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Best made plans

The best laid schemes o’ mice and men Gang aft a-gley; And leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy

As I type this I should be relaxing on a train winging its way to London to spend the night with friends before jumping on a tube up to Heathrow and checking in for my flight to Canada. I might even have been enjoying the work of Robbie Burns whose quotation is above ;)

Two years ago the organisation I work for, research in practice for adults, joined forces with our sister organisation, research in practice, to host an international conference looking at the use of evidence in improving social work practice. We were joined by teams from all over the globe, who came to Dartington for a couple of days where some brilliant discussions were held, some contacts were made, resources and ideas shared and friendships formed. Two years on and our friends at PART (Practice and Research Together) together with the Child and Youth Mental Health Information Network in Canada have taken on the mantle and are hosting the next conference.

This conference has literally been two years in the planning – or at least in the thinking. A beautiful lakeside venue has been booked, teams are attending from Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and the USA, papers have already been written and a publishing deal negotiated. The conference has a great timetable, including opportunities to start moving on establishing some international projects. I have ten days of holiday tacked onto the end of conference – my first in 18 months. So, altogether exciting times.

….and then a volcano in Iceland decided to start erupting.

At this time it looks like the Finns, Irish, Scottish and most of the English teams will not be making it. I am determined to do my best to get there – and not just because I have a holiday afterwards (although that might be fuelling my determination) but because I know how much hard work goes into organising something like this. The Canadian hosts seem remarkably resilient and accepting of the situation, I’m amazed at their attitude, in awe almost….although there have been several mentions of the size of the wine order and the anticipated benefits of a reduced attendance ;) I guess it’s quite simple really, some things in life are genuinely out of our control, a lesson worth remembering.

Photo by borkur.net

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  1. Rhiannon
    April 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Hope you do get there – sounds like you need and deserve a break! Fingers crossed for you.

    I’m also of the opinion that conferences in interesting places are the best perk of being in research/evidence led fields – you have to keep up with the research/evidence, ergo you have to attend conferences and workshops; all the better if they are somewhere fun. I’m hoping to get to York and Belfast this year, have already been to Stoke on Trent (not so interesting).

  2. April 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Hey Rhiannon, flight just been cancelled, next attempt Monday 3pm…keep everything crossed wont ya ;)

    I’ve been involved with research in some way or other for over ten years and have never got to an overseas conference further away than France. If I was in it for the perks I’d have given up a long time ago ;) That said, am really hopeful that I’ll make it, if only to give them our English artefacts!

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