University of Alberta to Host Canada’s Largest Academic Gathering in 2021

January 24, 2020

Ottawa, ON, January 24, 2020 – The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce that the University of Alberta, located in Edmonton, has been selected as the host of the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

From May 29 to June 4, 2021, the Federation, the University of Alberta, and more than 70 scholarly associations and partners representing over 8,000 researchers, graduate students, policy-makers and practitioners will present a full week of public lectures, workshops, panels, cultural events and receptions. From environmental studies, Canadian politics, and sociology to education, literature studies and history, Congress represents a unique showcase of scholarly excellence, creativity, and leadership. 

"We are excited to partner with the University of Alberta and bring the largest gathering of scholars in Canada to the beautiful city of Edmonton," said Patrizia Albanese, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. "Congress creates a unique space where people from across Canada – and beyond – come together, share ideas, collaborate and contribute to shaping our future. We cannot wait to welcome our diverse scholarly community here next year for what we know will be a memorable Congress."

Congress 2021’s theme, Northern Relations, will encourage delegates to explore the connections between peoples, communities, cultures, and ways of knowing, while also listening to those voices that speak directly to some of the most pressing issues in the North: reconciliation, governance, social justice, climate change, reciprocity, education and much more.

“Congress 2021 is an incredible opportunity for the U of A to convene leading thinkers and the public to address together some of the most pressing challenges facing our local, national and global communities," said David Turpin, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Alberta.

Congress 2021 represents an estimated $16 million economic boost to the Edmonton region and hundreds of work-integrated learning opportunities for students. Congress also features Canada’s largest academic trade show, Expo.

"The Edmonton area has long been a place for communities to gather, to share ideas, and to explore innovative solutions to many of the world’s pressing problems,” said City of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “Congress 2021 at the U of A will serve as a continuation of that tradition."  

The University of Alberta last hosted Congress in 2000.


For more information, please contact:

Camille Ferrier

Manager, Communications and Membership

Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

M. (613) 265-6993

Bev Betkowski

Communications Associate

University of Alberta

T. (780) 492-3808

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 90th 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 The Federation office is located on the traditional, unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa.

About the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Home to more than 40,000 students and 15,000 faculty and staff, the university has an annual budget of $1.9 billion and attracts more than $500 million in sponsored research revenue. The U of A offers close to 900 rigorous undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in 18 faculties on five campuses—including one rural and one francophone campus. The university has more than 275,000 alumni worldwide. The University of Alberta acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada, whose presence continues to enrich our vibrant community.

Congress 2021 logo concept

The Congress 2021 logo concept idea stems from its theme Northern Relations. The ribbons of light are representative of Northern lights, but also suggest sound waves, a symphony of voices, perspectives, ideas, communities and cultures coming together in harmony. The dots within the light ribbons suggest stars and constellations. Bears, a common University of Alberta symbol, are the other main feature of the logo. The bear cub follows in the footsteps of its mother; they are moving together in the same direction, communicating the concept of leading by example and being aware of the generational impact of our actions.

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...