2020 Annual Conference
Costa Mesa, CA | April 23-25, 2020
I’m a panelist. What should I expect and what are my responsibilities?
Congratulations! Panelists are the heart of any conference, and a great opportunity to present your ideas to an interested audience. A good panel presenter should:
- Offer a carefully thought out presentation that conveys a historical research, pedagogical, or other issue clearly in a limited time frame. This could include a written paper or a planned visual/verbal presentation.
- Make sure that your presentation does not go over the allotted time limit. See below for specific information regarding time limits.
- Think carefully about how to best present your materials. Visual presentations such as PowerPoint can be great but hard to time. Visuals just for the sake of images are usually not effective. Reading text from slides is generally a less-than-ideal presentation style.
- We encourage creative and lively presentations beyond the traditional paper readings.
- Be eager to hear comments and questions from the audience.
- Be aware of how much you are speaking compared to other panelists during the discussion and adjust accordingly.
- Get your presentation materials and cv/brief bio to your chair and co-panelists about three weeks before the conference or a later agreed upon date.
Please work ahead of time to smooth out technology plans with your fellow panelists.
I’m a roundtable speaker. What should I expect and what are my responsibilities?
Congratulations! Roundtables are exciting, interactive discussions on a historical, pedagogical, political, or professional issue. A roundtable speaker should:
- Generally focus on a single issue or idea rather than a detailed research presentation.
- Not read a written paper.
- Limit your presentation to 5-7 minutes so that the roundtable participants can have time for cross-discussion before opening it up to audience discussion.
- Get your presentation materials (such as an abstract or overview) and cv/brief bio to your chair and co-panelists about three weeks before the conference or a later agreed upon date.
- Ideally, make your presentation directly speak to others’ presentations. This means that your roundtable may want to meet and chat before your session.
I’m a chair/moderator. What should I expect and what are my responsibilities?
Congratulations! You are in charge of overseeing your session. This includes:
- Offering brief introductions of each participant. This usually requires that you ask for cvs or biographical blurbs a few weeks ahead of the conference.
- Determining time limits for all participants. Ideally, there will be at least 30 minutes of discussion, and there will easily be 10 minutes of introductions/time between panelists.
- Deciding the order of presenters: usually this is the order in the program, but there can be intellectual or other reasons to re-order participant presentations.
- Making sure people stay to their time limits. You might want to pre-print a sheet of paper with “2 minutes left” or “30 seconds to finish” that you can discretely pass to a speaker who is going over their allotted time.
- Overseeing technology plans: It can be helpful if you (or, if you are not technologically inclined, someone you designate) arrange to have all panelist presentations on one computer. Significant time is lost in sessions trying to switch computers, get new computers to work, etc. A little preparation leaves more time for everyone!
- Overseeing the discussion. Sometimes this is easy, but other times, you may need to guide the discussion to be as inclusive as possible. This may mean being aware of the gender, racial, and other power dynamics in the room or asking someone to give someone else a chance to speak.
- Considering arranging a pre-session meeting or coffee– especially if you and your panelists don’t know each other.
Setting a deadline for pre-circulated materials. Our default is about three weeks before the conference, but later dates can be agreed on by all panel members. This usually means asking for copies of papers/presentations/abstract of planned discussion to be shared with all participants. This is especially important if you are or have a designated commenter.
I’m a commenter. What should I expect and what are my responsibilities?
Congratulations! You are tying the session together and giving the audience and presenters food for thought. Some ideas for a successful comment include:
- Preparing ahead of time. Some people can give brilliant comments on the spot; most of us do better with advance thought and planning. Panelists have put enormous energy in their presentations, and are eager to hear your thoughtful response!
- Making sure you know and stick to the time allotted to you. Comments should be shorter than panelist presentations, so you have only 5-7 minutes to comment.
- Offering a substantive assessment of the papers. This could include new ideas that bring the panelists’ ideas together, setting them in context of historiographic questions, etc. You do not need to summarize the papers everyone just heard.
- Asking open-ended questions that the papers raised, as well as giving critiques or questions to the authors.
