Graduate School competition showcases unique Images of Research

Date 16.11.2015

​​The Graduate School’s Images of Research competition 2014-15 recently offered researchers a chance to illustrate or represent their research with a unique image.

Twenty-eight researchers at the University submitted images to the competition, aiming to capture the essence of their research in a visually attractive way. Professional image maker and PhD student, John Sunderland, was invited to choose his top three.

John commented: “I was delighted to see this initiative to link the visual image with research, and honoured to ​be asked to judge the competition. As a professional image maker and researcher, I understand that images can and do function as ways of communicating knowledge and ideas in ways that words (spoken or written) do not.”

“An image of research can go beyond simply showing something,” John explained. “As well as producing evidence, images can evoke thoughts, memories and emotions in viewers that can help to elucidate subtle nuances in research that are otherwise hard to ​get across.

Jane Youell's 'Love in the Face of Dementia'

John judged the entries by looking at the prints on their own, without any descriptive text, to get a sense of what the images themselves were communicating – with no knowledge as to whose work he was judging nor which School the researcher was from. He explained: “After a period of gestation I revisited the works and read the texts. I sought continuity between the two and in some cases, although I found the images evocative, it was at odds with what the text expressed and therefore had to be ruled out. This repetition of viewing over time continued whittling down my selection. In the end the final decisions were difficult, I think my decision was guided by three factors, continuity between text and image, passion and compassion for the research subjects. Above all it was the strength of communication visually as a whole that won through.”

John chose research student Lauren Samet’s ‘Determination!’ in first place (pictured above). He chose Jane Youell’s ‘Love in the Face of Dementia’ and Professor Philip Garner’s ‘A Dog’s Life’ in second and third place respectively.  A ‘People’s Vote’ attracted over 900 votes at three exhibitions and online and Saneeya Qureshi, from the School of Education, won with her image “Does the Shoe Have to Fit…?”. All of the images are available to download.

Professor Philip Garner's 'A Dog's Life'

Simone Apel​, Research Training Coordinator for the Graduate School, commented: “Many thanks to everyone who took part! If you are a member of research staff or a research student and this has inspired you, why not enter into the 2015-16 Images of research competition? Look out for the call for images at the end of the summer.

Pictures: Top: Lauren Samet’s ‘Determination!’

Left: Jane Youell’s ‘Love in the Face of Dementia’

Right: Professor Philip Garner’s ‘A Dog’s Life’