On September 12-15, 2023, I participated in the 39th annual Q-conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland. This followed the productive first brief internship I had in the Central Highlands Queensland in August 2023, where I engaged with and collected data from coal mining companies, regional governments, local businesses, and development organisations. Having used the Q-methodology to collect data in Central Highlands, I also applied the method to analyse the data and generate a breadth of perspectives in response to two research questions – (i) How will the phase-out of coal mining impact regional economies? and (ii) Whether and what strategies can be put in place to diversify economies in the context of the transition to clean energy systems? I also employed semi-structured interviews to provide additional depth to the Q-methodology analysis.
Having already run the analysis with preliminary results indicating diverse views, the conference offered me an opportunity to present the results of the Q-methodology application to experts of the method from diverse disciplines, including those related to resources and renewable energy transition. I received a few constructive feedback from those who attended my presentation, especially in terms of methodology. I am already working on refining the results and writing a publishable article. Once a draft is ready, I will be reaching out to each of my study participants for feedback before publication.
At the conference, I also took the honour of chairing a session in which interesting topics were presented. Overall, I had a very exciting week in Ireland, where I also took some time to learn about Irish history and culture. Speaking of culture, the conference ended on a fun evening as we were treated to the distinctive Irish dancing by professional dancers at the conference dinner!
Looking forward, the abstract of the same research article I presented at this conference has just been accepted for the 46th Joint ANZRSAI/RSA conference on ‘Global Crises and Regional Futures’, to be held at RMIT Melbourne, on November 26-28, 2023. I would like to thank Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie for sharing and recommending this conference. This conference is fitting, content-wise, for my article, and I am looking forward to meeting and engaging with scholars from diverse contexts, especially Australia, Asia and the Pacific. I may attend this conference online as I am planning for my final internship to conduct the second component of my CRC-TiME scholarship research.
Fitsum S. Weldegiorgis, PhD candidate and CRC TiME HDR top-up scholarship recipient