Conferences, lectures, workshops – on the superiority of forms of communication


Plumbing and Drainage Week, as the name suggests, lasted a week. It began with a day of lectures and discussions. These were followed by study visits to hydro facilities on the following days. Theoretical knowledge and practice in one. He is currently closing in on three lectures as part of the 63rd Hydrotechnical and Land Reclamation Week Conference. So what if the lectures were fantastic, professional, presented with passion and commitment, when the room was almost empty. Could it be that typical conferences are starting to become a thing of the past?

Why don’t conferences always find an audience?

Another example: Best practices of green local government and non-government leaders. There was a lot of interest in the conference – more than 180 people signed up, but due to financial and organizational reasons, only 100 participants were invited to attend in person. Others were able to take advantage of the online event. The ecolider workshop thus welcomed 100 people over two days, plus online streaming. Speakers talked about their experiences and projects in the field of ecology. In simple language about water, waste and ecology, with passion and commitment – and in some even with a tear in their eye and emotion, as if they were recounting their child’s greatest achievement, not a project.

I ask myself how the two events differ. What divides them and what unites them. Perhaps professionals, engineers, hydraulic engineers have reached such a level of initiation that they do not want to share their secret knowledge with others. Or do they want to, they just can’t market to those who want to use this knowledge? How about passionate environmentalists, green local government leaders who don’t feel comfortable discussing with engineers, but have the marketing savvy to share their passion with others and possess a useful ability to navigate social media and reach a wider audience?

When do conferences not make sense?

Water-focused scientific conferences have been really plentiful in recent weeks. Three industry events were held between April 22 and 26 alone: Water and fires – planning, extinguishing, management as part of an initiative of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education; the XXII National Scientific and Technical Conference Environmental Protection. Science and Industry for Earth Protection organized by the Association of Engineers and Technicians of Chemical Industry, and Water and Wastewater in a Closed-Circuit Economy organized by the Institute of Mineral and Energy Economy of the Polish Academy of Sciences. I hope that all participants in these events were satisfied with their participation. That the speakers spoke with passion and commitment.

Just wondering, forgive me, about the sense of such actions. Because if the scientific community holds conferences in its own hermetic, closed, focused on a particular field and does not share its knowledge with others, well, what is the point of the conference. It also works the other way around. If enthusiasts, environmentalists and other circles of enthusiasts organize an event without inviting engineers, it turns out that their solutions may end in a small disaster, let’s hope not a construction disaster.

Rainwater conference an example for others

While I’m on the subject, I congratulate the organizers of, in their own words, the largest rainwater conference in the CEE region, held in Poznań and attended by some 500 people. Participants, experts, practitioners, enthusiasts had the opportunity to exchange experiences and knowledge on modern technologies, best practices implemented in each project. They became familiar with the maze of ever-changing regulations and challenges facing the water industry. And most importantly, everyone had the opportunity to network with other experts, practitioners, enthusiasts. Many backgrounds were reconciled in one event, and no one’s honor was harmed.

I dare say that the time of industry conferences, scientific lectures is over. Everyone wants to know, but they want to obtain this knowledge in accessible language, digestible to the general public, not just a narrow group of specialists. Let’s learn to understand and trust each other. Let’s complement and learn from each other. And above all, let’s learn to exchange views, because each of us looks at the problem through the prism of his narrow specialization and broad experience. And this is a value that is difficult to overestimate.

Photo. main: Amadej Tauses/Unsplash

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