Last week I spent four days at the 2007 Classical Association conference, and I’ve just about caught up with emails/sleep/other things. Apart from being in Birmingham (by far the ugliest and unnavigable city I’ve been to so far), the conference itself was great. There were lots of panels involving computing and classics in some way, shape or form, so I was in my element there and felt I was able to ask some helpful questions. I was also pleased to see that people recognised me from other conferences and nodded or came over and said hello, including someone who has been to several of the same conferences as me but I still haven’t figured out what her name is! I also made it to the AGM, where I was the youngest person by at least ten years (probably more), and I think I was the only MA student in the whole conference—especially given the number of people who assumed I was part-way through my PhD or even giving a paper (the latter would be rather difficult given that the deadline for abstracts was before I even applied to do the MA).
I met lots of people at the conference, made some new contacts and even exchanged business cards, so it was incredibly useful from that respect too. I deliberately sat with people I didn’t know at the conference dinner (which had unlimited wine!), which meant that I got to see some new faces and also that I knew even more people in Sunday’s panels. Oddly enough, I barely saw the other delegates from Manchester—I think we all ended up going to different panels. Having said that, the conference did seem to enforce my perception that I don’t really feel like I fit in at Manchester, but that I do seem to be much more comfortable within the wider academic community. Don’t get me wrong, I like most aspects of the course and my tutors are extremely knowledgeable and supportive, but there’s always that niggling thought at the back of my mind that I don’t quite feel part of the department.
Anyway, I think CA 2007 will be the last conference of the academic year for me, as I’ve got too much work on now. Whilst interesting and useful to attend, conferences always take up the whole day(s) that they run on, and often I end up spending half or all the next day catching up on things that I missed whilst I was away. There is a conference coming up that I would like to submit an abstract for, primarily because the proceedings will be considered for inclusion in a journal (major academic brownie points to be had there), but I’ll have to wait and see how my possible dissertation topic goes before doing that.