ARCTOS Student Forum 2017

This years’ student forum started off with a short bus journey from Tromsø to the picturesque Malangen Brygger Resort, which is set on the Malangen Fjord Peninsula. The resort consisted of beautiful wooden cabins with a perfect view over the fjord and mountains. The ARCTOS network is a great opportunity for early career researchers to get together, collaborate and find inspiration from each other. Since one of the main goals of the student forum is networking, following our arrival, the students got the chance to meet and mingle while preparing a home cooked meal. During the evening, the five brand new PhD students (Christine Dybwad, Ulrike Dietrich, Raphaelle Descoteaux, Tobias Vonnahme and William Hatchett) were introduced to the network; discussing what ARCTOS is and what it means to be a member. To cap off the night, Christine Dybwad and William Hatchett were elected as the new Student representatives, to take over from Sofia Aniceto and Marvin Choquet.

The following day, after waking up to beautiful weather, we started this year’s workshop on “Design of scientific graphics through photography“, led by Mikko Vihtakari who is a former ARCTOS PhD student and currently works as a freelance researcher, data-analyst and nature photographer. The aims of the workshop were to give participants an insight into photography, the rules of good photography and to test our own creativity. The workshop also aimed to help us critically analyse good and bad graphics and how to create better graphics ourselves.  We started by learning about the basic rules of composition in photography and practiced breaking those rules by means of a playful photo-competition. There were many creative photos, but the best of the day was Christine Dybwad’s view of the world (see featured image), which won her a box of chocolates.

Photo and slide design: Mikko Vihtakari

Following our creative session, Peter Leopold, who is an experienced underwater photographer, presented seven of his own photos. We then discussed the key elements and rules that made the photographs excellent examples of good photography. After learning to break rules in photography, we continued to apply this strategy to scientific graphics. All participants presented a piece of informative graphic that they liked. We analysed each graphic as a group, assessing the positives and negative aspects of each. We also learned about principles of graphical excellence, grammar of graphics, how to cheat using graphics and, finally, Mikko gave use tips and tricks for designing scientific graphics. This session was highly useful for us as future scientists to be more critical and creative when it comes to reading and presenting scientific data. After a long and rewarding day of work, the student forum came to a close with a well-deserved social evening in the hot tub and sauna. The student forum was a great way to start the ARCTOS days allowing new members to meet the other students before the seniors arrived. This provided a strong support network and made the ARCTOS days more comfortable as a group.

Written by: William Hatchett