IMC 2021: Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about IMC 2021, which will be hosted entirely online between Monday 5 – Friday 9 July 2021.

Why is IMC 2021 going online?
Why can’t you offer IMC 2021 free of charge?
How much will the registration and programming fee be?
What will my registration and programming fees pay for?
I have applied for a bursary for IMC 2021. How will bursaries work for the virtual event?
Will single day passes be available for IMC 2021 as at previous IMCs?
How long will IMC 2021 run for?
How will a fully online IMC work?
I have submitted a session, paper, or round table proposal for IMC 2021 and would like to amend it for a virtual format. Can I do that?
I would have submitted a paper/session proposal if I had known IMC 2021 would be online – will there be a second call for papers?
Will I have to register to attend IMC 2021?
Why can’t IMC 2021 be a hybrid event (having both in-person and virtual elements)?
What if a vaccine has been found by July 2021 and/or the risk of coronavirus is greatly reduced?
What platform will IMC 2021 be hosted upon and will I need any specialist software?
My session or activity will require specialist software or arrangements in order to go ahead virtually. What can you do to help?
My location and time zone means that most sessions will take place during the night – what provision will be made for this?
Will online sessions be captioned?
How accessible will IMC 2021 be?
Will sessions be recorded and available for viewing afterwards?
Will all sessions be live, or will there be the opportunity to pre-record my paper/session?
What opportunities will there be to network with other delegates?
Why is this decision being made now?
What will you do to ensure sessions are secure and easy to access?
Will there be any events or excursions at IMC 2021?
I would like to withdraw my paper/session/round table. How do I do this?
I have another question not listed here or require more information. How can I get in touch with the IMC team?

 

Why is IMC 2021 going online?

Having reviewed what might be possible to deliver in-person on-campus, we were not able to plan an in-person IMC on an appropriate scale in a way which complied with social distancing guidelines and other legal regulations in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in both Leeds and the UK. Whilst much may change in the coming months, we could not, and cannot with any certainty plan an in-person event of the scale   and internationality of the normal Congress in a safe, legal, and responsible way.

There are also many reasons surrounding the current pandemic which may have prevented delegates from travelling to Leeds in July 2021.

By moving online now, we can plan with certainty and allow delegates to plan ahead too.

 

Why can’t you offer IMC 2021 free of charge?

The IMC is run on a non-profit basis. This means we must cover as large a proportion of our costs as possible each year. Registration Fees are set based on our total costs and the number of delegates expected to attend in any given year. We need to cover our costs to ensure the future continuation of the Congress for years to come.

IMC 2021 will take place over five days: we have received a total of 503 session proposals plus 37 round table discussion proposals, representing a total of 1,603 papers and 1,803 people wishing to be actively involved in IMC 2021.  The in-person IMCs of 2018 and 2019 attracted 2,800-3,000 registered delegates and vIMC 2020  involved some 500 actively involved participants and 3,000 delegates.

Organising an international conference on this scale requires the year-round work of a dedicated team of staff. For the 2021 Congress this team is made up of part- and full-time staff totalling 4.25 full-time equivalent roles (compared to a team of 5.5-6 staff in the previous two years). These staff wages must be covered by the Congress no matter what format the Congress takes. Each year, the core team works over 11,000 hours to make the Congress possible.

In addition to this, we must cover all the other costs associated with running the conference. Although we will not have to pay for physical aspects of an in-person IMC such as session room and venue hire, AV equipment and furniture rentals, catering, cleaning, on-site IT support, printing, security etc, an online event will still incur substantial costs. These include additional staff to support delegates in virtual ‘session rooms’, and, crucially, acquiring, developing, and supporting technology and secure online platforms to enable the virtual conference to take place.

We were able to offer last year’s much smaller event for free thanks to the generosity of the University of Leeds.

 

How much will the registration and programming fee be?

Registration fees have not yet been fixed for 2021 but we have provided an indicative cost to assist delegates with planning. We anticipate that registration fees will be in the region of £100-150 per person for the entire 5-day Congress.

As in previous years, reduced registration fees will be offered for less well-off members of our community, including students, retired, unwaged, and low-waged individuals.

Delegates can also apply to the Bursary Fund which has been re-opened to new applications until 23.59 (GMT) 31 October 2020. Bursaries will be awarded up to the full value of online registration.

 

What will my registration and programming fees pay for?

