Recently it seems all I do is play tourist at conferences! I promise to blog soon about something other than me swanning around getting all inspired and overstimulated, but for now I’m just going to blather on about how much fun I had at the ISCHP conference. Oh, ISCHP is the International Society of Critical Health Psychology, in case you were wondering. And no, my work doesn’t really fall under health but it’s definitely critical, so there.
Early on Sunday morning my lovely partner dropped me off in Bradford for a workshop on feminist informed discourse analysis. The workshop itself was facilitated by two out of three members of my supervisory team, Bridgette Rickett and Katy Day. The session consisted of around 10 delegates attempting to deconstruct a (rather grim) Daily Mail article about oestrogen and stress resilience. It was really refreshing to sit through a session on discourse analysis with very receptive, welcoming peers as opposed to teaching a session to undergraduates who have (so far) only encountered statistics and experimental stuff… and as such can be a little… resistant… I’ll leave that one alone for now. Maybe a discussion for another day?
Monday kicked off with an inspirational keynote on disability studies and critical health psychology from Dan Goodley, who is such an engaging and entertaining speaker. The afternoon brought a session on health online, which was full of really novel, current research. All three talks in that session were fabulous, but the best title award has to go to Adam Jowett for ‘Unless you want to know how many carbs are in sperm…’ : Heterosexism in an online support group. Just fabulous. After a coffee break featuring some excellent cake, the second session I went to covered women resisting dominant discourses in their lives. A variety of papers were presented on rape, lesbian identities and women in non-traditional workplaces. I was absolutely knackered after this, and headed back to the hotel to relax before the wine reception at Bradford’s famous National Media Musem. Monday really was a bit full on – to my shame, I didn’t make the 8:30am start on Tuesday!
Tuesday was equally full on, with too many great sessions to choose from – a notion that seemed to crop up on Twitter a bit with the good old #firstworldproblems lamentation attached. I went to a great session on parenting and promoting health, with interesting talks on “ideal” mothers, constructions of routine ultrasound scans and smoking during pregnancy. Tuesday night’s conference dinner and dancing was incredibly fun… I felt like I’d achieved something great when I convinced the DJ that we REALLY needed to hear Men Without Hats – Safety Dance. I’ll just leave that one there for you to enjoy. I think the best summary of the night came from Christina Lee via Twitter the next morning…
@_JessLowndes think of last night's dancing as a workshop on embodiment in academic life. #ischp2013
— Christina Lee (@CLeeBrisbane) July 24, 2013
On the subject of Twitter – again, I’m really pleased with how I’m using my new, public account. I met so many great people from all over the world at the ISCHP conference, and tweeted my way through the entire thing to take notes and connect with other delegates. I never thought I’d like having a public Twitter (given my own, non-academic life account is and always will be locked away from prying, spying eyes) but I’m definitely seeing the use for it in this context.
Wednesday was super busy, and in spite of the antics of Tuesday night I was up bright and early for the sessions on gender, sexuality and health, and celebrating diversity and criticality in health psychology. A pecha kucha session was the perfect format to keep everyone engaged after a late night and a lovely lunch… I’m really intrigued by the unusual format – I think it’d lend itself well to presenting some of my meme research. The closing keynote came from Christine Stephens and raised some interesting points about individual responsibility for staying healthy, and what the implications of this may be, for an ageing population.
And finally… in typical Jess style… I managed to volunteer myself for some web/newsletter-y duties for the society. This is the last extra thing I will pick up, I swear! I’m going to have enough on with POWS stuff and UCU stuff on top of my PhD work and teaching. That said, I can’t stand having nothing to do… being busy (and angry) is often what gets me out of bed in the morning.
The next ISCHP conference will be in 2015, and will be held in Grahamstown, South Africa at Rhodes University. It seems a long way off, but time is known to fly… and hopefully so will I. To South Africa…