BARS: Seeking Expressions of Interest in hosting the biennial International Conference in 2019

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(From Ian Haywood, the President of BARS, and the Executive).

The Executive of the British Association for Romantic Studies is now calling for expressions of interest from universities in hosting the biennial international conference in 2019. The BARS International Conference has a long history of successful four-day events designed to showcase new work by both eminent and new Romanticists from Britain and abroad in the field of Romantic studies. Past conferences have included ‘Romantic Imprints’ (Cardiff, 2015), ‘Romantic Imports and Exports’ (Southampton, 2013), ‘Enlightenment, Romanticism & Nation’ (Glasgow, 2011), ‘Romantic Circulations’ (Roehampton, 2009), ‘Emancipation, Liberation, Freedom’ (held jointly with NASSR, Bristol, 2007), ‘Romanticism’s Debateable Lands’ (Newcastle, 2005), ‘Romantic Conflict’ (Warwick , 2003), ‘Sustaining Romanticism’ (Liverpool , 2001), ‘Romantic Revelations’ (Keele, 1999), and ‘Romantic Generations’ (Leeds, 1997). The 15th International Conference, ‘Romanticism and Improvement’, will be held at the University of York in 2017.

Informal expressions of interest can be directed in the first instance to Professor Ian Haywood: I.Haywood@roehampton.ac.uk. Formal bids should be sent by Friday 18 December to Helen Stark at Helen.Stark@newcastle.ac.uk. Applications will then be assessed by the Executive Committee and a decision announced in February 2016.

In preparing a bid, potential host institutions may find the desiderata below to be a useful resource. The very successful BARS 2015 conference in Cardiff may also be a helpful guide: http://bars2015.org/.

BARS International Biennial Conference Desiderata

Host institutions are expected to take account of the following in order to fulfill the requirements of the Association:

• Conference Topic
This should be of sufficient scope and significance to allow the majority of the Association’s members to take part (organizers will be catering for a group usually in excess of 100 and possibly exceeding 200). In the past, this has most often taken the form of a ‘catch-all’ topic such as ‘Romantic Generations’ (1997), ‘Romantic Revelations’ (1999), ‘Romantic Conflict’ (2003), ‘Romantic Circulations’ (2009), although other conjunctions or triangulations of topics such as ‘Emancipation, Liberation, Freedom’ (2007), and ‘Enlightenment, Romanticism and Nation’ (2011) are also possible.

• Timetable
The timetable for the conference is typically Thursday to Sunday in the second half of July, with the conference commencing on the afternoon of the first day and finishing at lunchtime or in the afternoon on the Sunday.

In fixing on a date, 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 (such as NASSR, Wordsworth Conference etc) in order to avoid clashes wherever possible and facilitate attendance at all events.

The call for papers is usually made by October of the previous year (2018) and the outcome of the refereeing process confirming speakers is usually made by early in the conference year (2019).

• Vetting of Paper Proposals
It is usual for members of the BARS Executive to serve on the panel which referees the proposals for panel papers, though the Conference Committee usually reserves 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.)

• Programme
We strongly encourage a structure based around themed and convened panels designed to showcase the best current work in Romanticism, though individual submissions are also welcomed. The programme usually comprises a series of parallel sessions consisting of panels where delegates deliver 20 minute papers. In addition, there are usually three or four plenary lectures, two of which are memorial lectures dedicated to Marilyn Butler and Stephen Copley. Plenaries are chosen by the organizing committee in consultation with the BARS Executive. Some British presence in the plenaries is considered desirable given that this is the national association, but the Association encourages a balance of male and female scholars both from within Britain and beyond. Sessions should also aim to provide opportunities for PGRS and Early Career Researchers by incorporating them on panels alongside more established academics. It is expected that the programme will also include workshops and specialist sessions aimed at PGRs and ECRs, as well as other research-related activities, readings, performances, exhibitions etc that reflect and enhance the conference theme and the host institution’s resources and facilities.

• Accommodation/Venue
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.

The venue is expected to meet the usual requirements for facilities in academic meetings. 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 rendezvous. Catering should normally include lunch on Friday and Saturday, provision for dinner on Thursday and Friday, with the option of Sunday lunch depending on the programme.

• Banquet
It is customary to offer delegates the option of a banquet on the Saturday evening. Payment for this is in addition to the conference and other fees.

• Conference Excursion
It is usual to arrange an excursion with laid-on transport on the Saturday afternoon, to a venue with general relevance to the conference e.g. a museum, estate, birthplace, or gallery. This is usually an optional extra in terms of costings and a packed (brown-bag) lunch is provided for delegates.

• BARS General Meeting (BGM)
The conference organizers are required to find a central time (at least one hour) within the schedule to host the BGM.

• Cost
Organizers are asked to keep costs as low as possible without compromising the quality of the event. The Association is willing to support its international conference (subject to negotiation) but expects the event to at least break even; it is normal that any profits are shared equally between the host institution and BARS. Organisers are asked to provide a detailed budget ahead of the conference and a brief report afterwards.

• Liaison
Organizers need to maintain contact with the Association during the planning process. This is usually managed by the co-option of one of the Conference Committee onto the Executive. The host institution is expected to make a presentation at the 2017 conference at York.