The International Committee of the EAUH and the local organizing committee of the Antwerp Conference have sadly come to the conclusion that organizing the Antwerp Conference in the beginning of September this year would under current corona circumstances constitute too great a risk. The current situation of the pandemic in Europe and beyond is still very much unclear, the pace of the vaccination programmes are uneven, adding to the inequalities worldwide, and it is not clear if the corona measures of the Belgian government and of the University of Antwerp itself will be completely lifted by that time. Many of the mass events (and our conference is ranked as such an event) organised in Belgium have either been cancelled or have been postponed until late September. Because of logistical reasons and the limited capacity of the conference rooms we cannot adapt to any of the social distancing requirements, and the conference can therefore only be organised if all containing measures are lifted.
For all these reasons the International Committee has decided to postpone once again the 15th EAUH Conference with one year, to Wednesday 31 August – Saturday 3 September 2022, to be held as scheduled at the University of Antwerp. Because of the Committee’s earlier decision to hold the 16th Conference only in 2024, we will return in this way to the normal two year rhythm.
This decision has, of course, consequences for the organisation of the Conference. So we would like to ask all delegates, paper presenters and session organisers to carefully read the instructions that are posted on the Conference Website. Because the International Committee is concerned that in particular young scholars will be missing an opportunity to present their research. Many of them will move on to new subjects and new horizons, we also want to suggest an alternative forum for discussion under the auspices of the EAUH. We will rely on the enthusiasm of the session organisers to organise this. They share undoubtedly also our concerns for in particular young scholars. So we would encourage them to arrange preliminary meetings, preferably around the time the conference had to take place early September 2021. Moreover EAUH and the Antwerp Centre for urban History will also organise an online event about the future of Urban History on 1 September 2021 open to all. This moment of reflection will be followed by the general meeting of the Association, open only to members. We will keep you informed on both events and we will also gladly provide a platform for announcing the online sessions session organisers might want to programme.
Despite the difficult circumstances, the International Committee and the local organizing committee wish you all good health and we all hope to see you at the next real conference in Antwerp in 2022, when hopefully better times will have arrived.