Presentations are an essential part of academic life, whether it is giving a paper at a conference, pitching your research project to funders, or talking about your work in front of a non-specialist audience. It is also important to learn to handle questions in a confident and graceful manner. Likewise, responding to other scholars’ presentations and building academic networks are vital elements of successful intellectual exchange.

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) welcomes doctoral candidates of the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki to the HCAS Winter School on Humanities and Social Sciences, January 22–24, 2020. Registration opens on November 14 and closes on December 1, 2019 at midnight.

HCAS is an independent research institute within the University of Helsinki. Its intensive Winter Schools are organized annually and give doctoral candidates a chance to learn essential skills and practices related to academic research and career and to discuss their work with more experienced researchers in an interdisciplinary and international setting.

The special focus of this year’s Winter School is conferences and public speaking. We will deal with questions such as

  • what are the elements of an effective academic presentation
  • how to choose an effective presentation style for your topic
  • how to handle feedback at Q&A
  • why and how often should you go to academic conferences
  • what other academic events should you attend
  • how to use conferences as a platform for advancing your academic career
  • how to present and disseminate your research beyond academia

The Winter School is organized and taught by Collegium fellows. The fellows are experts in interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social sciences, law, behavioral sciences, and theology. The Collegium aims at enhancing high-quality interdisciplinary research within these disciplines by fostering dialogue between different academic orientations, by encouraging the integration of approaches from different disciplines, and by supporting international academic collaboration.

The Winter School consists of plenaries on topics of general interest and workshops structured around participants’ own contributions and questions. The workshops offer doctoral candidates the opportunity to receive feedback from HCAS Fellows and other doctoral candidates in a relaxed environment. The thematic panels bring together both current Collegium Fellows as well as researchers and specialists from outside the Collegium, who share their knowledge of different facets of academic conferences and public speaking. The Winter School days begin around 9 am and end around 5 pm.

The workload of the Winter School is 3 ECTS. The registration of the credits will be administered by the doctoral schools or disciplines, so the doctoral candidates will have to speak to their supervisors about this beforehand. The Collegium will write a certificate of attendance to the participants. The language of the Winter School is English. The detailed program of the Winter School will be sent to the participants at the beginning of January at the latest.


Doctoral candidates wishing to participate in the Winter School are requested to register in Weboodi by December 1, 2019. The maximum number of participants at the Winter School is 50, and the slots will be filled in the order of registration. Upon registration, participants are asked to give their basic information and a brief academic biography that summarizes their previous experience of academic conferences and public speaking (max. 200 words). 

The registration form can be accessed on Weboodi (please note that you have to first sign in to Weboodi to access the form). The code of the course is HYMY-901. 

Direct link to registration - Note: in case you have problems saving your registration after using the direct link, look for the course again on WebOodi using the course number and then proceed to registration!


1.    Participants should prepare a five-minute presentation on the topic of their doctoral thesis; this will serve as a basis for assignments and discussions in small working groups during the Winter School. Be prepared to give your presentation and to discuss it with the members of your small group. Take the five minutes as a challenge: find the best strategies for presenting your topic meaningfully but concisely, considering that the audience might not be from your own field of research. You are free to choose the style of presentation that you are the most comfortable with; you may, for instance, choose to use PowerPoint or to not use any slides, speak freely or rely on a written script or on flash cards.

2.     Participants will also receive links to short sample videos of academic presentations and they should watch these before the first workshop session that takes place on the first day of Winter School.


Natalya Bekhta, Core Fellow, HCAS

Alexei Zadorozhny, Core Fellow, HCAS

Hanne Appelqvist, Deputy Director, HCAS

Kaisa Kaakinen, Research Coordinator, HCAS

Contact: Kaisa Kaakinen (kaisa.kaakinen@helsinki.fi), Research Coordinator, HCAS


HCAS Common Room full of participants listening to a lecture.