A further, interesting point is the following: there is an admission fee to be paid by whomsoever wants to attend the conference. This might sound audience-unfriendly but it worked perfectly. The small fee allowed for papers to be pre-circulated and it selected an audience which was sincerely interested.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Again on conferences and how they can be really fruitful
I have just attended the STIMW conference in Manchester (here is the program for 2010). It is a very interesting concept of conference, since papers are not read but written well in advance and pre-circulated among participants. In this way, everyone reads everyone else's papers and the time allotted at the STIMW is all dedicated just to discussion, after a short introduction to the theme of the paper. The organisers of the STIMW have been clever enough to decide that the introduction has to be done by someone else and not by the author of the paper itself. In this way, the author of the paper does not get a chance to speak before the questions start. Hence, there is no clear distinction between authors and "listeners". This atmosphere is enhanced also by the fact that there is no seat distinction: all tables are placed in horseshoe shape and there is no microphone. Although for every paper 40' time are allotted for discussion, nonetheless they have never been enough.