Every day during September we will post up an idea for you to vote on. The most popular ideas will become the things that the inaugural Organizing Committee of the Critical Physiotherapy Network focuses on in 2015. So please make sure you cast your vote at the bottom of each post.
Academic conferences are curious beasts. Some of them are enormous gatherings of people from all corners of the globe with multiple concurrent streams and a book of abstracts that looks like the St John’s Bible (see WCPT or QI2015, for example). Others are bespoke affairs usually catering for a more discrete group of participants with a specific purpose in mind (I would put the ISIH conference in this category). Either way, they can be stimulating, affirming, frustrating and overwhelming in equal measure.
Going to a conference only as an observer is a luxury these days because, who can really afford to travel overseas and pay the registration fee without the support of their institution? Which means that most people at the conference are academics presenting their scholarly work to other academics who are there because they themselves are presenting. These presenters will often spend a lot of their time sightseeing or shopping rather than attending the rest of the conference, so the thousands of dollars spent in traveling to your venue and days lost from work boil down to 15 minutes on a podium talking to 10 people who are only there because they’re up next.
This is a very cynical view of conferences though because they can be a real forum for debate and discussion. You can meet up with old friends and find new collaborators and people who might not otherwise know your work. You can test out a new idea and try things that you wouldn’t normally try at home. They can be places where most of the people you know in the world, who have the same interests as you, are gathered in the same place at the same time, and you can talk about things that you’re all passionate about that make most everyone else’s eyes glaze over.
So shouldn’t our Network support people to go to conferences? Shouldn’t we look to make it easier for people in our group to spread the message about critical physiotherapy to every corner of the globe?
Post update: please note that voting closed on 7 October 2014 (results are available here), but please feel free to post your comments in the space below.