Postcards from Congress Day 3: Connected Understanding… Disconnected Book Fair

What Happened: The Congress Book Fair is the agora of Congress.  It usually holds the registration desk so is accessible to every one of the thousands of Congress delegates.  It holds all the book sellers and publishers.  It is the Congress home to SSHRC, CIHR, Canada Research Chairs and to ResearchImpact (and even to the Ottawa Police at Congress 2008 in Saskatoon!).  The Book Fair is the heart of Congress where scholars and graduate students mingle.  It’s where you feel the buzz.  But this year… not so much.

This year the Book Fair is spread through three buildings and on different floors within some of those buildings.  ResearchImpact is still having substantive conversations but we miss the cross pollination of buzzing next to our SSHRC friends.

Why is it important: Creating a buzz about social science and humanities research is part of what leaves a lasting impression on the minds of Congress delegates.  It can help politicians and journalists see the excitement that is possible when you connect research to timely topics.  The researchers are here but they are buzzing in their own scholarly associations.

Final Thoughts: Where else but the Book Fair can non-academics see the importance and connectivity of policy and practice relevant research but at the Book Fair?  The Book Fair will have less impact at Concordia’s Congress.  We are assured this will change next year at UNB (Fredericton, NB).  See you then.

Quiet morning at the Congress 2010 Book Fair

Pat Armstrong (LA&PS) at the ResearchImpact booth Congress 2010

2 thoughts on “Postcards from Congress Day 3: Connected Understanding… Disconnected Book Fair

  1. I agree that the (Greek) “agora” of Congress – the bookfair – was more like the Latin vacuum (an empty space, void, scattered over several buildings at Concordia University. Let’s just hope Fredericton next year will create more of a knowledge beehive of KMb buzz in one place seen at Congress in the past.

  2. This is particularly unfortunate given the complaints last year about the book fair being so distant from all the sessions. It was with registration but people only register once.

    If the book fair is an important part of Congress (and I agree with you that it is, for all the reasons you state), then the planning has to make it more central to the experience.

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