This category showcases some of the creative poster designs that are created around the University in support of teaching, research and outreach. The IT Learning Programme delivers poster workshops to many departments, and a number of entries were from workshop participants. The judges have noticed that over the years the standard of poster design has continued to increase, and with a wider acceptance of posters in all disciplines, including the Humanities, the designs submitted are very wide-ranging.
The poster exhibition is a fascinating feature our previous OxTALENT awards nights, but unfortunately it has not been possible in the space afforded by the Martin School, so online there is a digital exhibition of the shortlist.
Once again, it was thought appropriate to award prizes in two categories: Best Poster and Most Innovative Poster.
Winner – Best Poster: Arno Bosse, Miranda Lewis and Dobrochna Futro for Early Modern Letters Online
Judges say: A key element to the success of this poster is the efficiency with which it communicates both the process and the technology. The colours are well chosen and the map motif invites exploration of the content.
Arno says: Our poster showcases Early Modern Letters Online [EMLO], the union catalogue at the heart of the Mellon-funded Cultures of Knowledge project in the Faculty of History. It explains the work being conducted with early modern correspondence, and illustrates the process by which in the course of their own research, early career scholars can contribute to it using the digital tools and standards developed by EMLO. Originally created for the poster session at last year’s Digital Humanities Oxford Summer School, it was designed to spread the word among delegates about the various possibilities of involvement with Early Modern Letters Online and Cultures of Knowledge, and the technologies used to build this resource. The poster highlights how work conducted in Oxford can feed into the foundations of an collaborative platform intended to unite archival materials scattered across Europe into one virtual location for easy access by scholars.
The poster was created on a Mac using Sketch. The background image is a map of Europe created by the early modern cartographer, Abraham Ortelius, some of whose correspondence is included in our union catalogue. The map was downloaded from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection and may be freely re-used and distributed for non-commercial purposes.
Runner-up – Best Poster: Edwin Dalmaijer for Life is Unfair and so is Speed-skating
Judges say: The information density is high, but the attractive layout and eye-catching graphics invite the visitor to spend time engaging with the research. It has something both for the lay person and for those with an interest in sport science.
Edwin says: This poster summarises my work on how subtle differences in the starting procedures of racing sports can disadvantage athletes. Together with my co-authors (one of whom is a former Olympic athlete), I show that athletes perform better when the interval is shorter between the referee’s cue to get ‘Ready’ and the starting shot. We think this is due to the alerting effect: People’s alertness peaks 500 milliseconds after a general cue, and dissipates after that. The more time expired after the ‘Ready’ cue, the less alert athletes will be at the starting shot, and the slower they can respond; this will worsen their performance.
In our study, we showed that alerting effects occurred at the 2010 Winter Olympics, where they biased the 500-metre speed skating competition. My poster was designed to represent our study as clearly as possible. I used a cartoon that demonstrates the start in a speed-skating competition, to illustrate how variable its timing is. I added an image of a speed-skating track to clarify how a race happens, and at what point the athletes are timed (at 100 and 500 meters). Inside the track, I included information on the starting procedure in speed-skating and on how we obtained our data. The left side of the poster depicts the results for 100 metres into each race, and the right side depicts the same analyses for finish times (at 500 metres). Between the graphs, our analyses and results are explained. Finally, at the bottom of the poster, there is the theoretical background of the alerting effect, and our suggestion for a possible solution to the problems we flag up. We didn’t just want to point out how competitions are biased, so we also offered a constructive solution. My contact details are included in a banner at the foot of the poster, and a QR code links to a dedicated webpage with additional information. The work presented here was covered in this poster and in two scientific articles. It was also picked up by news media across the world, including the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail, Dutch national television, Australian radio and newspapers, and the German Süddeutsche Zeitung.
A few tools were used to create the poster. I used Python to do the data analysis and create the graphs, GIMP to edit the images and Inkscape to design the poster.
Winner – Most Innovative Poster: Ellie Morgan-Jones for DECisions
Judges say: There is no denying that this is a game board made into a poster, but as a way to lead people into discovering the process, it works! The colours are bold and the repeated hexagon motif make for an attractive design.
Ellie says: The poster is actually a board game which was designed as a teaching tool specifically for a public engagement event. It has now picked up interest from research groups related to the Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative.
DECisions was designed to help illustrate the evidence gathering and regulatory pathway that a new diagnostic test would have to follow in order for the device to be implemented in clinical practice.
The design was based on hexagons, as that is the branding for the Diagnostic Evidence Co-operative (DEC), the research group for which I work. I wanted the game to be visually appealing while still working within the confines of the branding guidelines specified by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which funds the DEC. Therefore, the colour palette was limited to navy blue, red, white and black. The look had to be clean, to give a ‘medical’ feel and to be simple enough for the general public to use as well as academics, researchers and industry professionals. As the subject matter is quite complex, I wanted the design of the game to be as clear and simple as possible and also to make it appealing so that people would be making sense of the content rather than the design. Anything too confusing in the design may have made the concepts within the game harder to grasp if the design itself is also complicated.
The poster was designed using InDesign.
Runner-up – Most Innovative Poster: Susila Davis for Are We There Yet?
Judges say: It wasn’t until the judging was complete that some of the judges realised that they had seen some of Susila’s owls before! (Susila was runner-up with another Owl-themed poster last year). The ‘primary school’ layout will appeal to its intended audience, and the riot of colour will attract the passer-by to at least give it a second glance.
Susila says: This poster attempts to communicate my research design and preliminary findings as a kind of infographic or data visualisation, which for a study heavy with qualitative data and teachers’ narratives was quite a challenge.
Starting in the middle column, I describe the methodology of the research and my study ‘sites’: five primary schools, my department (Education) and the Oxford University Press, all represented by the building icons. I am investigating teachers’ use of an online system for school improvement purposes. This online system, Pathways, was built by the Oxford University Press (represented by the factory icon). The factory icon also attempts to symbolise the design-based framework of the project in which feedback between the OUP and schools is communicated via me and my department: for example, suggested improvements to Pathways from school users and new developments, and research or redesigns within Pathways itself, in line with changes in education policy.
The right-hand column describes the framework used to investigate Pathways and school improvement activities in the five schools, Guskey’s Five Level Model of CPD Evaluation. One of my central arguments is that Pathways can be viewed as a kind of online CPD programme for primary school practitioners.
The small owls represent the levels I am able to investigate with the particular research design employed. That is, a more experimental type design would be required to investigate changes in student outcomes and cost effectiveness for example.
Lastly, the left-hand column displays some preliminary findings in a tablet type device (commonly used by practitioners and the OUP). One of the central arguments here is that ‘use’ means different things to different participants and care and attention need to be exercised in the choice of ‘lead user’ in each school.
The overall design is meant to appeal to, and communicate with, primary-school practitioners and researchers with its use of eye-catching colours, icons and ‘infographic’ style layout. There was a delicate balance between making the presentation visually appealing while still putting across my main arguments and the potentially far-reaching implications of the study. The research brings together the fields of teachers’ technology use for daily work and school improvement practice, two topics previously (surprisingly) unconnected in educational research literature.
The poster was created using Canva.