Imagine If… virtual conference 2020 - save the date and call for session proposals

21 May 2020

Imagine if… creative arts and cultural experiences gave children and young people the ability to share, understand and emerge from their experiences of the COVID-19 crisis

Imagine If... is Culture Bridge North East’s annual conference, which brings together delegates from the education and culture sectors to explore a key theme each year. Through a mixture of keynote speakers and interactive workshops, we aim for delegates to feel that: 

  • they have been exposed to new ideas, challenging their thinking
  • they have had the opportunity to connect with others who share an interest in the theme, and
  • that they have at least one thing to take back to their setting and do. 

In 2020, Imagine If will explore ways in which creative arts and cultural experiences might support children and young people to process, share their experiences and recover from the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis, and to move forwards into a new normal. We want to explore: 

  • Ways in which children and young people have been, and continue to be, impacted by COVID-19 and the measures taken by our government in response.
  • Ways in which schools and arts organisations are currently responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and their plans moving forwards.
  • The potential for creative arts and cultural experiences to better support children and young people at this time. 
  • The potential for creative arts and cultural experiences to support teachers and other educational professionals through this time of change. 

This year, Imagine If is going digital. We will be running a series of keynote speeches, panel discussion sessions, interactive workshops and informal discussion sessions across one week beginning Monday 2 November, under the Imagine If banner. Through our booking process, we aim to ensure a 50/50 mixture of delegates from the education and culture sectors. 

Sessions could be live lectures or webinars that can be broadcast to an audience of 100 people, smaller workshop sessions with an interactive element for 10 – 20 people, or a cosy informal chat between less than 10 participants, with a chair to lead the discussion.

Keynote speakers are chosen to share ideas which are critical to the theme and inform delegates thinking during the workshops, as well as for a wide appeal across the audience. Workshops may be targeted to specific groups of delegates (for example, delegates working with Early Years children or young adults) and are chosen on the basis of relevance to the conference theme and interactivity. We also curate the sessions to ensure that as far as possible a range of art forms, age ranges and sub-themes are represented. We welcome children and young people at Imagine If. Please note that if organisations wish to invite anyone under 18 years old to attend as part of their proposed session, this will need to be in accordance with their own safeguarding policy.

All sessions will be delivered via Zoom. Sessions will be recorded, and shared via the Culture Bridge North East YouTube channel after the conference. Technical support will be available for delegates and speakers. 

To submit a session proposal 

Please send your proposals to by 9am Monday 22 June 2020, providing the following information: 

  1. The name, role and organisation if appropriate of the person or people who would deliver your session. Please also provide some background information on their relevant expertise. 
  2. Your contact details. 
  3. Your session theme and content and how it connects to the theme of the conference. 
  4. How long your session would be. This could be 20, 30, 40 or 60 minutes. If the length is flexible please let us know so we can take that into account when curating the conference. 
  5. What size audience would work best for your session. This could be anything from a small group to a large audience of 100+. Again, please indicate what flexibility there is in this. 
  6. Any specific needs you have around Zoom set up. Please also let us know if you are confident in delivering your session via Zoom or if you need support in turning your session idea into a reality – we want our delegates to hear the best thinking around the conference theme, and will help with technical aspects where needed. 
  7. Any costs associated with your session that you would ask us to cover. Please indicate a fixed price inclusive of all costs. 
  8. Links to any online content that would help us understand your work and proposal. 

We will respond to all proposals by mid-July 2020.