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Annual Meeting 2021 - Manchester, UK: Overview

Number: 65th Annual Meeting
Year: 2021
Location: Manchester, UK
Hosted By: University of Manchester, UK
Organised By: Organising committee chaired by Dr Robert Sansom
General Contact Email:


The 65th annual meeting of the Palaeontological Association will take place at the University of Manchester from 18th to 20th December 2021. We are currently aiming to welcome delegates to an in-person meeting at the University of Manchester, with enhanced online access to allow remote participation where possible. The current global situation is highly changeable: we will keep members up to date through this webpage.  As soon as we are able to share more details. The organizing committee is chaired by Robert Sansom, with help from Russell Garwood and other members of Manchester’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life (ICAL) and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Outline conference programme

The hosting committee are keen to welcome delegates to a safe in-person meeting with its concomitant benefits, whilst maintaining and enhancing the internationalism and diversity of the annual meeting during pandemic times. We aim to hold in-person scientific sessions at the Oxford Road campus of the University of Manchester, and stream/share oral and poster presentations for virtual delegates who are unable to attend in person. As normal, we will be inviting abstract submissions for oral and poster presentations from participants irrespective of geographic location. Those participants that know, or expect, they will be unable to attend in person because of travel, health, or mobility restrictions will be able to submit abstracts. If accepted, they will be invited to submit pre-recorded talks in advance of the meeting, and asked to attend a live virtual session for Q&A after their talks. Oral sessions during the meeting will therefore be a mix of predominantly live, in-person presentations and some pre-recorded presentations, presented to both the in-person and virtual audience.

Workshops and symposium

The meeting will begin with several workshops during the morning of Saturday 18th. Current proposals include de-colonising palaeontology, public engagement, and potentially training in tomography and visualization. The meeting will continue in the afternoon with a special thematic symposium ‘The Problem of Problematica: pushing the limits of the fossil record’. There will be talks from six international invited speakers addressing a broad range of topics, including geological, biological, ecological and taphonomic approaches to resolving the affinity and evolution of problematic fossil taxa, with important case studies from geological history. 

Registration and booking

Registration, booking and abstract submission will commence in July 2021. Abstract submission will close in September (date to be confirmed) and abstracts submitted after the closing date will not be considered. Registration after that date will incur an additional administration charge, with the final deadline for registration in November 2021. Registration and bookings for in-person events will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Virtual delegates will also be required to register to access the remote content. 

The city of Manchester

Manchester is a large city with an historic industrial past, currently undergoing an energetic period of growth and regeneration. There is a long history of engineering and science innovation at the university, from Ernest Rutherford’s work in physics, Alan Turing’s pioneering approaches in computing, and Kathleen Drew-Baker’s work on botany and marine aquaculture. Evidence of Manchester’s industrial, political, cultural and sporting heritage can be found all over the city centre and its museums, alongside modern architecture and vibrant nightlife. Close to the university campus is Manchester’s famous gay village, historic music venues, the curry mile, and a wide range of pubs and restaurants.

During December, Manchester city centre is usually taken over by the massive Christmas markets with 300 stalls centered on Albert Square. Your local hosts can frequently be found there in December, and we encourage in-person attendees of the annual meeting to make a visit and enjoy some mulled wine with colleagues.

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