PhD is a unique research opportunity, they say. It gives you a rare chance to explore the subject you are genuinely fascinated by and produce a piece of research that you have designed, carried out and thought through – something you have created and lived with for 3 years or even longer.
However an individualistic undertaking and a self-absorbed experience doing a PhD might be, at some point during this round-the-world journey where you are both a steersman and the only passenger at the same time, you will inevitably start looking for like-minded fellow-travellers. That is, you will start feeling the necessity to meet other people who have, are or eager to explore the same seas of knowledge you are trying to navigate. The best chance to do so is, of course, at all sort of academic events – conferences, symposium, seminars. In quest of an opportunity for an exchange and enhancement of knowledge, I took some time trying to find out what events in the area of food, environmentalism and ethical consumption will take place within the next year. I have come across a couple of truly exciting opportunities!
The first week of May of 2014 will witness the 4th Global Conference Living Responsibly: Reflecting on the Ethical Issues of Everyday Life unfolding in Lisbon, Portugal. The event is organised by Inter-Disciplinary.Net – A Global Network for Dynamic Research and Publishing, whose major aim is to support the development of inter-disciplinary research through a range of projects and events. Specifically, the 4th Global Conference seeks to draw on the variety of disciplines to help find and promote more responsible ways of living. It places an emphasis on the increasing applicability of the questions of ethics to virtually all aspects of our daily lives – from workplace to all sorts of consumption choices, to the use of natural resources, to the ways we treat others and respond to social issues. Within the frames of the project, a platform will be created for a wide range of professionals from different fields of knowledge and expertise to discuss and debate how our life choices and actions impact the social and natural world and what we can do to minimize our global footprint.
Since 2009, three conferences on ethical living have taken place and proved a success. On the project’s webpage there is an archive with materials from the past events, and just by looking at the titles of the papers presented in previous years you can conceive of the breadth of issues addressed. The draft papers are also available to download – an opportunity not to be missed – I have particularly enjoyed reading Alan Chenoweth and Donna McAuliffe’s engaging analysis of ethical dilemmas faced by environment professionals – read the article to see what answer authors provide to the compelling question of whether or not environmental professionals should wear leather shoes.
Now on the practicalities: the conference call for abstracts is now open and papers about any aspects of ethical issues faced by people in their daily lives are welcome. As a tentative guide, specific topics include issues of production and consumption of food, climate change, business and public life, but the range of topics addressed is by no means limited to these. The deadline is fast approaching – abstracts submissions can be made until the 6th of December 2013 – and detailed guidelines can be found on the project’s webpage . If you don’t plan to present, but would like to benefit from the discussion and engage with ethically-concerned people from all around the world, make sure you book a place before the 24th of January, 2014 (booking is not open at the moment though).The cost of attending the conference amounts to £295; however, if you are an academic or a PhD student, you are probably well aware of the different ways in which you can secure funding for both attendance and accommodation and travel expenses.
So this is one of the events that I very much hope to include into my 2014 calendar. There is another one, which I am not less excited about – will write again shortly!