Please note: The deadline for receiving proposals for British Academy Conferences to be held in 2019 has now passed. The scheme for British Academy Conferences to be held in 2020 will open in November 2018.
The British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, is currently inviting outstanding proposals for our 2019 conference programme. This presents an exceptional opportunity for UK scholars who can demonstrate academic leadership and vision to run a landmark event featuring leading-edge research as part of the Academy’s events programme. (A list of recent and forthcoming British Academy Conferences)
The British Academy is looking for proposals for conferences that will be pivotal events, of lasting significance in their field: a chance for leading and emerging scholars to examine current and future issues surrounding novel, dynamic, innovative and exciting subject areas in the humanities and social sciences.
The events should feature experts in their fields invited to present on the latest developments in the subject and to stimulate discussion among those attending. Where relevant, there should be appropriate international representation.
The Academy welcomes proposals for conferences held in collaboration with other organisations.
Any UK-based postdoctoral scholar is eligible to submit a proposal as the ‘principal proposer/convenor’. (You may list additional convenors on the proposal form.)
Eligibility: subject areas
The proposed conferences should have an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary nature – preferably embracing both humanities and social sciences disciplines.
Subjects that address topical issues or contribute to public policy debates are welcome.
The British Academy Conferences scheme is particularly suitable for themes that encourage the participation of both academic and other specialist expert communities.
Duration and timing
Events adopted into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences can be of one or two days duration. (Please note that we will not entertain proposals for a third conference day.)
Conferences adopted into the programme of British Academy Conferences will take place between January and December 2019.
British Academy Conferences may be held either at the British Academy’s own premises in London, or at other appropriate venues in the UK (e.g. at a university). Convenors should indicate their preferred choice of venue in their proposal.
Note that the British Academy provides additional organisational and material support for British Academy Conferences that are held at its own premises – see below.
Summary of support available through the British Academy Conferences scheme
For all events adopted into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences, the British Academy will:
- contribute to travel and accommodation for speakers, convenors and chairs
- help you to promote the conference
- where approved, publish a themed volume of essays in the Proceedings of the British Academy series arising from the conference
In addition, for those 2019 British Academy Conferences that are held at the Academy’s own premises in London, the British Academy will:
- provide the venue, facilities, and catering (tea/coffee breaks, lunch)
- handle the administration of the conference, so that convenors can focus on ensuring the quality of the scholarship presented is of the highest possible calibre
- handle the registration of delegates (including marketing)
See important ‘Further information’ below on the different types of support offered under the British Academy Conferences scheme.
Role of the principal convenor
If your proposal is successful, you will be the academic convenor of the conference. You will:
- provide the academic theme and develop the overall objectives of the conference
- select and approach speakers and chairs and brief them on the required academic focus
- after the conference, comply with the Academy’s instructions for securing feedback about the conference and evaluating its success
- aim to put together a proposal for a themed volume of essays arising from the conference to be published in the Proceedings of the British Academy series, and where approved, act as editor to steer the volume towards publication
British Academy Conferences in 2019: proposal process
Scheme opens: 30 November 2017.
Proposals should be submitted on the appropriate form, which can be downloaded from this page.
Deadline for the submission of proposals (including the references): 26 February 2018.
Selection of the conferences that will be adopted into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences will be carried out by the relevant British Academy committee in May 2018, and all principal proposers will be notified by 14 May 2018.
Travel and accommodation costs
For conferences selected for support, the Academy will make a contribution to the total travel and accommodation costs for speakers, convenors and chairs.
The Academy has some expectation that participants from well-resourced countries may be able to meet their own travel costs. Proposers should indicate on the proposal form those speakers for whom financial support should be regarded as a priority. And where it is proposed that a conference should be held at a venue other than the British Academy, proposers should also provide their own estimate of the travel and accommodation costs that are unlikely to be met from other sources and which are therefore sought from the Academy.
While there is no formal limit on the amount that may be offered for travel and accommodation costs, sums in the region of £2000, £5000 or £8000 may be regarded as indicative. The awarding committee will aim to offer sums to make viable each conference that it selects for support, but its funds are limited and in some instances it may offer less than was sought.
