Meeting Will Prioritize Health and Safety
The American Academy of Religion is happy to announce a dual format for the 2021 Annual Meeting, November 20-23. We will provide in-person sessions in San Antonio along with a limited number of virtual sessions.
Our decision for a dual format meeting came after hearing from members and investigating the various options for the meeting. We heard from many members who said they were looking forward to an in-person meeting in San Antonio. We also heard from some members who said, for a variety of reasons, they would not be able to travel this year. In response, we explored models that would allow members to participate in the conference in accordance with their needs and concluded that a dual format is the most viable solution. Our dual format meeting plan is not as comprehensive as we would like; while members who are in-person will have access to all sessions (in-person and virtual), virtual participants will have access only to the virtual sessions, with recorded sessions remaining available through January 2022. We would prefer to offer a fully hybrid meeting (concurrent virtual and in-person meetings) but this option is not financially feasible. The meeting rooms do not have the technological capacity for mounting a fully hybrid meeting and adding that technology as well as other considerations would mean spending an additional $4.3M. We could not cover such an increase without raising registration fees to unreasonable amounts.
As we prepare for the in-person portion of our 2021 Annual Meeting, we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our members, following guidance of government and health officials.
The dual format meeting offers exciting possibilities and also introduces logistical and financial challenges. We will keep you updated as we finalize details. Meanwhile, look for an announcement soon about registration, first for the in-person meeting and then for the virtual meeting. Program Unit chairs will receive a communication about how the new format may be utilized in session planning.
We are excited about the opportunities this meeting will provide for scholarly engagement and networking and look forward to offering the best experience possible.