38th FISAE Congress was postponed to 11-14 August 2021.
CORONAVIRUS – Like all other conference organisers, we are thrown into chaos by the present pandemic. We are now close to the point at which we accept that we cannot run the exlibris congress in August 2020, given that there may then still be government restrictions in force on travel and on meetings of people in large numbers. We are well aware that elderly participants will be very reluctant to attend in 2020 even if the worst of the pandemic is over. If August 2020 becomes impossible then an alternative to cancellation would be to roll forward all the bookings by exactly one year and to postpone the congress to 11-14 August 2021. It may be hoped that effective vaccines against Covid-19 will become available within the next 12 months and that things will be back to normal by mid-2021, but there is no guarantee of this. Caution is essential when faced with such a highly infective and deadly disease.
The committee of The Bookplate Society, meeting by Skype on 18 April 2020, has reviewed the situation, and has concluded that holding the congress in August 2020 is close to impossible. The final decision will be confirmed on 1 June 2020.
Whereas the Group Bookings Department of Imperial Hotels has been helpful in putting forward proposals for bedrooms in 2021, the separately-run Meetings Department has been repeatedly refusing to accept cancellation of the meeting hall booking, for which we had paid a “non-refundable” deposit of £4,500 out of congress fees. They declined to refund this deposit because they insisted that the Royal National Hotel would reopen on 1 August 2020. We can now report that the hotel has on 18 May finally agreed to refund all monies. We expect repayment no later than the end of May.
INFORMATION ABOUT REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN ON A NEW WEBPAGE IN JUNE.
PLEASE BE PATIENT.
Meanwhile, given the present changing circumstances, the 2020 Exlibris competition deadline is extended to 31 May 2020. The jury will accept entries up to that date. If the Congress is moved to 2021, you may expect the competition deadline to move to a new date early in 2021.