In 11-14. of may the annual conference of the European Association for the Study of Religion was held in Groningen, Netherlands. The conference brought together once again around 400 researchers of religion, mostly from Europe, but few also from North America, Australia, and Asia (etc.). The annual conferences have gained a permanent place in the academic year of European associations for the study of religion, and its popularity seems to be ensured. This year the conference theme dealt with the question of knowledge in the study of religion, and it was approached from different perspectives.
These big conferences are mostly for the networking purposes. You find colleagues that share similar research interests, and you gain knowledge about circumstances in different countries, as well as possible collaboration and publication possibilities. Those are probably the main goals you can achieve in such a big and general conference. Sometimes you get inspired by someone’s research and get new ideas – but you could get the same ideas by reading their publications. More impact is gained through personal contact. Few seconds or minutes talking with someone can convince them that they can collaborate with you, much easier than approaching them via e-mail.
Naturally, one does get visibility for his/her research in these conferences, not only through talking and networking, but by giving a presentation of his/her research. For this conference I begun to write an article, based on my research, and of that I gave a brief presentation. The presentation is also seen via internet, as I uploaded it. In it I discuss about the changing public presentation of Pentecostal religiosity, and how people are trying to make their religion sensible in different positions, also by controlling the public arena.
For me the conference was successful. I gained new contacts, which might turn into collaboration and publications in the future. I was little disappointed by the abrupt ending of the conference, the scheduled closing words were never said, because the host thought everybody had left – and then he ran (literally) away before the original time of the closing words. Despite this upsetting ending, I was pleased, and returned to home for more work.