Virtual Conference

Three or four years ago it was announced that the 2021 International Ergonomics Association conference (IEA) would be held in June in Vancouver, Canada. While planning a re-location to Sweden, I thought this would be a perfect chance to get a paid trip home, and start the long Swedish summer vacation visiting friends and family. I held out hope for longer than reasonable that I could perhaps get a shot and still do this.

Alas, like so many things, all in-person aspects of the conference were cancelled and instead pivoted to an online conference. This has been a challenging switch, juggling the many time zones of speakers spread out across the world. So, the conference organizers elected to make pre-recorded presentations and to play them according to the schedule (eliminating glitches due to in-the-moment technical problems), with time for questions afterwards. The recordings will also be available for the week so that folks who are in really awkward time zones can still watch them without staying up all night.

This week I did my recording, and here are some photos of my ‘home studio’. Laptops cameras and zoom are notoriously not flattering, and while I personally love seeing people’s cats and kids during meetings, the home setting does not always give the impression of innovation/polished professionalism. So, I hung up a grey scarf behind me to cover the messy bookshelf, raised my laptop to eye level, experienced full pupil contraction with my $40 ring light and put on makeup (rare occurrence these days). I didn’t notice until later I had stuff in my teeth, but I don’t think you can really tell? :S

I like conferences, it is a nice time to socialize and visit with folks that I don’t see very often. It is a great time to meet prospective students, and to hear from the veteran and up-and-coming researchers in the field. IEA is usually a pretty diverse group in terms of topics, and also from around the world. Sad to miss Vancouver and Canada and meeting colleagues, but staying healthy and well at home is not so bad in the grand scheme of things.