Presentations - obligations?

posted
25-Jan-19, 14:36
by nanbob
Avatar for nanbob
posted about 7 months ago
Hi,

My PhD involved conducting a piece of research that was part funded by a local council; as part of that I've published my first 'first author' paper in an international peer reviewed journal, presented the work internationally, nationally and locally and done a load of poster presentations and written up a report for local organisations to share.

One of my supervisors who is based at the council organisation sort of signed me up to speak at a conference without asking me about it first/letting me know any details. She's not been very 'present' within the PhD (I basically get the idea that she's there to have her name on something - she doesn't come to any meetings and didn't even proof read my final manuscript). I've been struggling with my mental health recently, having a recent bereavement and coming towards the end of my PhD funding and the stresses that involves. I think it will take a lot of time to prepare for the presentation and most of the audience will be aware of the work already, it's getting published and I just don't feel like I could cope with the anxiety of presenting at the moment so it's not something I want to do right now. I emailed my supervisor to say I wouldn't be able to attend but I'm more than happy if she (who is also presenting) wanted some of my slides and she can include it in her talk. She sent me a pretty arsey email after that and copied in my other two supervisors (one of them agreed I shouldn't present; the other more senior supervisor wasn't aware of it)...

Was I out of line in cancelling? I know they part funded the work but I feel I've done quite a lot of research dissemination already to make it worthwhile!
posted
26-Jan-19, 16:15
edited a moment later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 7 months ago
Nope. You were entirely within your rights to say no.
I would have done the same. I would have emailed her and said "Unfortunately I will not be available blah blah blah". I wouldn't have justified it either by talking about why. If I was asked directly I would say I simply wasn't interested and I would assertively repeat that line until she backed off.
I would also ignore the email from that supervisor and play a passive aggressive role as regards this presentation. BUT. I would have talked to my main supervisor first to advise that I was going to say no to the second supervisor.

I have never been told to do something though. My supervisor simply would never have done that. He'd have asked and possibly strongly recommended a particular thing but he'd never have simply told me it was happening without talking to me first.
I am in the incredibly fortunate position of having a face like thunder when I am deeply focussed so it makes people naturally wary of me :-D
Saved me a lot of hassle :-D
posted
26-Jan-19, 20:35
edited about 24 seconds later
Avatar for Thesisfun
posted about 7 months ago
Quote From nanbob:
Hi,

My PhD involved conducting a piece of research that was part funded by a local council; as part of that I've published my first 'first author' paper in an international peer reviewed journal, presented the work internationally, nationally and locally and done a load of poster presentations and written up a report for local organisations to share.

One of my supervisors who is based at the council organisation sort of signed me up to speak at a conference without asking me about it first/letting me know any details. She's not been very 'present' within the PhD (I basically get the idea that she's there to have her name on something - she doesn't come to any meetings and didn't even proof read my final manuscript). I've been struggling with my mental health recently, having a recent bereavement and coming towards the end of my PhD funding and the stresses that involves. I think it will take a lot of time to prepare for the presentation and most of the audience will be aware of the work already, it's getting published and I just don't feel like I could cope with the anxiety of presenting at the moment so it's not something I want to do right now. I emailed my supervisor to say I wouldn't be able to attend but I'm more than happy if she (who is also presenting) wanted some of my slides and she can include it in her talk. She sent me a pretty arsey email after that and copied in my other two supervisors (one of them agreed I shouldn't present; the other more senior supervisor wasn't aware of it)...

Was I out of line in cancelling? I know they part funded the work but I feel I've done quite a lot of research dissemination already to make it worthwhile!


Hmmmm... you need to take your relationship with your supervisor out of this!

Essentially- you have been asked by a research funder to present your findings to them.
I accept the timing may not be perfect- but, if it were me, I would do it unless I actually couldn't do that date.

From a self-interest angle, they have funded previous research, perhaps they will fund your next project.
posted
27-Jan-19, 13:09
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 7 months ago
This council worker is not your supervisor but you funder. You can say no once, but don't expect them to give you or your university money/support in the near future. But it probably won't affect your PhD in the longterm, so don't lose any sleep over it.

Can I also say, I think you underestimate the importance of conferences. I don't read every paper in my field so just publishing is not enough. Conferences are great at disseminating your research to be people in related areas or non-academic jobs. You can highlight you work and disseminate it to an completely different audience.
posted
27-Jan-19, 21:25
edited about 2 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 7 months ago
If you don't feel like you can handle it right now then you did exactly the right thing in cancelling. I disagree with the others here. People cancel things all the time... how many conferences have you attended where a presented isn't there for whatever reason and so the programme is slightly amended (I've seen this multiple times and I have only attended a few conferences). It would be an issue if you kept cancelling and cancelled multiple different things. No one is going to remember this in a few months from now (that's if they even remember it now). Also, sounds like you've done a fab piece of research for it to involve such wide dissemination! All the best.
Tudor
posted
28-Jan-19, 13:39
Avatar for LilyRachel
posted about 7 months ago
I also disagree with the others here, nothing is more important than your mental health. You have suffered a recent bereavement , cancelling is the most responsible thing to do if you're feeling fragile. Don't let others tell you otherwise! It's not as big a deal as some people think. It won't affect anything. Take care :)
posted
28-Jan-19, 14:18
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 7 months ago
And I'm sure your arsey supervisor has had to cancel something before x

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