By Aura Lounasmaa
We are sitting in a small restaurant, drinking wine, eating, chatting and watching the brown water of the Seine flow lazily pass under the hot Parisian sun. The night after we will dine at the Musée d’Orsay, after wandering through our favourite parts of the immense art collection. Oh, but this is work! And although engaging, the days at the Narrative Matters conference are long and sweaty, so we have deserved these treats. The conference kicked off on Monday the 23 of June at the Diderot University with a full day of workshops. The four plenary sessions and nearly 250 papers ran from Tuesday Morning until Friday evening. The conference, organised every two years, brings together narratologists and narrative researchers from the field of social sciences, if not seamlessly, then at least to a space where conversations can happen. Participants come from all over the world, and as many full parallel sessions testify, they aren’t here only for the Eiffel tower.
CNR was again represented in great numbers at the conference. Corinne Squire presented at and chaired in two panels organised together with Novella and presented her own work on narrative and illness. Cigdem Esin presented her work on visual narratives and chaired two panel sessions. CNR post-graduates and ex-post-graduates presented too, including Linda Sandino and Ronan MacDubhghail. I presented a paper that continues my collaboration with two Galway colleagues which was born out of To Think Is To Experiment in 2010 under the theme of narratives in cross-cultural research. And of course our own Molly Andrews was one of the plenary speakers.
Narrative Matters will be organised again in 2016 and call for papers will be this time next year. The conference is one of the largest gatherings of narrative researchers around and many of who-is-who of the field can be found here. Then there is the Eiffel tower, of course. I highly recommend applying, after all, what could be nicer than summer in Paris?
Aura is a part-time administrator for the CNR and has recently finished her PhD at the National University of Ireland, Galway on Moroccan women’s NGOs