This edition of the conference was to be held in Antwerp. Fortunately, because it would mean relatively low expenses and a short travel time; or so I had hoped. The trip to the conference was a major operation. Because the first keynote on Sunday would start at 14:00h. it made sense to me to travel on Saturday, and fate would have it that the Netherlands would be struck by a summer storm on that day. Not only were a lot of the roads inaccessible, plenty of train tracks got hit by falling trees, which meant extensive detours and large delays. A trip that should have taken less than four hours, ended up taking more than seven; but this investment turned out to be well worth it.
So much to learn
My own talk was on Tuesday. I was part of a panel of twelve talks on change-of-state, terminology coined by John Heritage in a paper in 1984. This means that we all discussed ways in which people claim that they just underwent some change in their mental state, such as knowledge, understanding, or attention. In Dutch this is typically done with oh, but there were talks on other languages such as Estonian and Japanese. With an audience of about forty people, it was a great experience (I even made the rolsi Twitter feed). It got a bit crowded towards the end though, because John Heritage himself was to speak. Over a hundred people wanted to listen, but the room could only seat 65, so some had to stand or even wait outside. You don’t have to become a musician to have scores of fans.
Educational and social
Still, despite all the fun, it’s just as well that the conference is over. With so many talks and new faces, I suffer from a bit of cognitive overload. And while there were no late-night parties, I still did not get my regular beauty sleep. By Friday, my daily coffee diet had tripled. Luckily, the final day also had a panel on one of my favorite topics – action ascription – so that I had good reasons to stay awake. One talk had to be read from paper unfortunately, beacuse the speaker had had visa problems, and during this talk I realized that the final two keynotes were going to be a bridge too far. So I was happy to join my supervisor on the train trip back home, feeling tired but on an intellectual high. I’m already looking forward to the next conference in Belfast in 2017, now to figure out something to talk about.