LISBON, JULY 2017: cApStAn @ the 70th WAPOR Conference AND @ the 7th ESRA Conference

The conferences were announced a year ago or more. There were calls for sessions, calls for papers, announcements, short courses, and we knew we just had to be part of these two major events. It was a great idea to organise the 70th Conference of the World Association for Public Opinion Research (http://wapor.org/70th-annual-conference) and the 7th Conference of the European Survey Research Association (https://www.europeansurveyresearch.org/conference) in Lisbon, back to back: OK, there was a bit of an overlap for those who, like me, attended a short court on the first day of the ESRA conference (which was the last day of the WAPOR conference), but it is cost-efficient and contains our carbon footprint somewhat to have a 2 in 1 formula.

It’s not only about the inspiring keynote speeches (Stuart Soroka on Sunday morning, a lively, challenging lecture about the importance and variability of public responsiveness to policy; Edith De Leeuw on Monday afternoon, a highly informative summary of the state of the art – and the challenges – in mixed mode surveys; and, very close to my heart, Beth-Ellen Pennell on Thursday morning, who gave a very insightful bird’s eye view of trends and developments in multinational, multiregional and multicultural (3MC) surveys. It’s not only about the lavish conference dinner (10 former WAPOR presidents attended the dinner party in the Casa de Alentejo!). It’s not only about having to choose between up to 13 concurrent sessions at ESRA.

It’s the whole vibrancy of these get-togethers, where the finest individuals and organisations in the survey, polling and data collection universe get together, exchange experiences and decide on the next papers we’ll write together, the next projects we’ll work on together. The magic of Lisbon and the quality of the coffee helps, of course, but the quality of the people beats it all. I was grateful to learn so much in a few days, to connect and re-connect with friends, colleagues and mentors, and to perceive and express mutual respect at all times. Some presentations – including mine – are met with criticism, but always in a graceful, constructive manner. It’s a genuine privilege to be part of this community (and to have been one of the proud sponsors of the ESRA conference, which now has over 850 delegates from Europe and beyond).

We’ll see the WAPOR folks again in Marrakech in June 2018. Who will host ESRA in 2019? The Call for expressions of interest is out.

Thank you, everyone, and apologies for withdrawing from some of the evening activities: it is bidding season for cApStAn, and the deadline for the submission of the PISA 2021 proposal was July 25th, at noon. Done. We lit scented candles, ordered some juju, sung the anthems we remember – and, of course, we handed in a tender that meets the most stringent technical quality standards.

Enjoy the summer!