Live-blogging the Big Berks: Thursday

Like Historiann, Tenured Radical, Knitting Clio, Another Damned Medievalist, Clio Bluestocking and likely other history bloggers I’ve yet to meet online or in-person (except for ADM who I’ve hung out with at Kalamazoo’s big medieval studies conference), I’m attending the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women at UMass, Amherst.

We’re having a blogger get-together, Friday at 5:30, in the Grad Lounge of the Campus Center (main conference building) – hope to see you there and if you can’t make it, I will share the fun details here on the blog!

Travel Notes: I arrived in town last night after a long trip. My flights from Sudbury to Toronto and Toronto to Boston were smooth (I flew Porter Airlines and they are simply marvellous in terms of service and price). Drove a few hours west and a bit north from Boston to Amherst, too – that wasn’t quite as fun, at least not for the last half hour when I was driving in a driving thunderstorm. The only illumination were a few fuzzy signs along the roadside (obscured by driving rain) and occasional flashes of lightning. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that I’d memorized the directions as I couldn’t have stopped to look at either a map or GPS to guide my way.

Tech support: I’m excited to be volunteer tech-support for the conference, too. If you have problems getting your wireless connected (you need a guest account for UMASS – the helpful folks at registration will give you a slip of paper with that information), I’m batting 5/6 so far (one Mac user still wasn’t connecting to the net for some reason, but could get her email). I’ll also be running in and out of a couple of conference sessions today and tomorrow to make sure everyone can connect their laptops to the projectors and so forth!

If you’ve forgotten any cords, let a volunteer know! We have some that you can borrow. You can also check out the the UMass Express store in the Campus Center on the second floor. It’s well-supplied with books, t-shirts, tech tools (if you’ve forgotten your VGA cable!) and all sorts of other necessities. It’s only open until 4:30 on weekdays, though, so don’t go looking for stuff on Saturday!

First day impressions: Registration was hopping at 8:30 as early arrivals rushed to get their stuff, but things have quieted down a bit. I love that the conference badges come with hang tags (so you don’t have to clip or pin to a shirt if you don’t want to do so) and people are getting a nice cloth bag as schwag. Perfect for carrying the registration folder and any books you pick up at the exhibit which opens tomorrow. The organizers were also wise and included a slim pad of paper in the folder so you can make notes at interesting sessions.

Sessions start this afternoon at 3:30. I’ll do my tech support walk around three of the rooms to make sure everything’s good, then I’ll settle down in one of the rooms. Can’t decide which as there are so many cool sessions! Maybe I’ll take in one of the round-tables? (Still too many to choose from!)

There are also interesting tours today but I opted out of any given the forecast is for searing heat and thunderstorms. I don’t do well in searing heat and really don’t want to freak someone out by swooning at a historic location!


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