Please note that there are no required qualifications for presenters. Each year, readers, scholars, librarians, teachers, publishing professionals, authors, and more share their thoughts as part of our programming schedule. These presenters speak regardless of educational degrees, levels of experience, or years at Sirens. We also often feature a number of first-time presenters!
Each year, Sirens assembles an independent vetting board to review programming proposals. Our vetting board reviews the proposals we receive for thoughtfulness, relevance, and inclusiveness, and selects which will be included in the year’s schedule. Some of their deliberation is as follows:
Thoughtfulness: The means the vetting board considers the research, logic, and sophistication of the arguments. Is the proposal well-conceived? Is the proposal well-argued? Is it interesting? Is it innovative?
Relevance: Is the topic relevant to Sirens’s overarching topic of gender and fantasy literature? The topic doesn’t need to specifically address the theme of any given year, and doesn’t have to be about gender and fantasy and literature (but if your proposal doesn’t address at least two of the three, you might want to consider how you can make your topic more relevant to the Sirens audience).
Inclusiveness: Sirens values diverse perspectives, experiences, and identities. Does your topic address an inclusive selection of literature? Do your co-presenters represent a variety of perspectives, experiences, and identities, whenever possible?
In crafting your presentation, please also consider the following:
Audience: You are likely to find your presentation audience composed of voracious, critical readers, as well as accomplished scholars, librarians, educators, authors, and publishing professionals. Further, Sirens attendees tend 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. Please plan the sophistication and complexity of your proposal accordingly.
Repetition of Past Presentation Topics: The vetting board is familiar with programming presented at Sirens in the past, and duplicative topics are often considered less relevant. Please make sure that you have reviewed our archive page before deciding on your topic and that, if you intend to propose a similar topic, you highlight the innovation of your work in your proposal.
Assembling Panels: If you intend to propose a panel, we strongly encourage you to include people with not only varying perspectives, experiences, and identities, but also varying opinions and vocations (unless, for example, your panel is intended to represent a single vocation, such as a panel discussing the use of fantasy literature in course curricula).
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 note that your proposal will go to the vetting board exactly as you submit it. Please make sure that you have reviewed your proposal for errors and that you complete all fields in the proposal system, including the following information:
Title of your presentation.
biography of 50-100 words, suitable for use on our website and in our program book.
A proposal summary of 50-100 words, suitable for use on our website and in our program book.
An abstract of 300-500 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 demonstrating the perspectives that that panelist will bring to the discussion; that roundtable and panel moderators may submit 10-15 sample questions (and any relevant follow-up 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). Co-presenters must provide their information by May 15, 2020.
Our programming proposal system will open for submissions in the spring of 2020.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Sirens
October 22–25, 2020
A conference on gender and fantasy literature presented by Narrate Conferences, Inc.
Sirens, a conference focused on examining gender and fantasy literature, including discussion of fantasy works by women and nonbinary people, will take place October 22–25, 2020, in Denver, Colorado. The conference seeks papers, panels, interactive workshops, roundtable discussions, and other presentations suitable for an audience of academics, professionals, educators, librarians, authors, and readers.
The theme for 2020 is “villains” and presenters are invited to consider topics related to gender, villainy, and fantasy literature. Proposals that address gender 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 15, 2020, and notices regarding proposals will be sent no later than June 15, 2020. 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, 2020. 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 in preparing proposals, we offer the following information on the presentation 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 and Lectures
Presenters may read papers or deliver lectures or talks on a topic. Individuals may choose 25- or 50-minute blocks of time for a paper or lecture, including any audience discussion or questions. Those submitting shorter papers may be matched with other presenters to fill a 50-minute or longer presentation time block.
Pre-empaneled Papers or Lectures
A set of papers or lectures on a related topic may be submitted as pre-empaneled papers or lectures. The initial submitter is designated as contact and moderator, and provides the panel’s overall title, as well as their own paper or lecture title, summary, and abstract. The initial submitter also enters the email addresses of co-presenters. Then, co-presenters will receive notices by email to enter a biography and contact information, as well as the title, summary, and abstract for their individual papers or lectures. Pre-empaneled paper or lecture sets will be scheduled in a 50-minute or longer presentation time block, depending on the number of papers or lectures included; we suggest that two or three papers or lectures be presented, with a maximum of four pre-empaneled papers or lectures per presentation.
Panels, led by a moderator, generally discuss and debate a topic before an audience and may or may not take audience questions during or after the discussion. All panelists must be named at the time of proposal submission; panels may have up to five participants, including the moderator. The moderator must provide the initial submission, including the primary panel abstract, and each additional panelist must provide a supplemental abstract demonstrating the perspectives that they will contribute to the panel. Please note that the most successful panels represent a wide variety of perspectives; if everyone on your panel tends to agree or comes from similar backgrounds/experiences, we strongly consider that you consider co-presenting a paper or lecture instead. 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; if you elect to submit a list of questions, we require 10–15 thoughtful questions. Panel discussions will be scheduled in a 50-minute presentation 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; if you have a lot of information to convey on your topic, or your topic is rather esoteric, we encourage you to consider presenting a paper or lecture instead, as that format is more suited to conveying information, rather than leading a discussion among the audience. To encourage this format, a potential moderator may present either an abstract or 10–15 sample discussion questions (and any follow-up questions) at the time of proposal submission. Roundtable discussions will be scheduled in time blocks of 50 minutes. Roundtables must have only a single moderator; no co-moderation is possible for roundtables at Sirens.
Workshop sessions are led by an instructor and focus on the application and practice of a skill. Generally, attendees expect to gain or expand upon a particular skill at a workshop, and the opportunity for participation or leaving with material for later use marks this style of presentation. Seating specifics depend on the allotted rooms and overall program schedule, but typically, workshops have limited seating to allow for more in-depth instruction. Workshops are scheduled in a 50-minute time block.
Afternoon classes are an opportunity for instruction or exploration of practical topics related to fantasy literature, such as historical dress or music, martial arts, weaponry, battle strategy, costume construction, and so forth. Afternoon classes may be less formal than other types of programming in their presentation, but the same rigorous proposal process applies. Afternoon classes may be similar to workshops or be more demonstration-based, and may be led by one instructor or a group of instructors. 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 usually scheduled in 50-minute time blocks. That said, most presentations can be considered one of the styles listed above; please write us at (programming at sirensconference.org) for consultation before you make your proposal.
Additional Proposal Preparation Information
Sirens strongly encourages collaboration, especially across scholarly and professional fields and across social and practice circles. We also strongly encourage including diverse perspectives, experiences, and identities in your collaboration, especially with respect to co-presenter 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 page.
Number of Proposals
We recommend that presenters submit and participate in no more than one or two programming proposals. This helps ensure that you are submitting your best quality work to the vetting board, and that you have time to fully prepare for all presentations. Should all of your proposals be accepted, this also ensures you will have time to both speak and listen during Sirens itself.
Our presentation rooms for papers, lectures, and panels typically include one or more microphones to be shared, a podium and table, projection equipment, and a dry-erase board or easel. We require that these presenters use the microphones provided, as it makes their presentations more accessible. Presentation rooms for workshops and afternoon classes can vary widely, depending on the workshop or afternoon class, but can include tables and chairs for audience members to write or craft; projection equipment, a dry-erase board or easel, or an open space to use for physical demonstrations. Roundtable discussions will be scheduled in smaller rooms suitable for group discussion. Workshops, afternoon classes, and roundtables are typically scheduled in small rooms without amplification.
We do ask that any proposals requesting projection equipment detail how they will use it; this information is helpful in the event that we have to prioritize requests.
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. 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, 2020. 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.