Ithaka S+R: “The Many Faces of Meetings: A Taxonomy of Emerging Models for In-Person and Hybrid Conferences”
Scholarly conferences are at a crossroads. The pandemic has made it clear that virtual meetings are not only possible, but make conferences more accessible to a broader, and more diverse audience. At the same time, the pandemic has clarified the unique value that in-person meetings offer due to their capacity to leverage physical proximity to promote social engagement, networking, and serendipitous interaction that foster the generation of new ideas. As organizers begin to shift their focus away from the necessarily reactive thinking that has dominated conference planning over the past three years towards strategic thinking about the long-term lessons of pandemic era experimentation with conference formats and modalities, one core question is how to create conferences that combine the most valuable features of in-person and virtual meetings. Over the course of 2022, Ithaka S+R, with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is partnering with a cohort of 17 scholarly societies to develop models and practices to address the challenge of building more sustainable and accessible meetings that better facilitate scholarly communication.
One early area of consensus: the future of scholarly meetings will feature in-person meetings. What is less clear is what those meetings will look like. The easy answer to these questions is the now ubiquitous “hybrid conference.” The conceptual power of the hybrid meeting—its ability to reframe an either/or into a both/and—is undeniable, even if the financial models that would allow societies to fully realize it are, to put it mildly, unclear. Three years into the pandemic, it has become clear that we need a more nuanced typology for thinking about conferences than the simple triad of virtual, in-person, and hybrid: currently extant and potential models for hybrid meetings represent a broad array of possibilities rather than a single format.
What follows attempts to sketch such a typology, drawing on a recent exercise with the cohort, at which we discussed emerging or potential models for meetings that center in-person gatherings while also incorporating new designs and affordances of hybrid and virtual meetings.
Emerging or Potential Models Discussed in the Complete Post:
- Hub and Spoke
- Multidisciplinary Topical Summits
- Fully Hybrid Model
- Fully In-Person Meetings
Read the Complete Post (1266 words)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.