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Explore Lermastériales 2016

By Lévana Eckert & Tiffany Robert (2016)

Need some help organising your conference? Here is what you need to know if you want to be a part of AMU’s Lermastériales. Have a look at the 2016 recipe and check out what our committee was able to achieve.

Ingredients (the essential): Seven committee members

1 Valentine
1 Heidi
1 Geoffrey
1 Lucie
1 Alice
1 Séréna
1 César
Lots of patience
A strong sense of humour
Just a dash of perseverance

Preparation (you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs):

Similarly to the PhD students, each committee member volunteered to organise the annual DEMA event. The preparation included designing a poster, handling the budget, preparing a menu, getting the food, making, storing as well as transporting meals to the conference room, and trying not to panic.

The whole thing starts with accepting a large amount of unknown since you have to start organising the day without all the variables. When the committee met in February, right after being elected, they first intended to attribute clear-cut tasks to each member. In the end though, only two students were given a specific role (respectively designing the poster and handling the budget). All M2 students actually voted for the poster they preferred among the three that had been designed; but after that, it was the committee’s role to visit On’copie and get a cost estimate in order to print the posters and programs before collecting them and handing everything to Anne Page. As far as planning a menu was concerned, it was taken care of by five committee members, who faced two main difficulties: special diets and undisclosed budget. While they thought they would have a whole month to prepare the event, the most important tasks (like shopping and cooking) were carried out in one day: the day right before the Lermastériales (told you that not panicking was of the essence – and wait until you read the rest).

Before going into more details about the menu, let us underline the committee’s participation to editing the book of abstracts and standardising all the propositions. Their efforts and attention were also caught up in the very time-consuming task of finalising March 4th’s schedule. Séréna explains how never-ending the list of little corrections and adjustments was (whether on spelling, standardisation, or running order), and Geoffrey points out that more than fifty e-mails were exchanged between the committee members in twenty-four hours, on February 24th, the day before a final version was sent to Anne Page. This is just one among several examples on how easily the pressure was increasing as D-day was approaching.

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Lermastériales : « Une affaire qui roule »

By Lévana Eckert & Tiffany Robert (2016)

This is how Christelle Klein-Scholz described the Lermastériales when we met with her and the PhD students who helpfully contributed to the organisation of the conference. This year was the fifth edition of a successful project: the result of a great amount of work, mainly carried out by Anne Page through her commitment, time and effort. Five young researchers were at her side this year: Justine Dupouy, who is a PhD student in English literature and has been taking part in the Lermastériales for three years; Florence Floquet, a PhD student in linguistics, who has been contributing for two years; Christelle Klein-Scholz, a doctor in American literature and ATER at AMU, who has also been involved for three years; Jean Missud, a PhD student in linguistics and phonetics, who has been helping with the Lermastériales both as a PhD student since 2015 and as an MA student for the second edition, and Emilie Mitran, for whom it was the first time being involved as a PhD student (in American civilisation), although she did participate as an MA student in 2012.

In previous years, at least one session was devoted to a less formal encounter with young researchers who then presented their field of research and educational background. Those sessions and the time allotted to the preparation formed a stronger bond with the students, Jean Missud lightly remarked, expressing how he felt like a coach supporting his team. Students had the opportunity to spend more time on their proposals and worked over three drafts before the final version. This year, scheduling issues resulted in less time for researchers and MA students to meet, discuss, and prepare their communication — they met only twice. Proposals had already been written and the focus was on form rather than content.

Perhaps the most challenging part for the researchers was sorting out the communications into workshops; they noted that all of our papers tackled the given subject, « Confluence(s) » , in very different and unexpected manner and it was not simply a question of regrouping papers from the same field but rather to see how each student dealt with the main topic. After reading the proposals, Christelle Klein-Scholz and Anne Page both suggested a possible programme for the day. Following from the first session with the students, a final version emerged, which was then edited by the committee.

On D-Day, March 5th, they noticed how we soon fell into a good rhythm, punctuated by the many questions of the audience which brought momentum to the day. One couldn’t tell it had been prepared in only a few sessions. According to the young researchers  we have to thank the pressure that was put on the students, who were not only serious about their work, but also showed real professionalism.

‘C’est un apprentissage, c’est formateur de devoir penser à tout’

Florence Floquet remarked. In the end, the main role of the PhD students and reseachers, according to them, is to reassure the students, who know that if anything goes wrong the PhD students are there, thus being a benevolent presence.

Picture by Heidi Fausel of some of the students and PhD students, at the end of the day.

