Shifting gears a bit, but connected to the core reason for concluding our final newsletter with an interview with you, because you just wrapped up the LLRN conference in Warsaw, and there is an important connection to the VIRAL project. So could you first tell us a little bit about LLRN, your role and then can you tell us about the panel that you put together on VIRAL?
That’s a story which really may be inspiring for a lot of people. I will tell it by sharing my connection to the LLRN network. So the network was set up in 2014 and there was the first conference in Barcelona. At that time I even didn’t realize that something like LLRN exists. I learned about it after the first conference and the idea of the network was to gather researchers, who do research broadly into labour law, around the world, and to organize a huge conference, every two years. So, the next conference took place in Amsterdam and at that time, I was already aware of the existence of the network and I applied with an abstract of my paper, but I was refused. So even thought I didn’t have a chance to present the I thought: “okay, I want to go there, I want to meet people, I want to see how it works, what are people asking, etc.” At that time, I was still doing my PhD and it was fantastic for me. The conference took place in Amsterdam and really, it was like mind blowing for new ideas. it was a great pleasure for me to be there.
Then the next conference took place in Canada, in Toronto, and there, my panel proposal was accepted. So I was there as an active participant and it was a great pleasure, great, scientific fun. When we were preparing for the fourth conference in Valparaiso, Cile. the network announced that it was possible to express interest in organizing the 5th edition. And then me and my great colleagues, Marta Otto from my faculty, and from the Faculty of Law & Administration at the University of Warsaw, at that time, it was Piotr Grzebyk and Lukasz Pisarczyk. So the four of us decided that we wanted to organize the fifth edition of LLRN. And then, COVID started, and we were struggling with a lot of decisions, whether or not to organise the fifth edition. So the decision was that we would organise it in a hybrid formula, which is not the same as hosting people in your home country. Then we thought: maybe we should ask the community to let us organize the sixth edition as well, so we will be able to host everyone in Poland.
So for the 6th edition of LLRN we had 91 panel sessions, with panels taking place simultaneously, the program was really huge. We had more than 400 participants from almost all around the world. I say almost because it’s all also very important to make a point that there are some regions of the globe that are unrepresented on such an events, mainly, Africa, and Asia. But also, we have to remember that our colleagues from Ukraine and Belarus were not able to come to attend the conference, which was really something for us to emotionally deal with. Because when we were thinking about organizing the conference in Poland, we also thought that it will be a nice way to somehow wake up the scholars from Eastern Europe.
And when we were organizing the conference, we discussed throughout the research team on our VIRAL project, that it would be a nice opportunity to share what we have done throughout the years, to share our recent research findings with the network and so we applied to organise a round table and our application was accepted!
The chair of our round table was Professor Michael Doherty, from Ireland. And in the discussion there were Marco Rocca from France, David Mangan from Ireland, Steen Navrbjerg, from Denmark and from Poland Hanna Kinowska, our economist on the project, and I.
They asked us questions, they were very interested in what we have gone through during the project, and it was really quite fun: both to talk to each other, once again on what we have done throughout the project, but also with colleagues from different universities, etc. and to also address the questions they have.