I was just reading Ilkka’s blog about his Forrest Camp experience and it made me think about it again in a different way. There was some structure, but there was also a lot of open time.

What I loved is that people took advantage of the open time in ways that I thought captured the ideal philosophy behind that kind of conference. Random meetings emerged from ideas and conversations (e.g. Ahmed and Ilkka making an impromptu presentation about their research question and requesting feedback on methodology, Piet’s late night impromptu presentation and discussion about more existential issues – context using his home town as an example, late night discussions at the sauna and in the dining hall, etc).

What happened at the Forrest Camp – spontaneous meetings and free-flow structure allowed ideas to come in a way that is less possible with too many formal, structured meetings. Of course some of that is always good to get new synergistic ideas or basic training, but as graduate students and professors it is nice to simply have more time to discuss, dream, and enjoy each others company in a beautiful area.