COVID-19 and the Regional Studies Association community
We are all facing great uncertainty at the present time as we adapt to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities and regions are now very different places across most parts of the world. Those of us studying, researching and analysing urban and regional change will never have seen such dramatic conditions in our lives. More importantly, the impact on society causes us all to be concerned about how to deal with current circumstances, and how to face an uncertain future.
Governments, businesses and universities are all having to deal with very difficult situations. There is much we can all do during these times. I know that researchers across the globe are making huge efforts to contribute to scientific and medical advances to combat the disease. But there are also many people finding themselves taking on new and intense responsibilities at home, caring for loved ones, devoting time to look after vulnerable people in the community, while trying to balance their professional commitments working from home.
There is a set of clear challenges emerging for individuals, and for organisations such as learned societies. As well as supporting research and knowledge efforts to understand and assess the implications of the pandemic, the Regional Studies Association is ensuring that our own professional staff are receiving support to ensure their health and wellbeing. We are also holding regular meetings virtually with colleagues around the world, to ensure that the research facilitation work can progress despite the difficulties people are facing. And we are now looking at more ways we can help the research community, by organising virtual conferences and webinars, and creating research grants that support people’s ideas; afterall, it is people who are the lifeblood of research.
During 2020, the RSA will try to take quick decisions, identify new supportive initiatives, and offer research findings and policy advice to national and city governments. In doing this, we will work across disciplines and sectors. We remain ‘open’ and the RSA family of journals will still be published. Expect to receive regular updates and communications from us and, in turn, we will endeavour to respond to any enquiries you may have.
Please stay safe.
Professor Mark Tewdwr-Jones
Chair, RSA Board