With all the immense pressure on young scholars to present at conferences, to publish and find jobs, it is easy to forget that we got into academia because we were excited about thinking, reading and grappling with new ideas – and that academia is full of people who have those enthusiasms. In the early summer of 2014, at the University of Sussex in Falmer, we tried out a formula for a symposium which celebrated these values. The symposium wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty damn good, and we think the format will be of interest to others. We’ve decided to call it the Falmer Method.
The symposium was Frank’s idea.
Too many academic conferences bore senior scholars and scare young ones, sometimes quite badly. They are a way to test people, favour a few and put others down. And keep them down. In essence, that is what the usual format does. As Kircher and Biswas (2017) put it, writing in The Guardian, expensive academic conferences give us old ideas and no new faces. Continue reading