The Conference and COVID-19

What's the plans for DDD East Midlands Conference?

First there were fire alarms. Then there was a pandemic. You might say we have had some bad luck…

All of us have been impacted by COVID-19 the last few weeks. There have been many negative impacts which we won’t spend the time listing, but a lot of demonstrations of the strength and impact of a great community and what can happen when we all join together to help each other (remotely).

With many conferences and events postponing, cancelling and going virtual recently we have had a lot of people asking what the plans are for DDD East Midlands. Don’t worry - we have plans, back up plans and in this post we will explain them all and how they may effect you.

We are reassessing this situation every 4 weeks and will make a final decision closer to the event.

Plan A - The Conference Goes Ahead

As the event is happening in October, we are far enough ahead in the future that the pandemic might not effect our event. If that is the case, we will be going ahead as planned on October the 3rd at The Nottingham Conference Centre.

What would stop Plan A?

If we believe there is any risk to attendees, we will not go ahead with hosting the conference in person in 2020. If we are still isolating, social distancing or if there are too many cases of COVID-19 and the projections don’t look great closer to the event, we will make the decision to not host the event in 2020.

Plan B - Postponement to 2021

If it gets closer to the event and Plan A doesn’t look possible, we will postpone the event to [DATE] 2021. We would be sorry to let people down, and we would be gutted ourselves if this happens BUT it gives us the opportunity to make the event OUTSTANDING. A whole extra year to organise!

What would happen to tickets?

We would carry over any tickets that have been claimed for 2020 to the 2021 event. If the date doesn’t work for you, then we will help with cancellations. It’s hoped that this will remove any hesitancy around getting a ticket to the conference but also reward your support.

What happens with the talks?

We would be re-opening the call for papers in 2021 and starting fresh if we postpone the event. There are a number of reasons for this and though it might be viewed as unfair to selected speakers, we are making efforts to still make this year a positive experience for them.

- We will still be hosting a speakers workshop

Thanks to the digital wizard Dylan Beattie, we will still be hosting the speakers workshop for selected speakers online.

If the situation with COVID-19 turns for the better, there is time and funding, he may host an in-person event as well.

Dylan has been doing a lot of work throughout this crisis hosting events, assisting speakers with their recorded talks and more. He hosted an amazing in person event last year and will great but as excellent experience virtually.

- People tend to refresh what they speak about annually

From our experience a lot of speakers change the focus of what they are talking about year on year. Likewise, if you choose to speak on something to encourage yourself to learn more about it, it is likely your focus will change. We do regret that this might be a little unfair to those selected this year and their hard work, but they can submit the same talk again if they wish.

- We want the same opportunities to be open next year

In the interest of fairness we want the same opportunities to be available to speakers, attendees and volunteers each year. We love encouraging you all to submit talks and see real value in the amount of first time speakers encourages that speak at meetups, our conference and in internal meetings. As part of celebrating this excellent tech scene we want to support and create opportunities for people to demonstrate their talent and excellence.

How Will Sponsors Be Affected?

If Plan A works out, sponsors won’t be affected at all. If it doesn’t and we resort to Plan B, sponsors will be offered the opportunity to carry over their sponsorship to the postponed event in 2021 - no extra fees - just a different date.

We still have sponsorship opportunities available. If the event goes ahead as planned it will not only be a great tech event, but a great way to celebrate finally being able to socialise in a physical space again. If it gets postponed, that means the team have even more time to organise a fantastic event for 2021. You can’t lose.

Why We Made This Decision

There were a couple of other options open to us such as outright cancelling or hosting a virtual event.

- Not Cancelling

As the event is still a few months away we decided not to cancel as there is still a chance that we can go ahead and celebrate our freedoms and our community. What an excellent event that would be and such a good way to reconnect in person.

- Not Hosting Virtually

There are a number of reasons why we aren’t hosting the conference virtually. There are a lot of conferences that are doing this, which we applaud and think is fantastic. For our event we feel the physical aspect is important. We want to showcase the local area and there are lots of activities from games to hacks all of which are easier to do in a physical space. Further to this, we record all of the talks and provide them for free on YouTube after our events, so think we have the accessibility positives (if not necessarily on the communication side) covered.

We may take lessons from virtually hosted events and integrate some of what they are doing into DDD East Midlands, but for the reasons listed (and others) we will not become a fully virtual event.

Now go get your tickets!

I hope this post answers a few questions and now has put your mind at ease. Your safety comes first and always will do. If you have any questions reach out on email or Twitter and we will try to get back to you at our earliest convenience.