EASA2020 logo16th EASA Biennial Conference
New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe
21-24 July 2020 in Lisbon
ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon and ICS-Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

COVID-19 and EASA2020

Update on 14 April

Until the Covid-19 emergency arrived, the EASA2020 conference scheduled to be held in Lisbon on July 20-24 was set to be one of the biggest events the Association had ever organized. Everyone involved - the Lisbon local organizing committee, EASA’s Scientific Committee and NomadIT, have worked tirelessly to ensure that EASA2020 Lisboa would be a truly outstanding celebration, marking 30 years of the Association. It was particularly important for EASA that the event was to be held in Portugal, in which EASA’s first conference was held thirty years ago, in Coimbra.

In addition to all the work of the organizers, planners and designers, there was also the work of all the participants: the panel organizers, the paper contributors, the network convenors, lab organizers and special events organizers. It has been an enormous undertaking.

And yet. As the tragedy of the Covid-19 emergency unfolded, the likelihood of being able to hold this conference as planned became smaller with every passing day. The current emergency is not only about the illness, but also the devastation that it is bringing in its wake: large scale unemployment, the beginnings of a severe recession in many countries, and the sheer disruption to everyone’s lives in social, economic and emotional terms. Even if the worst moments of the disease pass within a few months, the effects on everything else will continue for a long time.

So, we now know it will not be possible to hold the conference as planned. The EASA Executive consulted with both the Local Committee and NomadIT to work through all the possible solutions. The options were:

Decision: EASA2020 will go fully online with some small in-person events to be held in Lisbon during 2021

It has therefore been decided by the EASA Executive Committee, with the full support of the Lisbon Local Committee and NomadIT, that the EASA2020 Lisbon Conference will be held as an online event on the same dates as originally planned: 20-24 July 2020. Some additional small-scale events, working with EASA networks and the Lisbon local committee, will be held in Lisbon during the course of 2021.

If there was any way we could deliver the conference in Lisbon that we had planned, we would do so. We still strongly believe that conferences in which people meet in person are a crucial part of intellectual engagement (as anthropologists, we could hardly think otherwise). This is an exceptional solution to an exceptional situation.

To carry out an online conference will be a new and somewhat daunting undertaking for the organizers and planners. We will not attempt to copy or replace a physical conference, for that is not possible. Instead, we will work to make the best use of the capacities of digital technologies in order to deliver a different kind of conference experience that will provide a collective space for both intellectual and social engagement. NomadIT, the conference organisers, will be in contact with all panelists in the week ahead to discuss participation, the proposed platform and format(s), etc.

Looking on the positive side of this difficult situation

Given the exceptional conditions that have led us to make this decision, there are a few positive aspects:

This will be a unique 30-year anniversary, and not the one we were planning. But we are going to try to make it as good an experience as we possibly can. We warmly hope that you will join us.

Sarah Green, President of EASA
On behalf of the EASA Executive


Any queries with the above please email conference(at)easaonline.org.