Length of presentation

When preparing your presentation, please keep in mind the time you have been allotted. For stand-alone papers or papers in an organised panel, this will normally include both presentation time and the time for questions and discussions.

Please resist the temptation to exceed your allotted time or to abuse the patience of the audience by speaking or reading your presentation very fast in an attempt to fit in more material. BSHS conferences attract an international audience and very fast speech is an obstacle to communication between delegates with different first languages. A short presentation, which leaves more than the expected amount of time for questions and discussion, is preferable to one that has to be cut short in the middle without any questions at all.


We are unable to guarantee that printing facilities will be available to delegates at the conference venue. If they are, we will normally inform delegates of this fact in advance, via the conference website. If you need a printed copy of your paper or notes in order to present, we recommend that you produce them in advance and bring them with you.

Slideshow presentations

Most presenters at BSHS conferences use slideware software for their presentation, and all presentation rooms will be equipped with laptops or PCs connected to projectors to facilitate this. Powerpoint is the most widely used software, and the most widely supported at conference venues. We recommend therefore, that delegates use Powerpoint or a fully compatible open source equivalent to produce their presentations. We cannot guarantee that slideshows that rely on the installation of other software or continuous internet access throughout the delivery will be supported.

Please do not assume that you will be able to beam your slideshow directly from your own laptop. Connecting and disconnecting laptops can cause delay and inconvenience to other speakers, and reduce the amount of time available for presenting in your session. You should therefore bring your slideshow to the conference on a memory stick and, ideally, have a backup copy available on a cloud server or in an email account.

On the day of the presentation, you should arrive at the room you are speaking in before the start of the session. If at all possible, load your presentation onto the room’s laptop or PC before it starts.

Distressing content

BSHS supports the efforts of HSTM scholars to engage fearlessly with the past, without attempting to sanitize it. Many topics in HSTM concern historical injustices and tragedies that it is the responsibility of historians to understand and confront. Examples include the development and use of technologies of violence; experimentation on human subjects; pathologisation of bodily difference; and discredited theories of race, sexuality, and gender, and the policies and behaviours those theories have supported. Please bear in mind, however, that audience members may find images, texts, and even individual words relating to these subjects distressing. If you believe that anything in your presentation may be a cause of such distress, then please indicate this at the start of your presentation. If your historical sources use offensive language – for example, racial slurs – it is best to avoid speaking this language yourself, especially if you are not a member of the historically-targeted group. You might instead present the text on a slide, so that the audience can see it without hearing you repeat it; you might choose to censor the offensive terms by partly obscuring them, without fully concealing what was said or written.

In short, if your material is shocking, please warn the audience; do not set out to use your material to shock the audience yourself.

On the day of your presentation

If possible, arrive at the room in which you will be speaking some time before the start of the session, both in order to load your slideshow presentation onto the room’s laptop or PC, and in order to introduce yourself to the chair of your session and discuss any requirements that you have for the session with them and the other speakers.

Photography and social media

If you would prefer that audience members not take photographs or videos during your presentation, and/or that they not tweet any of your remarks, please include this information on your first slide and tell the chair of your session when you meet them.

Responding to questions and comments

Both comments and questions are legitimate forms of engagement at BSHS conferences, and are usually friendly, collegial, and a sincere response to your intellectually-stimulating presentation. However, both questions and comments can sometimes be or seem to be hostile and/or self-serving on the part of the questioner or commentator. Do not feel obliged to respond if you find yourself in this situation. A simple ‘thank you for your comment’ or ‘thank you for your question; I don’t think I can answer it now’ is sufficient. The chair of your session will try to ensure that a hostile or self-indulgent questioner/commentator gets no more than one attempt to misbehave, and your disarming reaction will signal to your chair that you would like to move on.

Programme changes,  failure to book, and dropping out

The BSHS will endeavour to produce a draft of the conference programme by the time that booking opens, so that delegates can plan their travel and accommodation needs, but any such programme is provisional before booking closes. We will endeavour to accommodate reasonable requests for changes to the programme until the conference opens, but since all changes have consequences for other delegates, we may not be able to adjust the programme simply in order to accommodate a speaker preference.

Unless papers have been approved by the BSHS for remote presentation, it is a requirement of inclusion that at least one author books a place at the conference in order to present it in person. If no booking has been made by the advertised deadline, the BSHS reserves the right to withdraw the paper from the programme. Conversely, if you find yourself unable to attend the conference and need to withdraw your contribution, you should inform the following individuals as soon as you can:

(i) the BSHS Programmes Coordinator [insert email address] (if your paper has been accepted, but you have not yet booked a place at the conference]

(ii) the BSHS Programmes Coordinator [insert email address] and the BSHS Executive Secretary ([email protected]) (if your paper has been accepted and you have booked a place at the conference)

(iii) the organiser(s) of your symposium, if you were scheduled to participate in an organised panel, roundtable discussion, workshop, or other session.