How improvisation techniques can support researchers with the development of public speaking skills
Through the presentation of a workshop entitled ‘Enhancing public speaking skills using improvisation techniques’ this case study will argue that improvisational techniques can disrupt the seriousness of researcher development training to release stress and provide a cathartic space for researchers to develop skills and support one another. The landscape of researcher support is traditionally a serious terrain, and the impacts of the pressures faced by researchers are well documented (Evans et al., 2018). Opportunities for researchers to work together and support one another are relatively rare, yet research has shown that peer-to-peer support benefits them immensely (Boud and Lee, 2007). In 2018, the University of Manchester Library reviewed its researcher development programme and adopted a new approach that emphasises the value of researchers working in a community with peers both within and outside of their subject area. The workshop exemplifies this approach, as it encourages researchers to support one another to develop public speaking skills in a way that is innovative, fun and enjoyable. Attendees work together in a space where the freedom to fail offers them a cathartic release from the pressures of perfection. As a result, researchers can reframe their worries into opportunities to connect with one another and grow and this empowers them to build confidence in their ability to engage with others in dialogue about their research.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).