Diary of a Novice Scholar – Deus Ex Machina Conference Review

Quinn Edwards (University of the Sunshine Coast)


Having attended the incredible and thought-provoking Deus Ex Machina Conference, and having witnessed the level and complexity of arguments and presentations, I was left wondering what right I had as a scholar in the infancy of my study to review such a symposium. Having said that, any perspective can provide unique insight, and so it is with this disclaimer that my review of the conference will not comprise a strict re-iteration of one particular panel, and will rather extrapolate on the impression of the conference from the perspective of a first-time conference attendee and presenter.


I would like to begin by highly commending the organisation and execution of the HDR Day. The day truly set the tone for the rest of the conference, with the academic panels providing not only an incredible standard of scholarly professional conduct to aspire towards, yet also imparting great insight on method, practice and publishing. The highlight of the day for me was the mentoring session, where HDR students were grouped with seasoned academics to provide a more intimate and in-depth discussion on questions that had been raised throughout the day. The conversations fostered in that private session left me with a huge dose of inspiration, articles to read, and gratitude at the welcoming and engaging nature of the LLHAA community.


After a night of practising and tinkering with my slides, my conference stream was the first on the first day following the evocative keynote. The nerves of trying to follow such a polished presentation were not ameliorated by the quality of the presentations in my stream: ‘Jurisprudence of the Future: Speculative Subjects and Fantastic Personhood’. It was a privilege to present among such talented academics working on projects that were so relevant to my own, and the insightful questions and feedback – both constructive and positive – made me very glad that I had taken the leap in presenting.


The rest of the conference seemed to pass in a flash, with fascinating streams, really engaging social events, then going along to be enchanted by the presentation of a friend that you had only met the day or night before. Again, I would like to emphasise the collegiality that made me feel so instantly at home, and commend the LLHAA on bringing together a collection of such knowledgeable and generous people. The Deus Ex Machina conference as given me a taste of the highlights of scholarly life, and has left me wanting more. My biggest piece of advice to any aspiring or commencing HDR students would be to put yourself out there and truly get involved in everything that conferences like this have to offer. I myself cannot wait for the next one.