Call / ISPR News: PRESENCE 2020 changes due to pandemic

[As with so many conferences planned for this summer and fall, ISPR is changing our plans for PRESENCE 2020. We’ll meet online on October 23 via Zoom for presentations and discussions about our usual wide variety of presence topics as well as the many impacts of Coronavirus on presence phenomena now and going forward. We’ll also leave time for informal social interactions. More details are below; feel free to be in touch with any questions.

Please distribute this call through your professional networks, consider submitting your work by the new August 1 deadline, and join us for the first online presence conference this fall. No one would have wished for the surreal, difficult time we’re living through but it’s never been a more interesting and important time to experience and study presence.

–Matthew (]


18th conference of the International Society for Presence Research (ISPR)
Online + Synchronous
October 23, 2020

Conference theme: Presence during and after the pandemic

The 18th PRESENCE conference will take place as a one-day, fast-track online conference. All presence topics are also welcome but submissions related to early phase projects, papers, and studies about the impacts of the pandemic on presence phenomena now and in the years ahead are particularly encouraged. 

The 19th PRESENCE conference will take place next fall 2021 in Orlando that was originally planned this year.

  • Submission deadline: August 1, 2020 (with some flexibility – email us if you need a few extra days)
  • Online submissions should be submitted via EasyChair. 
  • Notification of acceptance decisions: September 1, 2020
  • Finished, camera-ready papers due: October 1, 2020




Telepresence, often shortened to presence, is a state or perception in which we overlook or misconstrue the role of technology and feel present in the environments and/or connected to the people or things we experience via technology. It’s increasingly relevant to a wide range of media experiences and application areas.

Following a series of 17 successful Presence conference events, PRESENCE 2020 will retain the single-track format and enjoyable social environment of previous conferences while featuring an expanded variety of paper and poster sessions, panel discussions, keynote presentations, hands-on demonstrations of presence applications/services/projects, and informal discussion, networking and fun. Members of both academic and industry communities are welcome.



The term presence has many formal and informal meanings but is used by a growing interdisciplinary scholarly community to refer to experiences in which technology is overlooked or misconstrued in some way during a mediated experience. Long a focus of those who study virtual reality and environments, it’s increasingly relevant to a wide range of media experiences. For example, presence occurs when we get “lost” in the world of a novel, TV show, movie, video game or theme park ride; we’re convinced by the realism of paintings or graphic designs; we treat our cars, computers or other machines as if they have personalities of their own, and we feel like we’re “with” a person we talk to on the phone or in a video conference.

The presence research community has been working to identify causes, characteristics and consequences of diverse presence experiences. The consequences identified so far – including arousal/relaxation, empathy, enjoyment, persuasion and more – make clear the importance and power of presence to improve communication across a wide variety of contexts and applications of interest to scholars and those who create media technologies and content. Presence as a concept and set of phenomena is related to the work being done in nearly every field and business sector from art to zoology, with particularly direct applications in business, education, entertainment and health. The 4000+ posts in ISPR Presence News and thousands more on its predecessor, the presence-l listserv, along with the Presence Bibliography on the ISPR website, illustrate the breadth of presence applications, and the breadth, depth and value of presence scholarship.

The objectives of the conference are to deepen and update the knowledge of those already familiar with presence and introduce new scholars and practitioners to the centrality, pervasiveness, and value of presence phenomena, theory and research.  The overarching goal is to help integrate and increase collaborative scholarship on presence.




We seek original, high quality papers and demonstrations that contribute to our collective understanding of presence phenomena and applications in any/every aspect of life. Topics of interest include (but are absolutely not limited to):

  • Presence theory
  • Measures of presence
  • Presence and emotion
  • Presence and education
  • Presence and social interaction
  • Gender and Presence
  • Neuroscience approaches to Presence
  • Presence in gaming and entertainment
  • Philosophical perspectives on presence
  • Ethics of presence
  • Presence technologies and applications (e.g. in business, arts, medicine and therapy)
  • The future of presence research

