First and foremost, please note that the proposal deadline for Sirens is May 6, 2018. We must have your complete proposal by then in order for our vetting board to review your work for inclusion at Sirens.
Please note that there are no required qualifications for presenters. If you are attending Sirens, you are welcome to propose a topic or two. Each year, Sirens’s programming is presented by the full breadth of our attendees, across a variety of professions, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We also often feature a number of first-time presenters! All Sirens attendees have smart, passionate opinions, and if you’d like to propose adding your thoughts to our programming schedule, we encourage you to do so.
Our vetting board reviews proposals for thoughtfulness, rigor, relevance, and inclusiveness. Please note that the board is aware of programming presented at Sirens in the past, and that duplicative topics are often considered less relevant; please make sure that you have reviewed our archive before deciding on your topic. Also, please note that the Sirens audience tends to be quite experienced in discussing women in fantasy literature, as well as related topics such as feminism, social sciences (and occasionally hard sciences), and writing. You are likely to find your audience composed of voracious, critical readers, as well as accomplished scholars, librarians, educators, authors, and publishing professionals. Please plan the sophistication and complexity of your proposal accordingly.
We have included both our formal call for proposals and our presentation guidelines below. Please make sure that you have read these, and asked any questions you may have, prior to submitting your proposal.
Finally, your proposal must include the following information—and please note that your proposal will go to the vetting board as submitted by you. Please make sure that you have reviewed your proposal for errors, and that you complete all fields in the proposal system, on any proposals that you make.
- Title of your presentation
A biography of no more than 100 words, suitable for use on our website and in our program book
A proposal summary of 50 to 100 words, suitable for use on our website and in our program book
An abstract of 300 to 500 words that details your topic, arguments, and conclusions. Please note that pre-empaneled papers require an abstract for each paper; that panels require a supplemental abstract for each panelist; that roundtable and panel leaders may submit 10 to 15 sample questions in lieu of a formal abstract; and that workshops and afternoon classes may submit lesson plans in lieu of a formal abstract.
Email addresses of any co-presenters. We will email them so that they may provide us their individual biographies (and for pre-empaneled papers and panels, supplemental abstracts or other analytical responses to the panel abstract) before our vetting board receives your proposal. In order for your proposal to be considered, co-presenters must confirm their participation by responding to the email and providing their information by May 6, 2018.
We will open our proposals system in spring of 2018. Thank you for your patience.
Sirens, a conference focused on literary contributions by women to the fantasy genre and on fantasy works with prominent female characters, will take place October 25–28, 2018, in Beaver Creek, Colorado. The conference seeks papers, panels, interactive workshops, roundtable discussions, and other presentations suitable for an audience of academics, professionals, educators, librarians, authors, and fantasy readers.
The theme for 2018 is “reunion” and presenters are invited to consider the fantasy-literature themes of Sirens’s most recent four years: hauntings and what it means, as a woman, to be haunted; rebels and revolutions; lovers; and women who possess and wield magic. Proposals that address women in fantasy literature, such as specific aspects of a work or series, works related by other themes, and studies of the fantasy genre across all disciplines are encouraged as well. A non-exhaustive list of sample topics includes literary analyses of novels; studies of genre history; use of fantasy works in schools and libraries for education; examination of related business and legal issues; media and fan studies; craft-based workshops in writing, art, and publishing; and overviews of how fantasy works fit into larger contexts.
Presentation submission to the vetting board is by online system only. No other format or contact will be considered. The deadline for proposals is May 6, 2018, and notices regarding proposals will be sent no later than June 11, 2018. Those requiring an early decision in order to obtain funding from their institutions should contact the programming coordinator at (programming at sirensconference.org).
At the time of proposal submission, presenters must provide an abstract of 300 to 500 words, a 50 to 100 word presentation summary for publication, and a presenter biography of 50 to 100 words. Those wishing to submit a proposal for a panel or an interactive roundtable discussion may submit a brief explanation of a topic and a list of 10—15 sample discussion questions in lieu of a formal abstract; workshop proposals may be formatted as lesson plans. Afternoon classes—interactive demonstrations of interest to fantasy readers that may be less formally related to the theme—may also be presented as lesson plans. Panelists must submit supplemental abstracts detailing their contributions to the panel.
