#103 Attended the first Nordic Psychedelic Science Conference 2022

Last week I attended the first Nordic Psychedelic Science Conference in Oslo, Norway. It was held Thursday and Friday, May 19–20, 2022. Many well-known local and international researchers presented what they’re currently up to. It was exciting to get these updates from researchers themselves.Norsk-Psykedelisk-Vitenskap

As a volunteer for part of the conference, I saw what was going on behind the scenes. My job was checking guests and speakers in on the first day. Over the course of the entire conference, speaking with the organizers and other volunteers, it seemed nothing odd or unusual happened from my perspective. No hiccups, no emergencies. Everything ran like a well-oiled machine. For me, this means that the organizers did a great job organizing. They must have put in an enormous amount of work for all pistons to fire at the right time, hour by hour, lecture by lecture, scene by scene. I also thought it was smart to provide vegan and gluten-free lunches which means almost everyone can eat the food. Also, the price of a single admission ticket of 5,000 NOK was affordable for a conference. On a personal note, something to add to the list of pros of this conference is that I got a free ticket. That’s because I’m associated with Norsk Psykedelisk Vitenskap (NPV) or the Norwegian Association for Psychedelic Science. I’ve been writing their monthly newsletter since September 2021. (Sign up here to get psychedelic news and happenings from this corner of the world.)

It’s difficult to be critical since everything went so smoothly. But I have a few comments. (1) There were a few speakers who I wanted to meet, even just for a few minutes to introduce myself. It didn’t happen. These people were constantly on the go or when there was a chance during breaks or down-time they’d get swarmed. I’m not the hovering type, waiting for my turn to say a quick hello, so I stayed away. I prefer long form conversations since nothing can be said in a minutes-long chat. (2) There was only one panel discussion. I would’ve liked to hear another panel, perhaps one on each day. These types of conferences switch up with the pace of the conference and reminds me of a casual podcast conversation. (3) There wasn’t any opportunity throughout the conference for the audience to ask questions after individual lectures or the panel discussion. I understand that doing so would have extended the conference perhaps by another day. I just think it’s nice to get some questions from the audience because then there’s a dialogue between the presenter(s) and everyone else. Questions could spin the conversation in a new direction, albeit still related to the presenter’s lecture and research interests. I’ve attended conferences where a set of three or four speakers present in a row, and then all the speakers gather on stage for a question-and-answer panel. This might be a good way to get the best of both worlds while still being conscious of time constraints of the entire conference.

Overall, it was great experience and I look forward to the next conference. Since it’s called the “Nordic” Psychedelic Science Conference, I wonder what roles the other Nordic countries played or will play. Obviously, this conference will attract Nordic psychedelic researchers outside of Norway, but will this conference be hosted only in Oslo, or will it be hosted in round-robin fashion between neighboring countries?

Many thanks to Anna and Håkon for organizing and producing this conference, and of course to Dominic for being the master of ceremonies. I look forward to the next conference, and dare I say, present my own research. Watch this space.

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