Alice to explain non-discrimination rights in three countries in three minutes at ANU finals

Alice Taylor will represent Law in the ANU 3MT finals
PhD candidate Alice Taylor will represent Law in the ANU 3MT finals

Doing the 3MT...helps the thesis by forcing you to think about how to explain, simply and easily to a non-expert audience, why your research is important and useful.

After a year’s absence, the ANU College of Law is back in The Australian National University’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) finals on 12 September and will be represented by Alice Taylor.

Each doctoral candidate is allowed one Powerpoint photograph slide and three minutes to explain their research project. Alice has competed a comparative study of non-discrimination rights in Canada, the UK and Australia.

“I initially entered to ensure that the College competition had enough participants to go ahead so it was a happy surprise that I won,” Alice says of winning the Law round in August.

“I am also happy that the College has a representative this year, as we didn’t have an entrant last year, and I felt that was a missed opportunity to showcase the great work that HDR students in the College are doing for a wider audience.”

The ANU finals will be judged by a panel whose members include ANU Law alumna and former lecturer, Elizabeth Lee MLA (LLB ’03, B Asian Studies ’03).

The 3MT program is an international competition that teaches PhD candidates how to simplify their discussion of their research, as well as giving them invaluable public speaking skills.

“Seeing the 2016 and 2017 competitions was both motivating and a little bit demotivating because everyone was amazing,” Alice recalls.

“I always wanted to have a go, but I didn’t know how to explain my research in three minutes, or in quite a few more minutes to be honest.

“I decided to enter after I had a good idea for the pitch while I was a research visitor at the University of Sydney in July. Once I had the idea, I decided to enter.

“I have always been interested in and passionate about equality and non-discrimination so I knew I wanted to do more research in that area of law.

“I decided to do a comparative thesis and chose my case studies after one of the tasks I had to do in a professional role was to read and summarise all decisions made by highest courts in comparable jurisdictions, including from the UK and Canada, in a calendar year.

“From doing that for a year, I realised that the decisions on equality and non-discrimination rights were strikingly different from the approach adopted in Australia, and I wanted to know why that was.

"Doing the 3MT has helped both [my thesis and my public speaking]. It helps the thesis by forcing you to think about how to explain, simply and easily to a non-expert audience, why your research is important and useful.

“I think this can be difficult in law because the research doesn’t necessarily have a clear or positive ending.

“It has helped my public speaking skills by giving me an opportunity to practice them. Most HDR work is silent, so it has been helpful to use this as an opportunity to remember how to speak in public.

“For me, the image for the slide came first. Once I knew what the image would be, the words almost wrote themselves.”

The ANU3MT Finals start 6pm 12 September in Llewellyn Hall. It’s also streaming live on the ANU Facebook.

Follow Alice on Twitter.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team