- Remembering that WAWH seeks to promote a supportive scholarly environment; first-time presenters will benefit from constructive, positive feedback.
- Not focusing on your own research (though we are sure it is fascinating!)
And a few additional considerations:
- If, for some reason you do not receive the papers/presentation far enough in advance, you may need to only comment on some of them or add a few spontaneous remarks on the late paper.
- Because we encourage panelists to move beyond reading papers, they may not have word-for-word papers to send to you. Please communicate with panelists to agree on what information they will send and what you will need to prepare your comment.
- You are welcome to privately offer panelists specific comments on their paper if you would like to share what you have scrawled in the margins.
- Please get your cv/brief bio to your Chair about three weeks before the conference or a later agreed upon date.
I’m a workshop participant. What should I expect and what are my responsibilities?
Congratulations and thanks for your creative contribution to the conference! A workshop is an interactive hands-on demonstration focused on a professional, political, or pedagogical topic. It typically involves the audience, not just as listeners and questioners, but as active contributors. A workshop can have anywhere from 3-6 participants. A workshop participant should:
- Generally, focus on an interactive demonstration with the audience, rather than a detailed research presentation.
- Not read a written paper.
- Ideally, make your demonstration directly speak to others’ demonstrations to present a linked series of activities for your audience. This may mean that your workshop meet and chat before your session.
- Make sure that the time allotted for your demonstration (10-15 minutes, depending on the number of participants) allows for audience interaction and that all participants can have adequate time for their demonstrations.
- Get your demonstration materials or plans and cv/brief bio to your chair and co-panelists by April 3 or a later agreed upon date.
I’m presenting a poster. What exactly is a poster supposed to include at a history conference?
Congratulations! A poster uses visuals and text to present original research for display, and poster sessions provide an opportunity to engage in conversation with conference participants about your work. Some things to consider in your poster design plans:
- The poster should be self-explanatory with and without the author’s commentary. Your poster will be on display for the whole conference, so it should stand on its own.
- If you are getting your poster printed from a slide (PowerPoint, Google slides), make sure you design it in the correct format. It can cost $50 or more to print as a single sheet. Some poster presenters instead go old school and paste printed pages onto poster board.
- Posters should be free-standing. They will be displayed on tables rather than hung.
- Authors should also be prepared to speak about their work using the information on the poster as a starting point. At 6:00-7:00 pm on Thursday and 5:00-6:00 pm on Friday, conference goers will be coming by to talk with you about your poster.
- There are lots of resources on poster design. Some options (we’re not endorsing any in particular) include:
- http://gradschool.unc.edu/academics/resources/postertips.html – design
What are some key presenter do’s and don’ts?
- Speak clearly and use a microphone in larger rooms. This is especially helpful for people who may be far in the back or need additional volume to hear you.
- It can be helpful to do complete practice run-throughs. Especially if you are doing slides rather than reading a paper (good for you!), it can be hard to predict how long you will take to get through the presentation.
- You are welcome to—but do not have to—use visual images/slides/PowerPoint/Prezi/etc. Only use them if they enhance your presentation. Some of the best presentations are just engaging talks without bells or whistles. If you want to do a visual presentation, there are lots of websites about best design practices – you might Google some!
- A recurring issue at conferences is panelists who go over their time limit. This can cut into the time that other panelists have to present their own work. So please please please don’t try to include more material than you should in the time you have. Less really is more in this case!
- Please do not go AWOL from your chair or other session presenters. This can be really frustrating. If you are having trouble getting your materials in, send an email letting people know and making new arrangements.
- Unless everyone has willingly agreed, please do not hand your paper/presentation to your commenter the night before (or morning of) the session. That isn’t fair to them and can have negative consequences to you (ie: it’s really not a good professional look).
- Please do not send your commenter a chapter-length essay that you plan to cut down to presentation length. It isn’t fair to ask them to read all those extra pages, and it is very difficult to prepare comments when large sections may not be discussed at all. Please send as close a version of your final presentation as you can.
- Preparing for a conference can be nerve wracking. Be sure to reach out to colleagues and mentors for advice. This article by Linda Kerber on “Conference Rules” has some helpful tips.
