In May 2020, the Spheres of Singing conference, which was initially intended as an in-person event, was instead hosted online. A key ambition was to make the conference accessible for both practitioners and researchers from various disciplines. The conference exceeded in its aim in several ways. It was free and featured contributions from around the world, including 45 presentations, four workshops, six open discussions and three lecture-recitals. The interdisciplinary array of sessions included: health and wellbeing, practice research, musicology, teaching, conducting, pedagogy, and virtual choirs. In terms of attendee interest, all 450 live attendance tickets sold out in 24 hours, with additional tickets made available to allow asynchronous attendance. Such enthusiasm demonstrates an interdisciplinary event on singing was both timely and necessary.

The organisers developed a survey to gather feedback, measure impact, and help determine future directions. A significant finding is that practitioners were motivated to attend, specifically because it was an online event. However, there were challenges caused by moving the conference online, particularly when it came to relying on technology and integrating live singing activities. By analysing the feedback gathered from delegates, the article will consider three areas: creating an inviting event for practitioners and researchers, technological challenges when hosting an online conference on singing, and integrating live, synchronous singing activities into an online conference.


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Robertson-Kirkland, B., Tip, Liesbeth M., Boyd, S. & Marshall, Edward J. 2021, 'Accessibility, interdisciplinarity and practice: The benefits and challenges of hosting an online, interdisciplinary conference on singing', Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing. https://pure.rcs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/accessibility-interdisciplinarity-and-practice(c1a2d5a1-60ac-4445-b93c-006f8ad0dcb1).html

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Last updated: 22 September 2022
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