Subject Masterclasses

The University offers a broad range of subject-specific masterclasses, talks and workshops designed to support and inspire learners. View the sections below for further details.

Please contact schools-liaison@aber.ac.uk if you have any specific subject requests.

Art

Please email schools-liaison@aber.ac.uk or call us on 01970 628786 for further details of the masterclasses offered by the School of Art

Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS)

Parasites, problems and proteins

Parasitic worms cause significant medicine and veterinary health and welfare issues across the globe. Therefore, research is targeted towards new ways to control these infectious diseases.

This interactive session will look into the new control measures targeted toward worm parasites of human and animal importance looking at genetics, biochemistry and whole animal approaches.

Singing in the Brain – the science of birdsong

Why do birds sing? And how? And, like, how do they even know what to sing when there are so many other sounds going on? Like something out of Game of Thrones, bird song is all about territory, sex, and the brains behind it.  They even dream about songs.  Starting with pictures of your own attempts at whistling, we’ll see just how complex and visually beautiful bird songs are. We'll see what makes a great song, find out about dialects, and see how they deal with traffic noise.  Together with sound clips and video we’ll discover the secrets of what, how and why birds sing. 

Agriculture in the 21st century

Exploring trends for the future of Agriculture and food production

Business

Leadership Activity Workshop

This workshop is designed to develop students confidence, team-working, leadership and employability skills. Teams are allocated a number of different tasks such as orienteering, self-assembly ‘dragons den’ project and presenting a news bulletin. Each team is mentored by a member of staff or student ambassador and a de-briefing is provided after each activity to help students identify and build upon their preferred skill set and those of their team. This workshop can be accommodate a 1 hour, 2 hour, half day or full day session.

Managing change

This session will look at managing change in organisations. Issues such as resistance to change, case studies about change and Kotter's eight step model on how to manage change will be included. Forces for change, a look at why some organisations don't change and managers' misconceptions about change will also be included.

New venture creation

The aim of this session is look at how entrepreneurs develop the idea for a new business venture. It will include how to develop creativity and innovation and how to evaluate the opportunities. Topics included will be how to create a map to see if there are sufficient resources to implent the idea

International Tax and Tax Avoidance- Google/ Amazon

Countries are concerned over flight of capital and savings from their jurisdictions to low or no tax jurisdictions- Tax Havens.  Phenomenon has reached such proportions as to be considered harmful and is no longer a tolerated side effect of International Finance but a threat to the equilibrium of world economies.

Trillions of dollars of personal wealth is held offshore by rich individuals and multinationals.

This talk will look at some of the tax avoidance techniques that multinational companies utilise and will identify specific techniques that well established and well-known companies such as Google and Amazon make use of and how the tax authorities are dealing with these issues

Computer Science

What is Artificial Intelligence?   

This session will investigate what it means to be intelligent, and what it means for a computer to be intelligent. Can we tell? Is there a test we can apply? We will look at various activities which might demonstrate intelligence: holding a conversation, understanding images, playing games … and see whether we think that computers that do these things are truly intelligent (yet).

Education

Education for Sustainable Development

There have been significant and lasting changes that have altered our planet’s environment, while at the same time there have been massive changes to our society and the ways in which people interact with each other and their environment. This session will examine how education can be used as a driving force for change in promoting and identifying sustainable practices. It will consider the relationship between humans and their environment by drawing on social and cultural aspects of development. The session will use case study examples that identify how education has been used to improve practices in the developing world and consider the role of the UNESCO roadmap for implementing the global action programme on Education for Sustainable Development.

Aspects of Child Development

It is easy to see how children develop physically, and we celebrate their achievements in this area  – sitting up, crawling, walking, running. We can also imagine the consequences if children fail to do these things. But practitioners and researchers also place great importance on social and emotional development in early childhood. Why is this? What might be the consequences if children fail to achieve in these areas? This workshop will explore some aspects of these questions.

English & Creative Writing

Polemic Writing

In this session, you’ll work through the creation of a polemic piece of writing: how do you create a compelling point of view and a powerful argument? How do you inhabit different perspectives convincingly? How do you grab your reader’s attention and keep it? At the end of the workshop you will have a draft of a creative piece, and greater understanding of the techniques that polemics rely on.

War Writing

This session will use Simon Armitage’s collection The Not Dead as a basis for exploring different ways in which authors have tried to depict warfare, asking how writers can use language to capture extreme, traumatic and ethically confusing situations. How does literature help us to understand, critique and commemorate warfare?

Geography & Earth Sciences

Water and Carbon Cycles

Glacial Systems and Landscapes

Changing Places

Geohazards

Urbanization

Rivers and Fluvial Environments

Weather and Climate

Population and Resources

Sustainability

Cultural Geography

Migration

Managing Ocean Pollution

Energy Challenges

Dryland Landscapes

Geographies of Food

Globalization

Water Conflicts

Pollution and Human Health

Consuming the rural landscape

History & Welsh History

Analysing and interpreting historical evidence: facts vs. truth?

As the noted scholar Prof. H. Jones Jnr. said, 'Archaeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's Philosophy class is right down the hall.' (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Historians often try - with very mixed results - to get at both 'facts' and 'truth', but in a 'post truth' and 'alternative facts' age, how can we analyse and interpret the past in as objective a way as possible? Indeed, is an objective view of history viable or desirable? This session will encourage students to consider the reliability and usefulness of different types of historical evidence, the ways in which those seeking to understand past societies use them, and how personal, political, social and cultural factors influence historical research.

