ResilienceCon: A New Approach To Conferences
We don’t know about you, but truthfully, we are often frustrated with traditional conference formats, which strike us as so much precious opportunity wasted on one-way communication. Conferences should be places of learning and fellowship. Over the last several years, we investigated and experimented with alternatives to disrupting and innovating the conference formula to create ResilienceCon.
Our main goal is to create the conference experience that we would like to have, and to share that opportunity with others.
We need you! Please consider participating this year— ResilienceCon is about creating a learning community and we are keen to hear about your latest work. We like nothing better than to be surprised by a creative idea or innovative response to a challenge.
ResilienceCon 2018 will offer the following components, all of which are designed to make the conference experience more engaging and impactful:
1) Keynote Conversations. Keynotes Conversations address timely topics of the day—sexual harassment, transgender identity, and immigration. The “conversation” part adds an interview format, to share the professional stories which are so valuable, but often overlooked because of the focus on results..
2) Fast-paced Presentations. Innovative session formats, with a mix of fast-paced formats (20X20s and Data Blitzes) and panels, with more time allowed for discussion.
3) More Interactive Discussion Formats. Unstructured Q&A is not the gold standard—far from it. We use techniques such as 1-2-4-All and moderated professional story prompts, such as how you make tough decisions about limited time and resources and other queries that get at sharing what the work is really like.
4) Opening and Closing Reflections. Each morning, a different colleague will help start us off on the right foot, and in the evening, create a moment to reflect on our shared time together. In the past, these have included meditations, poems, songs, personal reflections, and group exercises.
5) Breaking Bread Over Shared Meals. Many chances to share meals together. We are all mammals! Breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday, and hors d’oeuvres on Sunday are included with registration. There is also an optional opportunity to join a group dinner on Monday night.
6) Bystander Prevention Workshop. Our own Vicki Banyard is offering her 90-minute workshop on the popular Bringing in the Bystander program, free of charge for registered participants.
7) Workshop on Reflexivity Statements. It is becoming increasingly common to describe your own standpoint with respect to the work you have been doing. A reflexivity statement lies somewhere between a conventional professional biosketch and a personal autobiographical narrative. Conducted by Sherry Hamby and free of charge for registered participants.
8) Photovoice Competition and Photobooth. For 2018, we are introducing a ResilienceCon Photovoice competition. Bring your photos of resilience—or take some at the conference!–for a chance to win cash prizes! There will also be a photobooth at the Conference Closing.
9) “Face” Book with Brief Bios of All Participants. A nice resource that helps keep faces connected to names and provides some background on other attendees.
10) Commitment to Inclusivity. We strive to be inclusive. Many of the most interactive meetings are invitation only, but ResilienceCon has open registration. We have financially committed to 5 Promising Scholar awards to increase the focus on under-represented groups, and work to make the schedule as inclusive as possible, for example through selection of keynotes.
11) 21st Century Timeframe. (or, at least, a little closer!). A journalist recently interviewed Dr. Hamby at 11 a.m. and published the resulting article in a national news media outlet around 2 p.m. the same day. Science needs to catch up to the information revolution. It is very intentional that we have a February deadline for an April conference. We want to hear your latest work when it is still hot off the presses! This deadline also works better for students as well as many interns, fellows, and junior scholars.
10) A Beautiful Setting. The environment matters—something still neglected in too much of psychology. We are holding our conference at the Scarritt Bennett Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a nonprofit with a social justice focus. The Scarritt Bennett Center is located right next to Vanderbilt University in downtown Nashville, one of the most vibrant and distinctive cities in the United States!
Taken together, these add up to a substantially transformed conference experience.
Hope you will join us!