We are deeply saddened to announce today that Immersive Experiences, the 16th annual Tampere University Game Research Lab spring seminar, is hereby cancelled. The reason behind the cancellation is the evolving global COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic.
At this stage, it seems that social distancing is a key ingredient in tackling the epidemic. As Immersive Experiences seminar would have brought together around eighty presenters, commentators, and audience from a dozen countries, we wish to be responsible and err on the side of caution. We also need to be aware of the increasing travel bans. These include a recent Tampere University-wide directive to avoid gatherings of more than 100 people, which may be expanded in the coming weeks. It also includes the various restrictions imposed by the seminar guests’ institutions and local health policies — and they are likely to become stricter as we approach the seminar dates. Furthermore, virus infections have been detected on one of the Tampere University campuses already, and although the seminar was scheduled to take place off campus, this does speak to the risks.
We have considered turning the seminar into a remote meeting, but have decided against that. However, we are considering arrangements where authors, commentators, audience members, and organizers could opt in to reading and commenting on the submitted work-in-progress papers.
We are heart-broken about not getting to meet you all and discuss all things immersive with you. We also recognize that this cancellation may significantly inconvenience many of you, let us assure you that the decision was not made lightly. However, the well-being and health of all of us is our priority.