April 2020

2020: Our very first V-Symp

Update from our Chair, Elisabeth Luard

It’s been a busy time since our Trustees took the decision a month and a half ago that we needed to go virtual. Organising what will actually happen is a co-operative effort as this is new territory for even the most experienced techie as well as Trustees and volunteer-labour (you know who you are!) who provide the backbone of the Symposium, as everyone who’s attended the physical weekend at St. Catz knows well enough.

Editor Mark McWilliam’s paper-presenters are reportedly already hard at work on the written papers ready for posting ahead of the V-Symposium, as usual, and will be delivering their presentations virtually (no one will be reading their actual paper – perish the thought!) with opportunities for Q&A. With a couple of months still in hand till the V-Symposium goes live on Friday 10th July, Director Ursula Heinzelmann and Programmer Cathy Kaufman together with Virtual Communication Wizard David Matchett are working on the nuts and bolts of what we can and can’t do. 

However, with boundless optimism, ambition, enthusiasm and the help of our web-master – not to mention anticipated patience and goodwill of our V-Symposiasts – we aim to deliver as much of the atmosphere of the residential weekend at St. Catz as is virtually possible. Plenary Speakers Vivienne Lo, Charles Spence and Harold McGee need no introduction (you’ll find more under This Year). Trustee Gamze Ineceli is gathering virtual presentations, recipes – maybe even demo’s – from our guest chefs, Asma Khan of London’s Darjeeling Express, Fogo Island Inn‘s Jonathan Gushue, Jill Norman hand-in-glove with writer and chef David Tanis, as well as Borough Market producers.

In addition – providing some of the casual encounters that are such a feature of the Symposium – there’ll be no shortage of chat-rooms, virtual Wiki-edit, Climate Change discussion-forum, presentation of new work on the encyclopaedic Sifter and a whole lot more including a virtual Noticeboard where registered V-Symposiasts will have a chance to post videos and make their voices heard. We’ll be posting regular updates here as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.