I was also lucky enough to attend two very different pre-congress institutes (courses related to SFL matters). The first was a 'traditional' tutorial-style hands-on attempt by Jim Martin to help the rest of us construct our own system networks. He advocates a 'gently does it' approach, limiting grammatical features and only bringing in new ones when you can account for all of the others. The second was a much freer discussion-based course on the concept and use of Register in SFL, led by Annabelle Lukin (yes, she of the Vimeo SFL group fame - the same). She kindly shared all that she could on a dedicated website and made it clear that we were there together not to find answers but to start asking the right questions. Thanks to Annabelle and ISFC39 I have a much better understanding of David Butt and the work that he and his colleagues have achieved.
Please download the ISFC39 Proceedings, carefully edited by John Knox. (My paper is also available on the academia.edu site.) It is packed full of fascinating insights on a range of SFL topics covering a variety of modalities and languages. As soon as there are any videos of the plenary talks made available I will add a new post.