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President’s Column

Posted By Claes de Vreese (U of Amsterdam), Monday, July 6, 2020

Our #ica20 conference was a unique experience. As the 70th conference of the ICA, it will go down in our Association’s history as the first online conference. COVID-19 dictated this change and the shift from our physical conference planned for the Gold Coast of Australia to the online environment was executed in just a few weeks. 


Many people have asked how the conference went. My standard answer is that I believe it “went as well as it could, under the circumstances we were all in.” In addition to great presentations, a few things stood out to me. Substantively, the conference theme #opencomm really came to life. Theme program chair Eike Rinke (Leeds U) had composed a wonderful and diverse program on this topic. Many of the theme presentations and the opening plenary, also devoted to Open Communication, are available on the ICA YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLfQ-LCjJMfiFCOEG7e6hkA/playlists. We look so much forward to continuing the conversations on this topic in the ICA. 


Other conference related highlights include the generous contributions of institutions, divisions, interest groups, and members to our Hardship Fund. With this we have been able to help individuals who were stuck with non-refundable conference costs. The conference also showed the community sense of ICA. The #ICAMentors hashtag evolved over the conference and many early stage researchers had conversations online with (senior) colleagues about their work, careers, and the current challenge we are in. Finally, one more ‘thank you’ is due to Laura Sawyer and the entire headquarters crew who worked 24/7 to pull this conference off. Thanks!


The ICA board meeting preceding the conference yielded a long list of outcomes which will be addressed in other newsletter entries and initiatives as we move forward. Just a few: 

  • the Computational Methods Interest Group met all requirements and is now a formal division. Congratulations! 

  • The Board voted to transition JCMC to a full open access journal and 

  • Approved increasing the opportunities for open scholarship acknowledgement in the ICA journals. More on that soon. 

  • The Board also agreed, in light of the global pandemic acting as a stressor on many workloads, to the proposal to keep all committees in the current composition for one more year to create continuity and to leverage current experience in a unique time. 

  • We also voted to transition both the Professional Standards Task Force and the IDEA Task Force to standing committees. Relatedly, in the aftermath of the conference we issued a joint statement as Executive Committee with IDEA in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  


Meanwhile, ICA President-Elect Mary Beth Oliver (Pennsylvania State U) and her theme group are rolling out the theme for the 2021 conference in this issue. This is a fantastic theme, timely and important. In the next months, we have much work to do as we consider how to organize the 2021 conference and beyond in times where the pandemic is still around, air travel and meetings potentially restricted, and economic hardship for many scholars and universities likely to increase.  As we embrace these challenges, I am so pleased to know what a strong community ICA is.


Claes de Vreese

ICA President


Tags:  June-July 2020 

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