Dear friends,

We hope this message finds you safe and well.

We are writing to update you on the European Group 2020 conference. Due to current global events regarding Covid-19, we will be suspending the annual conference. It is presently due to be held in September in Torino, Italy. Given the unclear trajectory of this pandemic, we aim at this point to suspend all associated work on the conference until June, where we will re-evaluate with the objective of holding it in Torino in the week commencing 14th December 2020.

Whilst the trajectory of this current crisis in unpredictable and may be resolved by September, we have taken this decision to ensure that our friends organising in Italy are enabled to focus their energies on the wellbeing of themselves and their families and friends – something we should all prioritise at this juncture. As such, no further work or focus on conference organising should be undertaken within this next three-month period. This includes the submission of abstracts to organisers and working group co-ordinators, which will also now be suspended until June. If we are able to go ahead, we will reissue a call for papers then.

We will revisit the objective of holding the conference when we reconvene conference discussions in June. If the situation has not vastly improved and travel restrictions or the potential for impacts on health remain, then we will issue a cancellation. We are also aware that the reality of financial support may be affected, and will monitor this also. However, we are clear that this is a time for friendship and collaboration as well as critical reflection: central aspects of our conferences. As such, a suspension seems a way to ensure the potential for these networks to continue were the pandemic to resolve. Moreover, as some states are moving toward punitive means to control the spread, and others are reducing support for migrant and other socially disenfranchised groups, this seems an important time to keep a handle on critical discussions around social control – the core ethos of our group.

We send best wishes to all, and all our thanks to our friends who have been working on conference organisation in Italy and in the Working Groups. This work has been invaluable, and much appreciated during these increasingly difficult times.

In hope and solidarity,

Vicky, Dani and Katja.