I am currently a 5th year PhD Candidate, diligently working on my dissertation project. As you all know research and writing can be a long and lonely process—endless cycles of reading, writing, analyzing, clarifying, re-writing, over and over again. For much of the process, I have been so deeply involved in the project that it is often very difficult to come up for light. Other than the meetings with my adviser and committee members, I have very much been having an ongoing conversation with myself. Consequently, I seek community spaces where I can engage in thought-provoking discussions, exchange ideas, and learn about other people’s projects and approaches.
The 2014 Feminist Geography Conference provided this community space, plus much much more. Like all academic conferences, there was a rich array of research presentations. However unlike other conferences there was so much time intentionally built into the schedule: time to process, time to discuss, time to really engage with the scholar and their ideas. I did not feel like a member of an audience, passively receiving information presented by a distant expert, but rather like a welcomed colleague encouraged to participate in an ongoing conversation. In addition to the research sessions, I found the Professional Development Series to be invaluable. In particular the sessions titled, Writing Strategies, provided much needed tips on how to break through and manage the uphill battle that is effective and consistent writing. I have adopted a couple of those strategies already this summer and they have helped improve my productivity. The session on Being on the Market as a Feminist Geographer as well as the session on Publishing were equally helpful; providing valuable insights and advice on these two processes.
All in all, the conference provided a much needed jump start to my summer work. I left the conference rejuvenated by new ideas and the people that I met. I hope this conference will be a regular occurrence!!! It is certainly a valuable community space and I look forward to returning to it in the future!
Sendy E. Guerrier Alcidonis
Department of Geography & Urban Studies
Temple University, Philadelphia PA
Graduate Associate Fellow, Center for the Humanities @ Temple (CHAT)
Dissertation Fellow, American Association of University Women (AAUW)