advancing cultural evolutionary studies


CES 2020 Conference

CES 2020 will be POSTPONED to 9-11th June 2021. This is due to the current global spread of COVID-19 and uncertainty regarding public health and travel in the foreseeable months. The venue in 2021 will remain in Sapporo, Japan.

Although the conference was not until September 2020, the executive and the local organising committee have been in discussion over the past weeks to determine a sensible plan of action. We did not take this decision lightly but felt that a prompt and clear decision was the most responsible thing to do for CES members and for the organising committee to lessen uncertainty, wasted time and wasted money.  

Some answers to questions you may have are below:

What if I booked my flight and/or accommodation?
In our previous email we advised delay in booking wherever possible, and recommended checking travel insurance. For those who did make bookings and are now seeking refunds, we can assist by providing a formal notice of cancellation for delegates to provide to their institutions or insurance companies. If this is something you require, please email us on [email protected]. We have set aside some funds to assist and will prioritise these for students and early-career delegates. If you are affected, please email.  

Why postponement rather than cancellation?
The local committee in Sapporo, led by Masanori Takezawa, have worked hard to set up the conference and would like to welcome CES in Sapporo subsequently. We are extremely grateful to them for their work especially having already dealt with moving dates due to the Olympics. They have confirmed with all those committing funds, venues, services etc. that postponement is a viable option. This postponement incurs a relatively small additional cost which is pertinent given that we are a new society with insufficient funds to bail out local organisers in the event of a larger (last minute) conference cancellation.

Why not wait a while to decide?
The World Health Organisation has now declared Covid-19 a pandemic. While we still have some lead time financially for venue costs, we doubted that the conference, were it able to go ahead, would be a good investment for delegates as it would likely be heavily reduced in size. We also considered that if we were to delay our decision and begin the registration process then we would likely have to retain (and not refund) a portion of the registration fee to cover costs should we have to cancel it. We would not like CES delegates to suffer avoidable financial costs.

Why those dates?
The dates chosen are the best available at the venue in 2021, given both weather and international term times. We had a short lead time with which to secure these new dates. We recognise that this may fall in the exam period for some universities, but hope that delegates will have sufficient lead time for planning.

Will there be a conference in 2022?
At the moment we plan to keep to the even years for subsequent meetings, so yes!

We do apologise for any inconvenience and are very sorry that there will be no CES meeting this year. Please contact the Executive on [email protected] with any questions and we will endeavour to respond both individually and collectively where necessary.

Conference 2020 Website

4 March 2020: Please see the following announcement re coronavirus and check the web announcements for updates.

The website for the 2020 CES meeting in Sapporo, Japan, is live!

Key information:
Abstract submission will open mid-February
Registration will open mid-March
Early Bird registration will extend beyond abstract acceptance notifications at the end of May.

Please refer to the official conference website for details from now on.
There is also an official Local Organising Committee email address for queries:  [email protected]


Sapporo Convention Center, September 14-16 (Mon-Wed), 2020

PLEASE NOTE: Conference dates and local venue have changed.
The following information was updated Dec 2nd 2019.


# Why move the venue and the schedule?
The International Olympic Committee decided in Oct 2019 to hold the Olympic marathon and race walking in Sapporo early August 2020. During the same period, Hokkaido University holds campus-wide big events: Open Campus Days. As part of the campus will be used for the Olympic events, the university decided to move their events to September 20-21. This is why the university canceled the venue reservation we made for the CES 2020 (originally September 21-23).

# Will September 2020 be the hectic month packed with many events?
No. September 2020 in Sapporo is still a calm season and no big events are planned.  The Olympics will finish early August. The Tokyo Paralympics will finish September 6 and the IOC have promised all the related events will stay in Tokyo. We've been closely consulting with both a travel agency and Sapporo Convention Bureau ( No evidence for the rise of demand for accommodation and transportation is confirmed. As the previous schedule includes the three consecutive holidays (Sep. 20-22), the costs for accommodation may be slightly cheaper for the new schedule.

We would like to emphasize that September in Sapporo is still free from the hectic nature of the Olympic events.

# Will the change of venue impact the registration fees and other costs?
As the local organizing committee reserved enough of a buffer for unexpected expenditure, we expect that the total expenditure won't change so much. The change of venue rather impacts when to pay the cost but not the total amount of expenditure.

# Where is the Sapporo Convention Center?
It's just three subway stations (for 6 min. running every 6 minutes) from the city center. We are planning to provide hotel rooms near
subway stations so that participants can reach the new venue without any hassle.

# What if I have already booked my flights?
Please check with the relevant policies--your University or personal travel agent, or the airline themselves--as many have clauses relating to circumstances beyond the traveler's control. The Exec can provide documentation from CES and the local organisers to corroborate the date change and the circumstances. Please contact us on [email protected] if this would be helpful to you.

Finally, we regret that both the venue and the schedule have to change at this timing. However, once you attend the CES 2020 in Sapporo, you will find that it will be a comfortable and exciting conference like the two previous CES conferences. We are looking forward to meeting with you all in Sapporo.

CES 2018

The 2018 conference was held at Arizona State University in Tempe on October 22-24, 2018. 

Researchers at the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change were the local organizing committee.

CES 2017

The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History organised and hosted our first international conference in Jena, Germany in September 2017. Nearly 300 cultural evolution researchers gathered at this historic meeting to meet each other and share their discoveries. You can find out more about the 2017 conference here.