Presenting at conferences is vital to disseminate your research, get some informal feedback or check things out with colleagues in your discipline.
But it can be intimidating. The first time I presented part of my PhD research at a large conference, I had only met a handful of the people attending. In a dramatic loss of self-confidence, just before going into the first keynote, I worried whether anyone would be interested in my topic. My seminar presentation itself loomed over me like a black cloud.
Fortunately, I happened to sit next to a friendly academic from Romania who, among the 300 people attending, was not only presenting during the same session as me, but whose research focused on a similar topic. Having a friendly face in the seminar audience made all the difference.
My favourite conference of all has been the European Association of Practitioner Research in Improving Learning (EAPRIL) which promotes Practice-Based research in educational and organizational contexts. The Conferences are useful for networking, especially for early career researchers who want to present and gain feedback in a collegial environment.
The first EAPRIL conference I attended was in Switzerland. I was impressed by the quality of the keynote speakers, the variety of the presentations, workshops and seminars; and the friendliness of the presenters and audience (including MA and PhD students).
EAPRIL hosts Practice-Based research conferences throughout Europe - the next conference in November 2017 will be in Finland.
It is strange (and slightly shaming) to meet so many Dutch, Belgian, French, Italian, Swiss (and others) as well as non-European delegates, who can not only speak English, but present their research in English. And make jokes in English. Chapeau, as the French would say.
I have to declare an interest here. To my consternation, I was elected to the Board of EAPRIL by its members last year, so part of my role is to encourage wider engagement from UK practitioner-researchers in education who research in Universities, colleges and schools, as well as organizations and corporations, for instance in engineering, medicine, nursing, business, and teacher education.
If you’re interested, look at their website at: http://www.eapril.org/
EAPRIL 2015 Luxembourg