2020 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences to Be Moved Online in Midst of COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Ottawa, ON – March 19, 2020 – The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and Western University announced today that in light of COVID-19, there will not be an in-person Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in London, Ontario in 2020. Instead, a proposal is being developed to move Congress online, in close collaboration with the Federation’s member associations who wish to participate.

The online Congress 2020 will continue to encourage multidisciplinary engagement through association programming and open events, all under the 2020 theme Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism, which remains a strong focus.

Seventy-one associations, and 8,000 researchers, graduate students, policy-makers and practitioners were to gather on Western University’s campus between May 30 and June 5, 2020 to present a full week of public lectures, workshops, panels, cultural events and receptions. However, in recent weeks, it became apparent that a traditional, in-person Congress was no longer possible this year.

“Our number one priority is the protection of public health and the safety of all Congress participants,” said Patrizia Albanese, Chair of the Federation Board of Directors. “By hosting a virtual Congress, we can help ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19, and give our members other opportunities to connect and to disseminate their research.”

The Federation will be working closely with participating scholarly associations to determine the best online option, and ensure that they are equipped to successfully host their conference via a virtual platform.

"While a gathering on Western's campus would have been the preferred forum for the programming we have been developing for many months, the current public health crisis makes it impossible this year,” said Jeff Tennant, Academic Convenor, Congress 2020. “It is our hope that a virtual Congress 2020 will serve as a starting point for the many conversations on this year’s theme within the humanities and social sciences community.”

For more information, please contact:

Camille Ferrier

Manager, Communications and Membership

Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

M. (613) 265-6993


Keith Marnoch

Director, Media & Community Relations

Western University

T. (519) 661-2111 ext. 85468


About Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Congress is the largest academic gathering in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. Now in its 89th year, Congress brings together approximately 70 academic associations that represent a rich spectrum of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including literature, history, theatre, film studies, education, music, sociology, geography, social work and many others.

About the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences promotes research and teaching for the advancement of an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society. With a membership now comprising over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 91,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. The Federation organizes Canada’s largest academic gathering, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than 8,000 participants each year. For more information about the Federation, visit www.ideas-idees.ca.

We recognize that our office is located on unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. We extend our respect to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples for their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

About Western University

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Western challenges the best and brightest faculty, staff and students to commit to the highest global standards. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world applications. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community. Since 1878, 'The Western Experience' has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities.

Western University acknowledges that its campus is situated on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron (Neutral) people, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and with the Dish with One Spoon Convenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous peoples who are recognized as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors to society.

Text reads: Congress in Conversation. Headshot of Nehal El-Hadi and Kshamta Hunter. Text reads: Part II with Kshamta Hunter.

Congress in Conversation - Part II with Kshamta Hunter

← Big Thinking Podcast homepage​​ Next episode → Introduction | About the guest | Kshamta Hunter's Research at Congress | Transcript | Follow us Introduction Welcome to Congress in Conversation, a special series presented by the Big Thinking Podcast...