Research Conference 2015: Why we want to hear from you

We have launched our Call for Papers for the 2015 Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference.

Find out how to submit your proposal

2014 was the first time I’d attended the Research conference in the capacity of the conference’s project manager, or, in fact, in any capacity. I was aware this was an event people returned to year after year, and there was a close-knit community of researchers who looked forward to this annual opportunity to catch up and talk shop. So it was pleasing to find the conference to be so welcoming to newcomers; people were eager to introduce themselves and there wasn’t even a hint of cliquishness.

Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken to a number of delegates who also attended the conference for the first time last year, and it’s been great to hear they felt the same way. They described an atmosphere that was professional yet warm, ‘informally formal’, and where everyone was approachable.

If you’re thinking of submitting a proposal for the first time this year, you should be encouraged by the experiences of people who presented for the first time in 2014. The people I spoke to gave different reasons for wanting to present their research: some wanted to publicise their work to a wider audience; some wanted to see what discussions their findings would provoke; and some just wanted to get a sense of how they fitted in to a diverse field. All of them found presenting at the conference a rewarding experience. They talked variously about nerves being calmed by welcoming and friendly chairs, of presenters in the same session showing a keen interest in discussing common issues, and of debates which were strengthened by the presence of practitioners and policy makers, as well as fellow researchers.

It’s also clear that, as the one time in the year when the whole voluntary sector research community congregates, the conference is a highly valued networking opportunity. One delegate compared meeting people with similar research interests to seeing someone wearing your favourite band’s T shirt; it’s good to know other people care about something as deeply as you do.

Other delegates talked about the opportunities that networking at the conference had led to, whether it was being invited to contribute to a journal, or simply finding new people to follow on Twitter.

Another person I spoke to felt the best thing about the conference’s atmosphere was the sense of a “common goal” to improve understanding of the sector. Ultimately the best reason I can give you to come to the conference in 2015 is that hearing about your research can help us achieve that common goal. The more we know about the issues affecting the sector and volunteering, and the more we spread this knowledge and understanding, the stronger we will be.

Get involved

Here’s how you can submit your proposal. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

This entry was posted in Research. Bookmark the permalink.

Like this? Read more

Ben Anstis was the engagement and communications assistant with Compact Voice.

Comments are closed.