Dear SCMS Members,
We hope that you are safe, healthy and finding some peace at this stressful time.
The SCMS Board of Directors is writing to share the plans for the 2021 SCMS Annual Conference. After the unfortunate, but necessary, cancellation of the 2020 conference in Denver, we hoped to be able to gather together in person in Chicago in 2021. However, with the ongoing uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears unlikely that it will be safe to gather together in large numbers, in person, by March. In addition, continuing concerns about health and safety may make it difficult for many of us to commit to an in-person conference—especially now, as many of us face job loss, economic pressures, university spending freezes, uncertain travel and research funding, and more.
In light of these constraints and concerns, the Board has elected to hold the 2021 SCMS conference virtually. We did not reach this conclusion lightly. In making the determination that this was the best way forward we consulted the Spring member survey results, examined the costs of cancelling our hotel contract from every possible angle, considered postponement, and looked at a variety of hybrid options. After careful deliberation, we felt it best to make a decision now and to hold the conference fully online. While this decision is partly influenced by the financial uncertainty SCMS continues to face as a result of the 2020 cancellation, our primary rationale was to alleviate uncertainty and provide members with as much clarity as possible, now. We also thought it would serve the profession better to move from an in-person conference in Chicago to a virtual format that is accessible everywhere in light of continuing travel restrictions faced by our international membership.
By making this decision now, we can better plan and provide an online experience that captures the benefits and, we hope, pleasures of our in-person conference, including opportunities for sharing research, meeting editors, networking, seeing friends, and engaging in lively and productive conversations. The online format will preserve the opportunities for established scholars, new scholars, and students to showcase their research and gain invaluable feedback.
There are many moving parts to this decision, and we have created an FAQ page that will be regularly updated to share what we know and address concerns or questions you may have about how the conference—and all its community components—will work. We appreciate your patience and support as we gather information and update the FAQs.
The Board understands this news may be disappointing many of you. However, we plan to use this unusual circumstance to be nimble, inventive, and to collectively reimagine the conference in exciting and heretofore impossible ways. In this spirit, please remember that you will not be required to join or renew your membership before submitting a 2021 conference proposal. The 2021 Conference Submission Portal will open Monday, August 3 at 8:00am CT.
On behalf of the Officers and Members of the Board, we look forward to seeing you in spring 2021, on screen, where film and media scholars always live! And we hope to see you in person in 2022.
Paula J. Massood, President
Professor, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Priscilla Peña Ovalle, President-Elect
Associate Professor, University of Oregon
Pamela Wojcik, Past President
Professor, University of Notre Dame
Hollis Griffin, Secretary
Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Alisa Perren, Treasurer
Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Nottingham
College of Staten Island, CUNY
Rebecca Gordon, Precarious Labor Rep
Alfred L. Martin, Jr.
University of Iowa
Cara Dickason, GSO Representative
Caetlin Benson-Allott, JCMS: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Editor
Leslie LeMond, Director of Conferences and Events
Man Fung Yip, OU Film and Media Studies, Director
University of Oklahoma