Annual SAANZ Conference Postponed

In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation in NZ and globally, the SAANZ Executive have come to the decision to POSTPONE the SAANZ conference until December 2021.

The Department of Sociology at the University of Canterbury requested the postponement in light of the likelihood of significant disruption in the coming months. There are a number of reasons that have led to the Executive making this decision:

  • Request from UC that we do so, given their necessary priority on their students and the possibility that teaching times may be extended into what is traditionally summer break. This would mean facilities are not available for conferences, and staff may be still involved in teaching and marking.
  • The reality that some universities have cancelled conference funding until the situation improves. This means that even if Canterbury organised the conference, attendance could be significantly curtailed due to other pressures across the nationwide university sector. 
  • The possibility or likelihood of ongoing risks of catching COVID-19 also limiting conference attendance.
  • The decision to postpone creates a point of certainty for us all in amongst the many other aspects of our work and study lives that are currently uncertain. 

Alternative postgraduate activities:

  • Discussions are underway amongst the SAANZ Student Representatives regarding an online event or events equivalent to the ‘SAANZ postgrad session’ traditionally held before the main conference. 
  • We are also considering possibilities for graduate SAANZ members to be able to present their work online in some form.

We remain committed to the annual round of prizes and awards, particularly in relation to graduate work. The annual Student Blog Competition will be announced in coming weeks and the Graduate Essay Prize will continue as usual later in the year. 

SAANZ is also taking this situation as an opportunity to revisit and reduce the ecological footprint of future SAANZ conferences. Suggestions welcome!

Keep well and wash your hands – and looking forward to seeing you all at SAANZ 2021!

Avril Bell
SAANZ President
On behalf of the SAANZ Executive