So this past weekend I was able to go to a (albeit small) conference in Toronto with a group that I’m currently doing Usability Testing for. This was my first conference of any kind, so it was really exciting for me! I was also doing a presentation on an overview of Usability Testing and how I was applying it to their website, so I was definitely nervous for that. What I was not prepared for, however, was how inspired I would become because of this fabulous group of people.
The team’s goal is to create mental health resources and tools to find those resources for young adults. While this goal in itself is impressive enough, the people on that team are what has amazed me. There are 3 parts to the team: The first are Researchers, who are all academics, and have done numerous studies about young adults and mental health. They have identified not only where there are gaps, but also what resources young adults want to fill those gaps. The second part of the team are Community Partners, who help to bridge the gap between the researchers’ information and how to create and deliver mental health information to the community. The third and final part of the team is the Young Adult team, who have delivered huge amounts of input to the other two teams, and have created their own projects as well.
What was the most inspiring was the way these three parts of the team worked so well together. It has been troubling me for a while to think that so much research is done in the academic world, but that it does not always get to the public or the profession (This is a big problem in library sciences, where librarians working in the public sphere don’t always hear the research that is being done on how to improve library services. There’s a real gap between research and practice right now). Yet here I was at this conference seeing with my own eyes research and community come together and create this amazing project. This conference really showed me that it is entirely possible to bring the two sides together and create something that really benefits the community. And I get to be a small part of it too!
I can definitely say that this conference was a great experience, and that I’m looking forward to attending more conferences in the future. I’m excited for all the possibilities of how research and practice can come together in the future!