Presenting my thesis in 3 minutes in French

DCU Irish Research Council Scholar Aparajita Dey-Plissonneau was winner of the “audience vote” category of the My Thesis in 3 minutes in French #MT3F competition, held in March 2018 in Trinity College Dublin. The scientific and cultural service of the French Embassy in Ireland then illustrated her thesis presentation as a comic strip. This was showcased as part of the French Festival at Science Week on 15 November 2018 at Alliance Française, Dublin.

Aparajita explains why she took part in the competition:

‘Being succinct is not my forte. I pride myself in being the queen of minor details. This was a herculean task for me and that is probably the reason why I went for it.

Certain choices are to be made while preparing for the presentation. Do I give a macro picture of my research work? Do I focus on a micro aspect only? Do I just explain the context and throw in my research questions? The latter normally takes at least 10 minutes at conference presentations! I guess all those options are valid as long as we’re guided by what would interest the listeners the most and provided it fits in the allocated three minutes.

It is not just about a quick translation from English into French. Recasting abstract and complex theoretical concepts into layperson terms, simplifying the scientific jargon without deforming its meaning is an intellectual feat. I believe I did not do complete justice to this.

Being fluent in the language is not necessarily an advantage here. The question is how do you grab your audience’s attention? How do you strike a chord in this shortened period of time? It’s all packed in an intense three minutes. Such presentations need to be precisely rehearsed and yet the execution should be spontaneous. Humour is great but pre-meditated humour can be catastrophic. One has to go with the flow.

Such events help you get to know yourself and your work better, the possibilities and limitations. Finally, the sheer diversity of research work and delivery styles that I witnessed on that platform was an extraordinarily enriching experience.’

Photo: Aparajita Dey with her thesis illustrated as a comic strip at the initiative of the French Embassy’s scientific and cultural service and illustrated by artist Orchimy (Melody).

#MT3F is open to all PhD students, currently registered in a HEI in Ireland – ALL disciplines & nationalities are welcome. Further information and registration details are available here.

An event organised as part of the Francophonie Festival, by Ambassade de France en Irlande – with the support of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.


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