Online conferencing has been an important part of the Brains community for years. We’ve been convening on this blog since 2005 and even organized our own online conferences from 2015 to 2017. This week we are hosting a symposium about the methods, empirical results, and benefits of online events such as webconferences and webinars. Join us and the 21st century to find out how and why scholarly communities should replicate and benefit from these online fora. Abstract for each day’s post below.
Monday 8th – Continuing the Case for Online Conferences
Rose Trappes and T.J. Perkins not only relay the empirical results of their recent paper, “The Online Alternative: Sustainability, Justice, And Conferencing In Philosophy“, which found that “participants were in general very satisfied with presentations and discussions at the conferences, and that they reported greater accessibility. They also go further, arguing that conferences should be online by default, requiring justification for in-person alternatives.
The empirical results of “Online Conferences: Some History, Methods, and Benefits” suggests that online conferences are better able to provide insight about a profession, “share the workload of conference organizing, increase representation for underrepresented groups, increase accessibility to attendees, decrease monetary costs for everyone involved, sustain conference activity during states of emergency, and reduce [our] carbon footprint”. So Nick Byrd argues that we should improve the impact, accessibility, inclusivity, of our research by replicating not just the online conferences that philosophers have been organizing for over a decade, but by putting more of our academic events online: workshops, seminars, colloquia, etc. Our only obstacle? The conservative nature and status quo of academic culture.
Wednesday, 10th – Moving the 112th Annual (2020) Southern Society for Philosophy & Psychology Meeting Online During the Pandemic
Joshua May, Susanna Siegel, Jill Shelton, and Emily Elliot explain how they moved a large, long-running, in-person, interdisciplinary conference online. The Annual Southern Society for Philosophy and Psychology meeting is basically two conferences in one: a psychology conference and a psychology conference. And each sub-conference is comprised almost entirely of concurrent sessions. So there are lots of rooms, chairs, talks, symposia, keynotes, and the like. The organizers of the 2020 SSPP—originally scheduled for March 2020—moved all of this complexity online in just a matter of months as the COVID-19 pandemic restricted conference travel. The result was a well-run, low-cost, and highly accessible conference that provided an enormous service to multiple academic communities—a model for academia in many ways. The organizers share the process of moving the 112th SSPP online so that we can learn from their achievement.
Can online academic events build the kind of community that in-person conferences offer? Marco Viola & Fabrizio Calzavarini have found that it can. They founded Neural Mechanisms Online a few years ago. The group “aims at promoting the Philosophy of Neuroscience, as well as the interaction between philosophers and neuroscientists, through the organization of webinars, webconferences, and other Internet-based events.” Learn about how their online community of philosophers and neuroscientists has been thriving since before the pandemic.
Here is a link to all the posts in one place (as they are posted).