On January 10, 1997 in the last year of my three-year QRCA presidency, a group of QRCA members (Judy Langer, Maryanne Pflug, Bill Weylock, Irv Merson, etc. and I) hosted a one-day conference at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England on the subject of “Differences Between North American & European Qualitative Research: What Can We Learn From Each Other?” This one-day event was very well received and well attended, as well as friendly and enlightening for us Americans as well as for our British colleagues.
During the next two years, in developing QRCA international chapters by conducting personal qualitative workshops in South Africa, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina, I realized how important it was for QRCA to be global rather than merely national. We qualies have more in common than we did differences, and we could certainly learn from each other!
In 1999, Kevin McLean of Britain and AQR (The Association for Qualitative Research) invited me to dinner in New York City to discuss “how our associations might work together.” When he posed this question, I suggested that we do a joint conference in Paris in April of 2001, and he readily agreed. Thus our Worldwide Qualitative Conference was birthed.
Paris was a huge success in content and attendance beyond expectations, and we followed this with joint conferences in Lisbon (2003), Dublin (2005), Barcelona (2008), Prague (2010), Rome (2012), and Budapest (2014).
Although AQR withdrew for 2016, several of our British colleagues hold committee positions for 2016 in Vienna, including Sarah Davies on the Program Speaker Committee, as well as a good number of speakers from the British Isles. Our speakers in Vienna come from 13 countries around the globe. They have lots of exciting experiences and viewpoints to share.
This conference is unusual in that the speakers do not pay to speak, but rather compete with qualitative researchers around the world to present the most interesting and forward-thinking papers. Out of more than 70 submissions, there will be more than 30 papers as well as poster topics, a panel, and a dynamite keynote from the Copenhagen Institute for Future Studies. Most of all, as anyone who has ever attended a QRCA event knows, this will be fun, lively, friendly, insightful, practical, and collegial with no selling (except from our sponsors) but plenty of sharing.
2001: AQR/QRCA Conference Co-Chair - Paris
2003: AQR/QRCA Conference Committee - Lisbon
2005: AQR/QRCA Conference Committee - Dublin
2008: AQR/QRCA Conference Program Co-Chair- Prague
2012: AQR/QRCA Rome Conference Speaker Co-Chair - Rome
2014: AQR/QRCA Budapest Conference Speaker Co-Chair