Lessons from attending and presenting at ECER (ERC) and EARLI conferences

By Paulina Chavez Rodriguez and Hilma Halme



About a month ago I travelled to the wonderful city of Glasgow in Scotland to present (for the first time) a paper at the ECER’s Emerging Researchers’ Conference (ERC) 2023. Here are some things I learned which I hope are useful for others who are thinking of presenting next year.

What are ECER and ERC?

The European Conference on Education Research (ECER) and its pre-conference the Emerging Researchers’ Conference (ERC) are important conferences, not only in Europe but in our Faculty. If you attend either of them, more likely than not, you will run into someone from the faculty. The ERC lasts two days and ECER three, you can attend one or both. I have to say, I admire those who can participate the whole week. I was exhausted after only two days.

Applying and presenting at the ERC

As the name says, the Emergent Researchers’ Conference is aimed mostly at researchers in the early stages of their career, actually most of my fellow presenters were doctoral researchers. Applying for the conference is rewarding in its own way. Along with the acceptance email, I also received two very useful and well-targeted comments from reviewers which helped me improve my presentation and made me think about things I should write in my dissertation and other articles.

Presenting my paper made me very nervous as this was my first “live” conference (choosing to ignore COVID here). But as the first day went by, I realised most others were as nervous as I was, and that had made us work even harder to give a great presentation and have a good discussion. It ended up being a great experience as an attendee and as presenter.

Lesson learned: prepare to be not perfect

My biggest take away from my first international conference presentation was, prepare without trying to be perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect, laptops will fail, slides will freeze, tongues will get twisted on a long word, flaws will pop up, but that is the point of the conference. A new set of eyes on your research, article or poster will always force you to see details you have not noticed before. Moreover, presenting for your peers means not only that it will be less nerve racking than presenting for professors or experts, but also that they more easily recognize the effort you put into your presentation and will do the same when it is time to discuss. So do apply, attend, and present at this type of conference if you can. I can vouch for it, it was worth it.


EARLI conference + JURE pre-conference

“The European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) is an international scientific association for junior and senior researchers in education.” (

In August, I had the opportunity to attend the EARLI conference in combination with the JURE pre-conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. The JURE conference is meant for junior researchers meaning PhD students and post-doc researchers and it is a two day conference just before the EARLI conference. The EARLI conference is one of the longer conferences lasting for five days or a whole week, if you also attend the JURE conference. It is possible to attend only EARLI or JURE and not necessary to attend both. However, it is convenient to attend both as they are in the same location and you only need one set of flights. Then again, a week-long conference is also quite exhausting. Personally, I would still highly recommend it!

When I applied for the conferences, I submitted three presentations. One for JURE and two for EARLI. In hindsight I would have been happy with just having one or max two presentations. For funding purposes, it may be necessary to submit two, one for each conference. Unlike some other conferences, the submission process for these was very time-consuming work. It is not enough to write a short abstract (100-250 words), but they also require an extended summary of your research (600-1000 words including references) with a results and discussion section. So make sure that you set aside enough time for the submission process. As mentioned previously with ECER, you also receive feedback for your EARLI and JURE submissions. This in itself is already very valuable. While all my submissions were for paper (oral) presentations, I would highly recommend others to consider poster presentations as well. Poster sessions were really well organised and they were actually my favourite sessions. There is much more time to discuss than in paper presentation sessions. More time means more great feedback on your work and valuable insights.

In addition to the academic events, I really enjoyed the social programme. There was something one could do every evening, if one had the energy after the long conference days (9.00-18.00). I do recommend joining the conference dinners, not only for a great networking opportunity, but also delicious food, music, and dancing. I have to admit that my favourite thing about the whole conference was the welcoming social environment and amazing Greek food. In general the conference gave me an opportunity to spend time with colleagues from around the world, to forge new contacts, and even to put together future collaboration projects. I would call that a success!

Note. The EARLI conference is a biannual conference with the next one happening in 2025. JURE on the other hand is organised every year with next year’s conference in Sevilla, Spain 24-28th of June 2024. Submission deadline 6th November 2023. For those thinking of applying, good luck and enjoy!


