Dance your PhD contest (one of the parallel universes of YouTube)

I was browsing YouTube and for some reason decided to do a search for ‘PhD’ to see what I would find, assuming I would find a lot of existential reflections on the torture of the PhD process.   But to my surprise I found a whole underground movement of the PhD Dance Contest.  A fantastic idea of research students not taking themselves too seriously, when they are working in environments where it is all too easy to take themselves too seriously, and are encouraged to do so.  The PhD dance is a whole world now opened up to me, like realising it is the earth that revolves around the sun and not the other way around.  (Ok ok, I know this is a grand claim for the magnitude of the PhD dance….!)

It did make me wonder though, how many new religions and ideologies are being born singularly through the internet?  And not joke religions like Jedi (I don’t mean to offend anyone with that statement!), but serious contenders for new schools of thought for the next generations. 

We have heard how the internet is a “breeding ground” for terrorism and far right extremist groups, etc, but they existed before the internet anyway.  If this technology existed 2000 years ago, this would have been Christianity’s main tool of communication, not Sermons on Mounts (that would have been the equivalent of a Flash Mob gathering).  They say Scientology was invented by a science fiction writer, and the stories of the Bible can be traced back to older sources such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, so religions have always used the popular culture of the time as reference points and to tap into the zeitgeist.  The PhD Dance contest is just a glimpse at worlds I didn’t know existed.  How many more paradigms are out there courtesy of YouTube, Blogger, WordPress, etc, and how many will be the new religions and political parties of tomorrow.  All I can say is, God Help Us All!!

On that note, enjoy the delights of the best PhD Dance I could find. They are illustrating the research context – “Properties of Hard, Nanolayered TiB2:CHx Low Friction Coatings”  (A full description that I don’t undertsand can be found on their YouTube page –

This has obviously made me wonder how I can illustrate my own research.

“BEYOND PROJECT: An Ethnographic Study – According to stakeholders of community media educational activity, what are the prime motivations of participation, and what pedagogic conditions allow for impacts and areas of sustainability to be nurtured?”

Any suggestions always welcome!!!


[An obvious shout out goes to Prof. Alex Juhasz.  Respect to you.  I see how researching YouTube will be a lifetime’s work!! lol )

UPDATE: Almost at the same time I was writing this post, Prof. Juhasz was writing a post on her blog analysing YouTube’s role in social movements in similar territory to this.  See it here.   She says, “At minimum, communities need to be called through shared goals and analyses, built over time while in and about an acknowledged place, and in collaboration. These calls need to be focused on activities that also build upon each other and this shared logic.”


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