In view of the latest advice from the government and in line with action being taken by other organisations, such as ARA (Archives and Records Association) and the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University, CAS Council has reluctantly decided to cancel the annual conference, which was due to take place at High Leigh, 18 – 20 May 2020. Anyone who has already applied will receive a full refund.
We have been monitoring the developing situation and have been in close touch with the conference centre at High Leigh over the past weeks and this now seems to us to be the best, indeed the only, course of action in the light of current advice and the best way to safeguard our members. The society stands to lose in the region of £4,000 by this action but there is no immediate alternative. Even if we were to go ahead which, in the end, might not be possible, the restrictions on movement and the advice to older members of the community to self-isolate would probably mean few people would attend and it would not be possible to present the sort of conference members have come to expect.
It is possible that we might be able to arrange with High Leigh to re-schedule the conference for a date later in the year, maybe September or October although, at the moment, we have no way of knowing if the present crisis will have passed by then. Financially, we might recoup some money if we did this, but only if there was a good attendance. Finding a date convenient to all, at relatively short notice, could be difficult, and people might be reluctant to come for a variety of reasons. A good attendance in the autumn could impact on attendance at the May 2021 conference, which is already booked. It would be very helpful if you can let me know if you would be interested in a conference in autumn 2020 and another in May 2021 or if you think we should cancel the 2020 conference. Would a day conference in the autumn be of interest?
We will let you know as soon as possible what is decided and continue to provide you with CAS publications as they become available.
Please do get in touch with me with any comments and suggestions.
I wish you all well during these difficult few months and pray the Lord will bless and protect us all.
Judith Smeaton, CAS chair