11 July 2016

IAB2016 Reflections: Sarah McNeill

By Sarah McNeill

Part of a series of blog posts from the IAB 2016 Mason Institute Scholarship Winners.

Is my brand more ‘Life Water’ or ‘Highland Springs’? Should I spend more time networking or publishing? What makes a great presentation? Do I say ‘yes’ to all things or better that I close the door on some opportunities in order to do well at those things already on my plate? These questions and more were contemplated during the series of Early Career Researcher events at IAB2016.

Surrounded by a room of my peers, it was invaluable to hear the perspectives of panellists who had come through the traditional streams of academia and those who had traversed wildly different paths. Mostly, there was a sense that serendipity has a strong role to play and that for once, plagiarism (or at least mimicry) was encouraged.

We heard that when someone does something well, it makes sense to examine how they do it and to adopt similar strategies in our own work. It was also freeing to hear admissions that when presenting, even seasoned lecturers turn to the written word in front of them when a particularly complex or novel idea is making an appearance.

These well curated sessions were a bonus on top of the already impressive keynotes and other parallels that I managed to attend. Overall, I found that the sense of community at IAB2016 was palpable, both online and in person. The accompanying wit and wisdom of the Twitter stream was a pleasure to follow and provided a fantastic signpost to further reading and post conference connections.