Registration fees will be used to pay for:

  • Staffing costs (core IMC Team – 4.25 full-time staff, year-round)
    • Academic planning
    • Processing of proposals
    • Programming and scheduling
    • Processing registrations
    • Facilitating and coordinating the virtual IMC
    • Year-round customer service
    • Compliance and financial reporting
    • Communications including website, social media, and email
  • Software and/or online platform lisences to deliver IMC 2021*
    • Virtual session rooms
    • Online programme
    • Virtual event portal for accessing the Congress
    • Delegate networking functions
    • Fringe programme
    • Exhibitions
    • Other additional benefits/ features TBC
  • Additional staffing during IMC 2021 to ensure excellent delegate support is available for all speakers and attendees throughout the virtual event
    • Assisting speakers in virtual rooms
    • Customer service & technical support
  • Contribution to the Bursary Fund for the current Congress year
  • Registration system
  • IT support, both for University IT systems and from external providers such as conferencing platform licensees
  • IMC general office running costs (IT, telephony, mail etc)
  • Future continuation of the IMC

* Please note that platforms do not host large-scale events like IMC 2021 with multiple concurrent sessions free of charge.

These costs will be kept as low as possible, whilst still delivering a high-quality Congress, customer service, and support for all delegates.

During the week of vIMC 2020 alone, the IMC team (including additional staff) worked a total of over 700 hours to support and deliver the 138 sessions, alongside around 60 fringe sessions. Over the rest of the year, the core team worked over 11,000 hours to prepare the Congress.

Based on current numbers, we expect to deliver around 500 sessions at IMC 2021. That’s around 750 hours of presentations, more than three times that presented in 2020. This will require a commensurate increase in staff resource and investment in platforms/software to ensure a high-quality Congress for all involved.

We do not charge a fee for making a proposal – this is also included in the Programming and Registration Fee charged upon registration.

 

I have applied for a bursary for IMC 2021. How will bursaries work for the virtual event?

Bursary applications will be processed as usual and considered by the Bursary Committee in the coming weeks. Bursaries will cover up to the full value of online registration.

If you wish to make changes to your bursary application statement considering the move online in 2021, please contact us at imc@leeds.ac.uk before 23:59 (GMT), 31 October 2020.

In view of the changed format of IMC 2021 we have reopened bursary applications and extended the deadline to 23.59 (GMT) 31 October 2020. You can find out more and apply here.

The coronavirus pandemic has also precipitated global financial crises, often impacting the most marginal in our communities the hardest. However, if you feel able to donate to the IMC Bursary Fund to help more marginalised scholars, even small donations can make a difference. You can make a contribution of any amount to the IMC Bursary Fund here.

 

Will single day passes be available for IMC 2021 as at previous IMCs?

We are currently investigating the possibility of providing individual day passes, however, owing to technical limitations within our registration system, we unfortunately may not be able to offer registrations for individual days.

It is also likely that the programme will contain non-scheduled activities – such as online exhibitions, performances, recordings, social, and networking opportunities – which can be enjoyed at any time both during the Congress week and shortly afterwards.

Whilst we know the possible lack of a one day registration option may be a disappointment to the small number of delegates who only attend the in-person event for one day, it is our expectation that registration fees overall will be substantially lower than for a Congress taking place on campus in Leeds . Additionally, attendees at the virtual event will not incur travel, accommodation, or other related expenses.

 

How long will IMC 2021 run for?

The event will be fully online and will run from Monday 5 July to Friday 9 July. This is one day longer than the in-person event was scheduled for.

We expect IMC 2021 to include more than 1,500 speakers and participants actively involved in the programme.

If you have submitted a paper, session, or round table and have any other commitments during  IMC week which you have not let us know about, please email imc@leeds.ac.uk with ‘Scheduling Request’ in the subject line. Please clearly indicate in the email which day(s) you will not be able to participate virtually.

 

How will a fully online IMC work?

The decision to shift IMC 2021 to a fully online experience was a difficult one, and great care and consideration will be taken to ensure that as many aspects of the in-person Congress as possible could be preserved.

Key to delegates’ enjoyment of the in-person event is the vast range of sessions, incorporating new and exciting research from across the field of medieval studies. Building on what we delivered last year at vIMC, sessions will take place online via video conferencing. Audience sizes and engagement was greatly increased at last year’s smaller, virtual event – something which we hope to replicate this year!

