Message from the president

c/o Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 1936, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Registration No. A0040941M
ABN 66 972 302 862

Dear ANZSOC members,

ANZSOC events and activities in 2020

I am writing to you with a rather long update about how ANZSOC matters will proceed in 2020. I know many people are struggling right now with the challenges of this global pandemic. Those of us lucky enough to be employed are struggling nonetheless with working from home in new ways, child care, elder care, and just getting through the tasks of daily life. Many of us have less secure employment and face an uncertain employment future, which provides an additional burden of stress. There are undoubtedly many other struggles people are facing that I could not begin to understand.

In the context of this, it seems somewhat trivial that I am writing to you about ANZSOC matters. I do so based on the belief that while we’re facing all these challenges, ANZSOC can play some small role in continuing to bring criminological scholars together. I believe that while this is a time for physical distancing, we should work to overcome social distancing. At times of great turmoil in society, our contributions to understanding and providing solutions to social problems that arise, are more important than ever. I write with proposals of how we can plan to overcome social distancing in these times of physical distancing.

2020 ANZSOC conference cancelled
I have some disappointing but unsurprising news; the annual conference for ANZSOC 2020 at the Gold Coast has been cancelled. The local organising committee and professional conference organisers will be contacting people soon about arrangements in this regard. While we are hopeful the world will have returned to some new form of normal by December, it is not reasonable to expect people to prepare for a conference (abstracts, travel plans, etc) in the context of a global pandemic.

2021 ANZSOC conference
The criminology group at Griffith University have committed to hosting an ANZSOC conference at the Gold Coast in 2021 at a similar time (early December 2021) but the format that conference will take will be reconsidered later this year by the Local Organising Committee, in consultation with the ANZSOC Committee of Management. It may be that the event needs to be scaled back or reformulated in some way to take into consideration the capacity of universities and other employers to support participation at the conference. These decisions will be communicated to you in December this year.2020 for ANZSOC members?

So what does this mean for the rest of the year for ANZSOC members? Well one thing is for sure, those of us who are privileged enough to retain our employment through these troubled times are becoming very proficient at digital communication in ways we might not have otherwise done. Teaching online, staff meetings, student supervision meetings, research collaborations, to name a few; they’re all happening online. My suggestion is that we take these new skills and use them to continue our ANZSOC activities in reimagined ways.

ANZSOC awards in 2020
We will be continuing to administer ANZSOC awards in 2020 because in these times more than ever before, we need to celebrate the great work being done by our members. So be sure to nominate your colleagues (or yourself!) for our awards. Check them out here:

I will be working with the Committee of Management to work out ways of delivering these awards at local events in the location of the recipient in early December (when awards are usually announced). Given there is no conference to attend we can consider diverting the awarded travel funds usually used to attend the conference to the hosting of a local award event. Nothing is set in stone at this stage. This will all need to be considered at a later date when we have a better understanding of what conditions are like in December. But we will present awards in 2020 so get nominating!

Social Sciences Week in 2020
Social Sciences Week 2020 is going ahead because we (the collective presidents of social science societies and associations) believed that we need the social sciences perhaps now and in coming months, more than ever. Social Sciences Week will be held in the week of 7th September 2020. We will need to collectively reimagine what our events will look like and there may be the need for a great deal many more digital events. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it will give a wider reach and access to those events. It may also be the case that by September we can all come back together physically and therefore host events in the usual manner. Support from ANZSOC can be accessed through the local events support scheme and instead of catering or travel costs, perhaps the funding can be put towards professional recording or editing.

ANZSOC Local Events in 2020
Our local event scheme has traditionally been used to bring people together in local areas to focus on a particular lecture, seminar series, or research collaboration. As with everything else that we are doing, this will need to be reimagined in the short to medium term. But as usual, you can apply for ANZSOC support for these reimagined events. Again, perhaps the funding can be put towards professional recording or editing. View the Local Events Support Scheme page for more information.

Postgraduate Week in 2020
At the planning day and postgraduate and ECR conference last year, we decided the first week of June in 2020 would be Postgraduate Week. We will proceed with this and welcome applications from postgraduate groups (with the support and guidance from an academic mentor) to apply for support from ANZSOC. More information in this regard will be distributed soon.

Thematic Groups
We have a number of strong Thematic Groups already formed and a range of planned activities underway. I am hopeful that our Thematic Groups will continue to grow in 2020 and will be a key way for ANZSOC members to come together (using digital means or perhaps face-to-face later in the year) in the absence of our annual conference. If you wish to join existing group or establish your own, please click here for further information.

We will continue to be in touch over the coming weeks and months. If you have any questions about any of these matters, please do get in touch. Wishing all of you the very best in these troubled times.

Tara Renae McGee
ANZSOC President