By Helen Farley, Associate Professor Digital Futures (USQ)
As I write this, there are just 137 sleeps until ASCILITE2017 starts in earnest! It’s happening December 4 to 6 and we will be very proud to host you at the University of Southern Queensland. Great keynotes and great presentations for sure. Registrations will be opening shortly, so keep your eye on our website! Paper reviews are currently underway and due soon so you’ll be hearing if your paper is accepted. We have some great new presentation formats this year (and of course, we retained some of the old faves too). Yes, yes, we will be welcoming our sponsors and we’re endlessly grateful for their support. Yes, yes – great papers and lots of networking opportunities (conference speak for catching up with old friends!)
Ok, down to business …
The social program. I can’t say too much at this stage but I can tell you, it’s a doozy. Behind closed doors terms such as stargazing and champagne tasting are being bandied around. Did you know that USQ has the Queensland College of Wine Tourism? We don’t say too much about it because we don’t want other universities to get jealous. The one thing I really love about USQ is easy access to parking (check out our solar arrays in the car parks – we’re ready for the energy crisis!) if it gets out we have direct access to Stanthorpe’s wine growing region, I’ll have to queue for my lattes and white chocolate muffin! So keep it under your hat! And as for the conference dinner, well, that’s looking pretty special too. Canapés as the sun goes down, sipping your favourite bevvy as you look over the magnificent Lockyer Valley. All will be revealed soon!
I have a couple of favourite spots I hope you take some time to look at while you’re here. It’s hard to go past the Japanese Gardens and I must admit, every so often I do ponder how such a thing arose in Toowoomba. I don’t know the answer to that but I can tell you that it’s the most beautiful spot on campus. We’re also very lucky that we live on the lands of the Giabal and Jarowair peoples and we celebrate their culture with the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens. You can learn about the symbolism of the land, the stories and histories by downloading the Gumbi Gumbi Gardens app.
I can’t wait for you to discover my favourite places and restaurants in Toowoomba. Gone are the days when the most exotic place to eat was the Golden Dragon next to the old Myers. We have everything from Korean restaurants, Brazilian barbecue, Asian street food, vegan, Turkish (where I overindulged last night), Egyptian even, and if you’d like something a bit more meat and potatoes, there are a number of excellent pubs that do food. I’ll do my best to try them all again before you get here starting with here. Oh, and speaking of the old Myers, it’s now part of Grand Central, our new shopping centre that crosses the street and is home to about a kazillion shops! It’s one of the reasons Toowoomba people are so stylish. Was that a snigger I heard?
Toowoomba has played host to the First Coat Festival which has transformed buildings with gorgeous street art. And you should know that we have a few laneways, including this one at Walton Stores. You see where I’m going with this? Toowoomba is really Melbourne on a Mountain. Add to that the shopping, restaurants … I rest my case.
Hope you can make it to ASCILITE2017 so you can visit us at Melbourne on a Mountain. Don’t forget the dates: December 4 to 6 2017. And you can fly direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, Cairns and Western Queensland (go on, take an extra few days and explore the outback!)