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I am at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies Research Conference today (March 16th 2015) and tomorrow. I submitted my first academic poster to the conference and here it is, at the bottom, looking cute:

hiya!

hiya!

Here are a few more nuggets to whet your appetite:

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One of my aims, the other aim may get itself a future poster if it is good.

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One of my green blobs

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Classic Mills!

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Can you name all the Prime Ministers?

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Introducing the 5 principles of the life-course

You can download the full PDF here.

I have never really understood the purpose of academic posters.  I kind of always cynically thought they are there as a useful thing for lonely conference delegates to pretend to read at tea and lunch breaks.  Is that true? Or is it just me that does that? I thought of lonely people when I designed it, so put a lot of detail into it so they could linger for a long time! They can use it as a conversation starter – naming all the Prime Ministers on the timeline for example.

So after the day at the conference, how do I feel? Well, I think the process of producing the poster was actually really useful. It is really hard to distil your topic down onto one page so that helped with my thinking.

However, I spent a huge amount of time on it. Perhaps too much given that I seem incapable of speaking to anyone about it so am currently thinking if it was worth the effort. I have not spoken to anyone about it partly because there is actually no room to stand by it, so no one knows it is mine. I am just hoping someone gets the vibe from the weirdo (me) standing behind them that I would be interested in hearing what they think.

So at the end of day 1, I still do not see the benefits of posters beyond making you think about the focus of your project and presenting your work in a visual pleasing way. I just feel socially awkward and stressed that I put all that work in and am not making a big enough effort to speak to people about it and get feedback on it.

Right, tomorrow is a new day. So I have produced some photocopies now. Perhaps that will help people to engage with it.

We shall see!

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The Chair of the Association for Education and Ageing was live tweeting from an EU conference about lifelong learning and ageing. This topic is of interest to me as my PhD is about learning across the lifecourse. The AEA chair, Jonathan Hughes ( @JonEmHughes ) was tweeting away, summarising interesting points about ageing and education from a European perspective.

However, it sees that Jonathan doesn’t have a massive following, the conference did not have a hashtag and the project does not have a Twitter handle. Therefore, unfortunately, his Tweets are likely to never be read, Jonathan may not get new followers and people may not get to hear about the Association he chairs.

So I decided to create a Storify of Jonathan’s Tweets because he was providing very good commentary and it would be a shame if no one were to ever read them. I can’t embed the Storify as I think you need a plugin and I am just learning, so here is the link instead:

ForAge annual conference. ‘Forage for later-life learning: Building on European experience’.

To curate the storify of the learning and ageing conference today very easy as only one person who I could find was Tweeting about it. There may have been many others but it would be impossible for me or anyone to find. That’s why it would have been helpful if there was a conference hashtag. Conference organisers, make sure you have a hashtag!

Although there are many ways to disseminate research and I am sure that papers from this conference will be published widely as the conference seems to have come out of a large EU bid, I think Twitter is a way for people to get to know about your project and activities at the time they are happening rather than just afterwards. It is also a way for people who are not directly involved in your project to hear about it and ask questions about it.

One day Twitter will probably be replaced by something else but for the moment, I feel like it is has become a standard and even expected way to promote and share information about your conference before it happens, during and after, through archive/curation tools like Storify.

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