NCRM Autumn School


NCRM organises an Autumn School every year. Each Autumn School focuses on a cutting-edge methodological topic. The Autumn Schools are aimed mainly at early-career researchers, but are also relevant to postgraduate students.


The 2018 Autumn School


The 2018 Autumn School will be held from the 5-7th November at the University of Manchester Oxford Road campus. The topic is 'Visualisation and the Visual Field'.


This will be our 13th residential training event for post-doctoral researchers. There are 25 fully-funded (travel and accommodation) places available for early-career researchers from across the social sciences.


This Autumn School has been designed to challenge you to think deeply about the topic of visualisation, going beyond the typical 'how-to' training course. Participants will engage in exercises which will encourage them to think beyond the orthodox in designing visualisations.


The core of the Autumn School will be training provided by renowned data visualisation expert Andy Kirk. You can find out more about Andy at: There will be keynote speakers, each of whom will provide a different perspective on engaging with visualisation and the visual field. A key aim will be to explore how innovative quantitative and qualitative uses of visualisations in research can help us to see society, culture, economics and history in new ways.


Days two and three of the Autumn School will be structured around a proven design workflow. Across the sessions, delegates will build up, stage by stage, a detailed understanding of the different aspects of decision-making that goes into any data visualisation or infographic design work. The content is delivered through a blend of teaching, discussion and group practice. The practical exercises vary in nature, from evaluating work to conceiving ideas, identifying best-fit solutions and exploring data.


The approach will not be framed around specific tools or applications. Throughout the session, there will be references to some of the most common, contemporary technologies but the emphasis is on the underlying craft, regardless of your tools or skills.


Materials will be issued digitally (e.g. through Dropbox or a USB flash drive) and will cover all teaching content, exercise files and useful resources. Attendees should bring fully-charged laptops to use as a convenient workspace for the sessions. The only software requirements are access to Microsoft Excel, a web browser and a PDF reader - no other technical or skill-based pre-requisities exist.


By the end of the Autumn School, participants will:

  • Understand the range of elements that a good visualisation needs to take into account; clarifying the differences between good and bad visualisation design
  • Challenge their existing thinking about creating and consuming visualisation works
  • Appreciate the wide range of analytical and design options available, including chart types, features of interactivity, annotation, colour application and composition
  • Manage an efficient workflow, giving you the confidence to make astute choices based on sound principles and practical guidelines
  • Be inspired to elevate their ambitions by broadening their visual vocabulary and being exposed to the latest techniques and contemporary resources for developing their data visualisation capabilities
  • Be able to place visualisations within broader developments in the social sciences
  • Make use of visualisations to raise new questions about the social worlds we live in


Who is it for?


Participation in the Autumn School is by application only. The Autumn School is targeted at post-doctoral researchers, with priority given to early-career researchers from across the UK social science community who are employed on research-led contracts and who often do not have the same opportunities to participate in training events as PhD students. There will be a small number of places available for final year PhD students (and those who have submitted their thesis but who have not yet been examined), however priority will be given to those already holiding a PhD in the social sciences. Sessions will not assume expert knowledge, but some familiarity with the topic will be an advantage.


Information about previous NCRM residential schools:

NCRM Autumn School - New Data Horizons (2017)

NCRM, UKHLS and ICLS Autumn School: The use of biomarkers in social science research (2016)

Or view a full listing of NCRM residential schools