Dear Members, Colleagues and Friends,

The last twelve months have been challenging for everyone in our community as we have all tried to remain positive as we navigated the ever-changing pandemic-related news, facts, rules, guidelines, and emotions. Professionally, many of our colleagues across the world have been working remotely, learning new skills online, supporting their students academically and pastorally at a distance. Other colleagues in practice have been continuing to support young children and families face-to-face, often placing themselves and their own families at increased risk of infection. Sadly, many colleagues in our communities will have also faced personal tragedies during this difficult time and we would like to take this opportunity to offer condolences to those who have been affected, and thanks for all those whose professional responses have helped to support others.

Almost 12 months ago we had to make the decision to postpone the EECERA Annual Conference 2020. This was a really difficult decision to make but with hindsight we can see it was the right decision. We offered instead the 2020 EECERA Online Convocation which foregrounded plural narratives of the Covid-19 experience and hoped this would make a contribution to knowledge about what was happening and also create a sense of shared endeavour. We carried forward all the abstracts we had received for the Annual Conference and planned for taking our conference to Zagreb in 2021 instead.
Late last year we opened an additional call for papers for anybody who wished to submit new / additional proposals for the postponed Annual Conference. Although in many countries the infection rates had increased, we had remained cautiously optimistic we could take conference to Zagreb with news of a vaccine and inoculation programme rollout in sight.

Throughout this time, we have monitored the situation in Europe and across the world, and stayed in touch with our local host. Whilst there are green shoots of optimism as various vaccines are approved and distributed we also know that there are huge national variations and ongoing uncertainty about when and how international travel will be possible in the months to come.

After careful consideration and discussion with the hosts, the Board of Trustees have made the decision that the EECERA Annual Conference 2021 will be held virtually.

We know that this will be a disappointment to some but also it will be a relief to many who had already decided that they couldn’t travel and will now not have to miss out. We learned a lot from running the EECERA Convocation last October and we believe that we can provide our community with an online format that allows them to share their work, hear great speakers, and connect with likeminded researchers (even if it has to be on screen).
Our local hosts from University of Zagreb in Croatia, whilst no longer able to welcome us to their beautiful country in 2021, will remain involved in the conference planning and contributing to shaping our scientific programme.

Below we set out how we are planning to deliver the conference. Please be aware, a lot of detail is yet to be defined, decided and refined, so bear with us and we will share new updates as and when they become available. The best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to the conference newsletter and follow @EECERA on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you can support this amazing online event to share your academic research and experience EECERA in a new and novel way this year!

On behalf of the Board of Trustees

Professor Chris Pascal
EECERA President


Concept and dates

Those of you who have attended previously will know our annual event programme is vast and complex. And while hosting an online event means potentially better access and reach, we do not wish to overwhelm our delegates with not only long hours but also long screen time.

What we are planning to do is provide a range of online experiences, that would normally be offered across 3 or 4 ‘physical’ days, over a period of 15 ‘virtual’ days. We are proposing the scientific core of the programme will be provided between Monday 6th September and Friday 10th September with a whole host of SIG meetings and events, EECERA business meetings, in the week before (week commencing 30th August) and social programme and seminars / workshops, the week after (week commencing 13th September).

To better reflect the style of the event we’re now planning, we would like to now invite you to participate in our EECERA Online Festival 2021.

EECERA Festival Scientific Programme

The EECERA Annual Conference has always offered its participants an opportunity for their research projects to be peer-reviewed, presented to, and discussed with, fellow early childhood education researchers, practitioners and students from across the world. This year the offer will be no different, but the mode of presentation will be. The difference this year is that to help us deliver this online, in a manageable way for all 600 papers for which we have received abstracts, we will be asking for these to be recorded in advance for uploading to our conference platform. Further guidance will be provided in due course but we outline below how this will happen:

Symposia (Individual Papers and Self-organised)

Individual paper presentations will again be grouped into themed symposia (of three papers) by the EECERA Scientific Committee and allocated a Chair. Chairs will arrange a convenient time for all presenters to meet online (via Teams, Zoom or other online video meeting software) in June or July 2021 to present and record their 1 hour symposia. We will allocate 15 minutes per presentation followed by up to 15 minutes chaired discussion among the presenters regarding common themes and issues that have arisen.

