The Organising Committee of the 4th European Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguists (IAFL Porto 2022) has just announced that, given the current COVID-19 pandemic, and upon consulting the Executive Committee of the IAFL, it has decided to postpone the European conference until 2022. Although Portugal is currently a safe place to be (the daily rate of new infections has been steadily well under 2%), the Organising Committee is aware that this is not the case everywhere and in order to get to the conference delegates will need to travel – which may be difficult in the coming months. In addition, although the lockdown has officially ended in Portugal, there are still restrictions on the number of people allowed per m2 in closed spaces and for how long this restriction will be in force is unknown. And neither is it possible to predict if things change for worse in the Autumn.
The Organising Committee considered two other alternatives, in particular: (1) hosting the conference online; (2) postponing the conference for a couple of months. The first option was immediately discarded, on the grounds that one of the best features of IAFL conferences is networking and that would be completely missed. Also, given time differences, attending the entire conference would be difficult in some parts of the world. The second alternative, which would allow the conference to be postponed until January or February, was given serious thought, but dropped on the grounds that no one can predict whether the state of affairs will be much different then.
Given that the 15th Biennial Conference of the IAFL will take place at Aston University in July 2021, the Organising Committee has decided to host the 4th European Conference of the IAFL in Porto in Spring 2022. The exact dates will be announced in due time.