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Friday, March 9, 2012

Vancouver SRA2012 Conference 8th March

Guess I should have stayed sightseeing.
The conference centre is a great barn with countless rooms, and sparsely populated by people. Perhaps everyone else knew where to go; guess that's the problem with being a stranger in a strange land. Nobody was able to find our session in Meeting Room 1. Three international experts on self-harm and suicide prevention, and an expert on Ethics and Review Committees. OK Ethics is not everyone's favourite topic, but we were swamped by the room and the 200 chairs. We formed a Wagon wheel circle up front and huddled with the seven eager souls attending. Hope they gained something from our deliberations. Then everyone scattered.

I had trouble finding out what sessions might interest me (I did not have my computer with me, had not been able to download the SRA2012app, and though there were 3 photocopied booklets on a table, I found it hard to make sense of them). I had previously been given a photocopy of highlights - which all looked somewhat ordinary. There was no coffee - I was directed to a commercial cafe. I had missed breakfast at the hotel (entirely my fault), and there were no snacks or lunch. Ah well, escape back to the hotel.
I have chaired or been involved in running 24 national and international conferences; I have a good sense of how to make people feel welcomed and involved. This conference feels bleak and unwelcoming. Perhaps you have to be part of the 'IN' crowd....   :-(

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