Dear WiG members, conference panel organizers, and participants,
At a recent leadership meeting attended by the Steering Committee, the presidential team, the conference organizers, and other officers and former officers of the organization, we voted unanimously to hold a virtual conference in fall 2020 in lieu of our traditional in-person conference. Given that many participants travel great distances to attend the conference; that many of our members have pre-existing health conditions or are caregivers for people with pre-existing health conditions; and that many have lost access to conference funding and/or work or attend universities with significant travel restrictions, we believe this to be the only safe and responsible option. Making this difficult decision now will allow us to plan the best conference possible in this format.
We will be reaching out to panel organizers and participants today to ask for their input on if and how they wish to run their sessions online. We will also be exploring options to host a small in-person component of the conference for local attendees in driving distance of Sewanee, if this is determined to be safe and feasible. Once we have received all feedback, we will then begin creating a revised conference schedule. We plan to have all scheduling information available by the end of July with conference registration to open by August 1.
Although conference registration and WiG membership will be required to attend the majority of conference events, the registration fee will be much reduced from previous years and scaled depending on one’s income level in order to encourage as much participation as possible, particularly from those in precarious or underpaid positions. We also plan to allow members to donate conference registration fees to cover the costs for graduate student and contingent faculty participation. More information regarding fees will be available once we have a better sense of how many participants we will have.
To that end, we are asking everyone who is not presenting on or organizing a panel and who does not hold a leadership position in the organization to please fill out this two-question attendance survey that will help us get a rough estimate of participants and thus allow us to determine registration fees. One positive effect of hosting the conference virtually is that many members who were previously not planning on attending due to cost of travel or prevalence of fall conferences may be able to join us. We welcome all to attend!
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.
The Ad Hoc Virtual Conference Committee
Liesl Allingham, Regine Schwarzmeier, Maria Stehle, Faye Stewart, Helga Thorson, Didem Uca