Convivia: Virtual Conferences • Human Connections

~ Transform Your Virtual Meetings ~

Design virtual activities and events that emphasize human interactions.

Enhance your conference with informal networking opportunities customized for your attendees.

Shift from knowledge dissemination to true professional development and interpersonal connection. 

Clarify Your Purpose

Purpose is different from format. Planners often think, "I'm organizing a conference, so that means there will be plenaries and concurrent sessions and evening events." But different groups gather for different reasons— knowledge sharing, community building, problem solving, activism, sales. Start with your purpose and then design your gathering to meet that goal.

Design for Engagement

We often adapt our in-person formats to the virtual tools we know, even if they aren't a good match. But one-to-many presentations need different tools than networking or "hallway conversations."  We also get stuck in the rut of using the same structure for our conference year after year. 

Convivia customizes your interactive events based on the interests of your attendees. We will help you:

Boost Registration

When considering whether to register for your virtual conference, many people will think back to pandemic-era meeting. Unfortunately, many of those conferences were run as a series of webinars, with very little opportunity for attendees to meet and engage with each other. We can help you show potential attendees what the conference experience can be, with customized marketing materials based on prior convivia meetings. Conference registration sites should:

Facilitate Networking

This gets to the crux of the making your virtual conference a success. By facilitating human connections during your meeting, we'll ensure that attendees have the opportunity to become part of your community—meeting one another, sharing ideas, addressing field-wide challenges, and developing new projects together. Convivia's activities and events, often scheduled between presentational sessions, will:

Learn and Improve

Convivia listens intently to your attendees. What do they want from attending your conference? What was their experience in the conference? How can we improve next time? We'll help you:

~ Virtual Meetings Have Real Benefits ~

A Livable, Inclusive Future

Every virtual conference you hold makes two important contributions to the world: It cuts carbon emissions from conference travel and brings many more people into your community by lowering costs. We hope to make your virtual conference so good that you'll try going virtual every other year. Meeting virtually every other year will:

~ About Us ~

Josh Gutwill, Ph.D.


I'm a cognitive scientist and have spent over two decades studying how people interact and learn. In 2018, I began exploring ways to improve social interactions in virtual conference environments, and now I've made this my full-time pursuit. My passion to enhance inclusion and access to professional meetings while reducing carbon emissions from conference travel drives me to develop, test and improve social norms and activity structures in the virtual space. Before starting Convivia, I was the Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation at the Exploratorium, the world-renowned science museum in San Francisco. There I studied how groups collaboratively learn science, contributing to the development and improvement of science exhibits and programs within the museum and around the world. I received my Ph.D. in 1997 in an interdisciplinary cognitive science program at UC Berkeley called Education in Math, Science and Technology. I live in California with my wife and two (almost grown) children. For fun, I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, woodworking, and playing my guitar while singing with the family.

Sue Allen, Ph.D.


I received my Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1994 in Mathematics and Science Education and have spent decades promoting and studying learning in out-of-school settings such as museums, libraries, afterschool and summer programs. I founded the Visitor Research and Evaluation department at the Exploratorium (where I worked with Josh), and together with our evaluation team we developed ways to study and deepen learning by families and other groups in social settings. After moving to Maine, I led a project team that focused on bringing professional development experiences to out-of-school educators. The focus has been on how to create “safe and brave” virtual spaces where professionals who don't know each other can learn together and get to know each other socially at the same time. On the personal side, I enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and growing tulips.

We have years of experience creating and studying free-choice environments that combine learning with enjoyment. We work very well together and have a reputation for being strong thinkers, excellent listeners, and effective collaborators.

~ Contact ~

1660 Lincoln Street, Berkeley, CA 94703

(510) 833-6656