As the formal, real-time proceedings of Sociolinguistics Symposium 23 draw to a close, I would like to use my prerogative as Co-Chair to make some final remarks.
First of all, I want to thank the conference attendees for embracing the live discussion format and ensuring that the vast majority of scheduled plenary, panel and cluster Q&A discussions were lively and valuable. I truly hope that everyone found a chance to revisit the old and spark the new, both in terms of ideas and friendships.
It’s been a learning experience hosting an e-Symposium on this scale, some might even call it an unsettling one. There are affordances and constraints in any format, but I sensed that by focusing on live discussion ‘on the day’ (instead of on live presenting) - a ‘flipped’ approach if you will - we all had a chance to see people really engaging with our work, an aspect that can feel truncated in face-to-face conferences (or even online ones with only live talks). I hope that postgraduate students, especially, really treasure this uncommon experience. That said, moving about together in a shared physical space, breaking bread together and being sociable, also carries valuable joys and benefits, and I think there is still much to be said in favour of physical co-presence. These are just my impressions, but yours might be different so please do fill out our survey, which will be circulated shortly after the conference.
I will close by reiterating my thanks to the conference organizing committee and the technical team, along with the panel and cluster chairs and scientific committee. I would also like to thank our plenary speakers for their stimulating talks and for taking part in a novel and unfamiliar setting with such grace. I thank my colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and the School of English for getting behind the conference as well as the University of Hong Kong administration. A special thank you to the Head of School, Julia Kuehn for her unwavering support on this long journey.
My gratitude to all of you, once again, for participating, and we wish the SS24 team in Ghent, Belgium a successful and stimulating conference.