Accepted presenters must be available to attend the conference in its entirety; no partial or day registrations will be offered. Presenters must be registered (and fully paid) for the conference no later than July 10, 2018. Conference papers will be collected for optional publication at a later date.
For more information about programming, the review process, suggested timing and structure of presentations, audio-visual availability, and proposal submissions, please see the Sirens website at <http://www.sirensconference.org/present/>. Questions specifically about programming may be directed to (programming at sirensconference.org), and general conference inquiries may be sent to (help at sirensconference.org).
Sirens is a presentation of Narrate Conferences, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization with the mission of organizing academic, literary, and exploratory educational conferences that address themes of interest to scholars, educators, students, professionals, and readers. For inquiries about Narrate Conferences, Inc., please write to (info at narrateconferences.org).
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To assist potential presenters with proposal submissions, we offer the following examples of presentation structures and formats that we include in the Sirens schedule. If you have any questions or concerns about which format you should use, please write us at (programming at sirensconference.org).
Papers, Lectures, and Presentations
Presenters may read papers or deliver lectures or talks on a topic. Most paper presentations are followed by a brief question-and-answer period. Individuals may choose 25- or 50-minute blocks of time for a presentation, including any audience discussion or questions. Those submitting shorter papers will be matched with other presenters to fill a 50-minute or longer presentation time block.
A set of short, thematically related papers may be submitted as pre-empaneled papers. The initial submitter is designated as contact and moderator, and provides the panel’s overall title, as well as their own paper title, summary, and abstract. The initial submitter also enters the email addresses of co-panelists. Then, co-panelists will receive notices by email to enter a biography and contact information, as well as the title, summary, and abstract for their individual papers. Pre-empaneled paper sets will be scheduled in a 50-minute or longer presentation time block, depending on the number of papers included; we suggest that two or three papers be presented, with a maximum of four pre-empaneled papers per presentation. (We do expect to schedule groups of three or more papers in an extended time block so that each presenter has at least 25 minutes to present.)
Panels, led by a moderator, generally discuss a topic before an audience, and may or may not take questions during or after the discussion. All panelists must be named at the time of proposal submission and must submit a supplemental abstract by the proposal deadline. (We require that you be in contact with co-panelists in advance of submitting a proposal; please do not simply add email addresses of people with whom you would like to be on a panel.) Moderators may submit either a formal abstract or a list of questions for the panelists to address; we require submitting at least ten thoughtful questions with a proposal. Panel discussions will be scheduled in a 50-minute presentation time block.
Workshop sessions are led by an instructor and focus on the application and practice of a skill. Generally, an attendee will expect to gain or expand upon a particular skill at a workshop, and the opportunity for participation or leaving with material to be applied later marks this style of presentation. Seating specifics depend on the allotted rooms and overall program schedule, but typically, workshops have limited seating much like the roundtables described below. Workshops will be scheduled in a 50-minute time block.
Roundtable discussions are limited to a smaller audience—typically, one that reflects the discussion section that would be paired with a college lecture course—and depend on audience participation. The most successful discussions are facilitated by a moderator who seeks to explore open-ended questions with the audience and who encourages everyone present to take part. To encourage this format, a potential moderator may present either an abstract or 10 to 15 sample discussion questions at the time of proposal submission. Roundtable discussions will be scheduled in time blocks of 50 minutes. Roundtables may have only a single moderator; no co-moderation is possible for Sirens. Those groups considering a roundtable with multiple moderators are encouraged to consider a panel discussion instead, which is more suited to having multiple presentation leaders, or to select one person from the group to moderate, with other group members planning to attend and support the discussion. Seating in roundtable discussions is limited to roughly 25 participants.
Less formal demonstrations or classes in areas related to fantasy literature may be proposed as afternoon classes. They are not meant to replace the proposal types listed above or to be an “easier” option for presenters; instead, they are an opportunity for practical presentations that may be interest to fantasy readers. A non-exhaustive list of sample topic areas includes historical dress and music, martial arts, weaponry, battle strategy, costume construction, and so forth. Afternoon classes may be similar to workshops or be more demonstration-based, and may be led by one instructor or a group of instructors. Instructors may be asked to repeat their classes on both of the main days of the conference. Lesson plans are a welcome alternative to abstracts for this type of proposal. These classes are scheduled in blocks that range from one to two hours, depending on available space during the conference, but instructors should plan for a shorter time block rather than a longer one. If you have questions on whether your proposed topic is best suited for an afternoon class or another type of presentation, please write us at (programming at sirensconference.org) for consultation.
