This year, the 7th edition of the LERMAsteriales was embedded in a specific context defined by student protest movements. The day before, a blockade had been organised in the Guyon Lecture Hall to oppose the ORE Act. How fitting a context to hold a study day revolving around the theme of Revolution(s). Once again, linking our research projects with this year’s theme was the major concern for us students, and once again the answer lay in the division of the guiding theme into seven sub-themes, each one being associated with a panel.
The concept of revolution was first considered as the idea of subversion in a panel chaired by Clémentine Garcenot, followed by the second panel, chaired by Antonin Premilleu, the focus of which was the idea of revolution as an astronomical movement, a cyclical return. In the following panels, chaired, respectively, by Caroline Barsacq, Pierre-Louis Pietri and Débora Valentin, other meanings attached to the notion of revolution were studied: the speakers dealt with the idea of evolution and transition, of revolution and innovation and the crises of representation. The penultimate panel, chaired by Manon Bouscasse, focused on the idea of challenging the authority. Finally, the closing panel, chaired by Déborah Halifa, reviewed some instances of silent revolutions.
A simple summary of these panels would not suffice to do justice to the real impact the LERMAsteriales have on the students, though. For this purpose, one must look back at the way this study day was presented to us, and at the emphasis put on its significant influence on our academic progress. For the first time in our studies, we had to organise a major group project with a manifold purpose: we were asked to show the progress and results of our research projects, but also demonstrate our ability to match them with this year’s guiding theme and link them together. We were also asked to take care of the organisation and make sure the day would unfold in an orderly fashion. Finally, and I believe this was the most important aspect of this event, we were asked, for the first time, to behave as professional researchers, in a professional context.
With the benefit of hindsight, none would deny the fact that this experience was beneficial for us, on several levels. We were encouraged to improve our teamwork abilities and our organisational skills, but also our capacity to stand up and speak out in public. The LERMAsteriales were the very first steps we took into the teaching/research career, hence I believe it was meant to professionalise us, rather than being a mere final oral assessment. Its ultimate purpose, then, is to make us look ahead at our professional career, and not back on our academic course. Rather than a closing ceremony, the LERMAsteriales, each year, are a stepping stone.