Celebration of Creative Inquiry FAQ's

What exactly is a poster?

In short, a poster is a visual display that tells the viewer something about your work. The display need not explain every detail, because you will be standing there to answer questions and invite conversation. Posters can take one of several physical forms: the large-format printed poster is a popular but pricy choice (~$50) and may require advance planning due to a very limited printing capacity on campus. Less expensive and equally effective formats include a collection of printed 8.5x11” sheets mounted on posterboard (either individual sheets of posterboard or one large piece) that are then hung on a wall or on a tri-fold posterboard piece that stands on a table. 

There are excellent examples of posters and poster sessions on the Poster Help page.

What are the physical requirements for my “poster”?

First of all, we welcome non-traditional, creative displays as long as they are respectful of the other presenters near you (so don't bring a 40-piece brass band or a swarm of angry bees with you). That said, most students will have a fairly traditional poster. Unless you have made a special request, you will be assigned a section of space (about 5 feet wide). You will either attach your poster to a wall with sticky-tack, a moveable wall or curtain with pins, or set it on an easel. We have multiple types of spaces available to accommodate different types of posters, and in the past have had no trouble accommodating whatever style of poster students brought. We provide sticky-tack, pins, and easels.

If you need extra space, a table, or access to an outlet, please request these as soon as possible. There is a space on the abstract submission form to make this kind of request, or you can send it to creativeinquiry@gustavus.edu. Late requests may be difficult for us to honor, so please let us know as soon as you can what you will need.

I’d prefer to do a talk; why are posters the only format included?

One of the goals of this celebratory event is to display students’ the results of students’ creative inquiry in a manner that invites and inspires conversations across typical disciplinary boundaries.  Whereas talks and other manners of presentation provide an ideal vehicle for presenting information, they do not always allow for the kind of informal conversation that we hope will occur in this event.  To this end, we are using posters simply as a visual cue to spark conversation.  Thus, whereas we recognize this isn’t they usual format for many disciplines, we are hopeful that students will find a creative way to display some aspect of their work visually to initiate conversation with those who attend the event.  Rather than thinking of the poster as a constraint, we hope you can be creative in finding unique and interesting ways to spark conversation about your work.

How can a humanist do a poster?

Here are a few links to examples of posters from the humanities to get you started.  We hope you will find these examples useful but not constraining.  There is no single way to present your work in a poster and we encourage you to be creative.  We would also encourage you to talk to your friends in various departments.  You might be surprised at the various disciplines across campus that use posters as a vehicle for sharing aspects of their intellectual endeavors.

How do I find a faculty sponsor?

The faculty sponsor can be anyone who can speak to the quality of your work.  That said, if your project of creative inquiry is the result of a class project, then the class instructor is the obvious first person to approach.  If you’ve done the project in collaboration with a faculty member, then speak to your faculty collaborator.  If you’ve done the project on your own, or as a part of a student organization, then you will need to talk with a faculty member in advance of submitting your project to ensure that the faculty member is willing to speak to the quality of your work.

Do I need to be in attendance during the entire event?

Yes.  The aim of this event is not only to recognize students’ projects in name, but to inspire conversations across disciplinary boundaries about the interesting work that’s being done on our campus.  If you aren’t present these conversations can’t happen.

Do all authors need to attend the event?

No.  It is perfectly appropriate to list collaborators who are not present during the celebration, indeed, in many instances omitting true collaborators would be unethical.  The project will be included as long one of the authors is present for the event.

Can I present a poster that’s been presented elsewhere?

Yes.  There is a lot of good work done by Gustavus students that is presented in various formats both on and off campus. The celebration of creative inquiry seeks to bring this work together in one venue to both recognize the work and inspire conversation about it.  Simply put, we want the greater campus community to know of the good work students are doing.  To this end, we would encourage you to present projects that have been presented elsewhere. 

Do I need IRB approval for my research?

What does this event cost? Who can attend?

This event is free and open to the public and will be held on Friday, 5/1 from 5-7 pm. Please let your friends and family know they are welcome to join us! The event will most likely be held in the campus center banquet rooms (but we are finalizing those details now).

Can I use AV equipment in my “poster”?

If you are interested in using AV equipment (TV, DVD, computer, projection, etc) in your presentation, please consider first whether it is really necessary. We have a limited ability to accommodate such equipment, and must limit the use of such equipment to students who really need it. For example, if your project was writing and directing a play, then yes, showing video of the play or parts of it would be highly appropriate. On the other hand, if you are just trying to use PowerPoint slides from a previous oral presentation and would just rather not print them out, your request will likely be denied.

If you will be using AV equipment for your presentation, please let us know when you submit your abstract or as soon as possible after. You or your sponsor may be contacted at some point in April just to verify that your need for using AV equipment is legitimate, especially if we are running out of space. Please remember to request to have space near an outlet. You may also need to request a table depending on the nature of the AV equipment you are using. Please note-- you are responsible for locating, reserving, and transporting the AV equipment. We can help you identify places to find the equipment you need, but we are not able at this time to provide equipment for you. Contact creativeinquiry@gustavus.edu with questions.

Do I need to stand by my poster for the whole 2 hours?

Your poster is not like a paper that you just hang for others to read: you need to be nearby to explain your work to the interested. That said, 2 hours is a long time and you might want to see the other posters as well. If you have multiple people working on a project, you might wish to take shifts of standing by your poster. If you are on your own, you should feel free to take some time wander around the session, but do make sure you spend a sufficient amount of time near your poster that people have the chance to talk to you.

Who pays for making these posters?

The student is ultimately responsible for the cost of making his/her poster. Occasionally, research advisors do have a small budget that might help with the cost of the poster, so check with your sponsor. The cost does not have to be high, though; it is possible to make a great poster for well under $10.

What happens to the posters after the event?

As far as we’re concerned, the posters belong to the person who paid for them. So they are really yours to do with as you wish. If you don’t know what to do with yours, consider asking your sponsor if you can hang your poster in the hallways of the department where you did the work. Also, there is some occasional need for example posters to help future poster-preparers and to show prospective students the great work our students do! If you are willing to donate your poster for general campus use, please talk to Brandy Russell or another Celebration organizer after the Celebration is over.

How do I make a poster?

For help with poster preparation, please refer to the Poster Help section of our web site. There are several links here that help with different aspects of the poster making process, from the very very practical and mechanical aspects to the ideas about how to make your poster interesting. If the first link you click isn't what you were looking for, try another!

Here is some more information about two common poster formats. Please don't think that you must use one of these formats-- we welcome non-traditional, creative displays as long as they are respectful of the other presenters near you.

  1. One option is to print in large format on a single sheet of paper. Media Services does this kind of printing; they require submission at least 3 days in advance. This option can be somewhat spendy; check on the price before committing to this option. If you choose to go this route, visit the Media Services web site ASAP and familiarize yourself with their instructions. You could also print in large format at places like Kinko's but the cost even higher; they require 24 hours advance submission.

  2. The more inexpensive option is to go with several panels of printed pages. You can mount these on posterboard to make them sturdier and more attractive. If you can find a large enough piece of posterboard or foam core, you could mount them on one large piece. Alternatively, you could cut pieces of posterboard slightly larger than printer paper.

If your question isn’t answered here (or by the other information on this website), feel free to contact creativeinquiry@gustavus.edu for the information you need.