As you will no doubt be aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a serious re-evaluation of in-person events around the world. As a conference team we have also had to weigh up our options and decide upon an appropriate course of action for the organisation, balancing the value of an in-person conference with its risks.
Ultimately, we have decided that it would not be right to commit to organising an in-person conference in January 2021, and we have therefore decided that BSECS 2021 will be a virtual event. This was no easy decision to make, but we felt that on balance the risk that the conference would be forced to cancel, and the danger to which it might expose both our members and staff at St Hugh’s were it to go ahead, made it necessary at this point to commit to an online conference.
What does this decision mean?
The first thing to say is that BSECS 2021 will be entirely free to members of the Society, or ISECS-affiliated societies. You will need to ensure that your membership is up to date before the start of the conference, but besides that you will not pay a penny for attendance.
Secondly, over the next six months the conference organisers, and the BSECS committee, will commit to ensuring as many members as possible will have the support they need to access the conference, and we will give whatever IT support we are capable of to make attendance accessible for our membership.
Furthermore, the conference will be part live and part a-synchronous. In practice, this means that as well as a programme of live broadcasts we will also be recording talks and uploading them to YouTube for a limited period on an opt-in basis. As a member, you will therefore still be able to access panels and papers during the conference period, even if you are unable to attend them live.
Given the unprecedented nature of this decision, much of the shape of the conference is yet to be decided, but we will continue to update you, and strive to keep our decision-making as transparent as possible.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our new conference administrator, Rees Arnott-Davies, at firstname.lastname@example.org