The International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2017

This past weekend I attended the 13th meeting of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. This conference is attended by scholars from all over the world and offers  a feast of different approaches to qualitative researchers. Over 1500 delegates from more than 75 nations registered for the conference.

This year, Special Interest Groups organized meetings for conference-goers interested in Autoethnography, Arts-Based Research, Critical Poststructural Psychology, Critical Qualitative Research, Digital Tools in Qualitative Research, Social Work and Global Qualitative Health Research. There were also meetings arranged for researchers involved in the Indigenous Inquiries Circle and Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research, as well as days in Spanish and Portuguese. An Initiative for the Cooperation across the Social Sciences and the Humanities facilitated dialogue among different groups.

The keynote addresses were delivered on Thursday evening, 18 May 2017 by Susan Finley (Washington State University, US) on The Future of Critical Arts-Based Research and Graham Hingangaroa Smith  (University of Waikato, New Zealand) on ‘Transforming research’ as an issue of social justice and human rights for Indigenous Peoples. Both presentations received rousing receptions from a packed meeting room.

One of challenges that I always have when attending this conference is deciding what to go to, since any given time slot provides numerous sessions to attend; and of course, it is always fun to catch up with old friends and make new ones. What I love about attending ICQI is meeting colleagues from other institutions, learning about new work going on, and meeting up with former and current students.

Since I teach qualitative research methods I attended sessions on that topic, and learned about others’ creative and innovative approaches to pedagogy as well as how others incorporate arts-based methods into their teaching. I enjoyed attending a plenary presenting for the Coalition for Critical Qualitative Inquiry that included presentations by Yvonna Lincoln, Patti Lather, M. Francyne Huckaby, Janet Miller and Gaile Cannella.  I learned about Sarah Tracy’s YouTube Channel, Get Your Qual On ; Sally Campbell Galman’s work using visual methods; and Kakali Bhattacharya’s current work in developing the idea of super-heroes’ skills in teaching qualitative inquiry. And of course, this is just a minute fraction from a much larger conference of over 1600 presentations! Let others know what you attended in the comments box below. What did you attend?

On behalf of the book award committee, I had the great honor of presenting the Outstanding Qualitative Book award to the following books:

The 2017 Outstanding Book Award was presented to:

Bhattacharya, K., & Gillen, N. K. (2016). Power, race, and higher education: A cross-cultural parallel narrative. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Kakali Bhattarcharya is pictured with me on the right below (unfortunately I missed getting a photo with her co-author Kent Gillen, who was also there to receive the award).


Honorable mention was awarded to:

Spry, T. (2016). Autoethnography and the other: Unsettling power through utopian performatives. New York and London: Routledge.

Tami Spry is pictured below.

Tami Spry

The call for nominations for next year’s book award will be issued later in the year. For more information on the awards, which include a Lifetime Achievement Award (which was this year awarded to Ronald Pelias) and Dissertation awards, see the ICQI website.

Next year’s conference theme is Qualitative Inquiry in Troubled Times, with scheduled keynote speakers including Bronwyn Davies (University of Melbourne and Western Sydney University) and Karen Staller (University of Michigan). The 14th ICQI conference is scheduled for May 16-19, 2018. Be sure to add that to your calendar!

Kathy Roulston

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