Recently, I found this in my inbox:
Keynote Speakers

CBR’s “girl-power” is well represented by our two high-profile invited
guest speakers:
– Professor Susan Craw, Director of the Research Institute for
Innovation, DEsign And Sustainability (IDEAS) at the Robert Gordon
University, and
– Professor Edwina L. Rissland from the Department of Computer Science
at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Obviously, it isn’t enough that there are high-profile guest speakers. Their status as “girls” has to be emphasized and accentuated. One has to wonder why… Taking a quick look at the previous conferences, apparently there have been female speakers before, although the invited speakers have never been only “women”. Hmpf.

The workshop proposal has been submitted, and both co-chairs were positive that it’s a good proposal, so let’s hope the reviewers (or workshop chairs?) do too. Should know more about its acceptance by the 8th of december. One thing down completely.

The first version of the studyguide also has been written, through much cannibalizing of earlier guides. Also, it still stands in two languages, and the next step is not only adjusting it for language (since students will get to discuss in their native language rather than English), but also for content. There’s more to cannibalize though, which is a sustaining thought because writing a studyguide for the first time without support is not a thought I want to entertain at this point in time. For sure, later on, especially when I will be the main responsible person (actually, I’m looking forward to that already). No tutor-instructions yet, since the content of the study-guide has to be settled beforehand. At least, that’s the conclusion we’ve come to. Also, examples are a good idea here as well, and those won’t make it to my grubby hands before 28 november.

No introduction and theory for the journal paper either, but that’s because first an overview of two conferences visited in september and october has to be given. One in presentationstyle, the other more report wise, if only to give me feedback and see if another presentation should be made. So, adding those two things to my list, instead of the editing for my student’s thesis.

The presentation overview worked out just fine – mainly because the idea was to foster discussion rather than me blabbering on and on about what might be to some interest. Discussion was definitely available, since very few people in the cluster are shrinking violets and will speak up when they don’t get something or have conflicting opinions. Today the focus is on the next conference overview, since one the businessmanagers is awaiting that eagerly.

This week I was away for a conference – strictly speaking I’m still away, since I only fly back home on sunday. The conference itself was full of relevant presentations, and for once there were nearly no boring presenters either so it’s been very enjoyable. My presentation also went quite well (although I forgot half of the things I wanted to tell, but that was probably a good thing since I only had 10 minutes), and I got interesting questions.

Everything I heard though, on the first day, started me thinking about organizing a workshop. I’ve been thinking about the topic and the possibility to organize a workshop since the previous conference I visited, but hadn’t found the right venue.

A topic that’s very dear to me is research methods. Which research methods to use when, how to make sure they’re valid and reliable, and how can you incorporate research methods from other fields? It’s definitely a topic that lives, but might not be equally interesting for everybody. There’s a European project that’s looking into this as well. It also includes the possibility for industrial people to have more and easier guidance of their research choices through a framework generated by researchers with a more academic background. And all this without compromising reliability and any kind of validity, of course.

So what better way to discuss this than in a workshop? Preferably one where people have at least some experience, so we could just do one kind of overview presentation on the papers everybody sent in (although I don’t exactly know yet what kind of papers to ask for) and then dive straight into the discussion.

One of the upcoming conferences has their workshop deadline coming up, and it would be thrilling if I could submit something there. I’ve talked to the conference chair, and the workshop chair, and they are interested in the topic. After asking around the community a bit it seems more people would be interested so a small-scale workshop would be very do-able. But what kind of output to predict? A poster might not be the right format. Another person suggested short video clips, which does sound rather exciting because you could run that on a television throughout the rest of the conference and easily post it online as part of the wrap-up.

However, after putting my feet back on earth, the best thing to do would be to check my CompanySupervisor to see what she thinks (especially given the situation with CompanyManager). But it would be so exciting if I could actually pull this off!

Usually, when coming back from a conference, my head feels incredibly full and yet, at the same time, like a stack of umbrellas opened up in my head. Straight, upside down, left, right, on top of eachother, through eachother… it’s an image taken from Dianna Wynne Jones, but very useful, because ideas and questions are just going any which way and it’s hard to capture them on time, or even verbalize them in a way that might later on make sense.

It’s one of the reasons that I always make copious notes at conferences, because when I read them over later on, the feeling might come back and ideas could be verbalized. One of the things the last conference made me realize is that the world is small. There was a PhD student who works with measuring behaviour in severly physical and mental handicapped people. It isn’t my field at all, at least not the people who are her target group, but how awesome would it be to be able to measure whether somebody is comfortable or not without having to ask them constantly? Not to mention, my mother actually works with multiple handicapped people, and I’m fairly certain she’d be interested in the follow-up. I’m actually bursting to tell her, and ask her whether she would like to cooperate with the PhD student!

Another exciting thing of the last conference: there were so many women! I’d almost forgotten there could be conferences where women are almost half the participants (and then I’m not counting the salesgirls). It was extraordinary to just look around and not feel so … isolated. I admit, that’s a very good feeling, and one that encourages me to keep believing in my own possibilities and capacities. Hopefully, that way other people (women) can take strength from me in return.

About half a year ago, there was a message that one of the conferences has a SpinOff Conference. Nice news, since SpinOff Conference is very much in my field. Plus, soon they published that at least one of the KnownPeople would give a keynote talk, which was another reason to contribute a paper. The long paper deadline came closer, but not enough data had been gathered yet to write something worthwhile. Luckily, the short paper deadline was doable, so a short paper was submitted.

Thursday the verdict was in: Accepted!!! I bounced around the whole day, certainly after seeing the awesome reviews! This means that I’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area again in october… where I will see KnownPerson speak (for the first time, too), present my own work, probably get some new fresh insights and lots of new energy. I can hardly wait…