Hands Off Afghanistan: The Soft Power Of Theatre? (3MT Competition)

Titled “HANDS OFF AFGHANISTAN: THE SOFT POWER OF THEATRE?”, my presentation raises the issues around the politics of theatre-making. This was the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition founded by the University of Queensland. Here, my presentation offers a succinct anecdote and summary of my research in a non-technical, jargon-free way.

You can watch the video on the Final of the competition held at the University of Manchester on 23 March 2015 here:


Below are the 3 Minute Thesis Rules

1. What are the presentation rules?

The following rules have been developed for the competition.

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (eg. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.
  • Presenters cannot restart their presentation once they are underway.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

2. What will the presentations by judged on?

At every level of the competition each competitor will be judged on the judging criteria listed below. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

(i) Comprehension & Content: did the presentation help the audience understand the research?

  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and aims of research? 
  • Do you know what is significant about this research?
  • Did the presenter indicate the potential impact of the research on society?
  • Did the presentation follow a logical sequence?

(ii) Engagement: did the oration make the audience want to know more?

  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialise or dumb down their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s
  • attention?
  • Would I like to know more about the speaker’s research?

(iii) Communication Style: was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?

  • Did the speaker use sufficient eye contact and vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and a confident stance? Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology that needed to be used, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend the right amount of time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long or were rushed?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance, rather than detract from, their presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?