2. Overview of the first hybrid EASA conference in Belfast, July 2022
A brief overview of the summer’s biennial
1734 delegates attended EASA2022, of whom 802 participated online and 932 traveled to Belfast. The conference comprised 20 labs, 307 panel sessions, and 1283 presented papers, making Belfast one of the best attended EASA conferences, second only to online-Lisbon with its 1835 attendees.
With funds from Wenner-Gren Foundation, Visit Belfast and EASA, the conference was able to directly support the participation of 115 delegates, as well as reduce fees overall. In addition, the conference supported 15 delegates who committed to overland/sea travel, and is also contributing over €9k towards a gold standard carbon-offsetting project, acknowledging the damage done by it to our world. With 46% of delegates not traveling to attend, several delegates overlanding, vegan catering, recycling of badges/lanyards, no book, and an offset equivalent to everybody flying, this event has made a serious attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.
While the hybrid experience is never as seamless as a face-to-face (f2f) one (what with all the delays, the need to speak into a mic and look into a camera at all times, the awkwardness of physically attending a panel where every other participant might be remote etc.) delegate feedback suggests that delivery of EASA2022 as a hybrid event was a success. In a world of chaos and uncertainty due to COVID, war, aviation crises, extreme financial insecurity and soaring prices, the online option kept people in a conference that may otherwise have lost a high number of participants.