The Chicago conference is over. Every ICMI has been better than the last, and this one was no exception. There were two parallel streams of presentations, and much thought had been given to activities beyond the presentations. The venue was a large modern hotel with excellent conference facilities, both accommodation and the conference being in the same venue was a major factor in helping people bond. As for the past three conferences, not a single protester turned up. There were maybe 15 British and Irish people in attendance, and people from many other countries. The attendance was the largest in the conference series to date. Media organizations in attendance included the BBC and Bloomberg. It may be some weeks before the presentations videos start appearing on YouTube. There was livestreaming from the conference, for the first time.
I was the MC in one of the two presentation rooms, so didn’t get to see Philip Davies’s talk, but I was told it went down well.
Alison Tieman, the key person behind the conference, was unable to attend, after being stopped and turned back by American border officials at the Canada / US border. She will not be allowed into the US for the next five years. The reason(s) are as yet unclear. Karen Straughan did a great job in her absence, helped by many volunteers.
Elizabeth Hobson was unfortunately unable to attend, due to a family emergency, and she offered to present her talk over the internet. Only minutes before she was due to speak, rainwater (from a major storm) started to stream through the ceiling, just feet away from the stage. The problems didn’t end there. After she started to speak, there were continuous breaks in the sound, so we had to ask her to stop. Natty Kadifa valiantly stepped into the breach, and read out the rest of the presentation off her mobile phone. The transcript of Elizabeth’s presentation Reforming Chivalry – Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation, is here.
My talk Feminism sows the seeds of its own destruction was well received, including the section on abortion being a men’s issue, the first time this has been covered in an ICMI talk, to the best of my knowledge.
Tom, who was filming the presentations for the fourth year in succession, was on great form, as always. I had the pleasure of surprising him with the inaugural Quentin Tarantino Award for Directing Excellence, and he gave a short but funny and moving acceptance speech.
During the closing ceremony Paul Elam announced the locations of the next three conferences. ICMI20 will be held in Sydney, Australia. In January 2021 Anil Kumar plans to host a conference in India, and ICMI21 will be held in the summer of 2021, in North America (probably Canada). We’ll be hosting a conference in Manchester in May 2020.
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