Program Highlights

Given the COVID-19 disruptions, our  impromptu  transition  into  the  virtual  space  resulted in a vibrant  –  albeit  much  smaller in scope – conference program that extended from March 15 until April 30, and beyond (see final program in PDF). vCIES offered both synchronous and asynchronous programming, including an online film festivalette and a participatory art program, as well as 233 online sessions, including keynotes, panel sessions, book launches, and virtual workshops. Asynchronous program included 103 poster presentations,  91 recorded papers, 6 panels, and more. We also hosted the State of Society meeting, SIG business meetings, virtual coffee breaks, and mentoring & networking events. While some parts of the program transitioned online almost intact (e.g., the film and art program), others were hit hard (e.g., only half of the accepted posters and one third of panels transitioned online). Please explore the conference program pages to learn more!

vCIES Virtual Program Overview

Agora The vCIES conference kicked-off with the featured town hall event Academic Conferences during Climate Crisis: Agora on Carbon Free and More Equal Conferencing. (see below)
Keynotes In total, 6 of the 10 originally planned keynote sessions were transitioned to the virtual conference program. All keynote sessions were recorded and made available online for interested conference participants and the broader public to be able to engage with the presentations both during and after the conference. We recommend that the 4 cancelled sessions be added to the program for CIES 2021. 

Film festivalette


The Spaces of Education in Film Festivalette was held fully online and organised by the Open Society Foundations. The films were made available through a password-protected page on the conference website and hosted on Vimeo Showcase. The film curators, Adriana Cepeda and Jorge Baxter hosted live Q & A’s and discussions with the films’ directors. These discussions were also recorded and posted on the conference website.
Art program The vCIES art program included virtual engagement with the virtual artist-in-residence, Xavier Cortada, who led an interactive Letters to the Future activity to create a participatory conference mural, highlighting intellectual exchange around the conference theme. Additionally, art curator Maria Apostolidis transformed CIES participants’ visual and performance art sessions into a 3-D digital art gallery that is hosted on the conference website.
Virtual workshops The majority of originally scheduled pre-conference workshops were cancelled due to technical issues or pedagogical limitations of online space with a total of 9 out of 31 workshops that made the transition to the virtual space.
Book launches In total, 31 of the 45 originally scheduled book launches were transitioned to the virtual space and are housed on the conference website.
Online paper sessions The original virtual conference pilot included 6 online paper sessions, which became a part of the expanded virtual conference. Participants pre-recorded their presentations and then held live discussions with the authors, discussants, and conference participants. Some of these discussions were recorded and added to the conference website as well.
Virtual-hybrid sessions The original virtual conference included virtual hybrid sessions where some participants had intended to present remotely. To help avoid technical difficulties during the session, most remote participants pre-recorded their presentations which were to be played during the session, and then the presenters would join in for the live discussion. 16 out of 42 virtual-hybrid sessions were able to transition to the fully virtual conference, with some presenters using their pre-recorded presentation as opposed to presenting live during the session.
Panel sessions    Conference organisers provided the opportunity for any panel session group submission to reschedule at any point during the conference. The original conference program included 391 group panel sessions, including 51 highlighted panels. In total,  132 group panels (including 12 highlighted sessions) were able to move to the virtual conference.
Recorded paper presentations Individuals submitted their recorded paper presentations on a variety of themes, including (1) Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, and Inclusion, (2) Globalization and Internationalization in Higher Education, (3) Equity and Diversity in Higher Education, (4) Innovations in Youth Workforce Development and Education, (5) Multicultural Perspectives on Education in Global Contexts, (6) Comparative Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality in Education, (7) Education Governance, Funding, and Partnerships, and (8) Access and Equity in Education. These presentations, 91 in total, are housed on the conference website.

Virtual Posters


The original virtual pilot extension and onsite conference program included 77 virtual and 132 onsite poster presentations. A total of 103 posters made the transition to vCIES and are available on the conference website to view. Each page is enabled with a section to share comments and dialogue with the authors. Virtual poster presenters were also given the opportunity to submit a brief audio clip of their research ‘elevator pitch’ to be shared with their poster.
Virtual coffee breaks Throughout the dates of vCIES, virtual coffee breaks were held via video chat as a space to bring together scholars from around the world for informal networking.
Speed mentoring The New Scholars Committee organised a speed mentoring event across platforms including Zoom, Slack, and social media, pairing new scholars with senior scholars for a day of focused mentoring.
Business meetings 33 SIG and Standing Committee business meetings were held virtually via various video conferencing platforms.