Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Conference Season, Round #1

The conference of which I last wrote went very well. I spent a great weekend in the city with one of my illustrious colleagues from Western, and I believe we represented our alma mater brilliantly. Though it was not without a couple shocking and stressful moments.

[caption id="attachment_59" align="alignright" width="225" caption="After a grueling session of conference listening/presenting, I like to unwind at my nearest Pho joint."]after_conf[/caption]

The evening before I was to present I received an email from a professor in my department titled "Your dissertation?" This is unsettling at the best of times, but the evening before presenting the core elements of my dissertation it was insomnia inducing. Another Ph.D. student at a somewhat prestigious American Ivy League published his mashup-specific dissertation the same day. My heart leapt into my throat and I scrambled to find the abstract quickly so that I might allay my fear of redundancy. Thankfully, our work does not overlap at any crucial junctures.

On the day of my presentation the conference's originally-planned keynote speaker was unable to attend, so another was booked at the last minute. His name was familiar, but I couldn't place it. As he prepared for his presentation by unpacking his bag o' goodies, I saw two Glenn Gould albums. Of course! This gentleman worked with Gould at CBC Radio on a few of the documentaries. I was at once thrilled and scared that he might stay for my paper (in which I discuss the Gould documentaries extensively) and call me out on some critical details. We spoke briefly after his lecture and arranged a time to chat later this month. This is very good news, indeed!

My paper presentation went relatively well. Most of the students/faculty in attendance from Toronto seemed more interested in historical musicology than in my line of research. [Note to self: Make the technical explanations more accessible.-Ed.] The question (singular) was only tangentially related to my topic and seemed to fall flat anyway. I was heartened to not be shouted down, and I believe I've some good areas to examine for improvement.

Next presentation: The weekend of May 7.

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