How will the conference change? MacroSW chat for 4/16/2020

UPDATE: This post is scheduled for 4/16/2020, not 4/9. The MacroSW Partner Stephen Cummings regrets the error.

Chat transcript

The 6th Annual Social Work Distance Education Conference was to be held this week (#SWDE20). Our MacroSW chat this week was to have taken place while the conference was happening. Just like every other academic conference, it’s been canceled.

As a regular attendee of this annual conference, I understood the need to make this choice. I also know that I’d be missing out on seeing friends and colleagues, commiserating after hours, enjoying the city of San Antonio, and refreshing my professional perspective on the work I do as a social worker and professor.

Last fall, MacroSW Partner Pat Shelley and I held a MacroSW chat during the Annual Program Meeting of the Council of Social Work Education (#APM19). Among the questions we asked during that chat included “What are the major concerns for large-scale conference events?” I discussed some follow-up to these questions in the podcast the next week. Among the issues expressed with large, on-the-ground conferences is the barrier of costs (these conferences are historically expensive); yet, the ability to have opportunities to gather together in a shared space can be very valuable.

For this week’s chat, let’s consider the situation we’re in now. In what ways can we meaningfully build community and share our research in meaningful ways? Should we return to the traditional conference model?

Questions for discussion this Thursday:

  1. Self-care check-in: As conditions around the world continue, how are we taking care of ourselves? What’s one way you’ve been able to care for yourself?
  2. Connecting with peers: As social workers (students, clinicians, organizers, professors), how are we continuing to engage in learning and share our knowledge?
  3. Conference model: Have you attended an academic or practice conference? What were some positive experiences?
  4. Virtual conference: How can we make virtual conferences meaningful and engaging?
  5. Looking to the future: How will practice or academic conferences change? How should they change?

Additional readings:

A year without academic conferences? How the Coronovirus pandemic could change research. (Nature)

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