I have just been at the New Views conference in London for the past couple of days, what a great experience I really feel like it was a moment where a meaningful shift in thinking has occurred. I know it has for me.
The first thing to mention is that this was not a traditional educational conference, where participants write a paper and then present that paper to the audience. New Views completely turned this format on it's head with participants submitting a position statement relevant to what they were interested in and then work-shopping through the collective ideas of the group via dynamic conversation.
I must admit being a little worried about how this format would work going into the conference, but it was great and it really feels like I came away with so much more that I would have from a traditional style conference. The format also allowed for meaningful relationships to be formed between the participants. While relationships between conference participants usually occur at traditional conferences I think these can be on a superficial level. I feel the relationships formed at New Views will be much more meaningful as they were formed via conversations and interactions that were facilitated by the nature of the workshop interactions.
On a personal level while I didn't specifically workshop my proposal the conversations over the two days have focussed my ideas and I am confident will lead to a real outcome in the coming weeks.
I think New Views proves that not all academic conferences need to follow traditional structures, and when traditional approaches are challenged quiet amazing outcomes can occur.
If you are interested in finding out more about the conference please visit the site http://www.newviews.co.uk/.