BSP Events: COVID-19

Amid global concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19), the British Society of Phenomenology (BSP) is closely and continually monitoring the situation with respect to its planned events.

9 October 2020: Update statement on BSP events during 2021

In early October 2020 the BSP conference team – which included the society president and other related members of the Executive Committee – met to discuss the ongoing worldwide pandemic with respect to conferences and other events during 2021.

It was decided that any conferences and other events the BSP convenes during 2021 should be online. This decision was made due to the long-term effects of the pandemic and the problem of organising and promoting face-to-face gatherings in a timely fashion. Making this decision early – it was felt – would facilitate forward planning and avoid all kinds of uncertainties for speakers and delegates. The conference team voted unanimously for this proposal.

Conferences and other events will continue to be convened during 2021. We want to ensure that the work of the society and the universities of the world prosper where they can, and taking conferences and events online is a way to do that. In addition, having held our 2020 annual conference online, we have proved that such virtual events are not only viable, but can be just as effective as face-to-face gatherings, inventive, enjoyable, and impactful. Many other institutions have proved the same. The academic community is seeing a real growth of virtual scholarly activity which due to the nature of online is reaching wider and more diverse audiences, breaking down barriers (location, travel, and financial), and reducing ecological impact.

Once the concerns about the wordwide pandemic are resolved, the BSP will review the situation.


30 April 2020: Update statement on BSP AC2020

Annual conference moves to online: During the call for papers and review period, the world changed in a way none of us could have envisioned a few months ago. So, the BSP annual conference committee has been constantly reviewing how best to proceed with the conference amid global concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic. The committee – which has representatives from both the BSP and our partners at the University of Exeter – have now decided that the conference should not go ahead as a face-to-face event, but rather should become an online event to be held on the original dates.

The rationale is simple. If we were to hold a face-to-face international conference in September we would be directly contributing to the circulation of individuals in airports, trains, buses, and accommodation. We would, be risking the safety of everyone concerned and the general public in multiple countries, perhaps even fatally so. Even if by this time social distancing measures were technically relaxed by the UK government or other governments, there would be no guarantee that our event would not contribute to the spread of the virus.

Of course, one option would have been to cancel the conference, as many organisations are doing presently. However, we want to ensure that the work of the society and our universities continue where it can, and taking the conference online is a way to do that. In addition, we have been inspired by the number of people submitting great quality abstracts despite the situation, it seems a real pity not to honour that commitment and find a way to share those papers which we have accepted.

Going online presents a whole series of challenges, so we asked our technology officer to research the options and recommend the most effective way to do this. The outcome is that we will run the conference with pre-recorded papers, releasing them to an advertised linear schedule, with the ability to comment via a forum. The platform will be for registered participants only, and the fee will be much reduced and very reasonable (see below). We would leave the papers up for a week after the three-day conference, then close the platform down. The reason for pre-recording is simple: it is the only way to guarantee that presentations won’t be affected by poor sound, poor connectivity, and poor platform performance. It will, in this way, give confidence for the presenters that they will not be hostages to fate.

We know this is not what was originally envisioned, but we still want to give everyone the opportunity to present their work. In fact, the more we have thought through the online conference, the more excited we are about it. Going online offers us all a chance to experiment and do something different.

We will go into more details in a couple of weeks, and there will be all kinds of advice on how best to record these papers, registration, and submission dates.

Registration: Given the conference will now be online, the costs of putting on the event are very much reduced. Accordingly, this year we will not be charging for the conference other than our normal requirement that speakers and delegates are or become members of the BSP. So, if you are already a member, the conference is essentially free. We also hope this much-reduced fee – when we advertise the conference later in the year – will also inspire many more delegates to attend online than would be possible face-to-face with associated costs.

To attend all BSP events, speakers and delegates need to be members of the British Society for Phenomenology. The fees are £40 waged; and £20 unwaged / student / emeritus – for the year from the date in which you join. When you become a member, you receive paper copies of the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology (four issues a year), plus access to over 50 years of the JBSP online (for one year). More information on joining the BSP is here, but you need do nothing now as membership confirmation or joining will be part of the registration process, which we will let you know more about when we contact you again in a couple of weeks.