Self-organised symposia will follow the same format and we will ask the chairs to be responsible for coordinating, setting up and hosting an online meeting in order to record the symposium presentations and discussion before sending us the video file for inclusion in the EECERA programme.

All pre-recorded symposia will then be published and made available to watch during the scientific week in several different time blocks across the five days. Presenters will be able to interact with anyone watching their presentation recording via a comments box on the conference platform. Anyone not able to watch at that time will still be able to catch-up on the recording over the next 2 months. In this way we hope that many more people will get to watch a presentation than at a ‘normal’ conference, increasing the reach of everyone’s academic work.

Poster Presentations

Poster presenters will be requested to submit their poster to us in advance (electronic format) which will then be uploaded to a gallery for delegates to view throughout the conference. Guidelines will be provided (e.g. File format; File size; length of any embedded commentary) on how and when to send these files to us.

PED Talks

PED talk presentations will follow a similar process to symposia presentations but each presentation will be limited to 10 minutes in length. Further guidance will be provided in due course.

EECERA Festival SIG, Business and Social Programmes

Over the next weeks and months, we will be working on these elements of the Festival. Confirmed events will be allocated a time and mapped out on our three-week programme which will be published and updated on a regular basis.

Additional call for papers

We’ve opened an additional call for papers for a short period of time (open between 18 and 29th March) because we do understand some colleagues had withdrawn their papers or hadn’t submitted knowing they would have not been able to travel to attend and present in person.
We now invite those colleagues to submit their research proposal provided they are happy with the new conditions, event set up and delivery mode outlined above.

Please note the below abstract submission rules still apply:

Each applicant is permitted to submit up to TWO proposals IN TOTAL:

  • EITHER a proposal for an individual paper presentation OR as part of a self-organised symposium (SOS) AND
  • EITHER a proposal for a poster presentation OR a proposal for a TED-style short talk

EECERA Festival tickets

All participants wishing to present their research at the Festival will be required to confirm this by:

  • Submitting their proposal(s) for review (if they haven’t already) via the conference website.
  • Purchasing a conference ticket by 31st May 2021

The following ticket types will be made available shortly:

  • Early Bird till the end of May  – All access (live, recorded and access to replays for three months)
    • Non-member – £120
    • Member – £100
    • PhD Student – £80

*Tickets purchased in the UK will attract VAT @20% in addition to the conference fee

These tickets will allow you to:

  • Present your accepted peer-reviewed academic work, be included in the Scientific Programme and receive certificates of attendance and/or presentation;
  • Create a speaker profile to share contact details and other biographical details with delegates (optional)
  • Access 4 x live keynotes & a live hosted discussion panel (plus replays for the following 2 months);
  • Access all Symposia (currently estimated to be +150 given the number of papers already accepted) during the conference and up to 2 months later;
  • Access all Ped Talks (currently estimated to be +20 given the number of papers already accepted) during the conference and up to 2 months later;
  • Access all Posters (currently estimated to be +80 given the number of papers already accepted) during the conference and up to 2 months later;
  • Attend SIG meetings; social events and developmental workshops (exact number and titles TBC).

From July we will be releasing further ticket options for non-presenters. Further information will be released in due course.

Purchased tickets

All colleagues who have already purchased their tickets will be contacted and given the following options:

  • For their ticket(s) to be fully refunded – delegates no longer wishing or able to participate
  • For their ticket(s) to be partly refunded – delegates wishing to participate in the online event and refunded the difference in price tickets.
  • For their ticket(s) to be fully or partly transferred to EECERA 2022 – delegates no longer wishing or able to participate in 2021 but wishing to attend in 2022, or delegates wishing to participate in both the online event in 2021 and EECERA 2022.