Updates on the Cancellation of the 2020 PCA Conference 

April 30, 2020

The refund portal is now closed. For questions about refunds, contact Lynn Bartholome, Executive Director, at execdir@pcaaca.org after May 31, 2020. 


April 20, 2020



April 14, 2020

Hi Everyone-

Since we modified our registration system and set up a refund procedure with our credit card processor at the beginning of April, we have  processed about one-third of the more than 2000 refunds that have been requested.  Although it is a very slow, manual process, we expect to complete the majority of requests by our target date of May 31.  Thank you for your patience as we work through this arduous task. Please remember that membership fees are non-refundable.


April 6, 2020

Thank you for your understanding as we process refund requests. Since the PCA is not like a retail business, our website is not set up to easily handle over 2000 refunds. It has taken two weeks to create a procedure to process these refunds and enable our system to link up with our credit card processor. Since refunds must be processed manually, we are proceeding as quickly as we are able. We have just two, very overwhelmed staff members working on this task. We are striving to get these funds to you as expeditiously as possible; when we stop to respond to individual refund inquiries, it slows the process down tremendously. Thank you to all of our members who have been extremely patient during this stressful time.

We appreciate you.

Please stay safe and healthy.

Best always,




March 22, 2022

Hello Everyone–

I hope you are well and adjusting to a very new normal.

I hope to start processing refunds by Wednesday.  I am still waiting for a confirmation that funds have been transferred.

I am requesting that everyone submit no more than one cancellation form–if you submit more than one form, your refund/deferment/ donation will be delayed.

Look for future refund updates here.  We plan an update once a week.

Stay safe,



March 20, 2020

To: Awardees of Schoenecke, Rollins, Marsden, Calhoun-French, and Bratzel Travel Grants to the 2020 Conference and the Fishwick Travel to Collections Grants 

From: PCA Endowment Committee

As I am sure you are aware, it proved necessary to cancel our PCA Philadelphia Conference in April due to the very serious COVID-19 pandemic .

We will not be awarding these travel grants for the 2020 conference. However, if you choose to defer your conference registration and submit the same presentation you were going to give this year to the 2021 conference in Boston, your awarded travel grant will follow you to the Boston PCA Conference. You may need to submit your topic again to the area chair, but you will receive priority status. 

The Fishwick Grants will be distributed as planned, since they are specifically awarded for travel to research collections and are not related to attendance at the 2020 Conference.

We thank you for your understanding, and sincerely hope you stay well. We look forward to seeing everyone in Boston in 2021.

Best wishes,

Michael Marsden, Chair

PCA Endowment Committee


March 20, 2020

Hi Everyone-

We should begin issuing refunds at the beginning of next week, as soon as we get confirmation that the necessary funds have been received by our credit card processor.  Please remember that due to the sheer volume of requests, we will not respond to emails about individual refunds until after May 31.  We  sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding during these unsettling times.

Stay well,




March 18, 2020

9:05 PM EDT   All refund information has now been published on the website.


I hope you are remaining safe and healthy during these turbulent times.  The PCA Office is now closed (along with the Browne Popular Culture Library and very soon, the entire BGSU Jerome Library).  Gloria, Robin, and I continue work from our homes.  When I will be back in Bowling Green again, I am not sure.

We will publish information on refunds, deferments, and donations shortly; we should start processing those refunds, deferments, and donations beginning next week and hope to have most of them out to you by the end of May. Thank you so much for your understanding as we wade through these uncharted waters.  

In the days ahead, we will be working to determine the impact of the cancellation on the Association’s financial wellbeing. As you are now probably aware, cancelling the conference may incur a major financial loss to PCA–in the form of contractual obligations to the hotel and various conference vendors, along with the loss of conference registration revenue.  We are currently working with Marriott and our vendors to possibly mitigate some of these losses. PCA is prepared to refund the registration fees of all paid participants, although this may take several weeks to accomplish this. At the same time, we ask that registered attendees, especially those who are financially able, consider donating their registration fees to the PCA General Fund (or the Endowment Fund) as a tax-deductible gift. Another choice would be to defer your 2020 registration fees to the 2021 conference to help defray costs to the Association for this year.  Regardless of the option you choose, we greatly appreciate your generous support and patience during this unsettling period.

