Thanks to all who made MW20 Online a resounding success!

MW20 was able to move from a physical event in Los Angeles to a fully online conference in record time thanks to the collaboration and support of literally hundreds of colleagues.

We are especially grateful to Catherine Devine and Microsoft for helping make this year possible technically, and for being our Global Sponsor as well as recruiting Gabriel Loshbaugh and Angelo Krakoff of SoftwareOne to provide Microsoft Teams orientations to the speakers and attendees.

We also thank the conference sponsors who stuck with us and even signed up to support the conference after we moved to the online format; they are critical not only to making the conference happen, but also to keeping the cost to non-profit participants to a minimum:

Individual anonymous donors have also contributed to MW20, enabling us to give scholarships to everyone who needed one to attend MW20 because they had lost their livelihoods due to the coronavirus crisis, helping our community remain whole in these distressed times.

We’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in online conferencing in a very short time: for one, the challenge of working across time zones! We are grateful to everyone who made a special effort to participate at what were often unfriendly hours for them at home.

Conference partners Virtual Ability and Linden Lab enabled the new online format to offer the kind of social experience, including networking and serendipitous encounters and conversations, that we would otherwise have missed because we could no longer run into each other in the hallways and over drinks and meals at the conference hotel. An enormous team of volunteers came together to build MuseWeb Island in Second Life, train our community in using it, and run virtual events there throughout the conference; we are delighted to count them as part of the MuseWeb family now too! In particular, we’d like to thank:

From Virtual Ability:

  • Gentle Heron, President of Virtual Ability and our Second Life guru who made it all happen;
  • Draxtor, who introduced us to Gentle and lit a fire under MW20’s virtual world concept;
  • Eme Capalini, head builder and landscaper of MuseWeb Island;
  • Etheria Parrott, mesh creator and collaborator on the GLAMi Award trophy;
  • Sitearm Madonna, MuseWeb Project manager and photographer;
  • Linn Darkwatch, head of greeter team that provided free orientation and training in Second Life to MuseWeb members;
  • Suln Mahogany,
  • Leandra Kohnke, also moderator of the closing Plenary Session;
  • Vulcan Viper,
  • Mook Wheeler,
  • Orange Planer,
  • Slatan Dryke,
  • Ajay McDowwll,
  • iSkye Silverweb, media set-up;
  • Treasure Ballinger, art gallery hostess;
  • Scottius Polke, art gallery host; and,
  • CeleneHighwater, Radegast viewer trainer.

From Linden Lab:

  • Ebbe Linden, CEO;
  • Brett Linden,
  • Patch Linden,
  • Strawberry Linden,
  • Grumpity Linden,
  • Oz Linden,
  • Kiera Linden, and
  • Squeaky Mole, who did the initial build of the auditorium structure.

We are also grateful to our opening plenary speaker Nettrice Gaskins & Cory Doctorow, as well as our closing plenary speakers, Bernhard Drax, draxtor™, Alice Krueger, Virtual Ability, Inc., Anrick Bregman, Studio ANRK, Nonny de la Peña, Emblematic Group, and moderator, Natalie Gordon, from Virtual Ability.

The conference’s closing feedback session and launch of MW21 was led by Shanita Brackett, who will be our guest co-chair for next year’s conference in Washington, DC. We thank her for keeping us looking to the future, even as we were scrambling to pivot in the present, and also the invited panelists she convened: Andrea Monteil de Shuman, James Leventhal, Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, and Omar Eaton-Martinez from the Association of African American Museums.

More than 50 people formed the MW Program and GLAMi Awards Committees: we thank them all for giving so generously of their time and expertise to select the incredible MW20 program  – two thirds of which was able to be presented in the new online format by equally generous presenters. A special shout-out to the MW20 GLAMi chairs: Heather Hart, Douglas Hegley, and especially Ariel Schwartz who did an extraordinary job of creating our first online GLAMi awards ceremony in record time!

Similarly, Kellian Adams of Green Door Labs turned on a dime to create a series of compelling sessions in the MW20 program to feature some of the artists and ideas that she had curated for the MWX exhibition in Los Angeles. We are also grateful to her for having brought fresh energy and ideas to MuseWeb as our MW20 co-chair.

Another special part of the MW20 program was provided by our partners, Access Smithsonian and IHCD, with whom we have been collaborating on the Inclusive Digital Interactives book to be launched later this spring. Special thanks to Beth Ziebarth, Jan Majewski, Robin Marquis –MuseWeb’s accessibility coordinator and project manager for this book.

Heather Shelton, MuseWeb’s digital curator and online manager, once again provided invaluable oversight for all of MW20’s operations from start to finish, including recruiting and collaborating with our excellent team of social media volunteers: Marta Maria Peinador, Alison Heney, and James Leventhal.

We also thank our assistant editor for the MW20 book, Allison Wall, as well as designer Saul Miller, and all the authors who contributed an excellent array of papers for the selected proceedings this year.

More than 40 people volunteered to help run MW20 in LA, and over 100 people offered to help as we turned to the new online format. We couldn’t have done it without you! In particular, we thank our help desk volunteers:

  • Ciprian Melian and Loic Thirion Lopez from Livdeo
  • Richard Urban
  • Paige Dansinger
  • Kate Stevenson
  • Kate Wilcox
  • Colleen Thomas
  • Dr Mark Osterman
  • And a special shout-out to Paul Rowe of Vernon Systems.

There are countless more who stepped up in timely ways, despite all the demands on you professionally and personally at the moment: what may seem a tiny gesture or effort on your part has had an enormous butterfly effect on this meeting, and has provided an incredible morale boost to the MuseWeb partners and our families: Rich Cherry and Hiroko, Erika, and Noha Kusano, and Titus, “Taco”, Timon, and Lula Bicknell as well as QingQing Liu who provides critical behind-the-scenes support on the home and conference front as our China coordinator.