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ICS 2003, Florence

5th - 9th October 2003

Paul Abrams and Walter Artibani

ICS 2003

Convenor: Walter Artibani Scientific Chair: Stefano Salvatore

The meeting was held in a converted Army barracks, refurbished into a congress centre. Florence is a fantastic city with art and historical connections. The scientific programme was excellent.

The Welcome reception was held at the Loggia of Palazzo Pitti (Piazza Pitti) and guests were welcomed as they arrived by a traditional parade of flags and the sound of trumpets inviting them to join the reception. The masters of ceremony lead the guests inside the Palazzo where they were offered Tuscan wine in traditional terracotta goblets. An orchestra played renaissance music while 25 singers, acrobats, minstrels, court ladies and jugglers staged an entertaining pantomime based on the misadventures of a clumsy wizard. Guests were also entertained with games and magic shows throughout the evening.

The Gala Dinner was held in the Stazione Leopolda, the old railway station. Still showing the original 1800’s features it now hosts artistic and cultural events. Music and dancing followed as is the tradition.

In the 1800’s Florence was one of the destinations of the famous European “Grand Tour” undertaken by English aristocrats to complete their education. In his early works the 1800’s writer Carlo Da Collodi wrote of a train journey from Livorno to Stazione Leopolda. This journey becomes the lead for a performance which takes the audience back in time swinging between imagination and reality. This performance combines music, drama, and unusual stage design. During the imaginary journey, the characters tell each other stories going beyond individual events and involve the audience in an amazing tale which creates unexpected moments of interaction. The diners at the AGM sat at tables as if on the railway platform watching the story unfold.

Paul Abrams demitted office at the meeting after 17 years as General Secretary. Walter Artibani took on the mantle. Paul's contributions were acknowledged by Walter Artibani at the AGM and at the Gala Dinner, where a presentation was made.

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