On the 22nd of August I flew from the UK to Sweden to attend the European Skeptics Congress in Stockholm.
The first morning of the conference had Hans Rosling, international superstar of statistics, giving a talk on demographics and public perception vs reality. I was fortunate enough to have a long chat with Hans after his presentation and interview him for the Skeptic Zone podcast – unfortunately, because it was my first ever interview, the audio was bad quality and unusable on the podcast!
There were many interesting talks that first day, and I met some great and interesting people. However that night I had to focus on preparing myself for an impromptu talk the following morning. Susan Gerbic was scheduled to talk at 9am on the Saturday morning, but she wasn’t able to attend the conference due to undergoing chemotherapy at the time, so I got Susan to email me her slides and started to prepare my own version of Susan’s talk.
The next morning I presented a combination of my own TAM2013 15min talk on rbutr and a discussion of Susan Gerbic’s slides about @SkepticAction and Guerrilla skepticism on Wikipedia. I arranged in advance for one of Susan’s volunteer wikipedia editors to come up and describe what he had done and how it all worked, and then with some Questions, we managed to fill up the full hour!
I was also included on a Panel in the afternoon about Journalism and Skepticism. I was happy to leave most of the discussion up to Michael Marshall and Ken Frazier, both of who have a lot more experience dealing with the media than I do.
That night there was the formal dinner reception, which was fantastic! A large group of us went out afterwards too, though nights out in Sweden get complicated when the bars keep closing on you…
Sunday had some more great talks, and I grabbed a few more interviews for the Skeptic Zone podcast before a large group of us organised for some sight seeing around Copenhagen for the rest of the afternoon.
All in all the weekend was a huge success for rbutr with many people talking to me about it, all overwhelmingly positive in their feedback. This conference was a great event to attend because it brought together so many heads of organisations and the most active people from all over Europe for one intense weekend.
I am definitely looking forward to attending the next event in 2015 in London.