Moving the 2020 SVRN Conference Online – Covid19 Response.

Dear SVRN members, conference delegates, and supporters,

Over the last few weeks, myself and the other 2020 SVRN conference organisers have been keeping a close eye on the developing Covid19 situation as far as it effects the 2020 conference. In addition to monitoring the news and official public health guidelines, we have also been taking account of the decisions made by other conferences, as well as the concerns of conference delegates and other SVRN members about the safety and legitimacy of running the conference.

We were working under the assumption that–as the SVRN conference was relatively small as far as international conferences go–we would continue to run the conference in person, and make video presentations available to all those unable to travel, just as we had before the news of the virus outbreak. However, the concerns of delegates, the possibility of a full campus closure here in Manchester (unlikely, but a possibility), and the announcement of travel restrictions between the US and most European countries (not to mention the huge numbers of already cancelled services affecting intra-European travel), we have taken the decision to move the 2020 SVRN conference to a fully online model.

How will the conference work?

We at the SVRN are proud of our commitment to allow those who cannot make it to the UK–due to the violence of visa and border checks, or for financial reasons–or for those seeking to reduce their environmental impact, to present via video conferencing. This is something we did on a very small scale in 2019, and were expanding for 2020. It is also something we will continue to offer at every SVRN conference going forward.

We have managed to work out the logistics of hosting the entire conference online for this year. Everyone who was due to present at the conference is still more than welcome to present. We will still be running three concurrent panel sessions, across three digitially hosted rooms, all of which will still be chaired. The conference will also remain as fully participatory as possible, with all delegates and registered attendees able to drop into any panel session they choose. 

More detail will follow in regards to this ASAP, including weblinks to particular rooms and technology requirements, but we don’t anticipate the need for any specialist equipment beyond a laptop/PC, a webcam, a pair of headphones, and an internet connection. Those chairing panel sessions will facilitate the Q&A sessions for each panel, and we hope to make the conference just as successful, inclusive, and powerful as it would have been in person,

Registration and Finances

A number of delegates and attendees have already paid their registration fees. We are very grateful for those that have registered early, and we will be using those funds to license the software we need to run the conference online.

For those that haven’t already registered: We are not asking for further registration fees, but we would ask you to consider contributing to our Patreon page for a few months, up to the value of your registration. For those unwaged/unfunded, this is currently £15. For those waged/funded, the current value is £30.

You can support us on Patreon at

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (George Francis Bickers, SVRN Co-faciltator) at — I will be happy to answer any questions you have and to make arrangements within reason for facilitating your digital attendance at the conference.

We look forward to having you with us in these testing circumstances, and hope you’ll join us to make the 2020 SVRN conference a success!

In solidarity,

George, and the SVRN Conference organisers.

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