The 'friendliest conference' in western Canada: Edwards hosts 11th annual Rupert's Land Symposium

Mikaila Ortynsky

Over 35 marketing scholars from across the Canadian prairie region and Germany descended on the University of Saskatchewan (USask) campus May 23 and 24, 2019. Originally hosted by the University of Manitoba, the symposium aims to connect marketing and consumer behaviour researchers with a visible, executable and ongoing networking platform.

“The Rupert’s Land conference is a way for researchers from marketing and consumer behaviour to get together from western Canada,” said marketing professor and Rawlco editor, Dr. Barbara Phillips (PhD). “We decided we needed to know each other and the graduate students better.”

Unlike many other academic conferences, Rupert’s Land runs in one concurrent session, allowing researchers and graduate students to be exposed to areas outside their expertise. About half the conference is made of current graduate students.

“It gives an opportunity for everyone to present their work to each other,” remarked Phillips. “We give a lot of constructive feedback, we build networks, and we work together on things, so people are really comfortable saying ‘this didn’t work’ or ‘I don’t know what to do with this.’”

The host university rotates between University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, and University of Regina annually. Typically, the majority of attendees come from a previous host university from the marketing discipline.

“From USask, we had people from agriculture and engineering (rhetoric). We also had an individual from Mount Royal University and two people from Germany,” said Phillips. “Each year we are spreading out a little bit more.”

With agriculture being one of USask’s signature research areas, Phillips remarked there were more presentations on consumer views on genetically modified organisms and biotechnology.

“The nicest part of the conference is that people are supportive and they all talk to each other,” remarked Phillips. “This is the conference where researchers get encouragement and feedback.”

This year’s conference was hosted by the management and marketing department at Edwards and co-chaired by Phillips and her colleague, Dr. Marjorie Delbaere (PhD).

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