By Julia Leventon.
I’m very excited that Mama is an Academic has teamed up with the Leverage Points conference organisers, and the family services at Leuphana University in order to make sure that the Leverage Points 2019 conference is mama friendly. In truth, this is a fairly easy collaboration – I overlap as a Principle Investigator in Leverage Points, and a founder of Mama is an Academic. But it feels like a timely collaboration, as there are many conversations happening at the moment about making conferences more accessible to mothers. This is evident in recent twitter conversations linked to @mamacademic, and in excellent articles such as here. So we wanted to get it right.
I also think it’s an important thing to do. Since having my son 2 years ago, I have missed my favourite annual conference twice because my husband couldn’t take time off for those days. I have struggled through trips away, pumping in uncomfortable locations (and often dumping the milk as there is nowhere to store it), and feeling a bit emotionally wobbly. Now I also have my daughter. I have (in part) planned this maternity leave around being ready for the conference because it is an important part of our project. But at the time, I will still be working part time, my daughter will not yet be in childcare, and I will still be breastfeeding her. I’m going to find three intensive conference days difficult. Even though its in my home town!
So we have tried to think about what we need as mothers to make conference participation easier . Therefore, there will be childcare. Information about the childcarer will be available in advance so that parents can know a bit about them. We will also have a ‘meet the carer’ event the day before the conference begins, so that parents and kids can feel confident and safe with the arrangements. We have a quiet, private space for feeding or pumping, complete with fridge for storing milk. There is access to kitchen facilities for anyone who needs a microwave or kettle for warming baby food, sterilizing equipment etc. And there will be a Mama is an Academic networking event during the conference – mamas can meet each other for support on all topics academic motherhood, whether or not they are attending with their little ones.
More information about how to access these services will soon be available on the conference website. But if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions on how we could help you, or other mothers at the conference, please be in touch with Anne Jo, who is taking charge of arrangements: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract submission for this conference closes on 30 June — soon! Submit your Abstract here.
If you have any specific enquiries about abstract submission please contact: Leveragepoints2019@leuphana.de
 These services are open to any parent attending with kids – not just the mamas!