ANNOUNCEMENT: THE 2020 CCT-Leicester Conference is cancelled

March 14, 2020

Dear CCT community,

For the last several weeks, the CCTC leadership team and the 2020 CCT-Leicester conference organizers have been closely monitoring developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope had been that events would transpire in a way that would allow the conference to continue as planned.   Unfortunately, many aspects of this decision have effectively been taken out of our hands by various national agencies, including our own universities. The current environment is marked by travel bans, restrictions on public gatherings, and of course, serious public health concerns. Furthermore, we have considerable uncertainty as to when these crisis conditions might abate. At this juncture, it is a major unknown if the conference could even go on as planned or if public health concerns might still be sufficient (in the UK) for there to be operative bans on large group gatherings and/or transnational travel.

Under these tenuous circumstances, we believe the most responsible course of action is to cancel the 2020 conference.

Given the rash of major event cancellations, this disappointing news is most likely not a surprise to any of you. One immediate question you may have is whether the conference could be conducted in a virtual format.  We considered that alternative. Without bogging down in the technical details, the infrastructure and support staff needed to make this transition is simply lacking. In the near term, for example, many IT resources are now being devoted on a grand scale to meeting cascading on-line teaching needs.  Setting up for an on-line conference falls fairly low in the prevailing institutional priority rankings.

So that is the bad news. But, CCTC has some very positive developments on the horizon that should help to cushion this blow, so please read below:

1. The conference organizers are going continue the review process and publish a volume of proceedings for submitting authors who opt in. Details on that process will soon be forthcoming from the Leicester team.

On that note, a heartfelt thanks to our Leicester team—Mandy Early, James Fitchett, and George Patsiaouras—for the time and effort they have invested and the work they will continue to do on behalf of submitting authors. If you are assigned to review a paper for an author who “opts in” for the proceedings (and you will be so informed), please, please, please provide a timely review. Even though we will not be gathering together for presentations and face-to-face interactions, the feedback from the review process is major benefit of the conference, particularly for our doctoral students and junior researchers.

2. Post-pandemic, CCTC wants to encourage academic gatherings among members of our community in lieu of the 2020 conference. Across the globe, we have many local CCT affinity groups who sponsor guest speakers, brown bags, and mini-seminars. To facilitate such events, CCTC will be offering up to five $2000 grants for the 2020-2021 academic year. We envision that the process will involve submission of a two to three-page proposal which will be evaluated by the CCTC board. More details on the format, criterion, and submission and decision timelines will be forthcoming in the next 4 to 5 weeks.

3. EVEN BIGGER GOOD NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: The 2021 CCT conference will be co-chaired by Michelle Barnhart and Aimee Huff and will be hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. The tentative dates for the conference are July 8 to July 10.

Corvallis is often named one of the “best college towns” in America by lifestyle publications. It boasts a vibrant downtown, is highly bikeable and walkable, and is home to several brewpubs and farm-to-table restaurants. In addition, several vineyards and wineries are within a short drive. Corvallis is 145 km (90 miles) from the Portland airport. Shuttles from the airport to campus run regularly.

So mark your calendars for what I promise will be an outstanding CCT conference in a very cool locale.

In closing, we are a very robust intellectual community and we will bounce back better and stronger than ever from this globally scaled crisis.

So, stay tuned for forthcoming announcements about the conference proceedings process from the Leicester team (coming soon); more information about the event funding proposals (coming in a few weeks) and down the road a bit further, the 2021 CCT conference call for papers.

Best wishes as you all make the necessary adjustments to your teaching methods and your everyday routines. Stay well and please stay engaged.

Craig Thompson