15–17 September 2020, online

Human collaboration is fundamental to sustaining and progressing essential economic, scientific and cultural activity. The precipitous governmental and social response to COVID19 enforces physical distancing, and effective climate action relies on making significant shifts towards sustainable commuting. Large parts of the “knowledge” workforce have adapted by scaling and expanding use of existing remote collaborative technologies so that these are ubiquitous, fundamental, and sometimes sole channels of communication. For science, this amplifies and emphasises existing problems in running remote-inclusive, semi-distributed meetings and conferences.

Specific and urgent reflection and research is required to optimise distributed meetings and conferences to maximise generated value and minimise harms. Dual concerns of future meetings include “how do we make best use of existing and emerging collaborative technologies” and “what culture and practices are there and could there be that would help”? How do we maximise contributions and creativity, while minimising negative interactions or outcomes?

This CSIRO-hosted Future of Meetings Symposium will address these concerns in a holistic, cross-disciplinary way by considering them alongside key related themes of technology, sustainability, accessibility and inclusivity, among others. We recognise that the future of meetings has very strong ties with the future of how we work, educate, collaborate and interact. We have a unique chance at this time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we’re going, and ultimately, where we want to go. So we have themed the days of the conference accordingly: Today, Tomorrow, Future. We are treating this symposium as an experiment in how we can build effective virtual conferences while incorporating lessons learned from other experience in this realm as much as we can. 

We are very excited to welcome speakers from a number of fields and disciplines, sharing their expertise and experience across our various themes. Join us for this journey of exploration into the potential that lies ahead for the future of meetings!

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