AILA 2021 World Congress update: Virtual basis, additional hybrid layer if possible
The organizing team really hopes that by August 2021 a partly face-to-face event will be possible, but this might still not be the case, and definitely not for all participants. Thus, the AILA 2021 World Congress will be based on a fully virtual event, allowing for hybrid attendance if possible:
A fully virtual basis: we are working on the e-platform now and details will be sent to the participants soon.
A truly hybrid additional layer: If the pandemic is under control and large on-site events can be held in a safe and relaxing way, the virtual platform will remain and will be fully integrated into the live event, so the participants (including featured speakers and symposium organizers) can decide for themselves to attend live or virtually.
Before March 1st, AILA will make the final decision, based on whether (or not) all COVID-19 restrictions in Europe will have been lifted.
In both cases, the AILA 2021 organizing team will stick to the program schedule as presented on the website and leave the symposium organizers in charge of their own program (order of presentations and number of minutes allocated to each speaker).
Because of the new structure, registration fees were lowered considerably (see here). The new fees take into account that organizing a virtual event of this size also brings new challenges and costs.
We hope that the fact that virtual attendance reduces costs (e.g., no accommodation and travel costs) allows many AILA members to attend. After the conference AILA will make a selection of presentations accessible to the wider public for free.
February 15th: Deadline registration presenters / early bird
March 1st: Information on hybrid / fully virtual conference
If you have already registered and paid the registration fee, the difference will be reimbursed. For participants who indicate that they would like to purchase a ticket for physical attendance, the difference will be settled after the final decision on the hybrid layer.
AILA 2021 plans
Dear symposia organizers and delegates,
Many of you are wondering about our plans for AILA 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and hereby we would like to inform you of our plans:
The organizing team really hopes that by next year August a (partly or mostly) face-to-face event will be possible, but we have to acknowledge that this might not be the case.
Thus, at the moment, we are presented with two options:
A (partly or mostly) face-to-face event: This can offer the kind of interaction we are used to for those who can attend, but will be virtually accessible for those who cannot.
A fully virtual event: this would offer the opportunity for everyone to attend from home and will give more flexibility for when to attend, but lacks the face-to-face interaction that we all value in conferences like this.
In both cases we will stick to the program schedule as presented on the website and leave the symposium organizers in charge of their own program (order of presentations and number of minutes each speaker has).
We are now exploring various innovative formats that allow for an engaging event, and by the end of February 2021, we are going to decide on hybrid or all virtual. Hopefully, that will give everyone enough time to prepare and book flights and hotel rooms.
PS Some of you have recommended that we should also have registration flexible (live/virtual), so that if at the last minute things change, we can easily make adaptations on our side. We are definitely working on that and will provide the options soon on the website
PPS Please be aware that a live + virtual event is the most expensive form, as we have to hire both the rooms and the technique, but we are exploring various options to keep the cost down as much as possible.
The world situation is changing so rapidly because of the coronavirus, with some countries still having the worst to face that we can no longer wait to decide on the fate of AILA2020. As many of you have already suggested: we will postpone the World Congress of Applied Linguistics (AILA 2020) for one whole year until 15 August to 21 August 2021.
As you may understand ANéLA, the Dutch AILA affiliate, is financially responsible for the event. We would like to stress that this is a small organization within the AILA network and postponing our event for one year may have grave consequences. What is more, we have already spent most of our budget on our congress bureau, which has a wonderful, supportive team, with Christien Koopstra as our AILA2020 ambassador, to get the whole abstract system ready and answer all our e-mails. Relying on this external party was necessary given the scale of AILA2020. We want to pay them for their services.
Of course, a full refund of the participation fee paid so far is possible for those who know that they will not be attending AILA2021 next year. Details about this will be shared soon. However, we ask delegates who plan to come next year to refrain from asking for a refund, if at all possible. We will be able to use this money for the work already done by the Congress bureau and not strain the financial resources of the Dutch AILA affiliate and the organizational committee even further.
Keeping as much the same as possible
We also would like to make as few changes as possible and not go through a whole round of reviewing abstracts etc. again or making a new program in 2021 because it will only add to the costs. We will also soon finalize the timing of the symposium slots, so you will know well ahead of time when your symposium takes place.
Going partly virtual
Another issue we would like to address concerns the feedback we received about the European registration fees, which are most substantial to our colleagues with lower salaries and fewer funds. In addition, air travel is not good for the climate either. Our solution is to add a virtual component so that delegates who cannot travel can join the AILA2021 conference long distance. Especially since we have organized symposia in three-hour slots, the chance to really intermingle live and virtually within this time slot is great. We are currently working with the people who are preparing the conference app, who in turn are cooperating with the people at the venue, to look at the possibilities for good virtual accessibility and exchange. We do not have details yet, but our idea would be that delegates who present virtually are completely integrated in the live symposium! Postponing the conference for one year allows us to look into effective virtual conferencing tools to allow this.
Possible changes in abstracts or people
Naturally, we do want to offer you the chance to update your abstract. We have asked the symposium organizers to contact you in the near future. Please let them know if you intend to make changes to your original abstract and let them know if you plan to do a virtual presentation. After the early bird deadline (April 15th 2021), we will give you exact instructions on how to upload your revised abstract into our system so we can be sure to get it right in the final program.
Registration fees for AILA2021
Naturally, the spot of those who already paid their participation fee is secured also for AILA2021 next year. We will (re)open up AILA2021 registration soon (we need to still add fees for the virtual component) with an early bird deadline April 15th, 2021. After that, we will be able to finalize the program.
Of course, in the meanwhile, please contact us at with any specific questions or suggestions.