Some panels have four papers, others have three. How should we adjust session plans?
WAWH is lucky to have so many great submissions. If your panel has four papers, you will have substantially less time to make your presentation. Chairs should adjust this accordingly:
- We encourage all panelists to think broadly about how to move beyond the traditional paper reading. Perhaps each panelist offers a 7-minute research case study, followed by a total of 10 minutes of back and forth with other panelists. This might be more engaging than everyone speed reading to get through four 10-minute papers. Or perhaps your panel can come up with other creative ideas.
- Chair’s time management is always important and even more so on 4-presentation panels. Panelists: please help your chair by sticking to your allotted time!
- On a four-person panel, presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes each. This leaves 30 minutes for audience discussion; 6 minutes for the intros; 5-7 minutes for the comment; 10 minutes for getting started and transitions/tech set ups; and a few extra minutes for inevitable overruns.
- On a three-person panel, we recommend 12-minute maximum presentations and a 5-7 minute comment.
What technology will be in session rooms?
Technology is wonderful, but all too often also a headache. Some tips for smooth use of technology:
- Use one computer for the entire session. Pre-load all of your presentations onto that computer and set them up so that you can have smooth transitions between panelists.
- Designate one participant in your session to be the tech person (perhaps whoever’s computer you are using) so that they can arrive early, make sure the computer works, etc.
I’m a graduate student and conferences are expensive! Is there any funding for graduate students?
Because inclusion is one of WAWH’s central goals, we seek to make the conference affordable for all who wish to attend. Grad students may be eligible for assistance with registration and/or meals during the conference. Typically, students work the registration desk in exchange for reduced registration. Please contact our Executive Director at email@example.com for details.
I’m no longer a graduate student! What can I do as a teacher/faculty/professional to make WAWH a good experience, especially for graduate students?
Thanks for being interested in promoting mentoring and inclusive relationships! There are lots of things you can do:
- You can purchase a guest membership for your own or another student (just $25 for anyone with an income under $30,000). This is an inexpensive and clear way to invite new members into the organization. Memberships can be purchased here.
- You can encourage grad students to attend meals by purchasing a meal ticket on their behalf and/or inviting them out to a coffee or meal. Mealtimes offer an excellent opportunity to socialize and network.
- You can reach out to people you don’t know at events (The Book Launch on Thursday, for example, or the Mixer on Friday).
- You can also make an extra effort to let paper givers know one-on-one how much you enjoyed their work.
I remember the days before poster sessions. Can you explain them to me?
- Posters aim to present new scholarship in a visual format. Posters often represent an earlier stage of work than paper presentations, so they offer great opportunities for feedback.
- They will be prominently on display near the registration site. You are free to wander by to read and enjoy the exciting work portrayed on them.
- The Poster Session will be “live” during two separate periods during the conference: Thursday evening from 6:00–7:00 pm and Friday from 5:00-6:00 pm. During these times, presenters will be available to discuss their research and answer questions. Please go and talk with them!
- Conference attendees are encouraged to vote for the best poster,using the ballot found in your registration packet. Posters will be judged on content, clarity, and effectiveness of overall presentation. The best poster will be awarded the Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Perry Graduate Student Conference Poster Prize at the Saturday night dinner.
What are my meal options during the conference? Will I starve if meal tickets are beyond my budget?
No one will starve at the WAWH. Some useful info:
- Attendees can purchase meal tickets for dinners on Thursday and Saturday nights.
- Members are encouraged to purchase a meal ticket for those who find the meal tickets too expensive. Alternately, check with the Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) for availability.
- Advanced purchase is strongly encouraged since there will be only a limited number of tickets available on site. We have done our best to keep meal costs down so that attendees can use meal times as an opportunity to socialize.
- Coffee, water, and snacks will be available in between sessions. The free Thursday Book Launch and Friday Mixer will have more substantial nibbles.
Will there be opportunities to socialize?
Yes! WAWH prides itself on its warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment. We provide ample opportunity to make new connections and to re-establish old ones:
- There are two dinners (tickets required) on Thursday evening and Saturday evening.
