At the wonderful EGOS Colloquium 2023 in Cagliari, we have once more experienced the value of meeting our friends and colleagues in person. But after EGOS is before EGOS, and we need to find ways to maintain our continuously growing community in sustainable and inclusive ways. In the coming years, we will continue to explore different formats and ways to connect. One of these formats has been announced at this year’s General Assembly in Cagliari: the EGOS Colloquium 2026 will be a blended conference, hosted by the University of Bergamo. By blended, we envision a format that mixes a fully virtual academic program of sub-themes and sub-plenaries with onsite PhD/early career activities in Bergamo and decentrally organized local meet-ups for face-to-face social interaction at different universities around the world.
There are several reasons that drove this decision by the EGOS Board:
First, with the 40th anniversary of EGOS Colloquia approaching and the association continuously growing, there is a need to diversify the pool of universities which can host an EGOS Colloquium. Several smaller universities have not yet organized a Colloquium in the past and are willing to volunteer to take up this huge and honorable task – but they are unable to host the by now over 2,500 attendees of EGOS onsite. A largely online format allows smaller member institutions to also organize our Colloquium.
Second, the needs of our community are diverse. Demands for virtual participation for various reasons (health issues, funding issues, sustainability concerns, visa problems, care duties, ...) coexist with the desire and need to meet and interact face-to-face. Yet, few universities have the available technologies to enable a good hybrid experience for a group of scholars as large as those attending EGOS. These diverse demands create many difficulties in practice that everyone who has actually organized an EGOS Colloquium immediately realizes. A largely online format every once in a while will help to meet the diverse needs and wishes of our members in terms of sustainability and inclusivity, while at the same time reduce the practical challenges that organizing a large Colloquium on a volunteer basis brings.
Third, while the Covid pandemic forced our scholarly community to switch to a fully online mode of exchange, we now face a situation where technology and newly developed practices of virtual interaction can be mixed with face-to-face meetings and social interaction. We feel that it is our duty as organization scholars – with a particular expertise on questions of new technologies, materialities, sustainability, and forms of organizing – to embrace and experiment with new possibilities. A blended format relying on stronger decentralized community organizing has never been tried out at EGOS – while the association, due to its growth and relying on volunteer rather than for-profit event organizing model, strongly relies on more community engagement. This “Bergamo experiment” combining a largely online format combined with local social events can be a way to mobilize our community.
Fourth, as a European association, the EGOS Executive Board has committed to a sustainability strategy that is in line with the EU Green Deal (please visit: https://www.egos.org/egos/about_egos/egos_Sustainability_Strategy). This means that the association’s carbon emissions – the by far largest share of which stem from air travel to/from the annual Colloquia – have to be reduced by 55% until 2030 compared to the 2019 levels. A blended Colloquium in 2026 will allow us to meet our carbon emissions goals on the trajectory to 2030.
Please note that this does NOT mean that from then on every EGOS Colloquium will be blended!
Quite the contrary: adding a blended Colloquium into the event series will allow further face-to-face Colloquia in other years!
Please actively join this blended experiment not just by submitting your academic work, but also by organizing local meet-up events. Note that the “sub-theme model” will not change. Hence, the local meet-up hubs will need to ensure that onsite members can join the sub-themes online, while engaging in face-to-face social events around the usual Colloquium program.
In the next few months, we will collect and share ways to engage with your local community during the EGOS Colloquium 2026. Please connect with Christine (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Elke (email@example.com) from the EGOS Board in case you want to discuss your ideas for organizing local meet-up events.
The EGOS Executive Board