10th – 13th November, Häckeberga Slott (Lund), Sweden
We were fortunate to find ourselves in the picturesque settings provided by the Häckeberga Slott, where the fifth forum of the Entangled Media Histories’ research and teaching network was being staged in November. Marie and Patrik as the primary organisers of the EMHIS V forum aimed to create a highly inclusive environment for these discussions, creating a platform for all participants to become engaged in very interesting debates.
On one level, this being the fifth meeting of our group, there is a sense of the familiar, as colleagues from around Europe link up to continue their collaboration through the EMHIS network. However, having started as a network consisting of delegates from Lund, Hamburg and Bournemouth, the ripples of academic life have radiated further, as we have been fortunate to welcome some new members into our network. Furthermore, some of our colleagues who were past members of academic communities at the aforementioned universities now travelled from pastures new, beyond the original 3 “founding” locations. In short, it would be more accurate to say that we arrived at Häckeberga Slott from Bournemouth, Hamburg and Lund, as well as from Bremen, Karlstad, München, Tampere and Umeå. How is that for entanglement?
But enough of the pedantries, we came together to discuss research progress within a variety of contexts from either Swedish, German or British frames of reference or from the perspective of their corresponding transnational combinations. So far, so familiar. In addition to some “business matters” which included an update on conference activities, feedback on the ECREA handbook, the STINT interim summary as well as the comprehensive EMHIS report, nineteen participants had gathered to discuss twelve paper submissions on research work in progress. But – our wonderful colleagues from Lund who were organising this meeting had the idea to shake things up a bit. A new approach this time meant that every participant was nominated in advance to be one of a pair of lead commentators for the discussion of each particular submission. This resulted in a stimulating debate, with the introductory observations of the lead commentators starting off the discussion, which in turn invited further engagement from all participants. The process of chairing the 8 separate sessions was also delegated to several different members of the group. This devolved format resulted in a very engaging and inclusive forum, as every participant was in effect “activated” by the nature of this framework. It also meant that every paper received a comparable degree of attention, resulting in some truly interesting debates around potential focus and further concepts. Although this structure was on one level quite demanding — no napping at EMHIS V! — this format was also a great democratising leveller and the organisers are to be congratulated on this approach.
Equally high praise though must go to the choice of venue. All the organisational aspects around travelling to and from the location were timed to perfection. The accommodation was extremely comfortable, as well as being relaxed & welcoming. And then there was the food. Two words: Pear Crumble. Oh my. I will also remember the earnest efforts by all staff at Häckeberga Slott to ensure guests were fully appraised of every aspect of their culinary capers. There was great pride in evidence as staff summarised the particulars of locally sourced ingredients, and it was game on for delicious nosh of all gastronomic denominations. Moose meatloaf anyone? Count me in. I am buying a rifle and moving to Häckeberga.