POLLEN18: Call for ‘conference moles’

*** Posted on behalf of Dan Brockington ***

Conference moling is an essential activity that allows feedback to participants and a chance to step back and reflect on the broader significance and implications of the last few days, and explore how their ideas fit into broader themes and issues. Being the mole is, for the same reasons, a privilege and a joy.

And conference moling is vitiated by the limitations of a single observer only able to be in one place at one time.

In order to keep the best bits – reflection and feedback – with better coverage and participation we will this year be experimenting in a new form of conference moling that combines tried methods of event ethnography with new forms of social media. We want, in short, to create two conferences. One that happens physically in the rooms, corridors, gardens, bars and restaurants, and another that happens virtually.

To do so we will be using twitter and hashtags to create conversations around emergent themes. This will be happening anyway among the twitterati present. We want to accentuate that by ensuring that there are tweeters in every room, and by retweeting and promoting hashtags that we spot, and that others create. We will combine these conversations (virtual and physical) with more traditional evening reflection over food and drinks that digests all that we are learning. The final session will then present the report back from that process of learning and reflection.

If you want to take part in this moling work, then please let Dan Brockington know (d.brockington@sheffield.ac.uk). This role will suit someone with high energy, good social media skills and little need for sleep. We seek PhD students in the first instance but anyone may take part.

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