Writing ritual explained

Would you like to know more about the writing ritual activity Docturne organizes? Then here’s your chance. Geraldine, an active participant in the writing ritual meetings, explains how the activity works and why it has been so well liked among our members.

Although the actual writing of your papers, articles and thesis can seem a lonely and solitary affair at times, Docturne’s writing ritual has proven that there is strength in numbers and regular meet ups.  Throughout last year, the writing rituals saw a regular flow of doctoral colleagues meeting for 2 hours, 3-4 times per week.  A minute’s mediation to free the mind and some simple stretching exercises kicked off each session. Attendees would write or work on other related items for 45 minutes, alone, but alongside other supportive members.  A short 10-minute break usually involved a quick visit to the kitchen to brew tea or coffee, often enjoyed with some shared ‘virtual’ cakes. Some members used this time to chat, either about personal, everyday stuff or asking and offering advice about PhD related topics. Promptly, after 10 minutes, our very own task master, Yoojin, would remind us that it was time to start the final 45-minute slot.  Stretching and a restorative meditation ended the writing ritual with many of us continuing to write or work productively, since the ritual had set an inspiring tone to the day or evening.  

Knowing that someone is working in companionable silence alongside us is not only a powerful and motivating tool, but the ritual also helped forge new friendships and connections.  A small group of us had a fun and inspiring day to mark the end of the semester and celebrate the lifting of Covid restrictions.  We met in person to do some writing (not much it has to be said), and enjoyed discussing our PhD journeys, getting to know each other better over a picnic, a walk and of course an open air, wind blowing through the trees, restorative meditation.

Join us for writing rituals this Autumn term to help set the tempo for your research and writing and create new connections and friendships within the Docturne community.

Written by: Geraldine Chell, doctoral researcher (OPPI)


Autumn 2020 in Docturne

The autumn semester 2020 was the first full semester of Docturne. We kicked off the semester with the General Assembly in September. In the General Assembly we elected a new board for the association for the next term and made decisions regarding how to run the association.

The autumn semester was also the time to launch Docturne Lift Ups: the discussion events regarding current matters in academia, research work or other relevant topics. During autumn 2020 we held two Lift Up events. The first one was ‘Let her speak – Gender equality in academia’ in which we got into deep discussions of gender equality issues in our line of work. The second Docturne Lift Up session dealt with anxiety in academia. We shared our thoughts and feelings about what causes us anxiety in the academic setting, why we might feel anxious, and what could be done to mitigate the anxiety that people working in academia experience.

In addition to the more academically focused events, Docturne also wants to enhance the communality of all doctoral students in the faculty. We think this is especially important during the pandemic when everyone is working from home and the connections to a work community might be non-existent. To do that we also try to organize some leisure time activities. In the name of supporting communality, we started hosting coffee breaks in Zoom to offer a safe place for some chitchat during the work week. We also held a Happy Holidays Party to end the year with some fun activities together. In addition, we have started a book club that meets occasionally to share opinions and thoughts about books we’ve all read (or tried to read, at least!).

In addition to the events and activities, during the autumn semester the board of Docturne also did quite a lot of work towards promoting the interest of all doctoral candidates in our faculty. We discussed with the faculty about the organization of seminar groups for doctoral students, took part in the workshop offered to supervisors of doctoral candidates, among many other things.

Thank you for everyone who took part in any of the events and activities Docturne organized during the year 2020! And remember to check the Events page for information regarding our upcoming events and activities!


Docturne ry.

Docturne – Organization of the doctoral candidates at the Faculty of Education

Docturne (registered association) is an independent association for all doctoral candidates in the Faculty of Education in the University of Turku. Docturne focuses on promoting the interest of the doctoral candidates of the faculty, as well as aims to enhance the communality and equality of the doctoral candidates in the faculty. As an inclusive and multicultural association, Docturne was established to represent all the doctoral candidates across language backgrounds, cultures, departments and types of employment.

Join the association!

Do you want to become a member of Docturne? Click here to find out how to do it!