The ability to browse thousands of new and old books at our on-campus Bookfairs is another central element of the IMC experience. This year, we hope to provide greater opportunities to meet and network with publishers, as well as exclusive publisher-led events.

We know that delegates appreciate the collegial atmosphere and excitement inspired by the medieval takeover of campus. This year, we hope to be able to offer expanded opportunities to meet new and old friends and colleagues through online networking, chat forums, and video.

For an indication of how IMC 2021 may operate, please look back at what we did for vIMC 2020. We intend to build upon this provision for IMC 2021 in light of the increased scale.

 

I have submitted a session, paper, or round table proposal for IMC 2021 and would like to amend it for a virtual format. Can I do that?

Absolutely. We are keen to assist session organisers and others in ensuring their sessions are best suited to virtual delivery. Please let us know of any proposed changes by emailing imc@leeds.ac.uk.

 

I would have submitted a paper/session proposal if I had known IMC 2021 would be online – will there be a second call for papers?

We’re currently looking into how we can facilitate a late call, if capacity allows. We hope to be able to run a late call for papers, and possibly one for sessions, and will update you with any information on this via our website and social media as soon as possible. We will also update this area of the website should a second call for papers be feasible.

 

Will I have to register to attend IMC 2021?

Yes, as for an in-person Congress, all delegates must register and pay the appropriate registration and programming fee. To keep sessions secure, only registered delegates will be able to access the online Congress.

 

Why can’t IMC 2021 be a hybrid event (having both in-person and virtual elements)?

Having reviewed spaces, technology, support, and resources available to us, it was not viable to offer a hybrid event.

 

What if a vaccine has been found by July 2021 and/or the risk of coronavirus is greatly reduced?

We are all hopeful that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be developed sooner rather than later to allow a return to the ‘old normal’ and welcome you all to Leeds in person again. However, given the logistical complexity of global distribution of any vaccine, it seems unlikely that life everywhere could be back to normal by July 2021.

In the same manner, each IMC takes more than a calendar year to plan, with initial conversations around Special Thematic Strand, keynote speakers, and other elements beginning around 18 months prior to the Congress. Thus, in order to allow certainty for delegates and our team, we are committed to delivering IMC 2021 virtually.

Going forward, it is our strong hope that 2022 will be an in-person Congress.

 

What platform will IMC 2021 be hosted upon and will I need any specialist software?

We have not yet made a final decision on the platform which will be used to host sessions or other activities for IMC 2021.

For the virtual IMC 2020, we used a mobile and web-based app in conjunction with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, the University of Leeds’ online teaching and conferencing platform.

It is our expectation that, as in 2020, any system used will not require additional software installation or any specialist facilities beyond a web-connected laptop, PC, or mobile device with an up-to-date web browser, webcam, and microphone.

 

My session or activity will require specialist software or arrangements in order to go ahead virtually. What can you do to help?

It may be that you wish to use a particular piece of software (such as for playing recorded video or sound, or live performance), or that you wish to take advantage of specialist facilities available on a particular conference hosting platform which you or your institution have access to.

The IMC is keen to ensure the switch to fully virtual delivery is as smooth as possible for all participants, and we understand that virtual delivery may present additional challenges for some disciplines. Where possible, we will do our best to facilitate the use of specialist and external systems where such systems are essential for the delivery of particular papers, sessions, or round tables.

So that we can better understand your needs, please contact imc@leeds.ac.uk at your earliest convenience with as much detail as possible of the system, facilities, or other requirements you may have.

Please note that we cannot guarantee compatibility between any external software, service, or facility and IMC systems.

 

My location and time zone means that most sessions will take place during the night – what provision will be made for this?

The programme will be scheduled according to BST (GMT + 1 hr) as this is the time zone in which the IMC team are based. We are a small team with limited staffing resource and so it would not be feasible to operate a fully-supported 24/7 schedule.

When programming sessions, we will aim to schedule sessions with participants in time zones which greatly differ from BST appropriately, for instance placing sessions with participants from the Americas in BST afternoon timeslots.

We are investigating the possibility of including non-live content and recordings which would greatly improve access for those in other time zones and all delegates in general.

 

Will online sessions be captioned?

At vIMC in 2020, we were able to offer captioned recordings of sessions after the event for attendees with hearing impairments if they were pre-requested. We hope to streamline this process as much as possible and it is a key consideration as we explore and evaluate different online platforms suitability for an event of this scale.

