Invited Talk - Splinter Sustainability

Friday, 17 September 2021, 10:15   (virtual Sustain)

A sustainable future for astronomy collaboration and conferences?

Vanessa Moss

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has completely disrupted the "business as usual" model for industries and organisations worldwide, including the globally distributed field of astronomy. We've been unable to go to our normal places of work, unable to travel domestically or internationally for our collaborations or workshops, and unable to host or attend large-scale in-person international conferences that have been the fundamental platforms by which we have typically shared our research results with others. This lack of normality has especially impacted the EMCR community in various ways, ranging from isolation and limited networking to travel restrictions preventing the uptake of PhD or job opportunities. Many planned conferences or workshops have been cancelled or postponed, while others have shifted to a virtual format with mixed success. The lost human connection has been noted on various scales, from hallway conversations to lunchtime chats to organic social interaction at conferences, and it is clear that many miss the collegial feeling of working *with* others, instead of apart from them. So given all this, as we think about what the future of our field might look like in a "post-COVID world" and muse about what we've missed out on due to local lockdowns and global travel bans, it is natural to ask ourselves: "What does a sustainable future for astronomy look like?" In this talk I will examine what normal looked like before, the challenges of our current "normal" as we are bound to primarily online formats for conferences and collaboration, and what normal might look like in a world where we once again have the choice to travel beyond our current physical walls.