Welcome to our annual programming series! In these posts, we’ll give you all the information that you’ll need to propose programming for Sirens. Stay tuned: We’ll have a post with tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions later this week, and then we’ll feature a post specific to each type of programming next week. Then on April 2, we’ll open our proposals system.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Sirens programming is the dozens of hours of papers, lectures, panels, workshops, roundtables, and afternoon classes that make up the heart of Sirens. While a thousand conversations happen at Sirens every year, the true vanguard of those discussions are the brave and brilliant individuals who share their wisdom and expertise as part of our programming.
So how does Sirens create its programming?
We don’t! Many conferences select their own topics and then select the individuals to present those topics. Sirens could have done this—but we don’t want Sirens to be limited by the interests, knowledge, and networking of our staff.
Instead, we invite our attendees—from readers to scholars to librarians to authors—to propose programming for our schedule. And each year, dozens of individuals do: they create, propose, and present the lectures, papers, panels, workshops, roundtables, and afternoon classes that become the programming at Sirens. Regardless of your vocation, your level of experience, or how many years you’ve attended Sirens, every Sirens attendee has something to say! And we hope you’ll take a crack at sharing your thoughts and expertise as part of our programming.
And how does Sirens choose its programming?
Each year, an independent vetting board, a diverse group of tremendous individuals who know and love Sirens, review the proposals for thoughtfulness and relevance, and then select which to include on that year’s programming schedule.
Thoughtfulness: Is the proposal well-conceived? This means the vetting board considers the research, logic, and sophistication of the arguments. Is the proposal well-argued? Is it innovative? Is it interesting?
Relevance: Is the topic relevant to Sirens’s global topic of women in fantasy literature? The topic doesn’t need to specifically address the theme of any given year, and doesn’t have to be about women and fantasy and literature, but if your proposal doesn’t address at least two of the three, you might want to consider how can make your topic more relevant to the Sirens audience.
How does someone propose programming?
Sirens operates its own proposals system specifically for programming proposals. We’ll open this system on April 2, and close it May 6, which is this year’s deadline for proposals. After May 6, our vetting board goes to work.
Proposals generally comprise five things:
Personal information: Your name, contact information, and a biography that we can use on our website and in our program book
A summary: 50–100 words about your topic and approach, which we’ll also publish on our website and in our program book
An abstract: 300–500 words explaining your topic and approach to the vetting board; this should be far more in depth and should demonstrate your research, analysis, and conclusion
Audiovisual requests: Information on your requested audiovisual equipment for your presentation
Contact information for any co-presenters: Your co-presenters will then receive an email asking them to provide their personal information and, in the case of panels, a supplemental abstract of 300–500 words demonstrating the perspectives and expertise that they will bring to the panel
So let’s do this!
We know that the proposal process can be intimidating, especially for those new to Sirens: It takes a lot of courage to put your thoughts and analysis out there, first to a review board and then at Sirens itself. But each year, dozens of individuals screw their courage to the proverbial sticking place and, in doing so, make Sirens smarter, more thoughtful, and just plain better.
We hope that that will include you this year!