Lermastériales 2016

By Lévana Eckert & Tiffany Robert (2016)

The fifth anniversary edition of “LERMAstériales” was held this year on Friday 4th March 2016. It was an all-day workshop organised and held by the second-year Master students of the English department at Aix-Marseille University. Launched in 2011 on Professor Anne Page’s initiative, the project always looms as a terrifying challenge for ACMA students who stand both on and off stage all day long – however it seems that it was not an impossible task and we unexpectedly enjoyed it.

While students are encouraged to attend academic events organised by their professors during the year, the LERMAstériales offers a unique and new perspective on all the work and effort that go into such events. So the big day, as Mme Monique De Mattia-Viviès pointed out in her introductory speech, gave the students the opportunity to become researchers. In the professor’s experience, it is a transformation that happens every year on this occasion, when those who are usually only part of the academic audience become active professionals in the spotlight.
First thoughts of gratitude go to the seven members of the organizational committee who put an impressive amount of work into the preparation of the day. However, no student was without their task: everyone had to take part in the event by exploring its theme, answering the call for papers on “Confluence(s)” as well as writing and timing a ten-minute communication for the big day. This implied not only individual work, but rehearsing the presentation with members from the same working group in order to do one’s best, both as a single speaker and within a group.

TimeFood breaks

When facing multiple challenges such as having to make a program, create posters, prepare lunch and so on, one becomes aware of all the mechanics involved in setting up an academic event.
While the whole day revolved around the central notion of Confluence(s),—the theme of the annual conference of the Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur—the students kept switching places, either to speak or to listen, to take notes or to raise hands, to either ask or answer questions.
Being part of the university curriculum, the LERMAstériales are not a one-sided process where students are in charge of everything and receive nothing in return. In fact, as a student, an organiser and a speaker, you are truly rewarded as you learn much from and about the research of others, their methods and their points of view. So in the end, one gets as much out of the LERMAstériales as one puts into it.Conference room

One of the most delicate parts of this academic challenge consisted in being able to confront and deal with the main topic in a professional and appropriate manner. The notion of Confluence(s) was not to be used as an excuse to expound one’s own personal research. On the contrary, the exercise aims at focusing primarily on the given topic, exploring it in depth and using one’s research only as a tool to shed some original light on the subject matter. This implied fine analysis, impeccable structure, coherence, writing and rewriting – all achieved thanks to the precious help from the doctorate students of the LERMA.

LERMAsteriales: an overview of the day

By Mylène Della Monica (2015)

The LERMAsteriales were divided into eight sessions. The first session developed the idea of commitment in times of war and peace. It began by looking at the work of Ernest Hemingway, emblematic author of the ‘Lost Generation’; we saw how a whole generation of artists could commit to a cause, in response to the trauma of World War I, but also how Hemingway can be seen to have dealt with personal trauma through his female characters. War was also the ‘Greater Game’ of sportsmen, who extended their athletic commitment from stadiums to the greater arena of the front, and who also learnt how to use sport to escape the horrors of war. Lastly, we saw how the United States struggles as a country to commit to peace. War seems to cement union and national agreement, but, when at the end of the Cold War, a plan of military conversion was designed, this new cause clearly did not bring people together. While individuals often do commit to a public cause, it appears hard for a whole nation to really commit when it comes to peace.

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LERMAsteriales 2015: A Commitment to Research

By Mylène Della-Monica (2015)

On Friday 6 March 2015, at 8.45am, Professor Anne Dunan-Page, who has been organizing the LERMAsteriales for the last four years, opened the conference. After two long months of intense preparation, the LERMAsteriales were about to begin. Twenty-seven anxious students filled the room, facing a large audience of professors, former students, relatives and friends to give their first papers.

Comité LERMAsteriales 2015

The LERMAsteriales are an exceptional opportunity for Master’s students to dive into the real world of research. We were given the chance to discuss our own research and to get a sense of what organizing a conference means. It gave us an insight into what a researcher’s life is made of: the thrill of the organization, the adrenaline rushing when you are up on stage, but most of all the excitement filling you up when you are about to start delivering your presentation.

LERMAsteriales 2015 session 4

Ten minutes – that is all each of us had – to convince, persuade, and share our passion for our subject. The LERMAsteriales is a great opportunity for young Master’s researchers to share their enthusiasm and interest for a topic of their choice. It was also a chance to discover what we were capable of, to share our research but above all, to communicate a message in an academic context.

LERMAsteriales 2015 session 8

In the end, even the most worried of us took great advantage of those few minutes. It also broadened our knowledge of the subjects of other students. As Prof. Dunan-Page had predicted at our very first meeting, we came out of this experience as a strong and united group.

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