If you have any queries, please contact us using the following email address: [email protected]


26 March 2020: Update statement on BSP AC2020

The British Society of Phenomenology (BSP) and the University of Exeter (with sponsors Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health) are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation with respect to the planned UK annual conference in September 2020.

Our plans are to continue with the organisation of the conference, and we will review the situation at each milestone our organisation plan, issuing updates accordingly. Currently, we are looking to:

1/ Face-to-face: To go ahead with the conference as a face-to-face event in Exeter, if the UK government and academic institutional bodies deem it safe to do so

2/ Virtual: If we cannot hold a face-to-face event safely, to run the conference as a virtual event. Our technical officer is currently looking in to the options of how this can be done most effectively. If we were to run the conference as a virtual event, the registration would be at a significantly reduced cost.

Our advice to potential speakers and delegates is to continue submitting for the CfP.

We realise that there is a chance the conference may at some point need to be cancelled, or that people intending to attend the conference either face-to-face or virtually may be affected by their local situation. If that is the case, the BSP promises to (1) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if the conference needs to be cancelled; or (2) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if a speaker/delegate is affected by their local situation in any way and can no longer attend.

For more information or questions, please email [email protected].


18 March 2020: Update statement on BSP AC2020

As global concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19) heighten, the British Society of Phenomenology (BSP) and the University of Exeter (with sponsors Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health) are closely monitoring the situation with respect to the planned UK annual conference in September 2020.

Currently, as of 18 March 2020, the BSP is in the last few weeks of its call for papers (CfP), with early bird registration due to open 30 April 2020.

The BSP is closely following advice on the role the public can play in supporting the UK government response regarding the global situation. On 16 March, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care gave an oral statement to Parliament on controlling the spread of COVID-19. This included:

> Stop ‘all unnecessary social contact with others and all unnecessary travel’
> People should ‘start working from home if they possibly can’
> People ‘should steer clear of pubs, clubs, cinemas and restaurants’ and ‘mass gatherings’
> This is to ensure ‘those with the most serious health conditions are largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks
> ‘This advice is directed at everyone, but it’s especially important for the over 70s, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions’
> All this being ‘to ensure that this period of maximum shielding coincides with the peak of maximum transmission

Accordingly, as of 18 March 2020, the BSP plans to continue with its organisation of the conference, and will continue to review the situation at each milestone of its organisation plan, issuing updates.

Our advice to potential speakers and delegates is to continue submitting for the CfP, and register as per normal if and when registration opens.

We realise that there is a chance the conference may at some point need to be cancelled, or that people intending to attend the conference may be affected by their local situation. If that is the case, the BSP promises to (1) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if the conference needs to be cancelled; or (2) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if a speaker/delegate is affected by their local situation in any way and can no longer attend.

For more information or questions, please email [email protected].


3 March 2020: Initial statement on BSP AC2020

Amid global concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19), the British Society of Phenomenology (BSP) and the University of Exeter (with sponsors Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health) are closely monitoring the situation with respect to the planned UK annual conference in September 2020.

Currently, as of 3 March 2020, the BSP is in the middle of a call for papers (CfP), with early bird registration due to open 30 April 2020.

Given the World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a public health emergency of international concern and that the UK Chief Medical Officers identify risk as moderate, the BSP is closely following advice on the role the public can play in supporting the UK government response regarding the global situation.

As of 3 March 2020 the BSP plans to continue with its organisation of the conference, and will review the situation at each milestone of its organisation plan, issuing an update accordingly.

Our advice to potential speakers and delegates is to continue submitting for the CfP, and register as per normal if and when registration opens.

However, we realise that there is a chance the conference may at some point need to be cancelled, or that people intending to attend the conference may be affected by their local situation. If that is the case, the BSP promises to (1) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if the conference needs to be cancelled; or (2) refund in full any registration/society fee paid to the BSP if a speaker/delegate is affected by their local situation in any way and can no longer attend.

For more information or questions, please email [email protected].