How to Engage With the Conference

As we are all excited for the conference and this opportunity to convene for two whole days, we also acknowledge that attending a fully virtual conference across time zones and locations is rather different than our usual gatherings. Below you will find some strategies or tips that might help you plan how to make the most of the conference, and how to participate in both the research and social events, from the comfort of your location.

Navigating the Program

Time Zones

As you review the conference program, bear in mind that it may be helpful to flag to yourself what your time difference is from the stated Mountain time. We’ve done our best to be mindful of time zones, which means that very few of us will be able to attend all events, so keeping time-differences in mind will be key to attending the panels you want and enjoying the social aspects of the event.


keynotes are pre-recorded, and you will receive a link to our YouTube Channel and these 20-minute lectures the day before the conference commences (Dec. 9). The Keynote Q&A Panel on Dec. 11 will be live, as well as the only component of our conference which will be recorded and shared.

Panels and Roundtables

To foster a sense of community and interaction, all 60-minute panels and roundtables are live on zoom, and will not be recorded. Whether you are registered as a participant or observer, you are welcome to join any and all conference activities — if you’re an early riser or a night owl and would like to attend panels that might not fit perfectly within your time zone, don’t hesitate and please join us. Interested n concurrent panels and can’t decide? Interested in a roundtable or event but cannot attend? Not to worry! While panels, roundtable discussions, and social events are not recorded, we invite you to engage with the conference and attendees via our Blog and Twitter — see more information below.

Accessing Events and Materials

We will be in touch over email the day before the conference (Dec. 9) to provide you with the zoom links so that you can seamlessly navigate the conference. We warmly encourage you to highlight/pin/save this email for the duration of the conference because you will need it to access all conference events.

The email will include links for three different Zoom channels, and a link for keynote presentations. These channels will be open during designated panel/event times, so just choose the channel and corresponds with the event you wish to attend, and join us:


We will provide you with a link to our Youtube channel with the presentation and subsequent Keynote Q&A recording.

Channel 1

All panels and roundtables  listed as x.1 will be hosted on this channel. Whether presenting or attending a presentation/roundtable marked as x.1, join this channel at the designated time.

Channel 2

All panels and roundtables listed as x.2 will be hosted on this channel. Whether presenting or attending a presentation/ roundtable marked as x.2, join this channel at the designated time.

Channel 3

This is our socializing channel. When the program indicates a social coffee break, a plenary session or celebration, we will all gather on this channel.

There’s no need to register for specific panels or events, by registering to the conference you have access to all events, and simply click on the relevant channel link in the Welcome email from Dec. 9 whenever you wish to join.

Communicating and Socializing During the Conference

One of the reasons we love life writing conferences is the socializing aspect and we have kept that as a guiding principle when designing the conference.

Celebration Plenaries

In addition to panels and roundtables, we will hold two celebration spaces. The first is a mid-day break on Dec. 10 where we will raise a toast in honour of participants’ book publications and other achievements. At the end of the conference, we will also come together to celebrate our shared work during the conference. Both events are plenary, live, and included in the program.

Actual Breaks and Virtual Coffee

As you may have noticed, the program also features a 30-minute break between every event. Mindful of the length of days and the desire to balance zoom fatigue and socializing on the platform, most of our break times will be actual breaks where we can wrap up discussions, step away from our devices, set up for our presentation, and do anything else we need to. Other breaks will be socializing times with themed breakout rooms that you sign up to enter, so that you can talk with colleagues and speak more about the conference (or your pets, or just catch up). We will announce the virtual coffee breaks and sign up process for them about a week in advance.

Blogging and Social media

Live Zooms are not the end-all of our conference. We know the conference offers more than any of us could possibly attend, so to help all of us keep in touch and the conversations going across panels and events, we invite all conference attendees to stay engaged in two additional ways:

  • Blog: Our website features a conference blog. The blog will offer your insights on panels, roundtables, and plenaries. Blog posts will be shared on our site a couple of hours after a panel has concluded. They will offer a brief (single paragraph) insight into a single panel or roundtable, sharing key questions that arise from the presentations and discussion, how papers tied to one another or to conversations in other panels, etc. If you are keen on specific panels and would like to contribute to the conversations by sharing a blog post, please reach out to us via email to, we’ll be happy to share further details with you.
  • Twitter: Follow or actively join the conversation on Twitter with #teachinglifewriting2020

Whether reading, following, or contributing to the conference blog and twitter feed — we invite you all to engage in whatever ways works best for you.

Language and Audio Accessibility:

We are thrilled to welcome participants from 23 countries and attendees from an even wider range of locations. While the conference is managed entirely in English, we are aware that for many of us — including some members of the organizing committee — English is a foreign language. While we are unable to offer translation services, we are happy to offer closed caption options on the Social Channel (as well as the Welcome Video and pre-recorded keynotes). On the Social Channel, the closed captioning option will appear at the bottom of your zoom screen when you enter a meeting, and you will be able to turn it off or on (see cc guidelines here). We also welcome those of use who rely on reading for understanding and communicating to use the zoom chat function, and contribute to the discussions or ask questions in writing. Here are a couple of other free transcription apps that you can use right from your smart phone: Zapier and Live Transcribe on Apple & Android while you attend Channel 1 & 2.

Pandemic Life- Being on Camera (or not):

Our participants have sent us such wonderfully exciting abstracts that our conference now consists of over 13 hours of programming per day. As part of our commitment to foster a sense of community and interaction, we want to openly state that, indeed, we would love to see you — and your partners, families, or pets — on camera. But we also want to say that what matters most to us is that you feel safe and comfortable. Whether during your presentation/ panel/ when attending an event, when you want or need to move around, please feel free not only to do so, but to make your own choices about the camera being on or off. 


During panels and roundtables one of us — Orly, Amanda, or Julie — will be present to offer support

If you are a presenter or moderator and have any last minute changes, go ahead and email us at, or, if any issue arises during your panel, simply send us a private zoom chat message if. We will also have a tech-support team available to help, if needed. (see instructions for private messaging here)

If you are attending the conference and have any questions please go ahead and email us at If you are experiencing any difficulties during a panel or event please send us (rather than the panel moderator) a private zoom chat message and we will try to help as best we can. (see instructions for private messaging here)