More than 650 professionals representing the world’s major media institutions gather each year for AMIA’s annual conference. Attendees represent all areas of the community-corporate and national archives, media companies, libraries, historical societies, service providers, universities, and more. Workshops, screenings, and more than 60 sessions programmed by working archivists to address the best ways to preserve and provide access to our media.
While everyone’s first choice would be to meet in person, the pandemic makes a virtual event the safest way to be together this year. As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, starting in November this year, we do believe this is an opportunity to reimagine the conference as an online event that allows broader participation and new voices, is more affordable to attend, and can help us model ways of keeping what we learn as part of our next in-person experience.
The conference will be restructured a bit to make sure that content is delivered in digestible segments, with a real focus on offering opportunities to participate virtually in conversations with colleagues. Networking and personal interaction is a cornerstone of the conference and we want to provide as many opportunities as we can for attendees to connect over the emerging and salient topics in our field.
As we’ve all attended more virtual events this year, one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that our in-person schedule doesn’t always translate well into a virtual event. It’s not uncommon at AMIA to start at 8am and leave our last event after 10pm – it’s a hard schedule to follow in front of a screen! It’s impossible when you factor in different time zones, work locations, and balancing new demands on your time.
Even more than the difficulty in scheduling, though, is wanting to connect more with colleagues we won’t be able to see this year! With everyone in differing (and often changing) stages of returning to the workplace, and new challenges coming at us every day, the ability to learn from and communicate with each other is paramount.
So, we are very happy to announce that in addition to the conference coming November 17-20, AMIA will have another virtual event in April, 2021 leading up (we hope!) to an in-person conference in November, 2021. The April conference will be similar to the November conference with sessions, workshops, and screenings and the CFP will go out the first week in December.
Conferences can be an intimidating place, whether you’re planning on attending your 1st, 5th, or 25th conference. The Education Committee’s Conference 101 resource is designed to help you get the most out of your conference-going experience, from creating the best presentation, to tips on networking. Conference 101 is geared towards in-person events.