A Conference Goes Virtual: Lessons from Creating a Social Event in the Virtual Reality

Kathrin Kirchner*, Britta Nordin Forsberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Conferences and workshops are important activities in organizations for communication and collaboration, and in academia specifically to criticize and develop new research ideas. In order to enable social interactions during the pandemic situation, organizations use online solutions like video conference systems. A huge number of virtual conferences has been offered, and attracted more participants as the cost and participation effort were lower. However, socializing and informal exchange between conference participants during coffee breaks and conference dinners is nearly impossible in a virtual conference setting. Conferences are important to meet other researchers, to build a network and collaborate in the future, which is critical to society - to create frontier knowledge. Virtual reality could be an alternative to usual video conferences as they could allow social interaction between different participants and thus support to get in direct contact with future collaborators. Our paper explains how we created and executed a social event in virtual reality at an online conference in academia that included 22 participants in three Nordic countries. Based on 17 interviews with Swedish and Danish participants, we analyze perceived advantages and challenges that the event participants faced. Our results provide interesting insights and recommendations for organizers of virtual conferences to enable socializing in virtual reality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Innovations for Community Services
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesCommunications in Computer and Information Science


  • Virtual collaboration
  • Virtual reality
  • Socializing
  • Conference organization


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