The Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference
Well, it has been quite a year—or more accurately, a year and a half! We hope that you are safe, healthy, and enjoying the summer of 2021.
The SCMS Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that we will be holding a four-day in-person conference at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park and the Swissôtel, from March 31 – April 3rd, 2022. We will also host a two-day virtual pre-conference from February 25-26, 2022 for events that include Caucus, SIG, and Committee meetings; the Members Business Meeting; the Institutional Chairs Meeting; Mentorship sessions; Seminars; and Special Events. The virtual pre-conference will be included as a benefit of society membership this year, so all members can participate in this event—including Seminars—regardless of in-person conference registration or attendance.
Why has the board taken this course of action? After much consideration, consultation, and close monitoring of health and hospitality regulations (in Chicago and across the globe), the SCMS board anticipates our in-person conference to safely resume in Spring 2022. Many of you have expressed your wish to gather together— IRL, not Zoom—to discuss/debate cinema and media studies while seeing friends and meeting new colleagues. In fact, around 80% of the 975 members (thank you!) who responded to our recent SCMS survey said they strongly preferred attending a live meeting in Chicago. Returning to Chicago also fulfills obligations to our conference hotel. SCMS has renegotiated its 2021 agreement with the Fairmont to avoid an enormous financial penalty for the cancelation by rescheduling with the hotel for 2022, which enabled us to focus on hosting a virtual meeting in 2021.
Nonetheless, the 2022 conference will be different. SCMS is following CDC guidelines and monitoring the changing virus landscape across the globe. We recognize that vaccinations may not yet be accessible to all of our members and understand that the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges/limits of international travel and university budgets. For these reasons, the board will announce any Covid-related policies or restrictions closer to the conference. As of now, however, anyone aiming to deliver a paper or participate in a workshop or roundtable presentation should plan to come to Chicago.