EMWA Conference, Manchester 2013

The 36th European Medical Writers Association Conference was held in Manchester from the 7th to the 11th May 2013 at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, and as always there was a packed programme of workshop topics at both Foundation and Advanced levels as well as a good choice of evening social events.

Due to clashing commitments, I was only able to go on the Friday, and had a far too early start in order to commute over there from the wilds of Derbyshire (in spite of the village in question being on the Sheffield to Manchester main line, my choice of trains was limited to the one that got me in an hour before I needed to arrive, or the one that would have got me there five minutes late). Several coffees and some chats with fellow early birds later, I was awake enough to attend my first workshop, Adam Jacobs’ Critical Appraisal of Medical Literature.

We’d all be given two fabulous (in the original/literal sense) texts to study beforehand, so I at least had a reasonable idea what to expect, especially having met that Jacobs chap on other occasions. The three hours of the workshop were well balanced between the presentation of what potential errors to look for in various types of study, and group work re-appraising the two papers we had been assigned for our pre-workshop assignment. I now look forward (with only a little trepidation) to receiving a paper to study for my post-workshop assignment.

Following on directly from the morning’s workshops, lunch this year offered us the option of sitting at discussion tables. I picked Wendy Kingdom’s topic of Transparency of clinical trial data — who will benefit? although we did also get to chat on other matters while waiting for more diners to join us. Sadly, we had to draw the discussion to a close before any of us had run out of ideas in order for everyone to get to their afternoon workshops on time.

My afternoon workshop was Claudia Frumento’s Introduction to Writing for Medical Devices which I’d been anticipating for quite some time, having missed out on it in London a year and a half ago. Once again, the workshop was well balanced between instruction and group discussion, and I now feel much more confident about tackling all manner of devices in my writing.

Due to the differing times that workshops finished, the Freelance Business Forum got off to a slightly later than anticipated start, and I’m afraid I had to rush off before the end, but it was good to see the results of the Freelance Business Survey up on the big screens (details here for those who are interested), and I seem to have volunteered to write something for Out On Our Own as well.

I was sorry not to have caught up with more freelancer news, and indeed with more freelancers, but I did at least make it across the road to the Midland Hotel in good time for the start of my evening social event, the Walking Tour of Manchester with a Pie, a Pint and a Pub Quiz. This was led by renowned tour guide Jonathan Schofield and based partly on his A Tour of Uninteresting Objects. Highly recommended, even if my table didn’t win any prizes at the pub quiz (based partly on what we’d seen and partly on other facts about Manchester).

All in all, a rather busy day, but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it.

The next two conferences are at the Fira Palace, Barcelona, Spain (7th to 9th November 2013) and the Hilton, Budapest, Hungary (13th to 17th May 2014). I hope to see people at one or other of them.

 

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