Last month Tommi and I attended the 20th biennial Sociolinguistics Symposium which took place in Jyväskylä, Finland. We were very much looking forward to the conference and visiting Finland at this time of year, as the 24 hour daylight makes “Juhannus” (Midsummer) a really special occasion. Tommi, being an English-Finnish bilingual, knows the country, language and culture well and was able to explain all the traditions of “Juhannus” to me, as well as translate many footballing terms as I attempted to follow the World Cup on Finnish TV!
Our stand was well-placed in a lovely, airy atrium where the coffee breaks were held. It was a really lively space as the delegates streamed in between sessions to socialise over the coffee and Finnish culinary treats. I was pleasantly surprised by the Finnish food that I tried during our stay and particularly enjoyed Karelian pies (rice pies), Rieska (potato flatbread) and Reindeer stew.
As well as co-manning our stand Tommi ran a lunchtime workshop on publishing an academic book and took part in the roundtable entitled “Academic publishing and access to knowledge: A discussion on current trends, challenges, and possible futures”. Such events are great ways for us to engage with the delegates and hear their thoughts, questions and concerns about academic publishing.
As usual, we brought a wide selection of our latest books with us and the delegates snapped up the special conference discount that we always offer. The bestselling books of the conference were Identity and Language Learning (2nd Edition) by Bonny Norton, Jan Blommaert’s two books Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes and Ethnographic Fieldwork (with Dong Jie), the new 4th edition of Colin Baker’s best-selling book A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism and Flexible Multilingual Education by Jean-Jacques Weber. The latter two books are both part of our trial bookmark scheme which you can read about here.
To make the conference extra special, the organisers arranged for the delegates to enjoy traditional Finnish Juhannus celebrations by running a lake cruise to a Midsummer party on an island. There we enjoyed a kokko (bonfire), buffet and humppa dancing. Much fun was had by all before we travelled back in the extraordinary midnight sun! Thank you to the conference organisers for putting on such a fun evening and doing an excellent job at hosting the conference. We are already looking forward to the 21st Sociolinguistics Symposium.