This year’s PHP Conference is sure to inspire

The annual philosophy, history, and politics conference is taking place this weekend

Students from all over Canada are pouring into TRU with their individual research projects and are prepared to present their work. Each year, the philosophy, history and politics (PHP) conference are organized by a committee of students who are eager to conduct research and learn from the work of other students. The most exciting thing about the PHP conference is that it’s all undergraduate students’ work.

Kristen Jacobsen, chair of the PHP Conference committee, says, “In a nutshell, it’s an annual philosophy, history and politics conference that we have here at the university every January. We have people coming from all across Canada; this year we’ve got people from as far as Nova Scotia coming into Kamloops to see what we’re all about.”

Jacobsen adds that “They present their original research that they’ve either written for a class or [are] people that like to write papers in their free time or do research in their own time. They submit an abstract to us, our deadlines usually around November, and then they come back in January to give a 10 to 15-minute presentation, and of course, watch others.”

This year’s conference takes place at TRU, with a majority of the panels and presentations taking place in the International Building. The conference will take place over the course of three days, January 16 – 18, with a majority of the panels on Friday and Saturday.

“The 16th is more of an introductory day,” Jacobsen said. “The panels will actually be on the 17 and 18. We kick it off with lunch on Friday, and then panels all through the afternoon. We’ve also got our external keynote speech on Friday night at 7 p.m., and then, of course, all through the Saturday there are panels.” There is also a banquet being held on Saturday evening, the last day of the conference.

The external keynote speaker, Dr. Erika Dyck from the University of Saskatchewan, will be speaking about eugenics as well as psychedelic psychiatry on Friday evening. Dr. Tim Fitzjohn, the internal keynote speaker, will be discussing the complexities of what it means to be free at the Saturday evening banquet.

When asked what attendees can expect at the conference, Jacobsen said “They can expect a whole whack of knowledge. What I love about this being an undergraduate conference is that everyone’s minds are so much more open and there’s always such eclectic topics.” Jacobsen adds “I think the biggest example of that this year is that our external keynote is going to be talking about the history of psychedelics in terms of applications and medicine.”

Students from TRU are able to attend the PHP conference for free but still must register if they wish to attend. A full schedule detailing the weekend’s events can be found at the conference’s website,

Each evening, there will be a social afterwards at Iron Road Brewing, but the most looked forward to event of the weekend is the banquet on Saturday evening. This is the only portion of the conference that would cost TRU students to attend. This is a ticketed event where attendees will receive dinner, the keynote address from Dr. Tim Fitzjohn, and a dance following afterwards. Tickets to the banquet are $30 each and can be purchased on the PHP conference website.

The PHP committee is able to host this conference with funding from TRUSU, and from their own fundraisers that they host earlier in the year. Anyone interested in joining the committee can contact them at the conference or can join when the committee makes an official call for more members in February.