Where the conference is held at a venue other than the British Academy, the Academy will reimburse travel and accommodation costs – usually as a lump sum – up to the offered amount, after the conference, on the production of appropriate evidence of expenditure.
Conferences hosted at the British Academy’s own premises
The British Academy’s premises are at Carlton House Terrace in central London, close to Westminster and Piccadilly Circus, and are easily accessible by train from each of London’s five airports. The venue is ideal for up to 100 participants. Accommodation is booked at a nearby hotel.
Where conferences are held at Carlton House Terrace, the Academy covers the cost of administration, catering (tea/coffee breaks, lunch), preparation of delegates’ packs, and promotional material.
The Academy does not arrange any evening reception or dinner in connection with a British Academy Conference.
The Academy does not host any conferences on a Saturday or Sunday, or in the month of August.
While the criteria for a good conference and for a good publication are not identical, the British Academy attaches importance to formal dissemination to wider scholarly and other specialist expert readerships. There is a presumption that convenors of those conferences that are adopted into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences will aspire to publish an edited volume of essays arising from the conference, and an expectation that, in due course, a proposal would be submitted for such a volume to be published in the Proceedings of the British Academy series.
Notification of outcomes
All principal proposers will be notified of the outcome of their proposal by 14 May 2018.
Proposers should be aware that the British Academy will be highly selective in what it adopts into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences, and in how it will dispose of its limited resources for support under this scheme. (For the 2018 programme, the Academy received 80 proposals for conferences to be held at the Academy’s own premises, so competition is strong.)
The Academy is looking to host up to four British Academy Conferences at its own premises in 2019. In those cases where the Academy is interested in hosting the conference, the convenor(s) will be invited to attend a meeting at the Academy to talk through the shaping and planning of the conference.
In some instances where the proposer has indicated that the British Academy is their preferred venue, but where the Academy is unable to provide full organisational and hosting support, the Academy may instead offer a contribution towards travel and accommodation costs to help enable a conference to be held elsewhere.
The Academy expects to be able to offer a contribution to travel and accommodation costs for approximately 10-15 conferences to be held at venues other than the British Academy in 2019.
In some instances where the Academy is unable to offer either hosting or financial support, the Academy may offer to adopt a conference into its 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences, which convenors may use as a kitemark of excellence to attract from other sources the support needed to enable the conference to be held.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I am not a UK national, can I apply?
A. The requirement is that the principal proposer/convenor must be a UK-based academic.
Q. Don’t you have to be a Fellow of the British Academy to convene a conference?
A. No – any UK-based scholar is eligible to propose a conference. Applications are judged on merit by the relevant British Academy committee.
Q. May I submit a proposal for a one-day symposium under the British Academy Conferences scheme?
A. Yes – these guidelines and the proposal form use the word ‘conference’ throughout, but events adopted into the 2019 programme of British Academy Conferences can have the character of a one-day symposium.
Q. Can I propose the idea of a conference, and then issue a call for papers once the proposal has been approved in principle?
A. No – you must be able to list the potential speakers on the proposal form, as this information is essential for the assessment of the proposal.
Q. If the proposal is successful, when will the conference take place?
A. Conferences accepted will take place between January and December 2019.
Q. When do I find out if I have been successful?
A. We will contact you with the outcome of the committee’s decision by 14 May 2018.
Q. What should I do if I have any query about proposing a British Academy Conference?
A. Email your query to firstname.lastname@example.org
Code of practice
The British Academy has a Code of Practice for assessing applications, setting out the principles of equity, integrity and confidentiality governing the treatment of all applications for academic support. The Code of Practice also covers Data Protection, the Academy’s ethics policy and the appeals procedure. Feedback is not a feature of the British Academy Conferences scheme, and the Academy is regretfully unable to enter into correspondence regarding the decisions of the awarding Committee, which are governed by the Code of Practice. Please note that by applying in this scheme, applicants undertake to accept the terms under which applications are assessed.