A new campaign for accessible conferences fees

Do you think conference fees are too high? Lots of people do (including the editor of this site). Sign a petition here to show your support. You can find out more about the campaign and the issues it’s addressing here:

And yet, our universities and our academic events (including conferences) keep ignoring this reality. It’s time for conference organizers and, more generally, our departments and universities to acknowledge the existing variability in job conditions, and stop ignoring it. Adjuncts and lecturers, and (perhaps to a lesser extend) also postdocs, are generally outside the domain of most, if not all funding opportunities, in spite of constituting an important part of our universities and carrying an important burden of each department’s teaching load. They are neither students, nor real faculty members. They are at the margins. Creating a third category for conference registration is just one step, but an important one, towards recognizing the conditions of scholars who are struggling to be part of the research community, in spite of their uncool job titles and their job instability.


This is an important attempt to create the expectation that the pricing of events be done in a way that makes them accessible. Obviously it’s difficult to organise events but, if it’s really not possible to organise a conference in a way that fundamentally excludes a large (and growing) section of the academic workforce then we need to rethink what exactly we mean by a ‘conference’ and the purposes that it serves.

Categories: Higher Education

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2 replies »

  1. Have any anthropologists figured out the purpose of conferences? I’ve been to quite a few, because everyone said it was the thing to do, and I’m still puzzled. Why spend all that money on planes and hotels just to listen to people read papers out loud, as if we were all children who need to have our bedtime stories read to us because we can’t read them ourselves? Sure, it’s nice to catch up with friends, but couldn’t we just skip the conference and go on holiday together, probably to someplace much nicer?

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