Conference Report

I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced anything like the last week. Our department has (nominally) 14 faculty members, so it’s not a particularly big place. And yet there were three conferences in a single week, all based in our department and all exquisitely executed. I couldn’t have managed full attendance at every event given other obligations, but I did at least manage to make it to all three.

The first conference was more like a workshop — not open to the public or anything. It was a meeting of the Augmented Reality Research Team (though we’re really more writing about various forms of Mixed Reality than Augmented). We brought in a couple guests and each did 40-minute presentations with responses and discussion. The result was just like one of those workshops that I sometimes travel to attend — where a small number of people have intense exchanges of ideas for a couple days and get to know each other. Except that this time, it was with some of my own colleagues (plus a few others), which is an experience relatively few people get to have. Most of the time, departments don’t have occasions to meet to discuss their own professors’ work-in-progress.

Thursday was the [CTRL] : TAS symposium. I was only able to catch Ken Wark’s keynote, which was exceptionally clear and crisp, and as usual, he didn’t shy away from challenges in the Q&A (no, video games really aren’t a form of narrative). I was especially taken with his approach to putting Gamer Theory online before its book-form publication to solicit commentary. I am tempted to do the same thing with the mp3 manuscript, depending on cost, time, and a few other factors. I think I already have the necessary resources.

Friday and Saturday was the symposium of Crime, Media and Culture, which I also caught only a little of — though I did manage to crash both of the social events (a benefit of being married to one of the organizers). But all the participants were praising the event; and the panel I attended was outstanding, and one of the more politicized sets of papers I’ve seen presented on the McGill campus.

Today was all about recovery. Since I don’t know how to celebrate Victoria Day properly tomorrow, I’ve got a dissertation or two to read.