Accessible virtual conferences for research
Midspace is an open-source platform used by academic conferences.
The aim of the Midspace project is to increase diversity and inclusion of academic events by creating a platform which is:
- accessible, so anyone can participate in conferences
- low cost, so any student or researcher can afford to attend conferences
- climate friendly, to reduce the impact of academic events on our climate
- open source, to enable self-hosting for conferences and to pursue research into virtual interactions and environments
Events big and small have used Midspace
Your conference, your way
Midspace has everything you need to host a successful conference. But every conference is different, so Midspace is flexible enough to support any conference design, whether that's using Midspace's video-chat and live-streaming or any external tool, such as Zoom and GatherTown.
Management that scales
Midspace is specifically designed to handle the scale and complexity of academic conferences.
For example, ICSE 2022 used Midspace to host a 2-week virtual conference for over 2,000 registrants, consisting of:
- the main conference,
- 32 co-located events and workshops (each with their own organizing team and schedule),
- ~8 parallel tracks per day,
- over 1,200 speakers and authors
- and over 800 sessions using a mixture of video-chat, live-streaming, Zoom, MS Teams and GatherTown.
Interactive and engaging
Midspace offers an interactive, collaborative environment designed to engage people with the session and with each other. We also use the platform as a vehicle for user experience research, led by members of the academic communities we support.
Midspace is hybrid-ready for the current most common formats of hybrid events, including presentations by physical and virtual speakers, participation in Q&A by virtual and physical audiences, recording, mirrored sessions, and more.
Hybrid socialising remains an unsolved challenge which we are actively researching, alongside other aspects of hybrid conferencing. We welcome the opportunity to work with conferences interested in exploring new ideas and discovering new modes of interaction.
Expertly supported by our small team
Our team of founders and volunteers are leaders and engineers from the academic community with many years of experience in running virtual conferences. We're on-hand to support you from setting up your conference, to live sessions through to exporting your videos and data after your conference is over.
Virtual conference research
We are led by prominent members of the computer science community and are actively researching virtual and hybrid conferences. We want to discover new, better ways of interacting. We want to publish those findings not just as Midspace's code but at conferences and other venues so that all online experiences can improve.
We have a particular focus on accessibility, as there is clearly a long way yet to go to make both virtual and physical conferences accessible-to and inclusive-of everyone who may wish to participate in or present their research at a conference.