By Joanna Putz-Lesczynska.
The 13th Conference of the International Graphonomics Society was held on 11 to 14 November 2007. This time, the location was Melbourne, one of the big cities of sun burned Australia. For most of the authors of more of 50 accepted papers this meant a trip of thousands of miles, and almost one day spent in the plane. The event, however, was well worth this effort.
It was a sunny Sunday evening in Melbourne. People walking along the Flinders Street did not know that in the Rendezvous Hotel the registration for the IGS 2007 had just started. It was not a typical registration – afterwards, a meeting for the all conference patricians was organized. Most of the people knew each other well - there were lots of old friends, so it was not difficult to overhear ‘Hello, how are you? What’s going on?’. On the other hand, newcomers did not find it difficult to find themselves in this company. IGS frequent visitors did not leave anyone alone. Just from the beginning, the freshmen could feel and experience the great atmosphere that differed this conference from all the others. In the end, the participants of this conference built up a well-matched group of people.
The conference was opened by the president of the IGS, Prof. Angelo Marcelli from Italy. In his speech, he shortly presented the IGS plans for the next two years. There was a clear message that IGS wanted to be more open for new people and challenges.
Regular sessions started with a lecture of one of the keynote speakers, Prof. Michael C. Corballis (New Zealand). His presentation ‘Language as a Gesture’ could be perceived as a bit off the conference topics, however it provided new insights and ideas.
Next session was entitled ‘Generation’, which touched a wide area of subjects – from synthetic on-line generation to synthesis of handwriting variability. During this day there was also a ‘Recognition’ session dedicated to different problems related to handwritten processing and recognition. The last, ‘Developmental’ session was devoted to issues related to development of handwriting skills of the population. However, while the sessions were over, it wasn’t the end of the day.
Would anyone expect penguins in Australia – just outside the border of a big city? Thanks to the conference organizers, led by Dr. Jim Philips, the conference participants had the opportunity to peek at this birds standing just next to them. As a bonus, the bird-watchers could experience a breath-taking view of nightly Melbourne panorama.
The morning presentation topics were diametrically different from the ones of the previous day. The first session, ‘Neuroscience’ (with Prof. Jason B. Mattingley from Australia as a keynote speaker), showed the graphonomic topic from the medical point of view.
The next session, ‘Motor Constancy’, provided some other aspects to the general conference panorama, this time exposing the movement (motor) influence on handwriting.
Just before the last Tuesdays session ‘Authentication’, the participants could take a long breath during a short jest between Prof. Rejan Plamondon, long-term IGS President, and his old friend Prof. Jefrey Summers, who had been a keynote speaker minute later. ‘Authentication’ session ended showing once again that signature and handwriting can be used for verification and identification of persons.
One can see different types of formal conference dinners. It is possible to remember different things: great service, sophisticated food, special events, but it was the fantastic atmosphere which made this one unforgettable. The location - Federation Square, new heart of Melbourne, was nice but still it was not the most important. The organizers and the main members of IGS created a great atmosphere, in which all the participants could have felt equal and as they had been in this society for years.
Wednesday started with the ‘Feedback Guidance’ session. People who overslept after Thursdays dinner, missed very interesting presentation by the last keynote speaker, Prof. Tony Goodwin, about ‘The role of sensory neural feedback in precise hand movements’. The two following sessions, ‘Forensic Issues’ and ‘Interfaces’ showed some new directions in automatic methods for handwritten signatures and same practical solutions for systems employing hand movements.
The conference finished with the report of the IGS board decisions presented by Prof. Marcelli. The 14th IGS Conference 2009 was announced to take place in France.
This day, no social program was planned, probably because all the next day was dedicated to the Great Ocean Road Tour.
Thursday – Great Ocean Road Day
This day started very early, but it was well worth to take this tour. Jim Phillips, the conference organizer, said that maybe we will see same koalas at the top of the trees, sleeping and staying in one place. Fortunately for us – he was wrong. We saw a mama koala with its baby close to us, sliding down and climbing up the trees. The unforgettable walk in the top of the rainforest tree, was followed by wonderful views of the Twelve Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge. The event finished with a surprise barbeque. The biggest surprise was that it took place in the Melbourne center, just next to Yarra River. After this evening the participants could say that they have not only seen wild koalas but also had a taste a kangaroo meat.
It is important not to forget about the lots of chats between people during the coffee breaks and lunches. Also, it would be a mistake not to mention about the poster sessions during the coffee breaks also. Thanks to the posters shown at each break it was not a problem to be introduced with the presented topics.
It the end, it is needed to emphasize that without all the attendees, reviewers, sponsors and organizing volunteers this conference would not be possible! This conference, in spite of being the unfortunate 13th, showed that IGS conferences are special in both senses: scientific and social.
HLT (Reach me by searching: NeuroScript, Tempe, AZ 85282, USA. Tel +1-480-350 9200)
Last edited by Hans-Leo Teulings; 2010-12-31 at 05:31 PM.