It is with great sadness that the Scottish Society for Northern Studies (SSNS), the North of Scotland Archaeological Society (NoSAS) and the Pictish Arts Society (PAS) must announce that our joint conference in Inverness on 9 May 2020 to mark the unveiling of the recently discovered Conan Stone has been postponed. This includes the associated field trip on 10 May, as well as all additional events associated with our joint presence in Inverness.
As we are sure you will appreciate, this difficult decision has been made after reviewing the developing situation both internationally and here in the United Kingdom. Our resolution follows weeks of close consultation between our respective association committees and the conference organisers, as well as recognising the obvious concern of some delegates.
Given the current concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak, the risks posed to travel and large gatherings, and our duty of care in relation to the health and welfare of SSNS/NoSAS/PAS members, all registered delegates, invited speakers and other parties involved in the delivery of these events, we have been left with no choice other than to postpone the event.
It is currently proposed that the rescheduled conference will take place in the spring of 2021, with details to be confirmed in January. We will advertise any new details widely via our usual channels.
We fully appreciate what this decision means for delegates who are looking forward to joining us in Inverness for our exciting programme, and we are especially disappointed that we will not be in a position to offer our highly popular field trip. We also recognise the financial implications to many of our registered delegates as a result of this postponement. In light of this, we are offering all delegates a 100% refund of the registration fee. We will be providing more guidance on how to reclaim registration fees shortly.
As members of SSNS, NoSAS or PAS, as well as enthusiastic supporters of the charitable heritage sector in Scotland in general, we are sure that you will be aware that events such as this conference only ever seek to break even and that any surplus tends to be modest. Although we have been fortunate to secure a venue free-of-charge, the organisers have incurred other costs in relation to other suppliers and the programmed speakers that we will honour, but which will lead to a deficit for the conference.
Therefore, given the unusual circumstances, if you feel able to make a donation of your registration fees – in part or in full – to the organisers, that would be most welcome and appreciated, enabling us to cover some unavoidable costs. Any surplus would be spent on educational initiatives relating to the Conan Stone and other public engagement initiatives relating to its installation at the museum in Dingwall, and other appropriate purposes within our respective charitable aims.
We would like to thank all our invited speakers for their generous cooperation, as well as John Borland (President of PAS) for his dedicated commitment to the preparation of this excellent programme. Thanks also to Highland Council for their kind offer of a venue.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this very challenging time and we hope to see you at an event organised by SSNS, NoSAS or PAS in brighter times.
Ian Giles, SSNS Treasurer
Roland Spencer-Jones, NoSAS Chair
John Borland, PAS President