Sheffield Gothic are planning a conference!
After the disruptions of the pandemic and a few changes in our organisational team, we’re excited to say that we’re now in a position to start work on a conference celebrating all things Gothic! We recently had our first brainstorming session and realised our team has a strong desire to create a student-centred event that’s as accessible and welcoming as possible to those studying at all levels. Inspired by this, we started discussing whether non-traditional formats or sessions would be better suited to what we want to achieve – and this is where you come in!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see in a conference – maybe there’s something that’s worked well in one you’ve been to before, something you find yourself always wishing was available, or something that would make you feel more comfortable as someone who’s never attended a conference before! You can email us at email@example.com or get in touch on Twitter @SheffieldGothic to share your ideas.
Our team’s discussion included ideas for both the sessions and social elements, so thoughts on all and any aspects of the conference experience are welcome. We’d also be particularly interested in hearing about what you feel works (or doesn’t) in making a conference accessible to all.
Here’s some of the ideas that came out of our first brainstorming session to give you an idea of the kinds of things we’re thinking about already (but don’t feel restricted by this!):
- a hybrid conference, to allow as many people as possible to attend in the way that suits them
- alternatives to the traditional 20-minute paper format; for example, workshops where a small number of papers are submitted and read by participants in advance and then discussed on the day
- panels with a less formal academic focus; for example, discussing why we enjoy the Gothic or talking about favourite texts
- opportunities for undergraduate students to give shorter presentations as a ‘taster’ of conference speaking
- a mentorship scheme where students with less conference experience are matched with a mentor who can help them navigate the event and be a friendly face on the day!
So please get in touch via email or Twitter if you have any suggestions. Of course, practical constraints may mean we are not able to implement everything, but it’s important to us that this event reflects as far as possible what the fantastic Gothic studies community wants to see.