This list of presentation types is not meant to limit the styles of presentation brought to the vetting board for consideration; instead, we hope that it will inspire creativity and help submitters make decisions about how to structure potential presentations, especially since terminology can vary across fields. We know that a lecture could lead into a panel, or a panel could precede a workshop. The combination option in the submission system allows for a full description of any such presentation. At the time of submission, a submitter should be prepared to describe the elements of the presentation and what proportion of the presentation will be devoted to each element in the abstract. Combination presentations are scheduled in 50-minute time blocks. That said, most presentations can be considered one of the styles listed above; if you have questions on whether your proposed topic is best suited for a combination presentation or another type of presentation, please write us at (programming at sirensconference.org) for consultation before you make your proposal.
Sirens welcomes proposals that address women, but the conference is not restricted to presentations solely about women; we hope that presenters will consider broader perspectives on gender as well. In addition, we encourage presentations that thoughtfully address and are inclusive of all genders, sexualities, races, abilities, countries of origin, religions, and other identities.
Sirens strongly encourages collaboration, especially across scholarly and professional fields and across social and practice circles. We also strongly encourage including diverse perspectives in your collaboration, especially with respect to panelist selection. If you are seeking co-presenters, we invite you to Tweet @sirens_con, so that we may retweet your request to the Sirens community, and to post on our Facebook.
Number of Proposals
We recommend that presenters consider taking part in a maximum of two presentations throughout the weekend, so that no presenter is overwhelmed and that presenters have time to both teach and reflect during the conference. Thus, we recommend submitting no more than two separate proposals for programming, and that prospective presenters consider submitting fewer carefully planned, thoughtful proposals instead of a larger number of proposals and expecting the vetting board to choose. One to two presentations is a nice maximum, allowing ample time for both sharing and listening.
Typically, a microphone is provided for a paper or lecture, and several microphones for a panel, so no special request is necessary for these presentation formats. Amplification and other audio-visual supports are not available for any roundtable discussions because those presentations are scheduled in rooms appropriate for small groups and are not meant to be lecture-driven. Please consider making a copy of a visual to pass around should you need to display an item to drive the discussion.
LCD projection is usually available for use during papers, panels, workshops, and afternoon classes. Windows-based computers are provided; presenters may connect their own PCs or Macs, but should plan to submit a backup of visual presentations at the conference in case of technical difficulties, and should note a desire to use a personal Mac-based device during the proposal submission process. (You must bring your own adapters if you plan to use a personal Apple device.) Sound amplification is available from computer files, but may need to go from a computer’s speakers to your microphone. Video clips should be used in place of DVDs whenever possible. Please do let us know at the time of submission if you hope to use a projector so that we can plan accordingly. Please do not plan to have access to WiFi during your presentation—you may be able to pick up the hotel lobby WiFi, but we cannot guarantee its availability or suitability.
When deciding on how to present any visual elements, consider whether your presentation needs a visual element. A panel, for example, will generally focus on discussion; however, a panel discussing the illustration of bodies in anime is more likely to require visuals than one discussing plot arcs for magical girls.
We recommend that presenters consider handouts, posters, and other visual aids if only one or two visuals are needed, and that all presenters keep these alternatives in mind in case projection is not available or not offered for some reason. Presenters must provide their own handouts.
Easels are available for all presenters, but presenters must provide their own paper if necessary. Small (18x24") dry erase boards and pens will be available where there are easels.
Audio-visual availability for individual presentations will be announced with the presenter schedule notices, approximately one month after the presenter registration deadline. We cannot provide funds or reimbursement for workshop materials, copying, or audio-visual equipment that is arranged by a presenter outside of Sirens’s inventory.
Each presenter must have registered (and fully paid) for Sirens by July 10, 2018. Presenters who have not registered and fully paid by that date will not be included on our programming schedule, and no registration or presentation space will be held for them.