When I was young and in my first couple of undergraduate years I loved the way my lecturers' publications would crop up on reading lists. ??I grew out of this in time, although was very happy that my teachers were so active in their field. ??Imagine my surprise, therefore, to attend a conference in my own area and find that just about all the key authors are here. ??I'm shaking plenty of hands and picking up ideas for future research - I may even be on the road to finding a theoretical foundation for my PhD...
...and that theory could come from the world of 'social capital', which Linda Wilks has been writing on from her base at the Open University. ??Key theorists include Bordieu, Putnam and recent work from the Open University itself. ??She talked about 'bonding' and 'bridging' forms of social capital, while her research methodology was based on 'critical discourse analysis': what sort of connections are audience members making with each other at festivals - are they keen to make new friends, or just enjoy their time with old friends? ??Definitely links to what social media can provide, as well as current political thought relating to 'big society'.
In conversation regarding events and technology I had an interesting chat on the sort of tech being used at some conferences, to provide an increasingly personalised service for delegates, stall holders and so on - something like 'Spot Me'. ??Key places to go for new ideas include the representatives who attend EIBTM and ??IBEX (although the latter seems to focus on boatbuilding!).
There's potential for PhD supervision from Uni of Brighton... one to investigate.