Announcement: A Change of Plan for the WALS 2021 Conference

Planning for WALS 2021 conference started in September 2019 following the Amsterdam WALS conference. The conference has been planned to take place in Macau from 29 November – 1 December with a Learning Study immersion programme in Hong Kong and Macau on 2nd and 3rd December. An additional offer was also being planned with small teams recruited in each of the three time zones used at WALS 2020 to complement the face to face offer and extend the reach of the conference making it a blended conference as discussed at the December 2020 AGM.

However, despite 15 months in Macau with no Covid cases, the highly infectious Delta Covid 19 variant has been detected in Macau and the Macau government has announced the closure of its borders for visitors from foreign countries for now and very likely for the rest of 2021.

This means that with great sadness we are inevitably having to cancel the face-to-face conference and immersion programme so that that the whole conference and immersion programme offer will be held online using WALS review and conference systems.

The conference details are now as follows:

1. Conference dates and events (all online)

November 28: WALS PhD network conference.
November 29: Opening ceremony. Day 1 of online conference led by the Hong Kong/Macau and WALS time zone 3 team (Central, East and South Asia and Australasia).
November 30: Day 2 of the online conference led by the timezone 2 team (Africa, Europe, Middle East)
December 1: Day 3 of the online conference led by the timezone 1 team – (Americas, Canada, Caribbean)
December 2: WALS AGM. Closing ceremony.

2. Changes to the conference preparation process and timeline

The recent call for submissions will be renewed in light of this news and the deadline will be extended from 15th to 31 July.

A second submission review process will be carried out during August using the WALS conference online reviewing system.

In September, time zone teams and the central organising committee will construct the WALS 2021 broadcast schedule and prepare any live/recorded sessions.

During October, approved submission authors will pre-record their sessions on Zoom using the WALS conference recording portal used in 2020.

In early November final scheduling, session recording/editing and live Q and A scheduling take place ahead of the start of the conference events and meetings detailed above.

3. Other changes

Registration for WALS 2021 will take place directly on the WALS 2021 website to avoid unnecessary bank charges transferring money from Macau.

The conference fee is being reduced so that ordinary applicants get the former ‘student rate’ which means a reduction from $100.00 US to $75.00 US (including WALS membership fee). Students entitled to the lower WALS registration fee will register for $50.00 US including student rate WALS membership. This reflects current market pricing for this kind of event.

Those who have registered already will now be reimbursed the difference between the two conference fees.

Regional time zone conference teams

Time zone 3

Po Yuk Ko (Hong Kong SAR, China, WALS 2021 organising committee)
Sean Li, (Macau SAR, China, WALS 2021 organising committee)
Dr Zanaton Iksan (Malaysia, WALS 2022 organising committee chair)
Tavilya Akimova (Kazakhstan)
Kanako Kusanagi (Japan)
Hiroyuki Kuno (WALS SMT)

Time Zone 2

Mona Holmquist (Sweden)
Claudia Mewauld (Austria)
David Sekao (South Africa)
James Calleja (Malta)
Pete Dudley (WALS SMT)

Time Zone 1

Joan Easterday (US)
Sharon Dotger (US)
Gabriel Matney (US)
Paula Teixiera de Castro (Brazil)
One other t.b.c. (Canada)
Jean Lang (WALS SMT)

PhD network conference organisers

Stephane Clivas (Switzerland)
Tchimen Schipper (Netherlands)
Sui Lin Goei (Netherlands)
Shirley Tan (Switzerland)
Liu Qing (Macau SAR, China, WALS 2021 organising committee)
Wing Yan Chan (Hong Kong SAR, China, WALS 2021 organising committee)

Yours sincerely

Sean Li, City University, Macau
Po Yuk Ko, Education University of Hong Kong
Peter Dudley, WALS President.

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