The 2024 Hybrid Conference
In 2024, the Housing Studies Association is excited to host our third hybrid conference. The last few years have seen significant changes in learned society events. The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift to online events, and we offered online conferences in different formats, welcoming delegates from around the world. In 2022, we introduced our first hybrid offering and continued with a similar format in 2023.
For 2024, we will return with a hybrid conference; however, the format will be quite different from our past conferences.
We strongly believe that having online access to our conference provides the opportunity for inclusion for those from across a broad geographical reach but also offers inclusion for those whose personal and/or professional commitments, finances, and circumstances would prevent them from attending in person.
At the same time, we do not want to lose the in-person connectedness that our pre-pandemic conferences have offered. For many of our members, the in-person conference is a calendar highlight. There are significant benefits to having several days away from the (home-)office to be immersed in all things housing research, to think without disruption from competing commitments, to catch up with friends, to meet new people and to find inspiration from a conversation in the coffee queue.
We have been actively listening to the feedback from delegates and members over the past few conferences to learn how to ensure that our conference is actively inclusive while balancing the voluntary nature of the organising committee and the broader Housing Studies Association board. Organising a large conference on a voluntary basis is a substantial undertaking, and adding a hybrid offering contributes to further complexities. Therefore, we have decided to evolve our offering this year into a different format.
Our hybrid conference structure
We will host an in-person “summit” in Sheffield between 15th – 17th April 2024. There will be online access to the summit. We will host online sessions the following week, w/c 22nd April 2024.
The keynote/plenary sessions will be held in person between 15th -17th April and streamed in real-time to online attendees. The sessions will be recorded and available to watch at a later date for all attendees.
We have taken onboard feedback regarding the mixing of in-person and online presentations. This type of event has posed challenges for chairing sessions, complexities in developing a programme (including last-minute changes to in-person and online presentations), increased workloads, and feedback from delegates. This year, we have decided to change how we will organise our workshop sessions.
This year we have decided not to include online presentations during the in-person summit. During the in-person summit, all presentations will be in-person. However, we will have online access to some of the workshop streams.
Online attendees will be able to access 2 of the workshop streams and actively ask questions and get involved in the discussions, supported by a new conference platform.
We will put in place new guidance for chairs and the community that we hope will actively promote our conference as a safe space for discussion across different mediums.
Online sessions and presentations
The Housing Studies Association board actively wants to support the inclusion of presentations, discussions, and networking from those unable to attend in person.
An online element to a conference provides the opportunity to innovate, not only in how presentations are accessed but also in how and what delegates can present.
During the pandemic and our online conferences, we asked presenters to pre-record their presentations. These presentations were made available before a Q&A session where a complete discussion of the presentation could be had. This type of online presentation was well received, and we had a lot of positive feedback regarding the inclusivity of how this was organised. Therefore, we will be returning to this format for this conference.
Online presenters will pre-record their presentations and submit them before the conference. A final deadline will be announced shortly. We will make these available on our conference platform to attendees to watch before online Q&A sessions, which will be held across a week (w/c 22nd April 2024). In the Q&A sessions, the presenter will have the opportunity to provide a short reflection on the presentation, followed by questions from the attendees.
We anticipate that the pre-recording of the online presentations will enable greater dissemination of research to a broader audience. Further, we anticipate that presenters can innovate how they present their research. Further guidance on the time limits of presentations and formats will be shared shortly.