- There are also multiple free socializing opportunities: you can attend the Graduate Student Poster Sessions, the Dessert and Champagne Book Launch on Thursday evening, and the WAWH mixer on Friday evening.
- During the conference, be sure to introduce yourself or make introductions for others whenever you can. If you see someone standing or eating alone, introduce yourself, or invite them to join you for a meal. If you see someone whose name you recognize and whose work you like, strike up a conversation!
What is the Dessert and Champagne Book Launch? Do I need a ticket to attend?
The book launch features scholarship by WAWH members published during the previous year. The event features the authors’ brief reflections on their scholarship and short readings followed by an audience Q & A. All are encouraged to attend and no ticket is required. You can help us plan for the event, however, by indicating your plans to attend on your registration form (But if you didn’t remember to do so, don’t worry, you are still welcome!). Please do try to make your travel plans so that you can attend this opening event: it is always a highlight of the conference!
Who should attend the WAWH Mixer? Do I need a ticket?
No ticket is required and all are invited and encouraged to attend! This is a great time to socialize and connect with other members. Appetizers and refreshments will be served. While no ticket is required for this event, you can help us plan by registering for this event by indicating your plans to attend on your registration form. (But if you didn’t remember to do so, don’t worry, you are still welcome!)
I am on the program but have had an emergency and cannot attend. Who should I contact?
If you are absolutely unable to attend, you should contact Sarah Gold McBride, the Executive Director (email@example.com) AND the Program Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) immediately. Be sure also to inform all members of your panel, including the chair and commentator. Though it can be useful in certain circumstances, as a general rule we do not encourage absentee reading of papers at panels.
It is fine if I just come in for a few hours for my panel and then leave, right?
Far be it from us to tell anyone how to live their life! But keep in mind that panelists have worked really hard and are excited about this chance to share their work and ideas. We understand that socializing and meeting with colleagues may overflow break times and cause people to skip sessions. But we hope that you will take advantage of the many excellent panels we have on offer. Every concurrent session to have an interest and attentive audience.
I need to bring a child/my childcare fell through. Are children welcome? Do you offer childcare?
Children have attended WAWH panels and bring great joy while doing it (a certain adorable girl really liked the chocolate-covered strawberries at the Book Launch one year!). There are usually willing attendees who are happy to watch a child during your presentation if necessary. And of course, attendees are welcome to breastfeed at the conference events. It is up to you what is appropriate for your child to attend/see/hear about. Unfortunately, WAWH does not offer childcare, but we may be able to offer unofficial suggestions if you email email@example.com.
Who should I contact if I experience a problem during the conference?
WAWH will have a designated number that participants may use to seek assistance during the conference. You can find this in the packet you pick up at registration.
Can I tweet the conference?
We encourage publicizing the great ideas discussed at WAWH conferences on social media. Our hashtag for the 2020 conference is #WAWH2020 (please use it in all conference tweets!) and we tweet from @WAWHtweets.
- We do also ask that presenters’ and audience members’ preferences be respected. Please look in the program for the designated “okay to tweet” symbol before live tweeting or sharing statements from that session.
- Please also respect any requests by speakers not to share specific images or ideas.
- We have asked Chairs/Moderators to remind the audience if panelists would rather not have their presentations tweeted.
- Some introductions to live tweeting academic conferences are:
What is your policy on harassment and inclusion?
WAWH is committed to offering a harassment-free and inclusive environment for all conference attendees. All spaces at the conference are ADA accessible (A list of accessibility accommodations provided by the hotel is available on the Ayres Hotel Costa Mesa/Newport Beach website.) Please contact the Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns. We encourage anyone with potential concerns regarding access, inclusion, or discrimination to contact the organization’s President at email@example.com.
How can I get more involved in WAWH?
We love when people volunteer to participate in more formal roles. You can:
- Strike up a conversation with local committee members, program committee members, or executive committee members. Look for the star on their name tags.
- If you don’t like to talk irl, you can always email our Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) or President (email@example.com) or Program committee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the Business Meeting on Saturday from 5:30-6:30 pm.
We look forward to seeing you in April! If you have questions that were not answered by these FAQs, please email them to email@example.com.