For me, a "poster" was something like this.... And a "paper" was something like this....
But in the world of academic conferences, they mean something very different. A poster is a very visual and accessible way of presenting a piece of work and a paper is actually a 15 minute talk! The point of these at conferences is to share great work and ideas.
I've been having great conversations with Julie Wintrup about an Ethics conference that she is organising with a team. The aim of the conference is to look at ethical issues in a really practical and applied way, which means with patients and the very people whom these ethical issues often focus on. Patient leaders are often doing great work and having great ideas, so posters should be another tool available to them to share that work and ideas. I know that many people have blogs, and Twitter and other forums to share, and many many argue that getting patient leaders to submit posters is like getting a square peg to fit in a round hole... And just supporting patient leaders to submit doesn't address the issue of conference organisers welcoming such contributions from patients.... But we have to start somewhere! Patient involvement in conferences and events is on the up, but we need to make sure it is meaningful. This is one way to really document the potential of patient leaders, and how many people are fulfilling that potential already - this isn't some future plan!
So, after talking to a number of patient leaders, we have developed some guidance that we hope will make people feel more confident about sharing their great work in this way!
Download the PDF version here (where the hyperlinks will work!).
After the conference in January, we will be reviewing this guidance, so do drop a comment on this blog, or on Twitter using #PatientLeadersPosters about your experiences of doing a poster, what stops you from doing one and any other thoughts!
One conference that is definitely going to welcome posters from patients is this multi-disciplinary ethics event....