9th Freiberg Leather Days on 9 and 10 June 2021 fully digital

Around 130 participants from 19 nations in front of their screens

After the organisers, VGCT e.V. and FILK Freiberg Institute gGmbH, had to cancel the industry meeting of the European tanning and leather industry in 2020 due to Corona, a hybrid event concept was initially planned for this year. Initially, it was hoped that at least some of the participants could be welcomed on site, but at the beginning of May the attendance part finally had to be cancelled because of the unclear situation regarding the organisation of conferences and congresses.

Therefor, about 130 participants from 19 nations gathered in front of their screens on the two days. The broadcast was from the Carlowitz Hall of the Chemnitz Congresscentre, from where the moderators and some of the speakers spoke into the cameras. The external speakers were streamed into the hall and outside.

Honours of the VGCT e.V.

Of course, the VGCT honours were not to be missed this year. They formed the start of the conference. The VGCT Annual Award for 2020 went to Jens Schwekendiek for his voluntary commitment to the training of Tanner students at the Kerschensteiner School in Reutlingen. Sadly, he was no longer able to accept the award in person. He had passed away shortly after the announcement. A representative of the VGCT will present the award to his wife. The VGCT Annual Award for 2021 went to Dr Beate Haaser, Consultant for Waste and Wastewater Treatment, Environment and Energy (Rehau). The award recognised her tireless efforts on behalf of the leather industry and the VGCT, on whose board she has served for many years. A VGCT recognition award went to Dr Benjamin Autenrieth, Trumpler GmbH & Co. KG, Worms, for the development of the C14 method for determining the bio-based content in leather and other materials. In future, it will allow comparative investigations between materials with regard to their composition.

Conference at the highest digital level

In terms of technology, the organisers left nothing to chance. A reliable event platform, lots of event technology and 7 technicians for direction, camera, stream, sound etc. ensured that the conference ran at the highest digital level. It was remarkable that the organisers stuck to simultaneous translation even in the digital format. Ensuring that the right language ended up in the right stream was a challenge that the technical team of the Chemnitz Congresscentre mastered brilliantly.

Different additional offers in the event platform

In addition to the lectures, various additional offers were integrated into the platform to increase participant engagement. For example, there was an active break every day, during which the participants got fit for the lunch break with loosening and stretching exercises under the guidance of a fitness trainer. During the networking breaks, participants could meet and discuss in digital meeting rooms. Personal contacts were also possible via instant chat or video call in the platform. A quiz around the conference was intended to encourage the audience to engage with the platform and its contents. The solutions were hidden there. Instead of the social dinner, which usually takes place between the two days of the congress, people could take part in a world tab tour. Here, teams had to work together to solve tasks around the globe.

VGCT General Assembly

The VGCT general meeting also took place digitally on the sidelines of the conference. In addition to the formal votes on the discharge of the board for the years 2019 and 2020 and on the subscription rules, a new board chair was also elected. Martin Heise moved into the vice-president´s chair after two years. Dr Dietrich Tegtmeyer took over from him as Chair of the Board.

After the conference is before the conference

Even though there is of course no substitute for personal exchange on site, with a total of 21 presentations, the digital format of the conference offered plenty of new and exciting research and development results from the entire spectrum of leather production and processing, as well as space to exchange information from the industry. Even though it is assumed that not all digital formats will leave us in a post-Corona era, the organisers hope to be able to offer a face-to-face event again next year. Until then, the motto is: After the conference is before the conference, the planning for the 10th Freiberg Leather Days on 11 and 12 May 2022 is already underway.

Thank you and goodbye

The organisers, VGCT e.V. and FILK Freiberg Institute would like to thank all participants, the entire team of the Chemnitz Congresscentre and the Freiberg organisation team!

Goodbye and see you again soon!


FILK Freiberg Institute gGmbH
Meißner Ring 1-5
09599 Freiberg


Fon: +49-(0)3731-366-0
Fax: +49-(0)3731-366-130
E-Mail: mailbox@filkfreiberg.de