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Our Annual Programming Series, Part One!

The deadline for proposals is May 10, 2013, so you've got six weeks left to work on a programming proposal!

We’re going to help you prepare. Over the next few weeks, we’ll explain our programming selection process, discuss different types of programming commonly seen at Sirens, and show you how to put together a programming proposal.

The first thing you need to know:

Everyone who is eligible to attend Sirens is eligible to present at Sirens.

Our programming is designed, developed, and presented by attendees, because the perspectives and inquiries of attendees make for an exciting--and relevant--programming schedule.

In fact, we prefer that our programming be presented by a mix of scholars, professionals, and fans. Readers, authors, publishers, scientists, psychologists, mathematicians, librarians, historians--and any other broad category you might be able to think of--all have interesting perspectives, and we hope that they'll share. We hope, specifically, that you will jump in and share.

If you...

  • have done research on fantasy literature,

  • participated an interesting blog or book club conversation,

  • worked on something else fantasy-related,

  • have questions about something related to fantasy literature,

  • know something about its production,

  • are fascinated by elements that commonly appear in fantasy,

… you probably have something to share that will be very interesting to other attendees.

This year, in celebration of our fifth Sirens conference and the community we have shared, we offer the theme of reunion. We’d love to see you remix and reinterpret our past themes of warriors, fairies, monsters, and tales retold, and we’re always happy to consider your proposals related to creating and consuming fantasy, with an emphasis on fantasy by and about women. For inspiration, take a look at what attendees have presented in the past four years.

Here are some quick facts about programming in general:

  • Proposals are accepted via our online system and are due no later than May 10, 2013.

  • We have some guidelines for presentations so that we can create a coherent schedule that will fit in the time and space we have available.

  • Collaboration is encouraged! Except for roundtable discussions, where the participants need to have a single moderator, you're welcome to make your presentation with another person or with several others.

  • You may submit a proposal even if you are not registered yet, but you must be registered by July 3, 2013, to confirm your participation if your proposal is chosen for Sirens.


The Call for Proposals
A call for proposals (or papers) formally sets out a conference's theme, desired presentations, and presentation requirements. It also gives a brief overview of the process by which proposals will be selected.

Vetting Board
An independent vetting board will read all of the proposals and decide which proposals to accept for Sirens in 2013. We have a board to make sure that proposals are evaluated by people who have a strong collective knowledge of current trends, scholarship, events, and so on; we feel it is most fair to have proposals evaluated by a group of people who know and appreciate what you want to talk about.

Please don't be intimidated by this process! The worst-case scenario is your proposal isn't selected for this year. There will likely be some very good proposals that we must decline. You're more than welcome to revamp your proposal and submit it again in the future. Unfortunately, we aren't able to provide feedback for declined proposals; our vetting board has graciously agreed to read the submitted proposals, but we don't ask them to provide written evaluations of each proposal.

That said, there are a number of things you can do to increase the chances of your proposal being accepted. We'll post about these in more depth in the future, but keep these tips in mind:

  1. Make sure you include all requested information when you make your proposal.


    • While we ask for contact information and certain preferences to verify your registration status, this is kept confidential and not shared with the vetting board, volunteers, or third parties.

    • The vetting board sees the name you’d like listed on the schedule, the title of your presentation, the summary you provide, your presenter biography, and the abstract (or discussion questions or workshop lesson plan) for your proposed presentation

    • If you have concerns about how the information is used, please e-mail us.


  2. If you’re working with collaborators--perhaps co-writing a paper, grouping together for a panel, or team-teaching a workshop:


    • Be sure to nail down your co-presenters before you submit your proposal. We can change or add co-presenters before a decision is made on your proposal, but--for example--you don’t want the board to review your proposed panel if you don’t have any panelists!

    • Have any collaborator e-mail addresses handy when you make your proposal.

    • The collaborators will receive an e-mailed request for confirmation that they’re part of the proposal and will also be asked to provide their own contact information, presenter biography, and so on. (This way, you don’t have to share all of your real life contact information if you don’t want to, though of course we recommend that you keep in touch through e-mail.)

    • If your collaborator(s) do not respond to this e-mail in a timely manner, your proposal will be declined, so make sure your co-presenters are available to respond within a few days of making of your proposal.


  3. The vetting board wants to see proposals that are presentation-ready!


    • Make sure that everything the vetting board sees has been read by a second set of eyes and that it’s complete; nothing says “I’m not that serious” like a proposal with typos, that says “I’ll fill this part in later,” or that ends with “...and then maybe I could see if someone in the audience has an idea for me to talk about.”

    • It’s expected that you might do some research, reading, and/or thinking between now and next October, but you should have an idea now of what you’d like to discuss then.


  4. You’ll receive all proposal and presentation communications via e-mail.


    • Please use a working e-mail address that you check and that you’ll be able to access through next October.

    • Add (programming at sirensconference.org) to your safe sender list.

    • Do not use your LiveJournal address. It will bounce back to us! You'll never receive important e-mails!


Our next posts will describe different types of proposals; what to put in a biography, summary, and abstract; and posts simply for exchanging ideas and finding collaborators. If you have questions, we're happy to receive them, here or via e-mail.

Quick links:
Programming Overview
Call for Proposals/Guidelines/Additional Preparation Information
Specific Questions for the Programming Team: E-mail (programming at sirensconference.org)

And don't forget: We're hosting another chat on the Sirens website for talking about programming ideas--and for books, travel, Sirens, and meeting potential travel buddies and roommates. Join us on Sunday, April 7th, from 2:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern.
Tags: chat, community, programming, schedules, we're excited about
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