BARS International Conference 2024: Romantic Making and Unmaking – Update and Further Details

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We’re delighted to have had such a good response to our calls for ‘Romantic Making and Unmaking’ – we have an excellent array of session calls, and many fascinating abstracts already received in response to our Call for Papers.  Ahead of the deadline on Friday 19th January, we thought we’d give a few more details about the conference structure to answer some questions that have been sent to us and to give an idea of what the event will be like.

BARS is currently experimenting with different models for its conferences, trying to balance accessibility, costs and conviviality.  For the Glasgow conference, we decided to try a different digital participation model to that employed by the 2022 ‘New Romanticisms’ conference at Edge Hill.  Simultaneous streaming of all sessions works well for remote participation in nearby time zones, but is demanding in terms of facilities, equipment and on-the-ground staff (as each session ideally needs a chair and a tech).  It is also less than ideal for participants in farther-flung locations around the world (a 11am session in the UK is pretty unsociable in Australia or on the west coast of the United States).

For ‘Romantic Making and Unmaking’, therefore, we plan to record plenary sessions and ask in-person participants to record their own papers at home for upload to a conference archive that will be available for a limited time to both in-person and digital participants.  We will also have two digital days for synchronous presentations and discussions, organised by a team from the BARS Executive.  We’re running these the week after the Glasgow portion of the conference (on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd August) to avoid the issue of in-person participants having to either miss digital elements while travelling or pay for extra accommodation.  The digital days will be run in a somewhat similar way to BARS’ 2021 Romantic Disconnections/Reconnections conference, with a schedule arranged so that people can present at a time that’s reasonable for where they’re located (so we’ll look to have one day that starts early for Australia and the Far East, and one that runs later for the Americas).  We’re very glad to announce that we now have two extremely exciting keynotes for the digital days: Eugenia Zuroski (McMaster University) and Jeff Cowton (Wordsworth Grasmere).

Organising the conference in this way will allow us to keep the conference fee in Glasgow fairly low (we anticipate a full fee of around £200, with a reduced rate available for postgraduate and unwaged delegates). It will also mean that we can provide remote access to the digital elements the conference at a considerably lower fee than for the in-person elements, while allowing everyone who joins us in Glasgow free access to the digital elements.  This remains an experiment for BARS – we will keep the form of future conferences under review, and use feedback from ‘Romantic Making and Unmaking’ to guide us when organising further events.

In Glasgow, the academic programme will run from Tuesday 23rd July to Thursday 25th July, with the four plenary sessions (John Gardner, Michelle Levy, Fiona Stafford and the Textual Editing Roundtable) and a wealth of parallel panel sessions taking place across these three days.  There will also be opportunities to see Glasgow collections, a chance to hear about what BARS is doing at the BARS General Meeting (BGM) and a series of further events (currently being planned…).  On the evening before the conference (Monday 22nd July), the Byron Society will hold its Annual Scotland Lecture at the University – BARS conference delegates will be able to come along to this for free to hear from a great speaker and enjoy some wine.  On the first night of the conference (Tuesday 23rd July), there will be a drinks reception.  The conference dinner will take place on the second night of the conference in beautiful surroundings at Òran Mór.  The dinner will be a paid extra; we will also look to organise an alternative dinner for those for whom the cost is prohibitive.  On the day after the conference (Friday 26th July), we will organise a trip if there’s sufficient demand (which it seems there will be, based on responses to the survey included on the paper proposal form).  Our current plan is to go by coach to New Lanark to view both an important site of industrial heritage and the Falls of Clyde, returning by late afternoon so people can catch trains.

There is great range of reasonably priced hotels in Glasgow for delegates.  We will also be able to provide means for booking student accommodation within reasonable walking distance of the venue – this will be under £40 a night.  Hopefully this will mean that the conference is affordable for delegates, but for those worried about costs, it’s worth looking at the session calls (where the Byron Society and the Charles Lamb Society are offering support), and keeping an eye on this Blog, where we hope to advertise bursaries in due course.

As always, please contact us on the conference email address ( if you have any questions, and hope to see many of you in Glasgow, online or both in the summer!