The Thought-World of the First Crusaders:

The origins of the First Crusade have been fiercely debated for nearly a millennia. The explanations put forward by historians have varied considerably in line with their own changing circumstances and assumptions. In this session, rather than looking at traditional explanations for the motives of the crusaders which focus on religious piety, financial gain, or intolerance – we will look instead at what sources the crusaders themselves drew upon to form their own outlook on the world. What evidence can we use to understand how they saw their own social and political role? What did they make of their own history and how did they think about the past? What possible sources did they draw upon to justify their actions and how might these have conflicted? Doing so will allow us to place the dramatic events of the late 11th century in a far wider context.

International Politics

Crisis Game:

The Department of International Politics was the first university department to use crisis simulations to connect classroom learning with the world complexities of international politics. We run 3 day crisis simulation events with our undergraduates. For Schools and Colleges we run one and two day crisis simulations.

Britain, Brexit, and the World

This interactive session will get students making some of the hard choices faced by the British government (whichever colour!) as it embarks on the bumpy road towards exit from the European Union and of redefining its role in the world.

In Trump's shadow: Change and continuity in US politics

In November 2016 the citizens of the United States of America elected a new President, Donald Trump. This interactive workshop explores the main reasons that voters supported Trump, and the extent to which his election has changed US politics as well as the wider world. We will look at Trump's policy priorities and the extent to which he has been able to implement his election promises. The workshop will also think about the way in which Trump communicates with his supporters and opponents, and what this means for the way in which politics is done. Students will get an opportunity to step into the role of different political actors, and advise on political priorities and strategies in light of the Trump presidency.

Wales and the International Refugee Crisis: a Glance at Global Inequality

Oxfam recently published a report claiming that global inequality was reaching new extremes with the world’s richest 1% now possessing more wealth than the rest of the world combined. This interactive workshop on global poverty explores the widening inequality gap between the world’s richest and poorest, and focusses on the recent international refugee crisis to demonstrate how politics and inequality are closely related. During the workshop, students will have the opportunity to discuss which steps, if at all, should be taken to eradicate global inequality. They will also be asked to step into the shoes of local and national politicians in Wales and consider the issues they face in light of recent refugee crisis. Through group work and informal discussions, students will be encouraged to reflect on questions such as: How would they deal with the current refugee crisis? Does the distinct local character (economy / politics / language / geography) make their reception and integration easier or more difficult?

Law

Please email schools-liaison@aber.ac.uk or call us on 01970 628786 for further details of the masterclasses offered by the Aberystwyth Law School.

Mathematics

Why do bubbles have a certain shape? Can we describe the rules that determine the shapes of bubbles using mathematics?

The shape of bubbles is controlled by the interaction between physical forces and energy. Through a set of demonstrations and activities, participants will gain a better understanding of how to predict the shapes of bubbles and how this can be used to solve some tricky problems.

Circles?

How do we define distance and how this might affect our idea of a ‘circle’?

Modern Languages

Monkey Raisins, Monkey Nuts- Easy German Grammar

A short introduction to the Monkey Raisins, Monkey Nuts project and will show how social media can be used to make German Grammar more accessible. It will culminate in a short group work session, during which students are asked to prepare a tweet in relation to the project.

La France : première destination touristique mondiale

La France : première destination touristique mondiale. This lecture will show you how French is taught at university level and will help you towards your A level studies. It will concentrate on several aspects such as: various types of tourism, assets of France (culture, geographical position, the world heritage sites, skiing, œnotourism, employability, advantages vs disadvantages of tourism, terminology, reading list, etc.).

Texting in Spanish

Physics

Using starlight to find exoplanets

With the exception of our Sun, stars are incredibly far away from us. Yet astronomers know that many stars have planets orbiting them and can identify the chemicals in their atmospheres. How were those planets detected and how can we possibly identify compounds in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star?

Our workshop will investigate how we can use the properties of starlight to answer these questions, and we will discuss some of the latest advances in observing exoplanets.

Diamonds

Why are diamonds so hard and strong? Why are they so valuable? Might we be able to make our own diamonds (or other carbon molecules) with strange, but useful properties?

Our workshop will investigate the structure of diamond through models and activities, and we will demonstrate how our new understanding of diamonds and graphene is leading to amazing new materials.

Psychology

Stress and resilience:

Ever wondered why you feel so awful after something goes wrong? When a relationship doesn't turn out the way you were expecting, or when you get a result in an exam that you hadn't banked on?

In this session we'll talk about how to grow our resilience after we've experienced a disappointment, and how to recognise the symptoms of change and recovery.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

We'll talk about two separate things. First we'll think very carefully about what psychology is - and look at some of the more unusual things in the subject that may surprise a little.

Second, we'll talk about how psychology can help us understand what happens when things don't go exactly to plan in life and how knowing a little bit about the psychology involved.

Weird stuff:

Some things in psychology are not immediately obvious, and it can come as a surprise that we study them.

In this session, we'll talk about ghosts, crop circles, crime, traffic and Lady Gaga! We'll learn that things are not always as they seem, and why this is interesting to those of us studying psychology

Theatre, Film & Television Studies

Film and Television Studies: Combining historical, theoretical and practical approaches

What makes a good film and television maker? How are practical skills and knowledge supported by historical and critical understandings of cultural production? This illustrated talk outlines why it is important to study film, television and media, what we can learn from the historical development of these areas, and how that knowledge can be channelled into practical work. We’ll focus on both mainstream and alternative forms of film and television, using group exercises to explore a range of examples in detail. 

Welsh & Celtic Studies

Please email schools-liaison@aber.ac.uk or call us on 01970 628786 for further details of the masterclasses offered by the Department of Welsh & Celtic Studies.