On the format of GLOW 44

The 44th GLOW meeting will take place in April 2021 in a fully-online format, organized by the GLOW Board.

Given widespread digital access to conferences, we are being forced to think globally, and create value added in the form of a slightly different format, instead of simply offering longer versions of talks that might have already been heard at NELS or SALT.  For this reason, we have taken the decision as a Board, after much discussion and consultation, to propose an entirely new flavour of main session talk for 2021, in an attempt to create and stimulate a virtual community for next year’s event that would be different from what is already on offer.

We recognize that GLOW is distinctive in having longer talks, without parallel sessions, aimed at showcasing research that is theoretically more substantial than presentation in other formats might allow, and we do not intend to abandon that format in future in-person conferences under the GLOW banner. However, the following factors make the longer talk format impractical for Online GLOW 44:

  1. our prioritizing of a synchronous format for talks, delivered in very different time zones, shortens considerably the conference and the number of hours in the day we can have for presentations;
  2. many one hour talks in a row over Zoom are not conducive to maintaining a virtual community for the three days that we have available to run synchronous sessions. 

The best new work in flash talks and online discussions, with Glossa special volume

For showcasing the new research of the current academic year, we propose a repurposed flash talk session, which will consist of flashy 3 minute advertisement talks in a joint synchronous main programme session, followed by break out rooms and then discussions continuing over Slack or Discord.  Ample time in the programme will be given over to these sessions and the 20 best traditional abstracts will be chosen, as usual, according to our traditional GLOW reviewing process. We hope that this format will provide a useful forum for rich feedback and discussion from the virtual GLOW community in 2021.  These talks will also be invited to submit to the Glossa special volume GLOWing papers 44. 

Something new: Targeted Collaborative Debates

In addition, the main programme will consist of a number of (up to 9) Targeted Collaborative Debates (TCDs).  TCDs are joint talks that present contrasting analytical proposals to a particular concrete empirical problem, in any area of linguistics.  We propose this as an alternative to filling out the programme with famous names and well known issues predetermined and chosen in a top-down fashion from the board, and invite linguists in our community to submit TCD proposals for presentation in the main session.  These sessions will be 1 hour long synchronous sessions and will include 20 min for discussion.  

TCDs must involve at least two linguists, and should be thought of as not necessarily resolving an issue completely, but more of like an invitation to substantive discussion leading potentially to an understanding of the kinds of data and future research that might lead to a resolution or dissolution of the issue. TCD topics do not have to be long standing old chestnuts, they can be new analytical options emerging from current advances in understanding in our field, or fresh implementational systems that are yet to be tested on classic data.  We envisage that topics for TCDs of different kinds can emerge from scholars at any level of experience in the field, and our purpose in issuing a call rather than drawing in invited speakers is to encourage fresh new ideas to make their way into GLOW from the ground up.

We envisage these TCDs as new engagements rather than summaries of past interactions between scholars, and therefore the talk proposed should not be based on research that has already been published or is already close to publication. We also recognize that in this difficult pandemic year, many researchers have been stretched in ways that are not always conducive to ‘getting papers out.’  TCDs are not perfectly crafted handbook articles, we are  thinking of them as beginnings, as encouragements to  engage across toolboxes, and  as invitations to slow thinking, and deep discussions. The kinds of things, in short, that GLOW would like to see itself as fostering and stimulating in our field.  Reviewers will be instructed to choose main session TCDs based on theoretical interest, clear framing of the issues, and potential for original and constructive interactions.   

Call for papers

Please see our Call for Papers for practical information on submitting to GLOW 44, in either category. Please feel free to pose any questions in the #glow44 channel of the GLOW Discord server if you have questions about the nature and scope of the TCDs.