12th ELIA Conference reflections
¡Hola! I have just come back from the sunny, beautiful and civilized city of Seville, Spain where I attended and presented my paper (please see the abstract here): http://lantern.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/?p=7265#comment-2295). Last month Richard, Fitri and I also participated at a conference at the University of Cordoba, Spain. Some of the experiences I gained from participating at these two “international” conferences were new to me.
The most striking one is probably about the time. Days in Spain seem to be very very very long as well as the conference programme which started from 9.00/9.30 in the morning and finished at 7.30 or later in the evening (with a 2-hour lunch break + a siesta time or a short nap after lunch). I found it hard to function as I never got to bed before midnight in Spain, so, attending every presentation was impossible for me. I then realized that prefer a smaller conference with a focus (e.g. the Cultnet in Durham and BAAL IC-SIG) where the topics are more relevant to me. However, I love Spain especially their foods, drinks and ways of life (which I think are very civilized!)
Thinking about my PhD main study is always my goal when presenting at and attending a conference. In the latest paper presentation, I heard myself talking about a number of things which emerged from this thinking. For example, the contextual background regarding the ASEAN and the increasingly interconnected (intercultural) ASEAN used to be at the back of my study but now it’s coming to the fore. This means that I was thinking only about Thailand when I was drafting my original proposal, but now I think bigger in terms of possible contributions that my study might make.
During my latest presentation, also, I listened to myself talking about the choices that I made regarding the methods, and I heard that I was talking about them with confidence and authority. My paper may be different from other presenters’ at that conference in a way that I didn’t spend a lot of time “reviewing literature” (this could be one of my weak point?), but the audience seemed to react quite well (with nods and murmurs) when I said something like “Having been engaging with policy documents in the context and engaging with related literature, I came up with my own understanding of what ‘intercultural skills’ might mean in my context”.
I also heard myself talking about my topic from different perspectives (e.g. policy discourse, teacher discourse, textbooks and relevant literature. All these came from every presentation I gave since my Panel presentation (PhD proposal presentation). I have used every paper as a stepping stone towards the same goal (my topic). (And if you try googling the keywords “intercultural” and “ASEAN” you will find some of my papers on the first page).
Thank you for reading about my process of learning and growing up as a researcher. This process is made up with some small steps that I have made. This way works for me, but probably not for others who think and do things much faster than me.