Last spring when we had to cancel SCI 2020 because of the building COVID-19 crisis, we had high hopes that things would be returning to normal by now, and that we could proceed with planning for a return in 2021.
With sadness, we must announce that SCI will continue its hiatus in 2021, with the intention of returning in 2022. While we are optimistic about the rollout of vaccines, there are still so many unknowns, including when travel restrictions will be lifted and when people will feel safe gathering in person and interacting in groups again. To successfully run a program like TriangleSCI requires making a lot of financial and logistical commitments many months in advance, and at this time it’s difficult to have confidence that the program could proceed as planned later this year.
We explored a number of alternative formats that might allow us to run the program around pandemic constraints, but ultimately all of the other options seemed like they would result in a much-diminished experience, each in its own way, since so much of what makes SCI special is the international diversity of participants and intensive in-person and cross-pollinating interaction both in program and social settings – the cumulative building of a community over 5 days of intensive engagement within and across teams.
Finally, comments like this, from one of our advisory board members, made it clear that we should wait until better times, when we could be sure that we could offer this program more equitably:
“In addition to the practical problems involving travel, meeting with masks on, or all-day Zoom sessions, there’s simply a lack of emotional and cognitive bandwidth right now for so many people. If one of our goals continues to be fostering diverse teams and perspectives, we should keep in mind that participating in SCI 2021 may not be a priority for scholars or communities disproportionately being impacted by the pandemic right now. I worry that any event we hold in 2021 would privilege a small group of scholars relatively insulated from the effects of the pandemic, rather than benefiting the broader scholarly community.”
While we won’t be offering this program in 2021, please do keep TriangleSCI in mind as you plan for 2022. We’ll post another announcement here when planning for SCI 2022 has begun, and hope you will submit a proposal and plan to join us for a joyous restart as soon as we can!
[ Photo by Forest Simon used under Unsplash free license. ]