A day late, but thought I would write up a brief summary of yesterday’s conference – talks and social bits of course.
As a bilingual (English / French) conference, attendees are offered headsets so they can hear all the presentations in their mother tongue – allowing for an exchange between groups that may not otherwise have the chance to share their research. One of the things that I noticed after the first day, is how the French community seem to use games as their example within larger research questions (on sociality, digital identity as something that is related to Lancanian / Freudian theories of lack, unattainable desire for the ‘other’, etc) whereas, the English presentations were more focused on the game as object – talking about the elements within (insert game title / genre here) game that make it ‘social’ or defining what games are through casual and social games. Whichever perspective, the presentations were interesting, and I was able to take a nugget or two from most of the presentations (will blog about the individual presentations at the end of the conference). As a single track conference, all the attendees get to hear the same thing, making coffee breaks and drinks feel more connected. I always prefer small conferences where you get to talk to most everyone, there is little hierarchy, and even less ‘groups’ to break into.
Socially, I couldn’t be happier with the first day. Lunch was provided at Benelux (will insert link later), with a free drink to boot (they brew their own beers on site – well worth popping in whenever you are in Montreal). What was nice was the fact that we had the whole place to ourselves – our lunches were placed on the tables prior to arrival (a nice light lunch of tuna tortilla wraps, couscous, bean & feta salad, a few crudites, and some really yummy dessert bread). It was nice to keep the group together for lunch. After a full day of presentations, there was a welcoming cocktail in the library of UQAM. Always wanted to drink in a library! Was a nice ice breaker, the space was open and luminous, with beautiful floor to ceiling windows on three sides. The food was filling, and the server was amazingly quick to keep our wine glasses full.
Afterwards, as most people headed back to their hotels and homes (there is quite a large amount of local attendees), a small group of us headed east, to L’Amere a Boire. We were a bit too big of a group to get a table inside, but thanks to the warm temperatures, they opened the back terrace for us. It is a nice, enclosed, intimate space. Got to talk to several people about their research, crazy pub crawl experiences, and other such ramblings that make conferences so memorable (aside from the presentations of course).
It is on to day two. Looking forward to a full day of presentations, but sadly, a little less social time (one of the cons of attending a conference in your home town).