We are pleased to announce the 2019 Salford Postgraduate Annual Researcher Conference (SPARC) to be held at MediaCityUK, 3 - 4 July 2019.

With a unique focus on innovation and the Salford five research beacons, the event brings together leading postgraduate research, provides an opportunity to develop the presentation of your research and communicate this to both specialist audiences and the general public. The program includes a mix of engaging presentations, workshop formats to fast-paced Pecha Kucha talks and showcases.

This year the conference theme is 'Fake News and Home Truths' and our keynote speakers have been carefully selected to present on this topic.

Day 1, Wednesday 3rd July - Nazir Afzal OBE

We are thrilled to announce that our first keynote speaker is former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England, Nazir Afzal OBE.

During a 24 year career, Nazir has prosecuted some of the most high profile cases in the country and advised on many others and led nationally on several legal topics including Violence against Women & Girls, child sexual abuse, and honour based violence. He had responsibility for more than 100,000 other prosecutions each year. His prosecutions of the so called Rochdale grooming gang, BBC presenter Stuart Hall and hundreds of others were groundbreaking and drove the work that has changed the landscape of child protection. He is the Chair of Hopwood Hall. He was appointed to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). He is also National Adviser on Gender Based Violence to the Welsh Government. Most recently he joined the advisory board of Google’s Innovation Fund for counter-extremism.

Nazir has received many accolades and in 2005 was awarded an OBE by the Queen for his work with the CPS and involvement with local communities. He has also had the honour of being the only lawyer to ever prosecute a case before the Queen. Nazir was selected for the Asian Power 100 along with the Muslim Power 100 list, recognising him as one of the 100 most influential leading Muslims and Asians in the UK.

“An inspiring figure, forensically intelligent” - The Times

“The authentic voice of British Justice” – The New York Times

Day 2, Thursday 4th July - Philip Connolly, founder of the Disability Resilience Network

On day 2 we warmly welcome the tireless disability rights campaigner Philip Connolly. Taking on our conference theme, Philip will discuss 'Fake News' around disabled people and his approaches to countering it. Philip is a long time collaborator with the University and has some fascinating ideas on how practice based research (storytelling, performance) can help people to tell the real stories about disability. As he says...

"Cultural expression is but one of what I see as three drivers of change outside of Government or direct Government control. I see liberation technology as another and I have blogged on this in the past. I see the third as new business models such as those based upon the lean start up or digital platforms that seek to co-produce new products or services with their consumers, as being equally key developers. I see artists being challenged to deliver new narratives on disability, product or service designers being challenged to deliver bespoke solutions and investors challenged to finance new and in the context of the aging population expanding markets that serve disabled people. One message that links these challenges and is already the norm in sectors such as technology is disruption innovation.

Disruption asks the question what if?

What if disabled people were the lead innovators is a question I keep testing."


Conference Timeline

For further information about SPARC and to view last year’s event go to:




Conference dates announced

February 14-18th

Call for papers

February 26th

Abstract Writing workshop, 10-12pm

The workshop is designed to help you write your abstract in real time.

March 14th

Abstract Writing workshop, 2-4pm

The workshop is designed to help you write your abstract in real time.

Midnight 29th March 2019

  • Submission deadline for abstracts
    (Please note the deadline is absolute, you should plan around any bank holidays and vacation periods).

15th May 2019

  • confirmation of acceptance and final schedule communication

4pm, 24th May 2019

  • submission of final PowerPoint presentations and posters for printing (presentations and posters are to be submitted one month in advance, to confirm your supervisor has approved content, produce publications and arrange printing)

4pm, 10th May 2019

  • last call for PGR chairs

Week commencing 17th May 2019

  • PGR Chair training

Week commencing 17th June 2018

  • practice presentation training available

3rd & 4th July

  • SPARC – all PGRs are expected to attend

12th July 2019

  • communication on how to collect posters and follow up resources distribution


For any queries, please contact in the first instance. You can also contact Davina Whitnall or Tracy Ireland in the Doctoral school.