British Studies in a Broken World: Info

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Chris Moores

The Conference is nearly upon us and we are very excited to welcome people here. This blog provides some important information about the event.

It also outlines the conference guidelines on social media, some info for presenting and chairing sessions and invites you all to use this blog to respond to the conference and to participate in our PGR-led events on the morning of Wednesday 5 July.

I hope all this is useful – but get in touch if we have missed anything obvious.

Change of Venue & Registration

The most important thing to note is that the Conference will be taking place in a different venue on the University campus than previously advertised. Because of building works, we will now be using the Gisbert Kapp Building (this is G8 on the green section of the attached campus map) for panel sessions and the Education Building (R19 in the red section of the map) for plenary sessions and conference roundtables instead of the Arts Building. Gisbert Kapp is a 5-10 minute walk from the University Station.

We have updated our travel, accomodation and accessibility information on the blog to help with this change. This includes a description of getting to the building from University Station and the routes between buildings.

More general directions to the University itself can be found here.

Registration will take place in Gisbert Kapp and will be open from 8.30am on Wednesday. The first full plenary session will start at 1.00pm the Education Building, so please make sure you allow time to register before making your way over there.

Information on accessibility for Gisbert Kapp can be found here: http://bit.ly/2sPyKdu and here http://bit.ly/2rCa44J for the Education Building. If required there are plenty of spaces designated for Blue Badge holders to park outside Gisbert Kapp. It is a short walk between the two buildings, and members of MBS will be around to provide directions and assist if required. Please get in touch if you require any further information on accessibility on or around campus.

Programme

The full programme can be found on our conference pages here:

The Conference provides lunch on Thursday and Friday. Refreshments will be available during morning and afternoon breaks on each day. These will take place in the Link space in the Gisbert Kapp Building (1st floor). Wine receptions will be held on both the Wednesday and Thursday evenings after the final session/lecture. On Wednesday this will be hosted in the University’s Barber Institute (a short walk from the Education Building) from 6.30pm and the wine reception on Thursday will take place in the Link in Gisbert Kapp at the same time.

Once you arrive you will recieve the conference programme which contains guides to campus, eating and drinking in Birmingham and lots of other helpful information.

PGR Workshop

The conference opens with a postgraduate workshop taking place on 5th July from 9:30am – 12:30pm. The morning will consist of two sessions: a roundtable discussion exploring the possibilities for new researchers in the academy and a publishing workshop led by Josie McLellan (University of Bristol) and Guy Ortolano (New York University).

Although we urge PGRs and ECRs to come along, attendance is not limited to new researchers. We also encourage tenured and senior academics are also present to listen and share in the debate: the more diverse and inclusive the room, the more valuable the discussion. We will provide lunch for participants, but need you to register separately for this event. If you are interested in attending, please sign-up using this Eventbrite.

Panel Sessions

In standard panels with three speakers we ask that presentations last a maximum of 20 minutes to allow 30 minutes for discussion. For those with four speakers, each presenter has 15 minutes to also allow 30 minutes for discussion. On roundtable sessions, we are happy for organizers to be more flexible, but please also allow plenty of time for discussion with those not speaking on the panel. We insist that all speakers keep to time as all chairs are under strict instructions to keep things punctual (see below).  All lecture rooms have AV equipment, we ask that you bring your presentations on a USB device, as we do not have access to the various adaptors required by different computers. We also ask that you arrive to your session early, in order to make sure that your presentation is set up and ready to go when attendees arrive.

Chairs Instructions and Discussion

We strongly encourage and expect Panel Chairs to keep speakers to time. Timings are tight across the conference, so we need to make sure that everything runs smoothly. It is important that each speaker receives the same amount of time and that we have adequate time to discuss the work presented.  Please make sure that you take questions and comments from New Researchers as well as familiar faces. For those asking questions or offering points for discussions, please keep your observations fairly short and to the point to allow us to take opinion from the whole room. In accordance with our social media policy (see below), we also ask chairs to let the room know if panellists do not want their panel to be live tweeted by those in the audience.

 Plenary Sessions and Final Roundtable

The conference features three plenary sessions (details in the programme). Speakers will be talking broadly around these themes and/or reflecting on how they relate to their own practice before we open up to a more general discussion. These will be big sessions featuring all those attending the event and we hope to encourage a participatory and collaborative conversation across the conference.

Because not everyone – including the conference organizers – likes speaking in massive rooms, we are also happy for people to send questions before or during the conference to the organizers using the address modernbritishstudies@contacts.bham.ac.uk. These will be passed onto our plenary chairs for discussion where possible. If you wish for your question to be anonymous, please indicate this on your email. To avoid distraction, we will not be taking email questions during the sessions, so please send in good time.

There will be a final roundtable to pull together some of the threads of the conference and reflect on the event together. We encourage people to send questions in advance to this session and we will do our best to put them to the panel and the room as a whole. Obviously, we cannot guarantee that all questions will be asked, but we at least hope to include more participants this way.

Social Media

Modern British Studies aims to make the conference as accessible as possible. We encourage the use of social media, especially the live-tweeting of panels, so that those unable to attend are able to keep track of the discussions and follow the main talking points that arise from these. If you would like to contribute, the hashtag that we are using is #mbs2017 which we hope will create an intruiging contrast with the American Legion Boys State of Missouri (whatever that is) which is currently occupying the hashtag. After the conference, we aim to collate as much of the twitter discussions as possible into a number of ‘Storify’ threads, that we will then publish on our blog for posterity and later use.

At the same time, we also need to respect the intellectual property of individual panellists and understand that you may not want public comments on work in progress to circulate. Moreover, we are aware that some find tweeting off-putting during panels and we want sessions to be as welcoming for both panellists and audience members as possible. If you would rather social media engagement kept to a minimum during your panel or prefer your paper not to be commented on, please communicate this with your chair beforehand, who will ensure that the room is aware of this at the start of the panel (see above).

Blogging

In the weeks following the conference, we will curate a series of reflections on the conference, touching upon its themes and how they interact with the current state of historiography on modern Britain, conferences, working conditions, etc…  In keeping with the value that we place on the importance of postgraduates and early career researchers within these discussions, we are especially keen to publish personal reflections from PGRs/ECRs. This was productive at our previous event and helped us shape aspects of the programme this time around. You can read these here.

If you are interested in writing a short blog post on your experience of the conference, get in touch with Jacob Fredrickson, who you can email at: jtf614@student.bham.ac.uk. Jacob will be pestering you all for blogs and responses as part of his paid Postgraduate Taught Research Scholarship, please be nice to him as he curates the response to the conference.

With a conference this big, we will have inevitably misses something, so please let us know if you have any queries or if we have forgotten some key bits of info.

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