Environmental activist research wins top prize

Congratulations to Keely Kidner - winner of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition

Keely Kidner 3 Minute Thesis award winner

A three-minute explanation of how language and power is used to discuss controversial mining operations has won a Victoria University student a top prize.

PhD student Keely Kidner from the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies has been selected out of 31 entries to represent Victoria University at the Australasian Grand Final of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition next month.

Ms Kidner’s thesis focuses on mining operations in Canada and New Zealand. She spent last year living and working with community activists as part of her fieldwork, interviewing members of the community of resistance as well as people in the mining industry. She is analysing the ways larger themes, such as identity and environmentalism, are used by each side to sell the projects or to protest against them.

The 3 Minute Thesis Competition is open to research students—Master’s by Thesis or Doctoral—with entrants allowed three minutes to give a dynamic presentation of their thesis topic and its significance.

Entrants are judged on comprehension, engagement and communication style. They are not allowed to use any props or electronic media except for a single static PowerPoint slide.

“The 3 Minute Thesis Competition is a really useful exercise for anyone doing research and I am really thankful for the opportunity to travel to Australia to present my research,” says Ms Kidner.

The judges said that Ms Kidner stood out from the other competitors for the way she positioned herself within her research and the respect she showed for those involved in her studies. They were impressed with her passion and ability to straddle the academic, political and personal dimensions of her research.

“Our members do fantastic research but often find it difficult to explain why what they do is important to people outside their discipline,” says Neal Barber, President of the Postgraduate Students’ Association (PGSA), which organised the Victoria competition.

“Of course, it’s great practice for those inevitable parties where people ask them about their research, not to mention for that all-important funding application!”

As winner of the Victoria Final, Ms Kidner receives $3,000 and the cost of travel to the Australasian Grand Final.