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Taking GRONEN to virtual space

  • 1.  Taking GRONEN to virtual space

    Posted 05-22-2020 10:57

    Taking GRONEN to virtual space


    Dear colleagues and friends,


    Our community has long been discussing virtual conferencing as a way to make conference travel more sustainable. Given that GRONEN’s theme 2020 is “Sustainability in the Digital Age”, we had also prepared some virtual participation options. We wanted to livestream selected sessions and together with Cristyn Meath from the University of Queensland we set up a 3D conference world to showcase virtual reality conferencing via VR-goggles. What we could not have foreseen was the COVID-19 pandemic and that we will be forced to go 100% virtual.


    Besides working out the technical details, a big question for us in the past weeks has been this: How can we ensure that a virtual event still makes you feel part of a research community? On reflection, we feel the key to making academic exchange work in virtual space is to acknowledge that a virtual conference will just be different. It cannot (and should not) replace physical meetings. But we can challenge ourselves this summer to pioneer some engaging formats for online interaction that might even become useful beyond times of crisis.


    For GRONEN2020, we will have: 


    • A platform to meet and mingle: We set up the conference platform org to have a common hub for participants to meet, not only dial-in to sessions. There will be an event hub with the program overview, you can see which sessions are currently live and who else is online, post on a message board, replay sessions, and share materials.


    • A place to intensify discussions: Why not use online formats to mix-and-match people in smart ways? We will offer a chat roulette, we can match participants based on their research interests, and everybody is welcome to set up a virtual meeting room to offer in-depth discussions on a specific topic. Just reach out to us.


    • A place to learn: We are proud to have some of the most senior members of the GRONEN community aboard as panelists, workshop organizers, and session chairs. Big parts of the conference will be recorded, so nobody misses out on parallel sessions. Every session will have its own debate channel, feedback options, and the possibility to create literature lists.


    • A place to have fun together: We all know a big part of the conference experience is the social part. We will take you to a virtual bar, on a virtual street art tour through beautiful Lisbon, and you can also set up private chats in between sessions. Let’s make sure also online break times are as refreshing as can be.


    Registration for GRONEN is open until June 1st, there are a few spots left.


    We look forward to seeing you online!


    René Bohnsack & Christina Bidmon

    ONE Communications Team