DÄ internationalArchive39/2008Poster Exhibitions at National Conferences: Education or Farce? Unrealized Potential


Poster Exhibitions at National Conferences: Education or Farce? Unrealized Potential

Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(39): 670. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2008.0670b

Hahnengress, M L

LNSLNS When considering the use and value of poster exhibitions at medical conferences, the author considers it of prime importance to remind readers that a poster is a large, printed image. The main characteristic of a poster is the fact that the scientific subject is instantly conveyed by the image, which does not need an explanation and should be recognizable from a distance of several meters. Means and methods borrowed from the fine arts may be used to achieve this. Further to oral presentations and published articles, posters may be regarded as a presentational medium of equal value, whose emphasis and associated problems are different. Not every topic lends itself to each presentational format; the originator should therefore always be involved in the decision about which format should be adopted to present his or her subject. Conceptualizing and executing a poster can easily take a comparable amount of time and effort as preparing a presentation or article.

However, at specialist medical conferences, the expressive potential of a high quality poster is used only rarely if at all. Submitted posters at such conferences are mostly text formats upscaled to an A0 size, and they may include one or several figures/graphics/images or tables. Their shortcomings in terms of conveying the message of the chosen topic in a striking enough way are proved by the fact that someone has to explain them in detail during poster presentations that cannot be anything other than boring.

Conveying medical and scientific content and simultaneously using a convincing visual representation is a considerable challenge in this context. This should be fully considered and borne in mind when assessing the quality of posters and giving awards.

Medical congresses could greatly benefit from having informative and striking posters that complement the spoken and written word and thus create long lasting visual memories. DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2008.0670b

Dr. med. Dipl.-Mus. Maria Luise Hahnengress
Musik- und Tanzmedizin
Am Tiergarten 17
52078 Aachen, Germany