Deadline: 23 February 2020
Send your EoI to Jennifer Orr (Jennifer.Orr@newcastle.ac.uk)
THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR ROMANTIC STUDIES is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest for the 2023 International Biennial Conference. The last two BARS conferences (York 2017 and Nottingham 2019) were very successful, and we will be co-hosting a large conference with the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism at Edge Hill University in Summer 2021.
Since 2015, attendance at BARS conferences has grown to around 250 and delegate feedback has been very positive. We are very much looking forward to working with institutions in continuing to build on and to diversify the successful BARS model. Please consult the programmes for Cardiff, York and Nottingham as guides for your proposal.
A decision will be made by the BARS Executive at its next meeting in March 2020 and the successful applicants will be invited to submit a report for the following Executive meeting, which will be held electronically in July 2020. The successful applicants will also be expected to make a presentation at the next conference, Edge Hill 2021.
Host institutions are expected to take account of the following in preparing their Expressions of Interest:
Venue location, capacity and accessibility
We expect numbers could range between 250 to 275 delegates: please bear this figure in mind when bidding. You will need a plenary lecture hall large enough to accommodate these numbers, plus a sufficient number of breakout rooms and catering facilities (BARS conferences can normally have around ten parallel sessions). For North American colleagues in particular, the distance from a major airport and transport links will be an important factor, so please bear this in mind.
We expect organizers to offer a range of accommodation from traditional student-type lodgings through to hotel-level facilities. Sufficient cheaper accommodation to allow postgraduate participation is desirable: such accommodation should be within reasonable walking distance of the conference venue or the organizers should make suitable travel arrangements to take delegates to and from the venue.
The venue is expected to meet the usual requirements for facilities in academic meetings, including Wi-Fi and PowerPoint/projection facilities in all rooms. It is desirable that the meeting rooms are in reasonably close proximity to each other and that there is a communal meeting area or foyer, preferably with refreshment facilities so that delegates can socialize and browse publisher stands.
In order to comply with BARS’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, conference organizers should ensure that the venue, accommodation and transportation are fully accessible.
This should be of sufficient scope and significance to allow the Association’s members to take part. Recent themes have been ‘Romantic Imprints’, ‘Romantic Improvement’, ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’ and ‘New Romantics’. The full list of previous conferences can be found on the BARS website.
The conference has typically run from Thursday to Sunday in the second half of July, with the conference commencing on the afternoon of the first day and finishing on Sunday afternoon. However, this is a flexible schedule and proposers are encouraged to deviate from this model, for instance proposing a Monday-to-Thursday event (indeed, BARS 2021 will be running from Tuesday to Friday).
The BARS Executive normally meet on the evening before the conference begins: organizers will need to arrange a suitable venue for this (two-hour) meeting. The meeting typically concludes with a short tour of the conference venue for the Executive members in attendance. In fixing on a date, it is especially important organizers should check which conferences are already scheduled for what is often a busy time in the calendar and liaise with conference and society chairs in order to avoid clashes wherever possible and facilitate attendance at all events. Conferences which run during summers and are likely to be attended by BARS delegates include those hosted by the British Association for Victorian Studies, the International Conference on Romanticism, the International Gothic Association, the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism.
The CFP is usually circulated by October of the preceding year (2022) and the outcome of the refereeing process confirming speakers is usually made by the middle of January.
Vetting of papers
It is usual for members of the BARS Executive to serve on the panel which referees the proposals for panel papers, though the local organizers have the final right of veto. (It is desirable that papers are refereed not only for the integrity of the event, but also to help delegates secure financial support from funding bodies and institutions.)
The programme usually takes the form of parallel sessions consisting of panels where delegates deliver 20-minute papers. BARS welcomes convened and themed panels that reflect cutting-edge projects and collaborative research, and other formats such as roundtables and workshops. In addition, there are usually four or five plenary lectures, one of which is designated the Stephen Copley Lecture and another the Marilyn Butler lecture in memory of BARS’s founding members and much-loved scholars. Plenaries are chosen by the local organizing committee, though BARS expects this to reflect a gender balance and a mixture of national and international scholars. In the arrangements of the panel sessions and the timing of the plenary lectures the organizers are asked to consider seriously the responsibility of offering all speakers a reasonable size of audience (it is now standard practice to end the conference on the final day with a keynote). BARS expects panels to incorporate postgraduate and early career researchers opportunities alongside more established academics. The programme should also include specific sessions targeted at professional development for ECRs.
Reception, Book Prize, Banquet, PGR/ECR reception
The BARS conference includes a reception (normally on the first night), a slot for the BARS First Book Prize awards (this can be done at the reception or can be separate), and a banquet on the third night. It has increasingly been the case that informal meals are offered on the second night, although this depends on local factors such as whether the conference venue is campus-based or near a well-provisioned civic centre. Payment for the banquet is optional and can be purchased during registration. There should also be an evening slot for a reception aimed specifically at postgraduate and early career researchers: this typically takes the form of informal drinks and/or dinner, and often runs on the second night but should not be scheduled against the Banquet, in case PGRs/ECRs wish to attend.
Refreshments and lunches
BARS expects the conference registration fee to include refreshments (before the first sessions each day and regular 30-minute coffee breaks), buffet food for the reception, and lunches on Days 2 to 4 (one of these can be a brown bag lunch on the excursion day). Please build this into your costs.
It is usual to arrange an excursion or choice of excursions with laid-on transport within the schedule, to take place usually on the Saturday (i.e. Day 3) afternoon, and to a ‘Romantic’ venue with general relevance to the conference e.g. a museum, estate, birthplace, gallery. We are keen to explore offering the excursion on another day (e.g. the final day of the conference, or before the main activity of the conference commences), for reasons of inclusivity. The excursion is always an optional extra in terms of costings and can be purchased during registration.
Biennial General Meeting
The conference organizers are required to find a central time (at least one hour, which can be the lunch hour) within the schedule to host the BARS BGM. Key aspects of the BGM are: presentation of reports from the Executive to Membership; election of the new BARS Executive for 2023–2025; presentations on the PGR/ECR conference in 2024 and BARS 2025.
Organizers are asked to keep costs as low as possible without compromising the quality of the event. Please provide as much information as you can about the predicted registration fee, including a day rate and discounted rates for PGRs, ECRs, retired and unwaged, as well as whether you propose to include discounted ‘early bird’ rates. In order to maximize inclusion, day rates must feature as part of the package offered to delegates.
BARS is willing to provide an appropriate level of support to its international conference; any profits are expected to be shared 50/50 with BARS.
The selection committee strongly encourages proposers to include indicative budgets with projected income and costings, in order to confirm the event’s viability and affordability for delegates.
Organizers will maintain contact with the BARS Executive throughout the planning process. This is usually managed by the co-option of a local organizer onto the BARS Executive for a period of two or more years. A delegation from BARS will also make a site visit in 2021 or 2022 to check through logistics, run through the programme and offer general advice. The BARS Executive will also approve the final programme.