The research that Rose Parkinson (MA Global History) undertook working with the Children Born of War team took her all the way to Germany and helped her to develop and enhance a range of very useful skills.
Working as part of the Postgraduate Research Placement Scheme has given me numerous opportunities to develop professional and academic skills. As part of my project I worked with Prof Sabine Lee and doctoral candidate Kanako Kuramitsu on her research, and particularly a project about Michiko, a child born of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The research explored a previously untouched topic, the children born of consensual relationships during the war, as opposed to children born of violent or non-consensual relationships.
Poster for the ‘Michiko’ film
The main role I was tasked with as part of this project was to develop a website and content for the site to be used to promote the film and provide background information on the research project and the creation and development of the history into a film. I was lucky enough to be invited to join the project leads to Leipzig in Germany, for the Children Born of War Final Conference. This was the first time I had attended an academic conference as a guest and it was brilliant to gain experience of one.
The Children Born of War Final Conference, Leipzig
The work I have conducted as part of this scheme required exploration into public engagement and the process of turning academic research into content for the public. This project dealt with a highly sensitive political subject, therefore it has given me a new appreciation of how important it is to be aware of the potentially negative implications of research. I found it interesting to be involved with the careful consideration that went into producing the website and marketing the film.
Due to the nature of the project I worked on, this scheme has greatly benefitted both my approach to undertaking research (particularly highlighting the importance of recognising politically contentious issues) and my professional development, as it has exposed me to the interesting world of public engagement and marketing. Following my postgraduate studies I have progressed to working in a role at the university, and the skills I learnt in marketing, copywriting, and producing material for the public (and all the sensitivities that surround this) lend itself to my new job. I am also considering undertaking a PhD in the future and this project has opened my eyes to a wider understanding of research.
I previously worked as a research scholar on an Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme and it has been brilliant to be able to progress onto a postgraduate project, and experience a different side of research. Whereas I previously was able to get hands on with the primary research in the start of a project, this summer I was able to work on promoting completed research. It has therefore been fascinating to be able to do both schemes and explore research at all stages of a project.
Overall, working on the postgraduate research placement scheme has been a fantastic experience that has offered me opportunities to develop highly transferable skills such as collaborating with a range of different people, thinking about public engagement, marketing, and dealing with politically contentious historical issues. It has been an excellent experience and I have enjoyed learning new things and engaging with such a fascinating research project with great supervision.
To learn more about the project and view the website I created as part of this scheme please go to: https://michikothestorytold.wordpress.com (available online soon!) or follow @MichikoCBOW on Twitter.