Thanks (?) to COVID-19, the life and working environment that we have known and the reality where we can plan and schedule ahead has changed and we will need to see if it comes back any time soon.
Conference and event management is a planning task. It is the constant question of “What needs to be done, when?” to ensure that at the moment of the opening plenary everything is ready, in place, and comes harmoniously together without glitches and with an effortlessness that only the strictest planning discipline can achieve. It all leads to a room darkening, anticipation rising and Damian saying: “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to TNC…” That’s what our TNC events team (PSNC, NORDUnet and GÉANT) has done for us for years and to ever increasing standards of professionalism. The two-stage set-up delivered in Tallinn 2019 in the difficult location of the Kultuurikatel being just a “nice challenge” for a completely dedicated team of people willing to commit all and work around the clock according to a plan agreed a year earlier.
Very often in life, before you can actually make any sort of wave, you need to go with the flow.
We all know that life is not as plannable as events used to be. And just as much as today I have no clue when I will be seeing my kids again or what sort of shape Christmas will have, we will need to accept that TNC21 will first of all have to go with the flow.
This means that today, in October 2020, we plan for a hybrid event to take place in Brighton in June next year. We hope that people will be able to come to Brighton from the UK and maybe also from further afield. We are discussing with PSNC and NORDUnet how to stream such event to the world and we plan with the programme committee how such a hybrid event can be attractive for both the people in situ, as well as for the virtual attendees, sponsors and presenters. A lot of thought will still need to go into this.
But we also remain realistic. Which means that at the back of our minds, the planning for an online-only event continues. Together with our CEO and the GÉANT Board, we have decided to revisit the choice for a hybrid event in February 2021. With just four more months before TNC week, we will have to make a clear decision and put our eggs into one basket.
So, bearing all this in mind, we will open the Call for Proposals on 12 October (more information to follow in the next few days) and we will invite individual papers and demos. When you submit, consider that your topic should work for a hybrid or an online event, consider that depending on the format, the programme committee may decide on different of overall sessions. Be concrete where you need to be, but flexible where you can be – just go with the flow! TNC21 will be a conference, where from paper submission to making the event happen, all our standard thinking will need to be challenged.
And I am certain, that together and as a community, we can pull this off – Let’s Make Waves again!
Stay tuned for more detailed communications about TNC21 in the coming days.