I suspect that you, like me, spend an immense amount of your day on the internet, in front of the computer, or otherwise interfacing with people and paces that are necessary in your work and life. Goodness knows, I certainly do. If I were to log the hours I spend on my computer, on my phone, or on my iPad communicating with friends, family, and collaborators …. Well, it would be a staggering number. While I am grateful for the multi-modal platforms available to me, I do find myself yearning for some face-to-face time (rather than, say FaceTime).
This weekend I have had the rare opportunity to spend In Real Life time with collaborators and friends. I’ve been in Banff at the Women’s Writing inCanada and Québec Today: Alliances/ Transgressions/ Betrayals. I’ve been hanging out with Margrit and Heather and a number of others who are near and dear! It’s been a whirlwind few days full of smart papers, lively round tables, and the all-important coffee breaks. For all the brilliance happening, I’m especially grateful for the moments in which new alliances are forged and old friendships are given that shot of IRL time that helps sustain them over the months that stretch between next visits.
Canada is a huge country. This is a truism remains perkily factual despite the inevitable eye-rolling that accompanies that utterance. It is in these moments when I am in a room filled with friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances that I feel the challenges of geography. How do you maintain your companionships and collaborations across these huge spaces when the inevitability of real life creeps in? What kind of scholarly meetings are more generative for you, and how do you keep the momentum going? How do you build IRL meetings with those far-flung friends and colleagues into your life?
One thought on “IRL: The Beauty of Real Time”
National Conferences, Association meetings, Congress . . . all of those would work, if you planned your time carefully and were lucky. If the conference is being hosted in your town you could always offer to put a person or a few people up and that would give you time to chat. I'm still new to the game of academic collaboration, but the person I work for/with the most is in Australia so IRL is not likely to happen much, but with everyone else I try to plan for Congress.
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