The Graduate School

Graduate School Activities

Graduate School Activities, 2016/2017

The Graduate School hosts a range of workshops, events and conferences to provide the postgraduate community at Queen's with the opportunity to make connections with peers, academics, employers and others within the wider community. This semester we have a wide range of activities as well as our Training and Skills Development Programme.

Research Sandpits

What is a research sandpit?

It’s an intensive, interactive workshop designed to inspire and produce radically innovative and multi-disciplinary research proposals. Participants from a diverse range of disciplines come together in a creative, free-thinking environment and immerse themselves in a collaborative process around an important challenge (

The sandpit will begin with a few opening comments on the theme by academics working in related fields, followed by a short networking session to organise you into multi-disciplinary teams.  You will then work together to develop a project proposal which addresses the theme and which draws on your individual research areas.  Your team will present their proposal to a panel at the end of the sandpit, with a winning team identified on conclusion of all three initial sandpits after 13 April.  This team will continue to work on their proposal with a view to presenting it before an expert panel at the grand sandpit final in June.  An overall winning proposal will be decided at this event and the team awarded a prize of £1000 to support ongoing interdisciplinary research activity and engagement. Research Sandpits are open to all students within the postgraduate research community.

Find out more about upcoming Research Sandpits

Concept Album Talks

What is a Concept Album Talk?
The concept album talk uses the title of a song as an innovative way of communicating your research or course of study to a non-specialist audience.  The challenge is to pick a song title that would allow you to present your research or course of study in a different light.  You can only speak for the length of your chosen track. Concept Album talks are open to both postgraduate taught and research students.

Why take part?
It will a fun and challenging way of presenting your research to a welcoming audience.  In addition, it will develop your skills specifically in:

  • High-impact communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Articulating what is key in your research
  • Reaching out to an audience who are not necessarily specialists in your field
  • Delivering a talk within a limited timeframe 

Find out more about upcoming Concept Album Talks

The Graduate School Choir

The Graduate School Choir returned for another eight week session in Autumn 2016! The eight week course introduced our postgraduates to music from around the world in a fun and enjoyable manner. Previous experience of singing is not an essential and all songs will be learnt by ear so don’t worry if you can’t remember how to or have ever read music. All we are looking for are enthusiastic participants who have a love of sound!

Each session is facilitated by community music practitioner, Róisín Whyte. Originally from Co. Galway Róisín has lived in Belfast since 2008. Her working life has been an eclectic mix of radio and music. Classically trained on the piano, she teaches piano privately and also designs & delivers community music projects, often in schools, ALWAYS involving singing.  In addition she plays a little violin, tuned percussion and acoustic guitar.

She is currently arranging original songs for first steps into studio recording, collaborating with fellow musicians and collecting war wounds from the open mic circuit:

The Choir is free to join and last year we had a lovely group of students participating and feedback was very positive. It was a welcomed break from postgraduate study and a nice way to meet new students.

To register your interest in the choir please contact -


Here we'll be show-casing the workshops, conferences, and other programmes organised by members of our postgraduate community.


Do you have trouble concentrating on your writing? Too many distractions? Why not join us to ‘Shut up and Write’?

“Shut Up & Write, a movement that started in San Francisco, is a way for writers to structure their time and connect with others.

For academic types, who have embraced the idea, it’s a great way to carve out dedicated writing time and make progress on thesis chapters, journal articles, and grant applications. While an hour doesn’t sound like much, it’s amazing what you can get done if you really focus. The discipline and shared sense of purpose that comes from writing with others also keeps you accountable and reminds you that you aren’t alone” (SUAWT blog).

These sessions will provide peer support, a quiet place to write, and a structured writing plan (not to mention tea & coffee!). Bring your laptops, notes, books, and anything else you need to help you write for 2 hours, and be prepared to be productive!

Every Monday in July and August, in TR7, 1pm – 4pm. No need to register in advance but if you have any questions email