The ongoing crisis is creating severe and unprecedented difficulties for most organisations. The BSA is far from being immune. We have had little option but to move next year’s 70th anniversary online due to continued risks to both members and the Association.

The BSA has taken a significant financial hit with the prospect of more to come. As a charity, we have a legal as well as moral obligation to protect the Association’s finances as well as its ongoing activities and services to members.

This year the staff and study groups put together a series of well-received online events. As 2021 is our 70th anniversary year, we want to plan something more substantial for the membership that goes beyond the basic webinar experience.

With 16 streams, 800-1,200 abstracts, 600-800 presentations, 15-20 exhibitors, plus keynote plenaries and stream plenaries, the BSA Annual Conference requires a lot of organisation and the complexity of the conference organisation is the same regardless of whether it is face-to-face or virtual.  The BSA trustees and staff have explored different specialist platforms that can support large-scale online events. This outlay together with admin costs means that the BSA has to set rates at a level that have a realistic prospect of covering our expenditure.

The original face-to-face conference cost was budgeted at around £158,000, while our budgeted costs for the virtual conference are about £90,000. Given this, we reduced the rates accordingly. These are the rates that were recently communicated to members. We would emphasise that we pitched these rates in good faith, based on past attendance and at a level aimed only at breaking even.

We have listened to the membership.  We have reflected on the fact many members are also under financial pressure at present, and we really want this forward-looking conference to be as inclusive as possible.

We have now decided to introduce significantly cheaper early bird rates and increased the number of free places available for next year. We are mindful that we may make a loss with this but have decided to take the risk with the aim of making the conference a success.

The revised early bird rates 2021 are:

  • £99* (full member)
  • £49* (concessionary member)
  • £199* (non-member)

*Anyone booking for the conference before the early bird deadline, 28 February 2021, will pay the lower rates. If you miss the early bird deadline, the rates will be £239 (non-member), £139 (full member), and £89 (concessionary member).

Free places 2021

We have more than doubled our free places to 70 to help members, in recognition of the fact that it is our 70th anniversary conference. These places will be for postgraduate members, early career researcher members, and members facing severe financial hardship including but not only unwaged members and those in the category B country membership band.

The Board of Trustees