While we are out of the office in BG, please feel free to contact us through the PCA website or at execdir@pcaaca.org. We will contact you via email when the refund form is published and when, hopefully sooner rather than later, our office reopens.  Until then, please stay healthy and safe and don’t forget to tell the someones in your life that you love them.

Best always,


Lynn Bartholome, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Popular Culture Association


In order to provide you with the most complete and comprehensive info, we researched multiple conference sites before we created our own cancellation and refund procedures. Although we drew material from several sources, we wanted to give credit to the Society for Cinema and Media Studies; their society website is definitely a cut above.  We thank them for their assistance in the development of our refund/deferment/donation policies.


March 13, 2020

Dear Members,

Last night, the PCA Board met, and produced the following message:

Today (3/12/2020), the City of Philadelphia announced a ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people in response to COVID-19 (or coronavirus). After this announcement was made, the Governing Board of the Popular Culture Association (PCA) voted unanimously to cancel our 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled from Sunday, April 12 to Sunday, April 19 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The PCA Governing Board has made this decision out of the absolute necessity to protect the health and safety of its attendees and their families during the pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization.

Combined with the domestic and international travel bans enacted by colleges and universities (as well as international travel bans such as those announced by the President of the United States), it has become impossible to hold our annual conference under our agreement. Therefore, we are asking Marriott to void our contract at this time.

We will be in touch with you soon regarding refund procedures and further details. Please do not email the PCA office–we have been inundated with messages the last two days and our email system has crashed multiple times.

Thank you for your patience during this difficult time.


Popular Culture Association


March 11, 2020

As of today, we are still continuing forward with plans for the 2020 conference in Philadelphia. Please know, however, we are continually revising a contingency plan in case we need to cancel or postpone the conference. We know that many travel restrictions are being placed on universities and colleges, a factor which will play a critical deciding role in a decision to cancel or postpone. Because events are changing swiftly, we are recommending that if you have not yet booked travel to the conference, please do not do so now. We will continue to provide updates on our website and in emails to the membership.


March 7, 2020

As our members finalize plans to join us in April for the 2020 PCA Conference, we want to assure our presenters, exhibitors and attendees, that we are proceeding as planned to hold a safe, productive, and successful event in Philadelphia on April 15-18. We continue to consult daily with CDC and Philadelphia municipal health officials for advice and updates.

Please know that our members’ safety is our top priority; we will continue to monitor the situation on a regular basis. At this point, the decision to attend or not attend the conference is an individual one that each of us must make, assessing the risk factors to ourselves, our families, and our communities. 

Be sure to check back for further updates.

Here is a link to the City of Philadelphia Covid-19 page:  https://www.phila.gov/services/mental-physical-health/environmental-health-hazards/covid-19/

Here is a link to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx


March 2, 2020

The Governing Board of the PCA wants its members to have a good conference experience, and your health and safety is of the utmost concern to us. Like much of the rest of the world, the Board monitors daily the news about the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus. At this time, given the best evidence available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, the Board is proceeding with business as usual at the PCA conference. Of course, we will proactively provide you updated information as needed.

Before the conference, the Board and executive director will be in close contact with the Marriott organization to stay up to date on developments and advice from authorities and to prepare the venue for the health and safety of all attendees. We will communicate with the PCA membership regularly and provide links to latest information from city, state, and federal authorities.

Meanwhile, CDC officials say the best practices for preventing or containing the spread of the common flu are also effective in preventing and containing the spread of COVID-19. For prevention and other information, you may wish to check the CDC website for the latest information about COVID-19. The World Health Organization also has information for the public.

We look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia.   

Popular Culture Association