I was privileged to be able to attend GLAMSLAM today as a student (for free!). I arrived not knowing if I would know anybody, but within 30 seconds of sitting down, Sally Turbitt (of Turbitt & Duck, and someone I follow on Twitter) came and sat by me so we got chatting and I learnt that Rob Thomson was sitting just a few seats away, and I’ve had conversations with him about setting up a Western Sydney Lightning Talks event (still in the pipeline). So within a few mins I had met several people and was feeling quite at home.
I won’t go into all of the talks here as I live-tweeted at the event, but I will say that it was an amazing experience for me both personally and professionally. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been in a venue where I am respected as a peer and a professional, and I even got to ask the keynote speaker a question. I made connections with many people, had an academic discussion with an historian about the grey line between speculative biography and historical fiction, met up with one of my uni study buddies and met with GLAM professionals from all over Australia (well the Eastern states and SA) and one GLAMer from New Zealand!
While I did learn a lot and gained some new perspectives I feel that it was the humanness of it, the face to face contact with allied professionals that made the biggest difference. I must also give a shout out to the incredible catering! There was a generous morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and finger food with alcoholic (and non alcoholic) drinks provided after the event. I stayed for two hours, chatting and exchanging ideas with people I had never met or had only known on the other side of a screen. I highly recommend getting to a conference, unconference or other professional development day as often as possible even just to build connections or, the big word for the day, collaborate!
I would go to another GLAMSLAM in a heartbeat, even if I wasn’t going free as a student! Thank you to UTS and the organising team for bringing such a great event to life!