I always love conferences. A place where you can go and be fully immersed for two or three days (sometimes longer) in a limited subject with the same group of people. Most of my conference experience has been outside my home city – Montreal, and come to think about it, I think I prefer it that way. Not for the content side of a conference, but mainly the best bits – the in-between sessions conversations, the day’s end 5 à 7; the organized or impromptu social evenings that sometimes turn into late nights of conversations that blend deep theoretical (or conference contextual) content with the ‘getting to know someone’ fun.
Besides the conference on research methods that Shanly and I put together a few years ago (the site is no longer there), I have only ever really attended two here in Montreal. The trouble with conferences in your home town, is that after the day is done, you go home. For some of us, that means cooking dinner for our children (seems no matter how old they are, they still want dinner made) and following your usual daily routine, perhaps getting work done that you feel guilty about putting aside the way you would if you left town for a conference. Each time I step away from a panel for breaks or lunch time (sometimes lunch is not available on the conference site, so you become at the whim of a slow waitress in a busy restaurant), if I am running late, I find myself wondering if I shouldn’t go and do some work – no matter how much I was enjoying myself while at the conference itself.
Currently, the conference on horror and video games “Thinking After Dark” is going on in Montreal. The last day is Saturday and I cross my fingers that I will make it early enough to attend the keynote. When I am away, in a hotel bed, it is easier to get up at 8am and trek to the conference site – usually only a few steps or blocks away. At home, I am at the mercy of the comfort of my own bed, and the bus ride to wherever the venue is.