C is for… Conferences #AtoZChallenge
C is for… Conferences
Academic conferences can be scary places but they can be hugely inspirational, both to attend and to present at. They can also be extremely tiring – you have been warned.
Advice when completing a PhD nowadays is to publish as you go along, the thought of this, to me, has been petrifying, but standing in front of people chatting about my ideas is less so (odd, yes?). I guess there is more of a permanence in the latter and because ideas mould and develop over time the idea of solidifying something in a journal seems too daunting. Not that I won’t challenge myself to go there – but I might need to take baby steps – blogging about my ideas is one of these.
I have already presented at conferences on my PhD and other subjects – I’ve also recorded myself presenting but not yet listened back, though it will be really helpful to, so that I can remember a) What I said and b) What questions I was asked and how I answered them.
One of my tasks for when I return to work is to add all the conference presentations/posters I have completed to the work publications archive – but will I be brave enough to add the audio?
I’m going to tell you my secret stages of presenting at conferences now:
1. See a conference that looks really exciting – note the date that abstract submission closes.
2. Forget the date that abstract submission closes and panic write an abstract the night before (pull out your hair trying to get it under the minuscule word count whilst retaining a semblance of coherent thought – I think/hope I’m getting better at this).
3. Miraculously get abstract accepted (or not then maybe you can attend without fear).
4. Realise not too long before the conference that you need to write something, develop a poster, presentation etc.
5. Re-read abstract and try and remember what you were talking about when you wrote the abstract.
6. Possibly realise that in the interim months you have moved on with your ideas and try and write something which matches the original abstract but also expresses your new thoughts.
7. If you are like me continue working on said presentation up until the presentation (this is because I like to try and acknowledge what I’ve heard in the sessions I’ve heard before where relevant).
8. Go over time because you have added things last minute.
9. Think it has gone awfully and decide never to write an abstract again.
10. See a conference that looks really exciting…
Or is this just me?
Speaking of writing abstracts there is a deadline on Friday… hope this post doesn’t jeopardise my chances.
I am very excited to be attending and presenting at the auto/biography conference to be held in Barcelona in July. I was also lucky enough to be awarded PGR development funding to attend. I will be presenting the following (and a joint presentation that I’m really excited about):
Cover Stories: using books to tell the tales of a writing life
My PhD explores my need to engage in the occupation of creative writing. Books are the artefacts or tools of a writer’s trade. It is commonly suggested that we should not judge a book by its cover but in reality that’s exactly what we do. This paper will become a field text (Clandinin and Connelly 2000) examining my creative writing narrative and autobiography through the cover images of books that have been influential in my writing life. The literary concept of intertextuality will be discussed as an understanding that works of literature cannot be separated from other works that have come before, or from the general culture in which they are created (Allen 2000). This further supports my decision to utilise autoethnography as a methodological approach, where the self is always seen in connection with others (Chang 2008).
Finally, books have been a great source of comfort to me and even looking at a familiar book can induce a sense of calm. This will be linked to the core belief of occupational therapists and occupational scientists – that occupation links to wellbeing (Wilcock 1998).
Allen, G (2000) Intertextuality. London: Routledge.
Chang H (2008) Autoethnography as method. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Clandinin DJ and Connelly FM (2000) Narrative inquiry: experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Wilcock AA (1998) An Occupational Perspective of Health. Thorofare, NJ: Slack.
What has your best conference experience been?
Does my ‘stages of presenting’ seem familiar to you? Please say I’m not alone?