I’ve written on this blog before about the wonderful Dance Your PhD contest which has been running annually since 2008 for STEM and social scientists. I love that there’s now a spin-off at some universities called Bake Your PhD, Bake Your Thesis or Bake Your Research. This is presumably influenced by the success of television baking contests.
I can’t figure out where this started but it hasn’t been around for long and it’s not yet happening in many places. Bake Your PhD is embedded as an annual competition at the Australian National University and at the University of Southampton in England. Bake Your Thesis takes place at Memorial University in Canada and at Otago University in New Zealand. Bake Your Research is happening at Dublin City University in Ireland, and at Warwick University in England. The Twitter hashtags #BakeYourPhD, #BakeYourThesis and #BakeYourResearch show evidence of lots of other universities joining in, with some scrumptious-looking pictures.
So now we have Dance Your PhD and Bake Your PhD (or Thesis, or Research). What next? Sculpt Your Inbox? Weave Your Ethics Approval Application? Climb Your Admin Mountain?
It’s easy to take the mickey but there is a serious point to all of this creativity: to make academic work more accessible. Holly Neill, from Ulster University in Northern Ireland, expressed this beautifully in a tweet:
One benefit of entering the ‘Bake Your PhD’ competition was that my dad now seems to have a *slightly* better understanding of what my PhD is all about! 🧁
— Holly Neill (@HollyRNeill) April 9, 2019
I’m sure there will be many offshoots of, or alternatives to, dancing and baking. Yet I think baking will be hard to beat, as cake is both attractive and edible – what more could anyone ask?!
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