On Sunday I arrived back at London City airport, whimpering, clutching a sick bag, and sniffling into my boyfriend’s shirt.
I should point out that this was not representative of my experience at the Denkfest in Zurich. ;)
But let me rewind to the beginning.
About a year and a half ago, I met Andreas Kyriacou in Copenhagen, who was to be the organiser of Denkfest, a science and critical thinking festival to take place in Zurich. He asked me if I could come and talk, and I jumped at the chance! When I saw the line up: Lawrence Krauss, Eugenie Scott, Cristina Rad… I couldn’t quite believe I was there on the poster with them.
So on Thursday, I headed to Zurich, prepared with a workshop for the Thursday evening and a general talk for Friday morning. My workshop was a “hands on” session – allowing the participants to really experience how the sessions are run – I gave examples of projects we had done from some of the 5 CQUKs that have been run.
On Friday I talked more generally about the camps, and also about the philosophy of education at Camp Quest. People seemed very engaged with this talk, and it was so nice to hear so many positive comments afterwards – so I hope we’re doing something right with regards to the way we run the camps! (And especially glad that my huuuuge nerves didn’t show during my talk!)
Thankfully, then, I had the whole weekend to relax and enjoy Denkfest. I took Friday afternoon off to do a bit of exploring in Zurich, and discovered that it is in fact a very beautiful city! For some reason, I had imagined a corporate place, with lots of banks and shiny looking buildings. But it really is charming, and as I wondered around, everyone looked so happy! There was a relaxed and chilled out vibe never found in London. I briefly considered moving.
Saturday was my favourite day. The highlights were, for me, the talks by Chris French, Kathryn Schulz and Lawrence Krauss. These conventions always inspire me to do more activism, more blogging, and it was probably making friends with Hayley Stevens and Cristina Rad that inspired me to actually use the Youtube account I’ve been sitting on for over a year and actually, you know, make a video.
Which I admit, I cheated at by having it mainly of my cat:
But I promise I will start doing “proper” videos soon! Pinky promise!
Saturday night was also fun… we had the conference dinner, that included a Science Slam, and then a large group of us went out and did the thing that happens on every Saturday night at every skeptic/atheist convention I’ve ever been to…
Best parts of Denkfest:
- “Just because you don’t pay for it, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mistake” – paraphrasing the guy mentioned in the Kathryn Schultz talk
- Food – I didn’t get glutened once!
- Meeting loads of awesome people
- “Washing our feet with the swans… like Jesus”
Worst parts of Denkfest:
- Food poisoning on Sunday
- Post Denkfest blues… everyone just goes back to being little people inside my internet box