I’ve always enjoyed conferences. I like the concentration of academic effort, the opportunity to engage with colleagues from other institutions, the chance to catch up with old friends. Most of all I appreciate the immersion in an intellectual culture separate from the everyday humdrum of working life. They are a privilege to attend and afterwards I tend to feel enthused and excited about the possibilities in my own work (most of the time). No bad thing then.

So that’s the after-effects of conferences. But recently I’ve wondered about what happens prior to the conferences themselves. Obviously abstracts are submitted, accepted or not, papers written, plans made by organisers and delegates. If you are a convenor like me (I convene the Social Theory and Education SIG for the British Education Research Association), you are necessarily involved in abstract reviewing and the grouping of sessions. And it is this aspect of my work in particular that has got be thinking a bit more about the conference run-in period. This year we’ve had an especially good batch of abstracts accepted for the Social Theory SIG, and given the existence of this website, I thought: why not invite the writers to blog about their BERA papers?

Conference badges

Conference badges (Photo credit: WordShore)

Genius idea! Well maybe, although now it seems like a pretty obvious one given my convening role and the fact that I developed this website (I can be quite slow on the uptake …). So anyway the outcome of this brain activity is that a number of authors will blog about their BERA papers prior to the actual conference itself – between now and September basically. These include papers from both PG students and staff, and all involve work taking its cue from social theory in some form. These posts will be uploaded over the next few months so keep an eye out for them. Hopefully it might prove to be a useful avenue for people to engage and network with other education researchers and to learn more about their work, especially for those looking to attend the conference.

I was also wondering if anyone else is involved in this kind of work – do similar activities take place for other conferences? It would be good to know – Best wishes, Mark