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BSA 70th Anniversary Virtual Conference: Remaking the Future

The theme of the BSA 70th Anniversary Conference, 13-15 April 2021 is Remaking the Future. Little did we know how relevant the choice of words would turn out to be. The BSA is having to remake its own future in the context of the pandemic and one major consequence is that our 2021 Annual Conference will now be a virtual event but this will not be just another Zoom-style meeting!

As it’s the 70th anniversary, we already have an exciting line-up of speakers and panels, and there will be special virtual spaces for social networking, study group & forum meetings, exhibitors and mentoring. The usual bursary support for concessionary and early career members remains in place.

Our plenary speakers are:

  • Gurminder Bhambra – University of Sussex
  • Susan Halford – University of Bristol BSA President
  • Gary Younge – University of Manchester

We are also delighted to have two plenary panels:

  • Austerity Panel: Akwugo Emejulu (University of Warwick), Kayleigh Garthwaite (University of Birmingham), Guy Standing (SOAS University of London), Wanda Wyporska (The Equality Trust), Sylvia Walby (City University of London, Chair)
  • Environment Panel: Alice Mah (University of Warwick), Leon Sealey-Huggins (University of Warwick), Nigel South (University of Sussex)

The trustees’ decision to hold the conference virtually was informed by many factors including the unfolding and highly unpredictable Covid-19 situation and associated uncertainties in Higher Education with financial constraints expected to impact access to travel and conference budgets. Not being face to face for the conference will be much missed by us all, however going virtual offers many potential benefits. Here are some of the positives:

  • Increased access to conference content (e.g. we will ensure presentations are available for 30 days).
  • Lower registration fees (e.g. the full member rate for conference will be £99, the concessionary rate will be £49).
  • Lower health risks (e.g. without face to face and travel).
  • Lower costs (e.g. without travel and accommodation).
  • Higher degree of certainty (e.g. no impact from last minute venue, train or airline cancellations, or sudden local lockdowns or changes in quarantine regulations).
  • Greater potential inclusivity (e.g. from those in the global south, those with work and family commitments).
  • Positive impact on audience capacity (e.g. no social distancing restrictions, in fact audience capacity increases).
  • Positive impact on the environment (e.g. without travel).

Making this decision now means we can offer some certainty for members and focus our efforts on planning for a much enhanced virtual experience.

Given our commitment to inclusivity and communication with members we would be happy to receive your views on this. Please email Judith Mudd.

Join us for this BSA Annual Conference first. It promises to be one of the most memorable events in our history and we look forward to sharing it with you!

The Board of Trustees