With over 30 presentations, two workshops and numerous discussions taking place over two days, the Symposium was a vibrant and exciting event that brought over 50 people from all over the world who are passionate about meaningful work to the beautiful city of Auckland. Organised by leading expert Professor Marjo Lips-Wiersma of AUT, the Symposium adopted an inclusive approach to meaningfulness, and so presentations covered the topic from a very wide range of perspectives including philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, management studies and even art history. Presenters ranged from seasoned academics who have been researching the topic for many years, to doctoral students just starting out on their studies and seeking insights into the best way to approach the subject. Whatever people’s background or stage in the research process, everyone came to the event in a spirit of real collegiality and a keenness to share and debate ideas.
The range of topics covered was extensive and some of the questions raised at the Symposium included:
- What is the link between meaningful work and a meaningful life?
- How is meaningfulness generated, sustained and eroded?
- How is personal identity related to meaning?
- What does meaningful work look like within particular occupations such as professional work or dirty work?
- What is the role played by institutions and alternative models of organizing in meaningful work?
- How do callings relate to meaningful work?
- Is it harmful to have too much meaningfulness?
- How does meaningfulness relate to life stage?
- What is the role of the ‘other’ in meaningful work
I will be picking up on some of these themes in more detail over coming weeks, but am lucky enough to have a few days off now to enjoy the wonderful sights of New Zealand!