This was my first time at CARN (Collaborative Action Research Network) and it is the best conference I have been to for several reasons. Those of you who attend conferences know how it works. Key-notes are important, you look through the program and chose a couple of sessions you want to listen to, run between sessions and end the day with a conference dinner. For those of you who know a lot of people it might be a nice way to catch up, but when you are a new researcher like myself, getting to know people at conferences is tricky. Simply because there is little interaction and a lot of one-way communication (key-notes, presentations) and a tight schedule.
During CARN2013 there has been the key-notes and presentations, but also symposiums and work-shops. But most importantly there has been a critical discussion in smaller groups after each key-note. For me as a newbie in the research field, I have been able to ask questions during these critical discussions and I have had the pleasure of listening to researchers wiser than me discuss different topics in connection to the key-notes. And through this I have made new acquaintances.
CARN2013 is without a doubt the conference where I know the most people, partly because I attended an action research course before the conference and where I met many fellow junior and senior researchers. I have actually made small-talk with Stephen Kemmis and Wilfred Carr, which might give an indication of how welcoming CARN people really are. On behalf of the junior researchers around the world I tell you that this week has been a great way to introduce PhD students to the field of research, and also to the community of researchers. Suddenly a life beyond the PhD thesis seems remotely possible with career options linked to these networks of people.
Charlotta Hilli is a PhD student in the project Didactical Dimensions in Digital learning