Theme: Presence during and after the pandemic

Presence experiences were already becoming more common in many aspects of life before the Coronavirus pandemic, but the current crisis has vastly accelerated the need and desire for effective presence experiences and creative progress in the uses of technology to create them. All-online teaching at every level of education, virtual graduation ceremonies, working from home via online platforms, live streaming of music concerts and theater performances, virtual travel experiences, virtual business and academic conferences, and so much more represent huge changes for societies, organizations and individuals regarding presence. If ever there was an appropriate group to explore these changes and their implications for the future it’s the presence community. Individual descriptive, research, theory, or position papers as well as dedicated panels related to this theme are encouraged. ISPR will also organize a session in which we trial and discuss the characteristics of a variety of social presence platforms (e.g. Zoom, WebEx, Teams, Discord, Mozilla Hubs, etc), with the goal of producing a co-authored publishable paper outlining our conclusions about their strengths and weaknesses in producing effective presence experiences.

[NOTE: Submissions on the previously announced Theme 2 below are still welcome!]

Theme 2: The world of presence

Presence experiences are becoming more common in more aspects of life for more and more people around the world. These experiences have the potential to bring diverse individuals, groups and nations together but also isolate them in their own mediated realities. What are the contours of presence around the world and what implications and challenges does it pose for researchers, scholars, technology designers and users, and citizens? We invite submission in all of the categories below that identify, consider and ideally propose specific steps we can take to make presence a force for positive rather than negative change. Data-based projects, concept and theory building work as well as personal (first person) reflections are encouraged.


We invite researchers and practitioners to submit their work in the categories below. All submissions are to be in APA format and except for the separate title page not identify the author(s) directly or indirectly (for blind peer review). A template for Microsoft Word is available here and a template for LaTeX is available here.

  • PAPERS: Comprehensive descriptions of research or design work and/or theoretical investigation within the scope of the conference; up to 30 pages (including references) in APA format. Papers must relate to existing literature on presence and make an original contribution to it.
  • SHORT PAPERS: Short papers may be up to 12 pages in APA format.
  • POSTERS: Visual display presentations. Poster proposals must describe and/or contain early drafts of the visual display. Accepted poster abstracts will be displayed during a dedicated session of the conference that begins with short oral previews, and then published in the conference Proceedings.
  • DEMONSTRATIONS/EXHIBITIONS: Step-by-step audiovisual demonstrations and/or hands-on experiences of non-commercial work within the scope of the conference. Accepted demonstration/exhibition proposals will be presented during a dedicated session of the conference and included in the conference Proceedings. For the exhibitions of commercial products, please contact us for sponsorship terms and opportunities.
  • PANELS: Presence 2020 welcomes panel proposals which allow panelists and participants to discuss any topic relevant to presence, especially the conference theme of challenges. Discussion and paper panel submissions must include the following: (1) title, (2) description and rationale (75 words or less), (3) titles and brief abstracts (100 words or less) for each panelist, and (4) a complete list of participants along with their institutional affiliations and contact information.


All accepted submissions will be collected in the official conference proceedings (with ISBN) and will be permanently available for download in the ISPR conference archive.


Online submissions should be submitted via EasyChair. 



  • Submission deadline: August 1, 2020 (with some flexibility – email us if you need a few extra days)
  • Notification of acceptance decisions: September 1, 2020
  • Finished, camera-ready papers due: October 1, 2020



The conference will take place online via Zoom. Details will be added here soon.



The International Society for Presence Research (ISPR) is a non-profit membership organization founded in 2002 to support academic research related to the concept of (tele)presence. ISPR has sponsored 17 successful international conferences (beginning informally in 1998), providing richly social opportunities to share scholarship and applications of the presence concept. The ISPR website ( serves as a resource for those who conduct research, develop theory, design, market, write about, or simply are interested in, the concept and phenomena of presence. ISPR Presence News, available via the ISPR website, provides current news stories, calls for papers and participation, position announcements, and other informative posts every weekday (a total of nearly 4000 posts since 2009).



Matthew Lombard, Temple University (
Cheryl Bracken, Cleveland State University
Jihyun Kim, University of Central Florida
Eugene Kukshinov, Temple University
SongYi Lee, Temple University
Kun Xu, University of Florida
Hocheol Yang, Temple University


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