Hotel by the beach and free food with the off-chance of learning something interesting from your clever colleagues? Sure! Every year, the EngD centre holds an away day where all the EngD students from all years present their research. The aim is to bring everyone together and see how diverse our group is as most of us are based in different departments. This year the event was to be held in Brighton at the Grand Hotel. The outside has an ultra old-school Victorian vibe and a super English summer feel about it. It also had the most awesome stairwell. Although it was March, we had the first glimpse of summer with a balmy 18 C by Brighton beach. Sadly, as I entered, I realised we were sat in the one room in the hotel which had zero windows. As my eyes adjusted to the dark interior, I thought, well at least it looks pretty cool. The whole room was lined with a dark hard wood and deer heads decorated the upper perimeter. The whole room was pulled together by the grand chandelier hanging in the centre. The first day was fairly light, it was interesting to hear other students in the same centre but doing something wildly different – from creating architectural forms by scanning termite nests to high-speed scanning of shipping containers at Dutch customs, I felt out of my depth. Luckily there was one which focused on the use of OpenStreetMap and I was able to get involved with a few questions. Lunch was on the beach and we played a game where we bowled pebbles along the groyne. Surprisingly entertaining… The second day I presented but the highlight was definitely the afternoon activity. A santa-like man called Chris came along with around 8 luggage boxes and sat us down in a circle like at primary school. He explained that he is a PhD student as well, but is here to teach us how to create a narrative from our research. I thought to myself “sure, a coherent narrative is of utmost importance to a good piece of work, but how is he going to teach it in an afternoon?” …then the Lego came out. Er what? I was becoming increasingly sceptical, although the long hours in a darkened room had made my receptive to anything other than listening to another presentation. Chris then explained that through the process of “making” it helps us understand what we are doing and help convey a story to our target audience. So our task was to “make your PhD in 10 minutes”. Okay. This guy is nuts. What? Immediately my boyish senses made me gravitate towards the Lego. I can barely explain what GIS is in words, how can I represent it in a physical form? I frantically grabbed what I could and created this. Surprisingly, I was pretty happy with it: Geddit? No? Well, basically I am Abraham Lincoln and I am helping Ordnance Survey to bring UK from 2D into 3D. The river is the obstacle and I am trying to bridge over it. It’s actually fairly literal, other colleagues of my had more abstract representations: Answers on a postcard as to what they represent. In all, it was a fun and educational time way. Made some new friends and had some free food and wine. Hopefully next time we will be outdoors though on such a nice day! To finish, here is a delightful blue shirt with a cool (pun not intended) ice cream pattern on sale at the hotel lobby. Available to you for a cheap price of £120.