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Gasta goes GO-GN…by Tom Farrelly

First of all, and without any further ado, I must heartily congratulate the six presenters: Taskeen Adam, Aras Bozkurt, Ada Czerwonogora, Michael Paskevicius, Deb Baff, and Johanna Funk who became Gastateers during the Global OER Graduate Network or GO-GN ‘Crisis in Care’ Gasta session of the ALT Summit. Trying to do a Gasta, any Gasta, is never easy. Trying to keep within five minutes when knowing that there is absolutely NO leeway in the time frame, being counted in en masse in Irish, in an online environment with hundreds of people around the world as part of the ALT Summit! – No problem.

Being a strong advocate of the OA (in all its forms) movement I was delighted to provide the six presenters with an opportunity to present their work to a wide audience. After all, while the Gasta format is about being a bit light-hearted there is also a serious intent behind it all – an opportunity to showcase your work. When ever I host an event, I always remind the audience that these presentations are essentially a shout about their work – a brief taster if you will, and if you are interested in the talk, please reach out. Tell them that you enjoyed their work, if you can share some insight or guidance, if you can offer additional resources or access to an institution or site then please do. Care does not have to be about making a big gesture – a kind or supportive word, a pat on the back, a well-done and keep going can make a huge difference, particularly for new and early career researchers (but let’s be honest – we all benefit from support and kindness).

One thing that I particularly love about the Gasta sessions is that they are a great leveller. Returning to my earlier reference to new and early career researchers. When starting out it can be hard to get noticed and ‘airtime’, it can be hard to get the big time slots and the keynotes. But a Gasta is a Gasta, regardless of who you are, a presenter gets five minutes and no more – no matter who you are . So, if you haven’t taken the plunge, and you see a Gasta as part of a conference – count to five and jump in and submit.

PS – Slightly biased as I teach research methods. But a very well done to all the authors and GO-GN network on their recently Research Methods Handbook, it certainly has been added to my module’s reading list.