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.
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.


krishna said...

Ciao Elisa,
really interesting the method adopted at STIMW conference. I have indeed experimented in Madrid and Gorizia (both in 2008), during two different international conferences on philosophy and religion, something similar, where the papers were at disposal at least one month before, but the lecturers were the authors themselves and the exposition consisted in the reading (15 min. each) of the paper, then discussion. In Gorizia no fee was required, Madrid was a bit expansive. In any case, the idea of making another sum up a paper which s/he didn't write sounds good. I will surely try to organize something in this sense in future also here in Italy!
Last thing: would it be possible to have your paper just for a glance?

VS said...

This is interesting and I think would make the discussions more useful.

elisa freschi said...

thanks for your points.
What do you think about the admission fee?

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