One of the largest annual museum conferences in the world, MuseWeb (Museums and the Web) has moved to an entirely online version because of the coronavirus pandemic. The organizers of the MW20 conference, running from March 31st to April 4th, 2020, have decided to hold part of the conference within Second Life:
Dr Nancy Proctor, a leading organizer of the Museums and the Web Conference in Los Angeles, had not played Second Life since 2003 – until a few weeks ago, when she had to take the now-cancelled event online.
Second Life is too technically taxing to carry the whole event, she says; not every attendee can download the software, make their own avatar and learn to navigate the world (which sometimes involves flying). But traditional videoconferencing struggles to replicate “the serendipity, the sense of being there and being together” of in-person networking, whereas Second Life has “exactly that ineffable quality”.
All this has made things pretty frantic for Linden [Lab]. It is scrambling to educate new customers, setting them up with restricted private islands ($349 a pop, although Proctor’s conference has been donated one for free).
Unfortunately, unlike the Educators in VR Summit and the IEEE VR 2020 Conference, the general public cannot attend the MW20 conference sessions for free, whch will be held using Microsoft Teams. However, anybody can visit the set of four sims that Linden Lab has set up for social events, the Birds of a Feather Breakfast, and the closing plenary at this SLURL:
The conference’s spacious auditorium is decorated with works of art by Afrofuturist artist Nettrice Gaskins:
I popped in for a quick visit, to take these pictures, and I met a couple of people who had just joined Second Life, to attend the MuseWeb conference events.
Here is the full program for the MW20 conference. I would encourage Second Life users to be on hand to help welcome and orient all the newcomers this conference will bring to SL!