Guest Blog: Groningen Symposium on Language and Social Interaction

The second meeting on language and social interaction in Groningen, was a welcome addition to the burgeoning collection of small and medium-sized CA events in Europe. Tom Koole and Mike Huiskes, the organisers, have kindly sent in a brief account of the day in  this delightful city in the north of the Netherlands.

Tom Koole

Tom Koole

Mike Huiskes

Mike Huiskes

On January 22 2016 we celebrated the 2nd in the series of the Groningen Symposium on Language and Social Interaction (GSLI).

The one-day GSLI symposium ( takes place every year in January in Groningen and has a different theme each year. The University has some historic buildings, and we held the meeting in a classical lecture theatre – venerable, but somewhat on the austere side, with seating to keep the participants awake and attentive!

Interaction and Health Care

Last year, the first GSLI was concerned with interaction and learning, and this year’s focus was on interaction and health care. The symposium attracted 30 participants from the UK, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and of course the Netherlands.

The theme of health care was well represented across its full range by the speakers. The presentations covered canonical encounters like the consultation between a consultant surgeon and their patient (Mike Huiskes on how orthopedic surgeons extend their questions beyond the completion point,) all the way to online support and advice sessions (Margot Jager and Wyke Stommel on chat counselling).

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In between, we had  presentations by Charles Antaki and colleagues on interaction initiations of people with profound intellectually disabilities, Peter Muntigl and Miet de Letter on practices in speech therapy, Bethan Benwell and Catrin Rhys on troubles telling in health care, Mika Simonen on ability-related welfare interviews, Joyce Lamerichs and Marca Schasfoort on interviews with parents on their child’s trauma, Aija Logren and colleagues on self-reflexive turns in counselling sessions, Tine Larsen on patient education on chronic disease self-management, and finally Margot Jager and Mike Huiskes on clients’ ‘I don’t know’ answers in therapy sessions.

Groningen Health Communication Platform

WE took a break from the strictly research-led talks to hear  Debbie Jaarsma and Tom Koole report on the recently established Groningen Health Communication Platform, in which the Groningen academic hospital and the humanities faculty collaborate in health communication research and training.

The  event was live-tweeted with the hashtag #GSLI2016, and we look forward for more of the same when we run our next meeting, in January 2017.