In July, IAFOR hosted a series of conferences in Porto (ECADE2022) and London (ECE2022 / ECLL2022 / EGen2022 / ECAH2022 / EuroMedia2022), as it continued to refine and develop its hybrid conference model, offering an opportunity to reimagine events by enhancing and renewing engagement opportunities onsite, online and in hybrid form.
It was no surprise that the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic was a theme that pervaded research presentations and conversations, as well as questions around the design and implementation of the conferences themselves.
Indeed design was at the heart of The European Conference on Art, Design and Education (ECADE2022), an event held in partnership with the University of Porto, which featured a keynote from former Portuguese Minister of Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, underlining the importance of the three arrows of the conference to all fields of both higher education, and society more widely, echoed in the presentation of a number of multi-stakeholder projects underlining the importance of the creative industries as drivers of the economy.
Professor Anne Boddington, who served on the organising committee of both Porto and London conferences wrote: "As we emerge from the pandemic, and face climate emergency, this is a unique opportunity to review our values, and thus renew our sense of citizenship, and what constitutes the ‘common good’ both locally and globally. Our conference will look at how design shapes and mediates ideas, how the visual arts challenge and question our perceptions, and how education seeks ways to develop our shared understanding and our skills, to listen, and to find different ways to speak and to act together."
This post-pandemic challenge of (re)engagement was at the center of the conference series in London, and was put into practice with a hugely diverse conference attendance of some 580 delegates from more than eighty countries around the world, added to which was a global audience of members now able to participate online, as the conference facilities allowed.
The importance of sustainable engagement and development was a recurrent theme. A keynote from Professor D'Maris Coffman of UCL looked at the challenges and opportunities in the post-covid world. Professor Nick Tyler, also of UCL, spoke of the crucial importance of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary study in addressing some of the most pressing problems collectively facing us.
The circular economy was a theme that was at the center of presentations from Design Council CEO, Minnie Moll, whose Design for Planet presentation argued for the need for a "seat at the table for Planet" for all major projects and at the heart of all major decisions in both the private and public sector. This was underlined by Ellen MacArthur Foundation CEO, Andrew Morlet, who spoke of the importance of regenerative circular design at the heart of sustainable solutions and new approaches to economic activity.
We look forward to continuing to engage with our members and conference delegates over the coming months, with events in Spain (September) and Japan (October and November), as we continue to encourage, facilitate and innovate onsite, online and hybrid spaces for the global academy to come together. We look forward to continuing these conversations, and thank you for your continued participation and support.
- Joseph Haldane, Chairman & CEO, The International Academic Forum (IAFOR)