Types of sessions

There are a range of session formats enabling delegates to hear about the latest research and practice innovations and participate in discussion and networking.

Focused symposia

These are the key sessions at congress. Each focused symposium is chaired by a recognised expert in the field, who leads a group of presenters, drawn from at least three of WCPT’s five global regions, through a series of linked, evidence-based and internationally relevant presentations. Question time with the audience explores the issues raised and the chair concludes by drawing together key take-home messages and implications for practice.

Discussion sessions

This is where constructive debate and controversy happens, with delegates given the opportunity to explore hot topics with leaders in the field. The sessions start with brief introductory comments by the chair and speakers, questions are then taken from the audience, with plenty of opportunity for lively debate, before concluding comments from the chair.

Networking sessions

Networking sessions offer an informal opportunity to meet and talk with colleagues who share common interests. A designated chair opens and guides discussions. All sessions consider how to continue communication after the congress. Sessions may also be facilitated in languages other than English.


A range of seminars are offered:

  • WCPT professional seminars are designed to introduce delegates to aspects of WCPT’s international work or address specific professional issues.
  • “How to...” seminars enable delegates to gain practical expertise in aspects of physical therapist practice, research, education or management.
  • “Focus on…” seminars have been developed by WCPT’s international subgroups or subject matter leaders and focus on a clinical or professional issue.

Abstract presentations

Abstracts are presented either as a platform or poster presentation to showcase innovation in research, education and practice.

Platform presentations

There are three types:

  • State of the art: 10 minute presentations from a small number of the highest quality abstracts which are likely to influence practice, followed by a moderated discussion and a summary by a leader in the field.
  • Classic: eight platform presentations lasting eight minutes each followed by three minutes for questions.
  • Rapid five: 10 presentations of five minutes followed by 15 minutes of discussion between delegates and individual presenters, then 15 minutes of moderated discussion on all presentations.

Poster presentations are changed daily and are grouped by topic within the poster area in the exhibition hall. Posters are displayed for one day during exhibition hours, with presenters attending their poster for 40 minutes for discussion with delegates.

Poster walks provide the opportunity for a chair to lead delegates round a small number of selected posters for discussions with presenters. Walks may also be facilitated in languages other than English.

Indaba sessions

The Indaba is a new “meeting and inspiration zone” within the exhibition hall, which takes its inspiration from the tradition of gatherings and meetings in South Africa. Delegates may wander in and out of the Indaba space at any time, or gather on the perimeter, to listen to what is happening. This networking space is more informal than the other conference rooms and aims to break down language barriers and the distinction between ‘speaker’ and ‘delegate’. The programming of this area will allow for some late topics prompted by delegates and support sessions in different languages.

Two areas will facilitate the more informal format:

  • Kitchen table discussions will explore a range of issues led by a facilitator and may include additional contributors sitting with the audience.
  • “Points of view” discussions will allow for short talks and exchanges with the audience, drawing on their experiences.