Due to concerns over Covid-19 the 2020 HOTCUS Annual Conference has been cancelled. Please see the statement below from the HOTCUS Committee.

Dear HOTCUS colleagues,

It is with regret that the HOTCUS committee has decided to cancel this year’s annual conference in Edinburgh. This is due to the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19.

Our primary concern is with the potential hazards to the health of our delegates, both during journeys to and from the conference and at the conference itself. It is difficult at this point to guarantee that attendance at the conference will not involve an increased risk of contracting Covid-19. There is a reasonable chance that local authorities may come to require us to cancel the conference anyway, even if we did not do so.

We are also sensitive to the likelihood that many of those who have submitted paper proposals to the conference and have made plans to attend will decide in the end not to do so. This would be entirely understandable. We have already received a number of ‘regrets’ from colleagues who have been told by their own institutions not to engage in unnecessary travel. There is the danger, therefore, that the conference will become financially unviable: we are due to make down-payments on a number of items very soon, with no assurance now that we will make that money back from conference fees. HOTCUS is a light and nimble organization. It feeds most of its annual income back into the community in the form of travel grants, prizes and event bursaries. We do not carry a large balance in our bank account that would permit us to absorb a sizable deficit on the annual conference and continue our other activities on their current scale. This is why the committee has taken the decision to cancel the conference now, in order to limit our liabilities and ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization.

The committee is conscious that some of you will have already booked travel to the conference, and possibly accommodation as well. It is our hope that this early cancellation of the conference will enhance the likelihood of you receiving a full refund on such bookings.

This is, of course, a bitter disappointment to all of us on the committee. We were very much looking forward to the Edinburgh conference, which had attracted an extremely strong line-up of papers and panels, with a gender balance in favour of female speakers for the very first time in our history. A lot of work had gone into planning and preparation, particularly on the part of Malcolm Craig, our Conference Secretary. We were especially looking forward to Professor Connie Chiang’s keynote address. But though we hope that we will look back on this decision in June with regret, from a position in which everyone is healthy and able to participate in active face-to-face academic exchanges, we are convinced that it is the right decision to make, given what we know now, and also that it is the right time to make it. We hope that everyone stays safe and well over the next few months, and that we will see you in Newcastle for HOTCUS 2021, if not before.

With best wishes,
The HOTCUS committee