Presenting Papers on the Polycrisis: An Austrian Adventure
Last week I travelled to Bad Gleichenberg, a beautiful spa town in the Styrian region of Austria, to present a research paper and update on the Donut Toolkit and the infrastructure of change that is building in Cheltenham.
It was for the ATLAS conference - a fantastic organisation who have been established in order to:
Promote the teaching of tourism, leisure and related subjects.
Encourage the exchange of staff and students between member institutions.
Promote links between professional bodies in tourism, leisure and associated subjects and to liaise on educational issues, curriculum development and professional recognition of courses.
Promote transnational research which helps to underpin the development of appropriate curricula for transnational education.
Me, outside, terrified of socialising
As such it was great to connect with a fantastic bunch of academics from all around Europe and beyond to discuss and debate the challenges facing the events industry, as well as the applications and impacts of these challenges to teaching and learning practice.
There was sessions covering sustainabiltiy, equity, regulation and so much more - it truely was a wonderful couple of days where I learned so much. It was great tohave the opportunity to share the work being undertaken around Cheltenham by the various organisations I am involved with the cheerily entitled "Party in the Polycrisis! How events will save the world"
The FC Joanneum building in Bad Gleichenberg, where ATLAS 2023 was held
It wasn't all good, and I think it's important - especially in posts like these - to present an authentic account of my overall experience as a neurodivergent person. As much as I love getting to talk endlessly about my obsessive professional interests with similarly minded humans, I find just about everything else incredibly difficult. Navigating an airport for me is an exercise in ruthless sensory torture to start, and let's not get onto my feelings around flying. Similarly there are aspects of conferences remind me of the worst experiences from my uni days, where lunchbreaks are form-free terror gaps of rudderless social navigation. I managed my best effort yet in attending a conference dinner - I literally made it to the front step before hightailing it back to the hotel - a new personal best.
I now have follow ups with new colleagues and connections from Finland, Sweden, Serbia and The Netherlands and can't wait to see where these conversations lead. There is so much good going on around the world of events and tourism that my takeaway from ATLAS 2023 was one of hope: not for where we are now necesarily, but for where we might be in a few years thanks to networks such as these, and the important conversations and information sharing they platform
A huge thanks to the team at FC Joanneum (Leontine, Jantien & Daniel) for such a well organised event, especially Amber Herrewijn of NHL Stenden for involving me in the Special Interest Group and ultimate appreciation to UoG colleagues Dr Matthew Lovett and Clair Greenaway for getting me there in the first place.
Introductions in the main hall on the third day of ATLAS 2023