Freelance Foundation – non-profit for freelancers organized its 3rd International International Conference for Freelancers called Wordcon.
Event Report of Wordcon17/18 – 3rd International Conference of Freelancers
The Park, 9th February 2018, Calcutta, India
The Heritage and Mission of Wordcon
Wordcon is a movement, born in Bengal, India but belongs to the world. The Vitruvian Man of Da Vinci as theme image brings a freelancer, an individual at the centre of the Kosmos. The theme this year was Harmonizing Income, Leisure and Fame in the Digital World – a time snapshot manifestation of the Eternal Cosmic Order.
The Event Structure and Chronology
Wordcon17/18 was structured more or less like a classical Indian wedding – starting with invocation and closing with music and also wishing a pollinated, fruitful and prosperous future to all the stakeholders.
Dr. Angshuman Bhattacharyya chanted verses from Rig Veda and also translated in English. Mr. Bruce Bucknell, British Dy. High Commissioner, Calcutta, Dr. Parthasarthy Bhattacharyya, MD, DM, renowned pulmonologist, Mr. Sushobhan Mukherjee, Chief Architect, Wordcon and Chairman, Infosec Foundation, Mr. Pritam Bhacharyya, Chairman, Freelance Foundation were present and they inaugurated the lamp and the Conference was declared open. The message to the audience was that there are changes in the power structures and freelancers have tremendous opportunities as well as unknown challenges.
Invocation was followed by Inaugural Session, then formal opening of the Conference with the lighting of lamp. Keynote Address, Panels, Speakers, Speeches, Debate, Lunch, Music, Panel Discussions, Gifts, Felicitations, Awards and then a musical finale by live performance and Vote of thanks with the wish to meet again.
Keynote Address entitled “Freelancing and the New Media” was delivered by Mr. Jawhar Sircar, ex-CEO, Prasar-Bharati and an inter-disciplinary scholar. His address covered the changes sweeping and he talked of two technologies that
are going to impact the world of Life and Business – Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality. Presenting these themes in an easy to understand and humorous way, he ended with a great sense of hope for freelancers – collaborated content will be always in demand and will have a hitherto unthinkable scale and depth.
2 panels – represented by freelance panelists from Consulting, Strategy, Translation, Law, Sports Coaching, Journalism, Food business, Chartered Accounting, Auditing, Academic Research discussed and debated on the essentials themes of freelancing – how to charter the new seas and also to be a valuable part of the society. Mr. Kaushik Bhattacharyya, Chief Strategy of Prime Infoserv and Mr. Nirpuam Sen, Regional Head of BSI moderated the panels. How to build enterprises neither for the Government nor for an oligarchy but the model itself having checks and balances to create a social enterprise. Freelancer as a social hero, not only an enterprise-building warrior. The panels witnessed the launch of 3 books – first is Bootstrapping Market Innovation – a book by two freelancers as how to build an effective and reality-tested marketing plan with virtually no financial cost. Freespace – Freelancer’s Journal – 3rd Edition was launched and Bengali collection of short essays অবকাশ সমগ্র (Collected works of Leisure) by Dr. Abakash Ranjan Kar – ex-Editor Freespace and Professor and Head of the Department of Leisure, Wordsmith University.
Mr. Goutam Choudhury – a virtuso performer of harmonica and a archivist for the music of one of the greatest musical geniuses of India – Mr. Salil Choudhury who is based in Netherlands but roams around the globe for his archival work on the Life and Works of the musical genius. It was our privilege to hear a passionate man who is spending time, a fortune in creating a archive for posterity. As luck would have had it, he met Mr. Jayshankar – a rising star in Bengali music and it was wonderful to see the old archivist meeting the young musician on the stage of Wordcon.
Wordcon’s perspective on Sports is based on the holiness ancient Greeks attached to their Olympic games and in more recent times, Britons, in their finest hour attached to the Game of Cricket, which can be called – “an Indian game discovered in England.” Mr. Sanjay Sen – a national football coach told how a sportsman goes through the cycle of a freelancer of other domain, followed by Life Skill coaching by Mr. Saurav – an ex-Army man and now a NLP practitioner. Mr. Subhasish Chatterjee delivered an important address as how freelancers need to groom themselves to be an efficient unit in terms of physical and mental health.
Income uncertainty and anxiety thereof is an existential fear of any freelancer of all times. The successful fear whether they will be successful next time and the aspirants are anxious to succeed. How to fight this fear and anxiety? On top, one needs to be physically and mentally fit to run one’s vocation and there are so many changes and uncertainties. Swami Sarvalokananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order and sought after speaker on Vedanta philosophy discussed the short solution – Human empowerment. Very interestingly, he said that many monks do not have technical qualification of some works the global order is engaged with. But they master it. How? The secret lies in working with devotion, dedication, hard work and patience. This means that we need not fear change – these ingredients will universally succeed. He also narrated incidents from the lives of Swami Vivekananda where the centre-piece is: FEAR NOT. Face the challenges life is throwing at you and with the practice of virtue, internal power will manifest and that power is the subtlest and the greatest – the power of the Self within.
Dr. Devasis Ghosh discussed something all professionals are prone to : stress, clinical depression and anxiety and impaired mental health. A holistic healer and independent researcher on the subject of stress and cancer, audience could relate easily. Then came the finale – Mr.Parijat Biswas – a lyricist, composer, musician sang some of his own songs with his instruments and the songs talked of the time gone by but also of hope and to be sensitive.
All problems either remain or vanish but Beauty remains forever.
The Next Milestones in the Journey
We, the Organizers consider ourselves as a gardener for Wordcon and all events under the banner of Wordcon. Like a good gardener, our job is to work honestly, harmonize all the interests of the stakeholders, create an open, inclusive, transparent, fertile and friendly environment so that flowers and fruits of all time and clime may bloom and flourish. The agents of change and connection – the birds and bees visit, so do the lovers and the curious and lay visitors and their purposeful or purposeless walks create footprints in the globe.
March / April 2018 – Spring – Summer Musical Show
June / July 2018 – People’s Cricket Exchange Programme – UK Tour – Birmingham + London + Oxford
November 2018 – Flying Feathers – Corporate Badminton Tournament, Calcutta
December 22nd and 23rd 2018 – Wordcon Mela + People’s Cricket Exchange (Fructus et Virtus- Season II) – NKDA Cricket Ground, Calcutta, Calcutta / Tagore’s Shantiniketan, Bengal Sweet festival, Yoga classes in the rural heartland of Bengal.
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