendance. My paper was based on my MA thesis entitle “The Vorlage of Paul’s Citation in Ephesians 5:14”. It was my hope to present the paper and receive feedback that would help me before my final submission. The benefits of attending and presenting at a conference such as this are invaluable. I thought I would like to share 5 benefits of presenting a paper or attending a conference with my fellow MA students and encourage you to submit abstracts to like mannered seminars.

I will say before I list these benefits that it is extremely difficult to have a paper accepted at conferences like the Hawarden Seminar. These conferences receive an innumerable amount of submissions, some of the highest quality by renowned scholars and even PhD students. For an MA student to have their paper accepted if quite rare. Also, these seminars and conferences will also have a theme in mind. So do not lose heart if your submission is rejected (I have experienced this a few times) because your thesis may not fit the theme they have for that year. So I advise you to do your research on what themes they are looking for beforehand.
So, what are the benefits of presenting or attending an academic conference or seminar?
1. Firstly, as mentioned before, to gain feedback for your essay by some of the top academics in that field. There is usually a question and answer time after the delivery of the paper where discussion is most profitable. Although your thesis is your baby and questions can be intimidating, do not look on the time with a pessimistic attitude, but be open to criticism and use the questions to further your research and improve your project.
2. The other papers contain research you may need. Although this was not the case for my current dissertation, I did glean some helpful discussion for an idea I have for my PhD proposals I am due to submit. These papers can also be inspiring and spark ideas for future projects.
3. The friendly atmosphere and gracious spirit in some of the mature academics in the group is encouraging and the ability to have discussions with them on various topics can be lucrative. From the very first break Steve Moyise came and sat with Dan Kayley and I and was answering all our questions. He also later joined me for a coffee without invitation and began talking to me about N.T. Wright’s new book. It was surreal but a wonderful opportunity to get to know Steve.
4. Dan and I found it helpful to talk with PhD students as we are both in the process of making proposals for PhD scholarships. We were able to get information on how to word these proposals, or how not to word them, and also gain insight in what the first year of a PhD student’s life is like.
5. People get to know you and talk about you and your work. After I had finished presenting my paper I noted that some of the attendees had google searched me and came across my profile. Funny enough, when I arrived I was mistaken for someone else,  a PhD student at Oxford (apparently I have a doppelganger!), but by the end of the day it was great to see people had an interest in me and my work.

Anthony Royle

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