ASHA Conference 2023

Every year ASHA offer a bursary to members wishing to attend the conference. This year two bursaries were provided. Part of the offer requires the recipient to send us a short piece on their experience at the conference. Please find the first of these reports on the conference in Mackay, Queensland by Ramona Angelico’s including some stunning photos from the field trip where Mackay’s South Sea Islander Heritage and sugar history was experienced.

As a first-time attendee and presenter at this year’s ASHA Conference, I thoroughly appreciated the warm welcome from the organizers, board members, and fellow participants, which created an instantly comfortable environment that fostered professional growth within a friendly atmosphere.

The conference provided excellent facilities and a structure that cultivated new connections with Victorian, interstate, and international colleagues. It offered a unique setting that promoted critical and intellectual engagement, as well as socialization with peers at different stages of their careers and with different areas of interest and specialisations. This aspect of the conference was the most enjoyable, second only to the thought-provoking quality and variety of presentations. The session conveners were clear in their communication leading up to the conference and provided a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere during the event, which helped alleviate some nerves.

The contribution and engagement of the local community and heritage practitioners working in the area deepened my understanding of the history and culture of the conference location, highlighted by the Saturday field trip.

I’m grateful to ASHA for their contribution towards my attendance, and I look forward to ASHA 2024.

Ramona Angelico, PhD Candidate (La Trobe University)