Type of event: Three Day, Hybrid International Conference
Date: September 2021
Venue: Fitzwilliam College
The 9th Biennial Meeting of the Association for European Cardiovascular Pathology (AECVP) led by local organisers from Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge was held at Fitzwilliam College in September 2021.
The purpose of the three-day meeting was to provide education and updates on cardiovascular pathology and related subjects, and to offer a forum for researchers in the field to present their findings.
Most of the audience were cardiovascular pathologists, medical doctors who harness their knowledge of cardiovascular conditions in the diagnosis of disease using tissue samples, for the benefit of patients and society.
Change of format
With the original meeting having to be postponed because of COVID-19, the re-scheduled event which was changed to a hybrid format attracted 15 in-person attendees and 81 online.
Dr Stephen Preston and Dr Martin Goddard from Royal Papworth Hospital led the conference which retained most of the original in-person programme, including lectures working well as online presentations. The planned ‘poster rounds’ were adapted to a virtual presentation.
Dr Preston said: “We had a combination of speakers presenting live in Cambridge and also remotely, to an audience that was both in-person and virtual.
“Throughout the event, we felt safe as the venue had planned well and there was plenty of space. With the available auditorium capacity, we were able to space the seats used, alcohol wipes were available and the wearing of masks was encouraged inside. We were also lucky with the weather so break-times could be spent outside.
“We had positive feedback from our in-person delegates who were pleased to be able to meet up again and to benefit from the person to person interaction that is lacking in the virtual world.
“In terms of our remote attendees, views were more varied. Some would have liked to have met in person and missed that live interaction. For others, the virtual format meant they could participate in a meeting they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend. However interaction was still possible, and there was sometimes quite a lively discussion going on in the chatbox attached to the dedicated live stream.
“Overall the event was a success and Fitzwilliam College was superb, with plenty of space, good facilities, and really excellent catering. The Fitzwilliam Conference team was supportive, helpful, and flexible which made such a difference in these uncertain times.
“Using a venue which could offer professional technical support was essential as it’s much more complicated to hold a hybrid meeting than a purely online event. The AV team at Fitzwilliam and their partner company, JMPS, did an outstanding job of the technical aspects of the meeting, tailoring a solution to our needs and ensuring that everything ran well on the day. This also included supporting delegates who had IT problems so that they could join in.
“In terms of our future events, I think hybrid is here to stay. Nothing is quite the same as meeting in person, but the hybrid option widens access so that even people who are unable to travel can benefit and of course, we also need to be mindful of the environmental impact of travel.”
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