I am a post graduate student at Trinity College Dublin. My interest lies in a small subset of third level education, that of alternative access routes, specifically mature studentship. I am fortunate to receive funding from the Irish Research Council. However, to engage with colleagues and other researchers working in this arena, usually requires planes, trains and automobiles, so I was delighted and very grateful to receive a bursary last year which made it possible for me to attend the SCUTREA conference in Leicester. (Editor: The Conference was organised by Leicester's Institute of Lifelong Learning and was part of their celebration of Vaughan College's 150th Anniversary)
The first thing that you would notice when attending a SCUTREA conference is the sheer diversity of nationalities represented. Over the course of the three days I was exposed to ideas and experiences of those involved in third level education from all corners of the globe, and at all levels; academics reflecting on programme development and experiences, students recounting their work, and analysts elaborating on the tensions surrounding policy and policy implementation.