Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2008: Professional Considerations

The cult of the conference bag

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 16 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2677
  1. Frank D Burke, professor
  1. 1Pulvertaft Hand Unit, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, Derby DE1 2QY
  1. frank.burke{at}

    Never mind the conference, what about the bag? asks Frank D Burke

    The small things in life are important, and as a seasoned conference attendee my first rush of excitement is at the registration desk. After I have felt that frisson of panic (did I remember to register?) the registrar acknowledges my efficient planning and reaches under the desk for the conference bag.

    Many of us have spent hours planning the scientific content of congresses, but the choice of bag is often seen as of marginal importance. This could not be further from the truth; carefully chosen, the bag may become a cherished possession—an everlasting monument to the congress, living witness to the International Congress of Palmistry (Zagreb, 2001), displayed by the proud owners at work and on planes and trains. However, immortality of this nature is illusive—course members are discriminating, and “cult bag” status must be earned.

    The rules

    (1) Course organisers must be discreet in terms of logo, and letters may be better than words for some of the perineal specialties. Font size should be small, although an exception …

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