APSA President's Update - COVID-19 Response

25 March, 2020

Dear APSA members,

There is no doubt that COVID-19 and the government and university responses to it are affecting all members of the Australian Political Studies Association, as well as the broader political studies community across the world.  Members of the APSA Executive Committee are doing our best to respond to the situation in ways that will continue to promote the Association’s goals and offer the best support we can to Australian political studies scholars.

A major part of APSA’s life is the Annual Conference.  The call for papers for the 2020 APSA Conference, to be hosted at Macquarie University, is currently open until 4 May 2020.  The Organising Committee at Macquarie University is asking members and others who wish to submit abstracts to do so but not to register for the Conference, or book flights or accommodation, at this stage.  People interested in attending the Conference without presenting a paper should also not register or book flights or accommodation at this stage.  Regular updates about the Conference will be posted on the APSA website and emailed to members.

Members of the APSA Executive Committee and the Organising Committee at Macquarie University have been discussing measures that we will take in the event that we are forced to cancel this year’s Conference.  In particular, we are thinking through possible alternative ways in which our postgraduate student members can present papers and receive feedback, should the Conference have to be cancelled.

We are hopeful that the four workshops sponsored by APSA for 2020 will be able to proceed at a future point, even if it is not possible to hold them at the times for which they were originally planned.

APSA has a number of committees and specialist groups, which provide opportunities for online interaction via Facebook and/or Twitter.  With physical travel and interactions between colleagues currently difficult if not impossible, I encourage members to take up the opportunities for online connection provided by these committees and groups .

APSA Vice-President Helen Sullivan recently reported that our members will once again have the opportunity to initiate activities for Social Sciences Week (SSW), which will run from 7-13 September this year (see www.socialsciencesweek.org.au).  Most of the SSW events are likely to run virtually in 2020.  If circumstances change, physical events and activities may also be possible.  One theme for SSW 2020 will be “The social sciences in times of crisis”, which ought to provoke plenty of responses.  More details will follow shortly.

If you have any news to share with other members (new books, grants, appointments, awards etc.), send it to the APSA Newsletter Editors at australianpsanewsletter@gmail.com. Alternatively, you can send it to Narelle.Miragliotta@monash.edu or d.mcdonnell@griffith.edu.au.  You can also follow and contribute to ‘APSA Australia’ (@auspsa) on Twitter.

Despite the limitations imposed by the current period, there are ways you can connect with other APSA members and make use of APSA’s resources.  If you have any ideas about how APSA can better support members during the COVID-19 crisis, please email them to me (rodney.smith@sydney.edu.au) or to the Lei Yu at the APSA national office (Arts-ssps-apsa@unimelb.edu.au).

Keep well and stay in touch.

All the best,


Professor Rodney Smith

President of the Australian Political Studies Association

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