By Joana Formosinho

On July 15th, I had the pleasure of presenting a talk entitled INHABITING THE CONCEPT OF HOLOBIONT: THINKING THROUGH VISUAL IMAGERY at the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology’s first online conference.

I cannot say I have become a fan of online conferences over these months of screen captivity, but the ISHPSSB conference organising committee did it well. It was as interactive a space as I’ve experience online– everything from the now ubiquitous online coffee room, to release of community-curated Spotify playlists, to self-organised small group dinners with prizes for the most taxonomically diverse menus. Although I cannot say it was better than being somewhere in person meeting colleagues live, it was good. Very good. I felt like I had been at a vibrant gathering, with a stellar community, for a whole week. And it continues – seeds sown at the conference are already sprouting, with my paper changing as per challenging questions asked by peers; and new collaborations forming.

Next week, a few of us Copenhagen-based participants will meet for an in-person post-holiday conference dinner– so the global conference facilitates local connections. It is good to experience those many-headed moments of good thinking that are at the heart of vibrant scholarship taking flight again.

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