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Report: Japan Foundation/BAJS Japanese Studies Postgraduate Workshop 2017 – Make an Impact

February 24 2017 saw the return of the annual Japanese Studies postgraduate workshop, the sixth the Japan Foundation has held in co-operation with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), and the second to be held outside London. This year’s workshop held at the University of Sheffield, was attended by 36 postgraduate students from 18 different universities in the UK and Europe working on Japan related research in diverse disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

The theme of this year’s workshop focused on how emerging academics can expand the impact of their research on wider academia and society outside the Japanese Studies community.

The workshop opened with a series of inspiring case studies from senior academics at the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies.  Prof Hugo Dobson, Dr Mark Pendleton and Dr Peter Matanle discussed their own experiences of conceiving, generating and recording the impact of their research covering diverse perspectives from international relations and ‘translating’ research for the media, working with policy-makers, to creative collaboration with visual artists.

The presentations were followed by a series of hands-on workshop sessions led by Dr Thomas McAuley, Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, during which students worked in small groups to define their research for an audience of non-specialists, and to put together a statement on the potential impact and audience for their research.

The workshop finished with a session on ‘Funding your Research’ with presentations from representatives of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, British Association for Japanese Studies and the Japan Foundation introducing the wide range of funding programmes available to emerging researchers in Japanese Studies.

Some comments from student participants include:

‘I have heard suggestions on how to expand my research and enhance its impact in ways that I hadn’t even considered before.’

‘The research impact workshop was brilliantly designed – extremely useful and practical. One of the best events I have attended during the three years of my PhD.’

Thank you very much to the British Association for Japanese Studies, the University of Sheffield and all participants and speakers for making the workshop such a great success. We hope to see you again next year! If you are a PhD student undertaking research on Japan and would like to attend a future workshop, please do get in touch!