International Mobility Conference, Dublin, Ireland
Garrison Tsinajinie, Cohort 2 Scholar
As water droplets from the cloudy sky softly made their way to the cobbled stones of Trinity College in the heart of Dublin, I approached the steps of the International Mobility Conference 16 (IMC16). Upon entering, I found myself looking around, smiling, and eventually joining the tail end of a line. The line looped around the room. The line was composed of students, researchers, and practitioners who specialize in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) from around the world. Once delegates completed the registration process, the line casually dispersed, and IMC16 delegates made their way to an adjacent room for the welcome reception. It was truly an incredible sight to see colleagues and friends alike embrace and reunite. The sound in the room progressed from sporadic pockets of greetings to thunderous, simultaneous conversation and laughter. Naturally, it was not long before my fellow National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) scholars, Kevin McCormack, Tara Ogilvie, and I contributed to the cordial boom. IMC16 was well underway.
The next three and a half days were filled with sessions, which stretched across four themes, but linked together with an overarching theme of, “Moving On”. Between each session, there was plenty of time for colleagues to share ideas and resources over coffee and tea. I found myself attending sessions and workshops to deepen my understanding of the world, and the unique barriers instructors and travelers encounter within their local environments. Among the sessions, I was able to absorb information about the: unique travel obstacles and landmarks found in Cuba, early intervention services in the Netherlands, use of video conference techniques to provide O&M services in regional and remote Western Australia, adaptation of O&M instruction for Aboriginal Australians, O&M challenges within university graduations in South Africa, and the role of Universal Design for Learning.
Sitting beside O&M experts who have contributed to the field of O&M, and listening to the specialists who work with students and clients everyday around the world was a truly empowering experience. I left IMC16 with a greater understanding of what it means to ‘think outside the box’ and look beyond ‘loop systems’. That innovative minds across the world are dismantling barriers everyday through the implementation of technology, rethinking infrastructure design features, and empowering communities. Lastly, I returned to the University of Arizona in Tucson with an extended network of colleagues from IMC16, who said, “Talk soon, and looking forward to seeing your presentation at IMC17.”
-- Garrison Tsinajinie