The future of conferences
In another topic on this page, "the nearly carbon-neutral conference", we have invited you to share your thoughts on the Future States conference model, and your experience as participants. This thread is an invitation to look forward, and imagine the conference of the future. What would an ideal humanities conference look like? Will it be live or asynchronous, online or physical, or some mixture of the two? How might we use communications technology to build networks, share research findings and resources, and connect to other disciplines? As the world changes around us, in new and unsettling ways, can we develop new conference models that are resilient, inclusive, enjoyable (!), and academically rigorous?
Tim- your website is so good. It works really well, it looks beautiful and it's easy to navigate. Can you tell us how much work you put into this? Did you need a lot of training? What about technical support? Did it cost much money to set up? Would you be willing to take part in a live workshop on how to run an online conference? If so I would love to invite you to do this for my colleagues at Glasgow. I have pointed several of them to your site, and there is much enthusiasm for using this model. So I am interested in how we can support each other in holding more events like this.
I am sure we will still all want to have physical meetings as well, but for me, these are most valuable when they emerge from local networks. I don't want to travel half way round the world to present a 20-minute talk, but I do want to meet all the people in my field are who also work in the central belt of Scotland. Often we travel so much that we don't manage to meet with those colleagues who are on our doorstep.
Thank you, Faye! Yes, absolutely, I'd be delighted to take part in a workshop. People have been in touch with me from various universities about this - there's definitely a buzz about NCNCs. I'll post in the other thread ("the nearly carbon-neutral conference") about building the website.
I am completely with you about local networks - those are the face-to-face contacts we need.
I fully agree with Faye--the website and format has worked wonderfully and my experience as a participant has been great. As a graduate student with limited travel funds, this was an excellent opportunity for me to "meet" many scholars from around the globe that I would probably not have a chance to otherwise. I am sure that everyone can agree that the asynchronous, online format offered valuable flexibility for busy schedules.
If the NCNC format becomes more common in the future (and I hope it does!), perhaps one or two "live" events can be incorporated to foster discussion in real time or even in a video chat format. Of course this would work best for a smaller, regional-style conference with fewer time zones involved, but it could help to balance out the lack of "face-to-face" interaction. Personally, I would be willing to stay up late or wake up early to join one of these types of live forums.
Thanks, Tim, for all your hard work organizing a very successful online conference!