On 19-20 April 2018 members of the Department of Statistical Science left behind their usual offices to meet for two days of talks, discussions and activities in nearby Farringdon, at the wallacespace meeting venue on Clerkenwell Green. The event was organised collaboratively by staff and students across the department, as a response to an increased need for cohesion following the expansion of the group in recent years.
On the first day, following a healthy breakfast, staff members descended to ‘The Den’ and discussed departmental strategy (teaching, staffing and research), before academics shared highlights of recent research, and professional services staff took part in a team building workshop. After a freshly cooked lunch and a few minutes to enjoy one of the first sunny days of the year, the afternoon commenced, with parallel meetings for teaching staff (focused on new learning technologies), and the first of two sessions in which PhD students gave short research talks. Following this all present were treated to a dinner and drinks reception.
On the second day, following breakfast, an update on the ongoing departmental teaching curriculum review and a productivity session, attendees were given a special guest lecture by Dame Jil Matheson, former National Statistician and Director General for Statistics Delivery at the Office for National Statistics, on the topic of statistical reporting and impartiality at the BBC. The afternoon sessions consisted of parallel discussions on the teaching of service courses, together with the second set of PhD student talks. These were predominantly organised by the postdocs, who also arranged a hidden surprise in the form of prizes, awarded to four students who gave particularly interesting talks (Wenyu Wang, Marta Campi, Asma Saleh and Aleksandar Kolev), as well as a prize for excellent use of statistical graphics (Xiaochen Yang), and the coveted ‘biggest table’ award (Deyu Ming). After a meeting round up and vote of thanks from the head of department, those with remaining energy took part in a suitably statistical department quiz, organised and hosted by Anna Heath and Federico Ricciardi.