A postgraduate researcher at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has reached the semi-finals of a national competition for PhD students.
Sports History scholar Tom Weir is down to the last 12 of the 2018 Three Minute Thesis contest, known as 3MT ®. It challenges postgraduates from universities around the UK to explain their thesis in just three minutes to an audience of non-academics - for comparison, the average 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to present.
Tom’s work on the History of Disability Sport looks at sporting provision for and experiences of people with learning disabilities in Britain, from 1960 to 2012. By shining a light on the athletes and sports people and telling their stories he hopes to challenge perceptions of ability and create change.
He said: “I think immersing myself with the people I’m researching and talking about my research is probably the side of academia which I like the most. Through this PhD I have been lucky enough to meet some incredibly talented people, hear their stories and I hope people hear what I’ve got to say and think, that’s really interesting where can I go to find out more?
“To reach the semi-finals of a competition like this is incredible and I’m just hoping that the judges like it enough for me to reach the finals.”
It is the latest academic achievement for Tom, who has already used his skills to help advise Cornwall Museums and Leicester City Council’s museums service, and created a permanent exhibition at The World Rugby Museum, Twickenham.
The Twickenham exhibition is the first look at non-traditional forms of the game including work from interviews with wheelchair rugby, gay rugby, blind rugby and deaf rugby clubs.
Tom is also working with the Special Olympics on a research project to explore barriers to sports for grassroots athletes and sportspeople - whether financial or physical. He has also worked with the new Athlete Input Council for the Special Olympics, providing a space for athletes to discuss and develop feedback to improve the organisation.
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* The Vitae Three Minute Thesis competition
Tom won a place in the semi-finals after winning DMU’s internal 3MT ® contest. He then had to record a video of him making his presentation which will be assessed by a panel of judges.
He will find out later this month if he has won a place in the finals, which will be held in Birmingham on September 17 and 18. The winner is awarded £3,000 to spend on public engagement activity and a trophy.
His research, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Midlands 3 Cities programme. It is supervised by Neil Carter and Matt Taylor of DMU’s International Centre for Sports History and Culture.
The 3MT ® was developed by The University of Queensland to develop PhD students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. Official competitions are held in more than 200 universities around the world.
Posted on Monday 6th August 2018