May 17, 2023

A Conversation between the Conference Organisers: On the Day

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In this blog post, Charlotte, Lizzie Smith (a PhD student and conference participant)and Maddie reflect on running the conference Territorial Bodies: World Culture in Crisis, which took place in February 2023.

Charlotte: Territorial Bodies 2023: where to start?

Maddie: We arrived at Warwick University’s Humanities building, alongside our team of helpers, Mohammad, Owain, Tara and Giulia. From the outset, delegates engaged in dynamic conversation. There was a genuine atmosphere of warmth.

Charlotte: Lauren’s keynote was such a great way to start the day. She really opened up the questions that then informed discussions throughout the conference.

Lizzie: it was so great to hear from academics so established in their fields!

Maddie: The panels were interdisciplinary in nature, so we were quite intrigued to see how the sessions would unfold. The first two panels – “Embodied Extractivism” and “Aquatic bodies” - featured such fascinating papers.

Lizzie: As an attendee, there was a buzz surrounding which panel to choose, because they all contained elements to spark the imagination. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wanted to be in two places at once.

Charlotte: Yes, I had the same experience. In the second session, I attended the “Gender Bodies, Space” panel and I was blown away by the level and quality of research presented, as well as the importance of that research in impacting the everyday lives of so many people.

Maddie: The conversations continued over lunch, and it was great to see people sharing ideas in a collaborative way.

Lizzie: Yes, that’s a real benefit of the in-person conference and something we’ve all missed. Charlotte and Maddie

Charlotte: I agree. As the day went on and we ironed out some of the initial teething issues, it was great to be able to relax into those conversations. By the third session after lunch, I was fully immersed in the exciting discussions being presented.

Maddie: I particularly enjoyed listening to discussions taking place between people at different stages in their career, especially during the third series of panels, “Bodies and Accumulation” and “Embodied Displacement”.

Charlotte: You’re absolutely right, plus in the final session, the panel I attended had speakers from such varying disciplines, but the chair did such a great job of bringing that conversation into an interesting and creative discussion.

Maddie: For me, a real standout moment was during the Q&A following Kathryn’s keynote address at the end of the day.

Charlotte: Yes! One delegate asked about the importance of breaking down traditional academic silos and recommendations for students in the early stages of their career looking to do the same. Kathryn spoke about who benefits from maintaining traditional academic silos, and who might benefit from breaking away from them.


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