TRU’s PHP conference returns this weekend

Talking philosophy, history, and politics once again

Update, Jan. 18, 2024: According to PHP organizers, due to illness, keynote speaker Justice Ardith Walkem will not be attending the conference and will be replaced by Judge Raymond Phillips.

TRU’s annual Philosophy, History, and Politics (PHP) Conference is returning to campus on Jan. 19 and 20, offering undergraduate students a rare opportunity to speak on their academic work.

As always, undergraduate students from TRU and several other universities can present and speak about research papers they have written in prior courses.

Presenters will be broken up into panels of three people with similar topics. These panels will last an hour, including the presentations and a question period for those spectating.

Attending the event is free of charge to both TRU students and the broader public. On Jan. 19, panels will be held in the International and Arts and Education buildings, while on Jan. 20, all panels will take place solely in the International building.

More than 40 participants are registered to present on their chosen topics. Of those registered, 19 participants are coming from institutions outside of Kamloops. Although most attendees reside in Western Canada, organizers say some presenters will come from as far east as Ontario.

According to Zack Kuan, a TRU student who volunteers in external promotions for the PHP conference, there are many benefits for those presenting.

“It gives you an opportunity, really, just to present on your work. To show something that you’ve done and you’re proud of,” Kuan, who will be presenting his research on China-India relations, said.

“You get to work on some skills, like giving presentations [and] public speaking. And if you’re interested at all in a career in academia, having something like presenting at the PHP conference is great because shows that you’ve gone through the rigour of research,” Kuan said.

The annual PHP banquet is a returning feature of the conference. It is scheduled for the Terrace Room in CAC on Saturday evening to allow participants a chance to let loose with dinner, dancing, and music following the weekend of presentations.

One highlight during the banquet is the external keynote address, where attendees will hear from an expert outside of the TRU sphere.

This year, that role belongs to Justice Ardith Walkem, who was appointed to the BC Supreme Court in 2020. 

“In the past, we’ve had other academics… the fact that this year we have a BC judge is new. We’ve never done something like that before for the external keynote, so that’s really exciting,” Kuan said on Walkem, the first Indigenous woman ever named to the BC Supreme Court.

Tickets to the banquet will cost $45 and are currently on sale at the Eventbrite website. Information regarding this conference and future events can be found on the PHP Instagram page.