IT is music to the ears of anyone who’s ever nodded off in a meeting as pie charts and sales graphs follow each other across a screen in a mind-numbing procession.
Researchers ditched PowerPoint for performance at Bournemouth University when the Biennial Qualitative Research Conference featured several performance-based presentations in preference to the more familiar kind.
Behind it is an idea called Performative Social Science (PSS), which draws inspiration from the arts and humanities when researching and presenting social science projects.
So, instead of bullet points and slides , participants used poetry, dance, film, music, photography and other media to present their work.
Dr Kip Jones, from the university’s Centre for Qualitative Research, said: “PSS has become a catchphrase for the work of qualitative researchers wishing to move beyond typical PowerPoint conference presentations and truly engage their audiences.
“What performative refers and relates to in social science is the communicative powers of research and the natural involvement of an audience.”
Each day of the three-day event featured a main performance at lunchtimes, with more presentations during tea breaks.
Dr Jones added: “The success of the event was demonstrated primarily by the feelgood factor that many delegates reported at the end of the conference.
“A great deal of important scholarship was shared in a much more informal and entertaining atmosphere than at a typical conference.
“The idea of spending three days at conferences, seven hours a day, being bombarded with PowerPoint presentations, is nearing its end.”
University students also created a film about the conference, which was shown on the final day.
The conference involved delegates from 19 countries.