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Why to come to BritGrad as an MA student

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

By Lucy Holehouse

Originally posted: 3 April, 2019

Between the deadlines and the dissertation, the thought of attending your first academic conference can be rather daunting. No one enjoys having to stand up and present their work in a room full of their peers, but if you’re going to do it anywhere, BritGrad is the place to start. Here are my top five reasons for you to sign up:

1. It’s an extremely welcoming space

One of the most important aspects of attending academic conferences is the opportunity to network with fellow academics. BritGrad is well-known in the graduate community as one of the most welcoming Renaissance conferences. We pride ourselves on creating a warm, friendly environment, one in which people feel confident and inspired to develop their ideas.

It can be terrifying to present your work in an academic space for the first time, and so the BritGrad committee ensure that every speaker feels supported and valued throughout their time with us. If you’re still not sure about whether you’d like to present you are more than welcome to come along as an auditor (though I must warn you, after watching once, you won’t be able to wait to present next year!).

2. You get to meet academic super-stars

The BritGrad plenaries are some of the top experts in their field, and you’ll be able to not only hear them speak but meet them as well. This provides an excellent stepping stone for any MA students looking to develop relationships for future PhD work or to discuss ideas for their MA dissertations. As well as this, many of this year’s plenaries are Early Career Researchers, all of them extremely understanding of the struggles of finding a career after completing an MA. So, whether you’re looking into going for a PhD or going straight into a power-house career they’ll have plenty of advice!

Take a look at our social media accounts to find out more about this year’s plenaries.

3. There’s a huge variety of panels

As we are open to anyone studying the early modern period, BritGrad attracts a wide range of panellists. It’s perfectly normal to be in a panel on adaptations of Shakespeare one minute and contextualising witchcraft the next. The diversity of panels greatly expands on research and interests, helping to develop links in your work that you might otherwise not have found.

4. Question-time

The post-panel questions were one of the aspects I was dreading most about presenting my paper, but it ended up being one of the most helpful and affirming aspects of BritGrad for me. The active questioning of your paper by peers is a fantastic way to build on your work, developing a stronger, more confident, paper. It’s also a great way to build self-confidence: nothing makes you feel better than proving that you know your stuff!

5. Having fun

Last (but certainly not least) is the sheer amount of fun! Whether it’s the opening drinks, the daily picnics, or the BritGrad party, there’s always time to relax and mingle with your fellow delegates. This year, our amazing events planner, Eve Loverock, has organised a fantastic party at The Other Place. So come along, and have a great weekend!

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