We are in the midst of the Covid-19 global pandemic and the impacts are huge: from individual tragedies, to the collapse of organisations and unprecedented pressures on health and welfare systems of countries world-wide.
The sociological perspective is important at this time and you may have seen the conversation started by BSA President Susan Halford on our blog Everyday Society. I strongly urge members to add to the conversation by writing for Everyday Society. Sharing the way you see the crisis could be hugely valuable, to society but also to the future of sociology. Whether you are a sociologist of health, or work, or law, or financial institutions, or education, or disability, or religion, or race, we want to hear from you.
The BSA itself is, of course, not immune from the impact of Covid-19. The Association has taken a very significant financial hit as a result of the cancellation of the Annual Conference, while the fact that we’re unable to get together with colleagues in the usual manner is a source of deep disappointment for us all. We now also have greater clarity emerging on the expected impact of the transition of our journals to Open Access, and this will have a longer term impact that will also need to be carefully managed.
These unprecedented external impacts are affecting all of our sister organisations to varying degrees. They, like us, are now having to revisit strategies and budgets and consider how best to manage resources to sustain their position in these difficult times.
The BSA must also make savings and explore new ways to generate income to support the work that we do and, not least, our key mission to promote the wider project that is sociology. We have been taking steps to do this, focusing on areas where we might make savings while protecting our key functions. For example, we may need to replace more face-to-face meetings with virtual ones (perhaps not be a bad thing, thinking about environmental issues), and we may not be able to provide as much financial support for as many activities as we would like over the short term. We might also need to move more of our publications to online only, at least on a temporary basis, including perhaps our members’ magazine, Network.
The trustees and staff have had to make some hard decisions, and have a lot of difficult conversations ahead of them, but will all be doing their utmost to get us through this challenging period in as good shape as possible.
The various issues arising from the pandemic will evidently be the subject of an ongoing conversation with members over the coming months. On that point, and as noted above, we’d very much welcome members’ perspectives on the profound sociological issues surrounding current events and, indeed, input regarding any of the others issues affecting the BSA at this time.
Please email me at: Judith.Mudd@britsoc.org.uk with your thoughts.
Stay well and thank you!