Online Conference: a world tour of experimental archaeology
In 2021, EXARC was about to host the biannual conference on experimental archaeology. The previous conference in this series was held in Italy, with 200 participants. But with a worldwide lockdown caused by Corona, we had to do things differently.
Going fully online meant some challenges, but equally led to some interesting possibilities. We had a massive 166 video presentations which needed to be edited, subtitled, and made social media images for. The list of subscribers was over 1,750 people long and we had over 20 volunteers working around the clock, some of them started a few weeks in advance.
When the time came, the videos needed to be published and shared everywhere. Each session ended with a live Question and Answer time. To this, questions needed to be fed to the moderators who kept the conversation going. We also had a Discord server going on, as a virtual pub. We were online for over 40 hours within 4 days and thanks to our sponsors, everything was free to attend and the videos are still online. Every hour was sold for a simple sum, mainly to museums and universities, and we also had some funding from the Wenner Grenn Society. During the conference, we had 3,000 views, and during 2021, it totalled to 6,000. It was remarkable to see that experimental archaeology is something which is undertaken almost everywhere in the world.
This online conference was spectacular, especially if you imagine how we pulled it off with volunteers and freely accessible software and channels only.