27 - 29 July [UPDATED DATES]

Virtual conference organised by the University of Birmingham


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It's official UKCLC 2020 is going virtual!

Registration now open 

The UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference is an important event for research on language and cognition. It presents an exciting opportunity for us to learn about each other’s research, and to connect and network with like-minded scholars. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, we have decided to go virtual in response to the global health crisis. We hope that our “UKCLC 2020 Virtual” conference will be just as exciting and intellectually inspiring as the physical conference we planned.

Together with the UK Cognitive Linguistics Association and our fabulous events management team, the University of Birmingham Organising Committee have been working hard to make the transition to a virtual conference possible. In this “FAQ” — inspired by a similar one by the RaAM conference— we hope to answer most of the questions you may have at this stage.

That said: please be patient. More detailed information about how to deliver your presentation or poster will be coming soon. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to deliver the best conference experience possible, and this includes making it as easy for you to participate.

Questions you might have at this stage:

What will the costs of UKCLC 2020 Virtual be?

We are happy to announce that the registration fee for the virtual conference will be substantially lower than what was planned for the physical conference, a “flat rate” of 30 GBP for the entire event, including access to the pre-conference workshops.

Will the conference dates be the same?

The main conference will take place on 27-29 July 2020. This is one day earlier than what was originally planned. We hope that this one-day shift helps those of you who were planning to attend CogSci 2020. 

Likewise, we decided to move the pre-conference workshops over to the weekend prior to the conference, July 25-26.

What pre-conference workshops will be offered?

On top of the main conference, the registration fee provides unlimited access to all workshops. Currently, we have three methods-oriented workshops:

·  Introduction to data visualization in R, by Lauren Ackerman

·  Crash course in causal graphs and causal inference for linguists, by Sean Roberts

·  Open data and reproducibility, by Pablo Bernabeu

And two topical workshops:

·  Figurativity in English perception language, organized by Marco Bagli

·  Iconicity in language: theoretical issues and future directions, organized by Mutsumi Imai & Marcus Perlman

Many thanks go to the organisers of these workshops and their hard work! Keep an eye out for forthcoming details on the workshops. 

I have an accepted paper as an oral presentation. What does this mean for me?

The format of the conference presentations will be exactly the same as before: 20 minutes talk, 5 minutes discussion, and 5 minutes transition to the next speaker. You give your talk with PowerPoint, Keynote or any software that you were originally planning to use.

We want to recreate the feeling of going to an actual conference as much as possible. With this in mind, the preferred mode of delivery will be live streaming, but if it is not possible for you to give a live presentation for any reason, there will also be the option of pre-recording your talk, which will then be livestreamed (see below).

I have an accepted poster presentation. What does this mean for me?

Update 26/06/2020: we have slightly changed the guidelines for the poster session; what we had announced here before basically still holds, but we are now giving presenters more options.

Posters will consist of up to three parts: the poster pitch, the poster itself, and the Q&A sessions. The poster material can be a traditional conference poster, but it is actually optional, as we understand that creating a poster can be time-consuming and that not all posters might be equally effective in an online setting. The poster pitch is the only obligatory component: it will be a 2-3 minute pre-recorded video with 3 Powerpoint slides maximum, to outline your research and talk your audience through your poster, if there is one. The poster pitch and the optional poster will be displayed in a virtual space throughout the conference, for the audience to look at. Two Q&A sessions will take place at specific times during the conference, during which the audience will be able to engage directly with the poster presenters, through Zoom and/or live chat.

What time zone will the conference be held in?

         The conference will be scheduled for British Summer Time, GMT +1.

What if I am in another time zone?

We recognise that running the conference on UK time may create difficulties for attendees from abroad, particularly from outside of the European continent. One way we are addressing this is by offering the option of pre-recording your talk, which can then be live-streamed during the conference.

Second, at registration, we will ask you what time zone you are in, which will allow us to schedule your live presentation in a time that is appropriate for you.

Example: At registration, you tell us that you are based in São Paulo, Brazil. We will try to schedule your talk in the afternoon, say, 3pm, which is 11am São Paulo-time.

Once the conference schedule is finished, please consult a Time Zone Converter to find out when the live presentation will happen in your time zone.

What happens if I cannot give a live presentation?

We are all affected in very different ways by COVID, and some of us will be unable to give a live presentation for a range of possible reasons (childcare duties, bad internet connection etc.). To allow as many people as possible to present, there will be the option of doing a pre-recorded talk, thay will be screened during your alloted session. If you would like to discuss this option please email us at ukclc2020 [@]

Am I allowed to co-present with somebody else?

Yes you are, but we would recommend doing so only if this is truly necessary or advantangeous for your project. It's easy enough to switch speakers at a physical conference, but switching screens on a digital conference takes time and creates more opportunities for technical errors. If you do intend to give a presentation with multiple speakers, it is important that you let your session chair know in advance so that they can make sure that both presenters have screen-sharing rights. However, it is generally recommended to have one speaker per presentation.

What platform will you be using?

We will use Zoom, which is free and easy to use. You only need to download the free client here prior to the conference. Select the option Zoom Client for Meetings.

Whova will be the “social nexus” for our conference, which includes a customizable online schedule, chat rooms, and many other features. More details on Whova will be shared closer to the conference.

I have heard about security issues with Zoom. What’s up with that?

We are fully aware of “Zoombombing”. Luckily, Zoom’s security features have much improved since Zoombombing first came about, and we will use multiple strategies to combat this.

My country has restricted access to Zoom, what do I do?


From May 20th onwards, all free users in China can only join meetings. This means a generic name will be created when a user in China clicks on a meeting link. While our meeting links will be protected in Whova, we do not foresee any further issues with this. If you are concerned about access to Zoom due to your geographical location, please contact us directly at UKCLC2020(@)  

Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine (Crimea region)

Users in the countries or regions above are unable to access Zoom for regulatory reasons. If you are planning to access the conference in any of these locations please contact the conference organisers immediately at UKCLC2020(@)  

I am afraid of technology. What about me?

Don’t worry! We recognise that new software can be scary, but Zoom and Whova are both really easy to use. Closer to the conference, we will send you easy-to-follow tutorials that explain everything you need to know.

Will talks be recorded and later made available?

At this stage, our primary focus is on delivering the “live experience”. When it comes to making content available for later use, there are various technological and legal issues to be figured out. More information coming soon!

What about social activities?

We know that one of the main draws of going to a conference is the social experience. Learning together and exchanging ideas with like-minded researchers is one of the most important aspects of any conference. With this in mind, our organising committee is thinking hard about social activities. At this stage, we can definitely tell you that there will be dedicated ways for you to engage with your colleagues about your research and get feedback on your presentations. We are also very happy to announce that our plenary speakers will offer a ‘lunch with the plenary speaker’ session, which will give you an opportunity to meet them and ask questions.

What are the advantages of a virtual conference?

There are many advantages of going virtual, including lower fees, no travel costs, and less strain on the environment. We also hope that a virtual conference allows more people to attend, which also means that your work will have greater visibility. Plus, we hope to re-create many of the things that make physical conferences great, just in a virtual space.

Will things go smoothly?

While we have benefited greatly from the experience and advice of other conferences this year (thanks RaAM!, thanks CUNY!), this is our first time hosting a virtual conference. With this in mind, we are expecting some minor hiccups, but we hope to be able to pre-empt as many issues as we can.

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