 

How accessible will IMC 2021 be?

Accessibility is a key consideration as we plan IMC 2021. We are investigating a range of platforms and how we can ensure accessibility of both live sessions and any other formats used. We will update our website with more information as our plans develop.

If you are concerned about how you may access IMC 2021, please get in touch with the IMC team (imc@leeds.ac.uk) at your earliest convenience.

 

Will sessions be recorded and available for viewing afterwards?

We are currently investigating a variety of web platforms for the hosting of both live and pre-recorded content.

It is our hope that the IMC 2021 programme will be flexible and able to accommodate both live and ‘on demand’ content but we are still in the early stages of evaluating different platforms suitability for an event of this scale.

 

Will all sessions be live, or will there be the opportunity to pre-record my paper/session?

Hosting IMC 2021 online provides greater flexibility for speakers, organisers, and participants. If you would like to find out more about opportunities to contribute to IMC 2021 in a non-live manner, please email imc@leeds.ac.uk.

Presenters of pre-recorded/non-live content will still need to register as a delegate so that they can participate in live or text-based Q&As about their paper and session and attend other sessions or access other content.

 

What opportunities will there be to network with other delegates?

Chance meetings, making new connections and meeting with colleagues and friends old and new is a key part of the in-person IMC experience – and one we all miss. We know that it’s hard to replicate this in an online event.

We are looking at options to make it easier for delegates to connect with each other virtually and hope to offer increased networking and socialising opportunities at IMC 2021.

More details will follow as our plans develop.

 

Why is this decision being made now?

The decision to move IMC 2021 online has been made now to remove uncertainty around IMC 2021 and allow delegates to plan ahead.

As uncertainty around the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and what will be logistically and legally possible in-person in July 2021 continues, by moving online we can be certain the IMC 2021 will  go ahead. This also allows for programming to be finalised in an appropriate format and allows the small IMC team to focus our efforts on creating the best online Congress we can.

The timescales for a large event such as IMC mean that the decision could not be delayed much longer without impact on the planning schedule and the event as a whole.

 

What will you do to ensure sessions are secure and easy to access?

Digital security and ease of access for delegates are two of our main considerations as we begin planning for IMC2021 and will be a key factor as we evaluate different platforms to host virtual sessions and other IMC content.

A number of sessions at vIMC 2020 experienced disruptions from internet ‘trolls’ which meant that we had to tighten access to sessions to limit disruptions. Following vIMC 2020, a full investigation was carried out by the University’s IT Security team, with help from the platform provider.  As we plan for IMC 2021, security will be one of our highest priorities as we evaluate different platform providers.

 

Will there be any events or excursions at IMC 2021?

No in-person events or excursions will take place. However, we hope to be able to offer some virtual events or workshops.

For vIMC 2020, delegates, exhibitors, and the IMC delegates brought together a varied and lively programme of ‘fringe events’. Our intention is to offer a similar programme in 2021. We welcome any suggestions and contributions to this programme – if you would like to create and present a fringe event, please email imc@leeds.ac.uk with ‘Fringe Proposal’ in the subject line.

If you would like to view the vIMC 2020 fringe events, please see last year’s programme of events. Further details on what we are looking for and how to propose fringe events will be available shortly.

 

I would like to withdraw my paper/session/round table. How do I do this?

We understand that virtual delivery may not be suitable for all speakers, or topics. In order to withdraw your participation in IMC 2021, please email imc@leeds.ac.uk, including your full paper title and session title (if known). If you are part of an organised session, you must also contact your session organiser directly.

If you choose to withdraw from IMC 2021, you are more than welcome to resubmit your paper/session/round table for IMC 2022 when we hope to return to meeting in person.

Additionally, if you did not deliver your paper/session/round table at IMC 2020 due to the cancellation of the in-person event, you may also resubmit for 2022, in the event that you did  not present this paper at IMC 2021.

Papers, sessions, and round tables delivered at both vIMC 2020 and IMC 2021 will not be eligible for resubmission at IMC 2022.

 

I have another question not listed here or require more information. How can I get in touch with the IMC team?

You can contact the IMC using our Contact Form or by emailing imc@leeds.ac.uk.

Please note that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, our team remain working remotely. This means that we are unable to receive enquiries by telephone, post, or fax at present.