A STAMMA conference is all about community. It’s a coming together of a group of people who have stammering (also known as stuttering) in common. Apart from being a community, we also share a sense of community - a feeling that we matter to one another, and that there’s a belief that we can make a difference to each other’s lives by being and working together. And our shared emotional connection is important in coming to acceptance.
STAMMAFest Global is going to be a conference of firsts:
The first time we’ll all be together since the Cardiff conference in 2018.
The first time the International Stuttering Association has invited us to host their World Congress.
The first time we hope to run a hybrid conference, which means that those in distant lands can also listen to, and participate in, the forums and discussions.
The first time we’ll be abandoning a formal dinner on the Saturday night in favour of a livelier, festival atmosphere where we’ll be able to mingle freely and enjoy each other’s company fuelled by tasty food and a drink or two.
Is it any wonder STAMMAFest Global is awaited with such anticipation?
Fun, learning and celebrating our talents are essential ingredients.
But not the only ones. The STAMMA conference is the chance to reaffirm our vision of a world where stammering is embraced, included, and represented, and where people feel at ease with stammering. Of course, having a vision is one thing; how we achieve it is quite another. The realization of a vision, by definition, requires change and that’s where you come in. The conference aims to inspire, encourage, and support you in a movement to change how the world sees stammering - how we change the world of work and how we change the world around us. Every one of us has a part to play in bringing about the change we want, and STAMMAFest Global will empower you to seize the opportunity.
The overarching conference theme is “It’s How We Talk”.
A simple statement of fact. Emphasising the simple fact. Stammering is just different.
The theme is important because it says to society, “Forget your old assumptions and prejudices. Stammering is simply how some people talk. It may be different to how you speak, but that’s as far as it goes”.
Or is it? We who stammer have cause to feel quietly superior. There are, after all, distinct advantages to stammering, as we’ll discover over the four days of the conference…
Having a stammer may encourage us down a route of relying less on wordiness and more on conciseness and relevance, and more on other forms of communication or expression like writing, art, music and dance. By saying less, we say more. You listen to some people talking (not just politicians!) and you think “I could have said that in a fraction of the number of words, and probably in a more memorable way”. Excessively longwinded speeches are just noise. By choosing our words and by writing and painting, we communicate on a more emotional level.
So there you have it. Something for all. And I can’t wait for August 24th.