CFP: BSHS Global Digital History of Science Festival

July 6-10, 2020, online

The British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) invites session proposals for the first Global Digital History of Science Festival, to be held online from Monday 6 July to Friday 10 July. BSHS members will have access to the whole event, with some plenary events also publicly available online.

Call for papers

Proposals should be submitted by Sunday 31 May 2020 to

We are seeking proposals for multi-contributor sessions and individual short “lightning” talks, as follows:


Each session will run for 50 minutes. Sessions may include audio and visual content, with online interactivity through video conferencing software. We are not seeking traditional conference papers or panels, but are keen to receive proposals in the following formats:

  • roundtable discussion: share ideas on a research topic or burning question for the field with a panel of colleagues. The proposal should allow time for the panel to take questions from the audience online
  • performance: present your research using the creative arts and provoke responses from the audience
  • demonstration or exploration of digital resources: give a live demonstration of an online collection, database, or exhibition and take questions from the audience
  • reading group or seminar-style discussion: lead an exploration of texts, objects, or research questions with a smaller group of participants
  • author interview with question-and-answer session: reschedule that cancelled book launch, or host a retrospective on a key text in or outside the field.
  • innovative proposals based on other approaches: Essentially, what can you do with fifty minutes of live video and audio?

We strongly encourage proposals that use the online format in novel and creative ways. There is no theme for the conference, although we welcome international diversity in the cases or disciplinary themes addressed by the sessions, as well as among the participants.

All sessions must feature at least two participant contributors and include an opportunity for audience engagement: at minimum, this can be in the form of a question-and-answer session following the presentation, but we encourage approaches with greater audience participation. We encourage people to seek co-contributors via subject community mailing lists (Mersenne, H-Sci-Med-Tech, etc) and social media.

Lightning talks

We also invite proposals for five-minute talks based on individual speakers’ research. Each proposal should be accompanied by a single static slide or illustration. The organisers will group these lightning talks into sessions to be delivered via video conferencing software in the same manner as the sessions above.

Technical arrangements                                               

The conference will be run using a combination of well-established, easy-to-use online platforms. Participants will need a reliable internet connection and, at minimum, the necessary audio equipment for voice calls. We will run training and familiarisation sessions with all contributors in early June.

How to submit a proposal

We can only accept session proposals from BSHS members. Non-members who wish to join the Society may do so. Proposers may include contributions from people who are non-members at the time of submission; all participants will need to be members at the time of the event. Annual Membership starts at £24 and brings many benefits, including the journal BJHS.

The BSHS is committed to providing inclusive forums for research and research-led engagement with HSTM and to bringing together people with interests in all aspects of the field. We therefore welcome proposals relating to any area in the history of science, technology, or medicine, any period of history, and any part of the world. We encourage proposals from people at all career stages, of any nationality and based anywhere in the world, with or without institutional affiliation to universities, museums, and other research organisations. We aim to provide events that are welcoming to all delegates regardless of age, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, race, ethnicity, and religion. We ask that proposals take into account 0ur full Equality and Diversity Statement, which also contains some handy advice on composition of panels.

Proposals should be submitted by Sunday 31 May 2020 23:59 and should include:

Multi-contributor Sessions

  • details of all speakers (name, career stage or job title if applicable, institutional affiliation if applicable, contact email address)
  • an outline of the session format (max. 250 words)
  • an indication of the technical requirements beyond online video and audio conferencing software, and where necessary detail
  • details of any content to be pre-circulated to participants.

Lightning Talks

  • your details (name, career stage or job title if applicable), institutional affiliation if applicable, contact email address.
  • an outline of your research of no more than 100 words

You can contact us, and submit proposals to the BSHS Global Digital History of Science Festival via

Deadline: May 31, 2020

Posted: May 15, 2020