[Air-L] AoIR 2021 submissions to open 15 Jan

Lynn Schofield Clark Lynn.Clark at du.edu
Fri Dec 18 06:50:37 PST 2020

An explanation about the 2021 AoIR Conference to be held in Philadelphia

As announced at the AoIR 2020 conference and on the conference website, the AoIR 2021 conference will be held in Philadelphia on 13-16 October: http://aoir.org. Since the 2020 conference, many members of the AoIR community have been involved in discussions about how to organize the 2021 conference, given ongoing health concerns, continued uncertainties about international travel, and reduced travel budgets. As you may know, conferences are planned years in advance, and AoIR has committed financial resources to holding the 2021 conference at the Sonesta Hotel in Philadelphia. 

In an effort to preserve the financial health of the organization, the AoIR Executive Committee has decided to move forward with an in-person event in Philadelphia. 

Unfortunately, due to constraints on human, technical, and financial resources, we must also recognize that we are not able to host a fully remote conference simultaneously, and we are saddened by this.

We want to encourage those who are able to come to Philadelphia for the 13-16 October event to participate in person, and we are making plans now for a vibrant conference. If you are able to commit to in-person attendance, please make plans to submit a proposal by the 1 March deadline.

We will require that conference attendees follow all local and national health and safety guidelines while participating in all conference activities, including those issued by the Sonesta Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.

Our contract with the Sonesta Philadelphia, the conference location, requires a minimum number of room occupancies during the conference, which in turn makes conference spaces available for our use. We hope that attendees will reserve a room at the Sonesta in order for us to fulfill this obligation, as this will help to decrease the financial obligation for the organization.

The AoIR Executive Committee recognizes that global travel may not be fully restored by the conference dates, and that members may be limited in traveling to Philadelphia to participate. Furthermore, we are concerned that focusing on an in-person conference will reinforce the inequities that are part of international conferences, magnifying the difficulties some have in participating. We therefore want to make some aspects of the in-person conference available widely as noted below. 

What will be available for remote participants?

The Keynote, Plenary, and Annual General Meeting will be livestreamed and recorded, and made available for members anywhere in the world. Additionally, AoIR will organize both in-person AND remote versions of the Early Career Researchers and Doctoral Colloquium preconference events. We are also discussing holding a separate submission process for fully remote preconferences. More info on that will be available after 1 March.

What will happen in Philadelphia?

In an effort to address the fact that some voices have been marginalized in international conferences, we are adding a Day 1 that will be organized by a team that successfully submits a proposal for centering critical race and internet studies (deadline for proposals: 31 January). You will be able to read more about the proposal process for the Critical Race and internet studies day on the AoIR website.

The proposed North American attendee schedule is: 
Weds 13 Oct: Day 1: organized to focus on Critical Race and Internet Studies
Thurs 14 Oct: Day 2: concurrent sessions
Fri 15 Oct: Day 3: concurrent sessions
Sat 16 Oct: Day 4: AGM & concurrent sessions; closing party at Reading Terminal Market

The call for proposoals: 

The formats for submissions will remain similar to previous years, with the important caveat that all of those submitting are committing to attending in person provided that, as anticipated, travel within the US is permitted and in-person meeting capacity restrictions are sufficiently lifted by the conference dates. Please read more about how to submit on the aoir website: http://aoir.org.

AoIR remains committed to finding ways to deepen and extend conversations about internet research, inclusion, and equity, and now more than ever we recognize the need for finding ways to support one another and work together to reimagine a better world. We look forward to working with you in the new year to advance these goals.

On behalf of the AoIR Board and organizers, I wish you a peaceful and healthy holiday break, and I look forward to finding ways to be together virtually and in person in 2021. 

Best wishes,

Lynn Schofield Clark, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Professor, Chair & Director,
Estlow Center for Journalism & New Media
Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies
University of Denver
President, the international Association of Internet Researchers: http://aoir.org


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