At the end of October 2015, I had the opportunity to present some of my research at Stockholm University Demography Unit‘s (SUDA) colloquium.
I have never been invited to or involved in a colloquium like this; although now I understand what the term “conference paper” means. So I came a few weeks early to 1) see how a colloquium operates and 2) to meet a research rockstar, Dr. Linda Haas (this proved extra fruitful, because she let me discuss my research with her, as well as interview her about fatherhood in Sweden. In other words, take the opportunities to meet your research heroes–the just may turn out to be as nice and great as you’d expect).
While many research groups hold monthly seminars/presentations, a colloquium like at SUDA asks participants to share a copy of their manuscript, as well as to provide a presentation.
This involves work!
Most of the time, I create a presentation a couple of days before the actual talk. Now I need to send an entire manuscript at least one week ahead of my scheduled talk, to allow researchers time to read and critique my work.
On one hand, this is a bit daunting, because you want to write well (so as not to embarrass yourself on a given topic), while also not coming so far in the publication timeline, that comments will be unhelpful (e.g. if the manuscript has already been submitted, or worse, accepted).
So I picked a topic I had thought about, but hadn’t yet written about. Plus, this would motivate me to take time out of the summer to focus on this manuscript.
I gave a presentation entitled: The Swedish Ploy of Promoting Equal Parenting: Paradoxes in Policy Implementation Regarding Paternal Involvement in Childcare
*Clearly, I enjoy a good alliteration.
Since this is still a work in progress, I won’t upload the manuscript, but in the presentation I discussed the ways in which fathers are told via society to be good fathers, while at the same time, highlighting the various paradoxes of how organizations hold fathers back.
I pay specific attention to the Swedish child health field, workplaces, and maternal gatekeeping, as well as to policy barriers, especially the Swedish parental leave act.
Unlike other seminar series that I’ve attended, I was the only speaker. So after my presentation (about 20 minutes), I then had 40 minutes of questioning from the audience.
This was fabulous, as long as I remembered to accept their comments, rather than being defensive (I always feel I have to defend my baby). Hearing the comments though was great–not because I had persuaded all of the audience (far from it), but because they gave me new directions to go down, topics to clip out, and insights to make certain arguments stronger.
I was not only impressed from the level of audience participation (especially from advice from Dr. Ann-Zofie Duvander), but of SUDA’s entire colloquium; where they are always bringing in new researchers, often from various parts of the world. This not only allows researchers to share their latest findings, but also allows those working at SUDA a chance to hear from and critique many different types of researchers.
I strongly recommend participating in and hosting your own colloquiums!