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IAS Showreel

Submissions for IAS Showreel are now closed.

We are asking you, our postdoc community, to submit videos that show who you are and what you do so that you may gain expert feedback on video and content creation for wider research engagement and to enable you to look at your research from the perspective of different audiences.

Submissions by Friday 19th June 2020 on the Accolade channel within the IAS Postdoc Community Microsoft Teams Space.


As researchers we are practiced at communicating at an expert level with colleagues in our own and nearby disciplines. There is a growing need to develop skills for wider research engagement: 

  • Potential collaborators in other areas are a route to interdisciplinarity and to the discovery of new approaches to your chosen problem. 
  • Potential users of your research will help you realise the value of your ideas outside academia, and may also influence the direction of your work.  
  • The public may watch research video content through social media channels, but there is often more interest in the researchers themselves and what they do.  
  • Increasingly, potential employers request video pitches as part of job applications (postdoc positions, lectureships, senior academic roles, industry/commercial positions).  

Also, this is an opportunity for researchers to take themselves out of the rigorous academic context and to look at their research from the perspective of different audiences. 

For those who wish to take this further, we plan to create a series of videos for wider consumption.


This very much depends on the intended audience, which might be a diverse academic group like IAS, specialists, a recruitment panel, children, or the general public. 

  1. If you are presenting research content, then limit yourself to one idea or concept if possible; you can always make more than one video. Keep to a maximum (not a target) of 3 min.  
  2. Tell a story. Make them care right from the start. How does it relate to the lives of the audience members? What is the purpose, for the audience, of watching your video? Who benefits from your work? Perhaps fix a misconception. Some audiences have great interest in stories that describe your journey and lived experience as a researcher, rather than any great interest in the research content. Include things about you. 
  3. Remember that you’re not explaining how smart you are, but persuading someone to give you their interest or thoughts, their time, their resources, or perhaps even a job. 
  4. Take care with jargon: avoid abbreviations and specialist technical terms, or words that are not in common use or have different meanings in other communities e.g. accurate, discourse, problematize, drug, exploit etc. 
  5. Leave them wanting more detail, and don’t feel you need to include all your thinking. If in feedback people suggest ideas that you already had or things you already worked on, be happy that you inspired this. 
  6. Be natural, and passionate if that is a natural state for you. Consider being suitably provocative so as to surprise and engage your audience.  
  7. Take on feedback and don’t be defensive. The reason why someone is being critical is hopefully because they care at some level, which means at least that you got points 2-5 right. 


  • Do not worry about high quality of video or sound, unless you want to. Content and style are more important. By participating you will get the chance to develop and get feedback on your technical skills so don’t be put off if creating video content is completely new to you. Record in landscape.
  • A talking head format[i] is easy to do with a mobile phone or PC. Consider acquiring video editing software[ii]so that you can trim, cut to still images or other video etc., but this is not a requirement.
  • In a PowerPoint presentation with voiceover[iii] you could use a series of images that encapsulates an area of your research and to which you can refer.
  • Feel free to use any other techniques, such as animation e.g. videoscribe.

Sharing, Feedback and Competition 

  • Please upload and share your video pitch to the Accolade channel on the Postdoc Teams space by no later than Friday 19th June 2020
  • Also upload a single image (without copyright restrictions) along with 150 word (max) text, which may be included with your profile in the Annual Report and on the IAS website.
  • Stewart O’Reilly from gradtrain and notsobigfilms, will review every video submitted and provide individuals with feedback on their work.
  • We also invite fellows to provide feedback and comment on films within the Team space
  • Prizes will be presented at the end of term with the winners chosen on the basis of feedback or votes from Stewart and the IAS Community.

[i] The presenter addresses the camera and is viewed in close-up.

[ii] Some may already be installed on your pc/mac such as iMovie. Otherwise, some totally unlicensed suggestions of free software: hitfilm express (pc/mac), VSDC (pc), Davinci Resolve (pc/mac – amazingly good but perhaps not for beginner).

[iii] Open a ppt file. Click on “Slide Show”, then “Record Slide Show”.

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