I found the name of someone at a nearby university who had attended one of the conferences, and I emailed them to ask how it had been. I also emailed a former prof of mine who had attended undergrad at Oxford.
The person who had attended replied, in part:
Hosting roundtables is one of the ways that Oxford generates revenue during the summer, ... Overall it was fun and educational and I met a lot of very interesting people, but that the quality of the presentations varied greatly. ... I had discretionary funding for the trip, but if one had to pay for their own ticket and registration there are probably better academic conferences to invest in.And my former prof who'd been to Oxford replied, more definitively yet humorously crushing my hopes of international research renown:
OK, as for the Poxford thing...it’s a fake conference. The sort of thing that’s equivalent to those e-mails telling you you’ve won the lotto in Nigeria...It’s not under the auspices of the university proper, merely using Oxford facilities on a conference rental basis, and if you go to the website you’ll see that registration is around $3000. Someone is making a mint, and everyone with a chequebook is invited. Don’t bother.So, yes. Vanity conference. It's real, in that it exists and people attend, but ... it's not exactly the bastion of exclusivity they make it out to be. I've put away the "chequebook".
(But if my department paid for it, I would still totally go. After all, I'd still get to present my research to a bunch of strangers in various fields, while taking a vacation in Oxford! And TheLimey wants to have a pint on the old stomping grounds of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, so I'm sure he'd find a way to accompany me. As I said before, I can fantasize, can't I?)
*I want to make sure that I include the search terms future invitees will be searching with when they are looking for nonexistent information about this event. 'Cause I sure didn't find any like this.