GNSI Conference: Making Social Connections,

GNSI Conference: Making Social Connections

by Scott Rawlins

GNSISocialConnectionsIn this age of information with instant messaging and “fingertouch” communication, it’s sometimes hard to imagine a world where the best ways to connect with distant relatives, friends and colleagues was by mailed letters and long-distance phone calls.  One of the reasons why the Guild came into existence was to provide easier communication among members and to give them a venue to hone skills, share experiences and strengthen friendships.  Probably the best way to achieve this goal is participation in the annual conference.  
Despite advances in technology that allow for faster, more effective communication, there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions.  This is especially obvious to those of us who have been most profoundly affected by the social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  While it’s true that social and professional network sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. are somewhat effective substitutes for real-time, in-person interactions, and our recent conferences have offered chances for those who cannot travel to connect on a personal level to a degree, there is something special about being able to occupy the same space as those with whom you are socializing.
Guild conferences have always provided members with numerous opportunities to connect – with friends and colleagues who really understand what scientific illustration is about and are familiar with the joys and concerns experienced by those of us who are not exactly scientists and not exactly fine artists (though there are those who are both and those who are neither).  It has been said that in order to advance in the world it’s important to cultivate relationships – it’s “who you know” that is most important.  While this might sound somewhat cynical, the truth is that at Guild conferences this kind of networking requires no effort.  Friendship, mentorship, collegiality and comradeship are givens.  The past two years have alerted us to the value of personal interaction – whether in person or online.  Let’s continue to connect through our local chapter and group meetings and especially events like annual conferences!

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