Family-friendly meetings

Alex Ashcroft

Those of you who saw my article in the last edition of the IUCr Newsletter will have seen that the organisers of ECM32 (Vienna, Austria) in 2019 had arranged for awards to be presented by some of the children of participants, which I thought was a lovely idea. Three photos were used to illustrate my previous article, but you can see more of them above and below. The parents of the children kindly gave their permission for us to reproduce the photographs, and then we found that the three photos that were most relevant to last month’s article all featured the same young girl. We thought it was important to include the other photos as we wanted all of the parents who were kind enough to grant their permission to get the opportunity to see their child in the Newsletter.

[Fig. 1]

Reading about the family-friendly nature of ECM32 reminded me that one of the highlights, for me, of the excellent ECM31 in Oviedo, Spain, in 2018 was to see a young father playing with his infant daughter at the welcome buffet while his wife was busy networking with other academics. That really brought the family-friendly policy to life for me and helped me to understand why ECM31 Chair Santiago García-Granda had been so keen on this idea when it had been discussed at the IUCr Congress in Hyderabad, India, in 2017. Some of you may know that my wife, Nicola, has been editing Acta Cryst. A and International Tables for more years than either of us want to count, so I have (mostly) fond memories of being at home looking after our son, Tom, while Nicola went to the IUCr Congresses in Florence, Osaka, Madrid and Montreal. Enjoyable though it (usually) was to have more time with Tom, it would have been lovely for us all to have been able to attend the Congresses together. I’m sure we are all hoping that the Prague Congress can go ahead as a physical meeting in August 2021, and I know Radomír Kužel, the Conference Chair, is planning a special “Children’s Zone” with supervision available from experienced teachers for the children of delegates who register for this. More family-friendly features are currently being planned, so I hope that more families can enjoy Congresses together in future.


7 November 2020

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