The 13th conference for the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM 2020) was scheduled to take place from 18-21 June 2020 at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in Hamar, Norway. As you can all probably guess, that physical event did not take place. But in a time when so many other scientific conferences were being postponed or (even worse!) cancelled outright, we decided to move RaAM 2020 online instead…even though we had never done anything like that before, did not have a phalanx of IT engineers ready to do our bidding & had to figure it all out from scratch.
So with the click of a computer button, RaAM 2020 became RaAM 2020Virtual!
RaAM 2020Virtual included:
4 amazing keynote addresses;
3 plenary sessions (including some wonderfully sneaky surprises);
110 full papers ‘live’ in 3 parallel sessions;
16 works in progress;
3 pre-conference workshops;
3 conference prizes
and social & networking events:
A live Norwegian (and Irish) folk music concert;
‘Meet the expert’ chats in break-out rooms;
& a RaAM 2020Virtual digital escape room.
In other words, this was no scaled-down second-rate event. This was a full-blown 4-day international scientific conference, with sessions running from early in the Norwegian mornings to late in the Norwegian nights, to accommodate delegates in time zones around the world. A real conference, strengthening our research community for the future.
In the next few weeks, we will be pulling together our reports & evaluations about this conference: what went right (spoiler alert: almost everything), what went wrong (another spoiler: very little), the backstage process, the budget for a physical conference vs. the budget for a virtual conference, advantages of virtual conferences, our fondest memories, what we want to see in the future, etc.
Our main message for anyone wondering whether they could possibly host a digital conference: Go for it! We’d like to tell you that we were able to pull off such a spectacular virutal conference because we are wizards with magical powers (who deserve immediate pay raises), but the truth is that it really, really wasn’t that hard. You need common sense, organizational skills, reliable co-workers, an international research community who is willing to give it a go, and a sense of humor. Just like when organizing & running a physical conference.
While you are waiting for us to publish more about the nitty gritty details, check out the RaAM 2020Virtual Book of abstracts, listen to our conference papers, keynotes & plenaries, gather some friends together to try out our digital escape room, and kick back & relax while enjoying Anders Lillebo‘s RaAM 2020Virtual folk music concert.
More soon! #2020INNmetaphor