πŸ˜€ Meeting Satisfaction

Highlights: πŸ”₯ Despite record breaking tempeartures, attendees overwhelmingly enjoyed our 2019 annual meeting in Utrecht, with over 64% of those surveyed giving the meeting the highest rating of 'Very Good'!

Overall Satisfaction

Comments on Meeting Satisfaction

The Good πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ a select few

The program was fantastic, and Utrecht was a wonderful venue. I really liked not being in a conference hotel.

how all participants banded together to beat the heat - very collegial, and an overall absence of heat-related short tempers; I attribute this to the excellent organization of the conference

Just a great academic and social experience, with excellent research, good social opportunities (those evening receptions with plenaries really help), and a pleasant academic environment (despite the heat)

The setting. Utrecht was beautiful. The university buildings were old and charming, and refreshing compared to the often corporate feel of the hotels the conference usually takes place in. I also thought it was really well-organised and the heatwave was dealt with well under the circumstances. ... There were other really nice touches, like the flavoured water being offered. I really enjoyed myself.

The feeling of camaraderie among colleagues, the space where the sessions were held, the awards ceremony, the Lectures. The city. The attention of the yellow shirts. My own participation.

The sessions and program throughout the days - the local administration in Utrecht was also fantastically nice and helpful.

So many things! The relaxed atmosphere (maybe the heat had something to do with it?), learning more about European and other international work, the university setting, the great care taken by all to ensure that we would not have heatstroke!

It was my first time at HSS and I enjoyed exchanging ideas with a different crowd! No one on my panel knew one another beforehand, and I think we will stay in touch.

The organization of the conference -- online and off -- was fantastic. I really appreciated the work to connect everybody, and the huge effort for accessibility. This made everything collegial and wonderful!

Panels were great, organisation fantastic; most of all: NOT a conference hotel but embedded in a beautiful city which allowed for pleasant experiences beyond the conference. I would urgently plead to keep this model and refrain from the big box conference hotels where everybody is stuck (and which are so expensive!)

University setting, phenomenal responsiveness of local organizers and HSS staff in responding to unexpected heat wave, portable/throwable mics in the rooms, being able to take notes on a desk rather than my lap, excellent sessions, friendly people... honestly the whole meeting was a delight personally and intellectually. Thank you!

This was my first HSS meeting, and, to be perfectly honest, it was perhaps the best-organized conference I have ever had the pleasure to attend. My only hope is that you continue this model -- and that it can be extended to other conferences. I am really excited to attend my next HSS conference based on my experience here, and I will be certain to recommend this conference to my colleagues. Thank you for an exciting, invigorating, and beautifully-collegial conference!

It was fabulously organised. I think the best conference I have ever been to. The volunteers were happy, helpful and always impeccably organised. The app was very clear and easy to use.

The Bad 😧 all of it

Academic quality low overall, but there were many exceptions

Mostly the inhumane heat without AC! Also, the poor administrative arrangement is another drawback

Clearly the organizers could do nothing regarding the extreme weather but contingency plans could have been made. A non air conditioned venue is a problem (for comfort and concentration etc.) even at 85/90, which is not unheard of in Utrecht in July. In 100 it's dangerous. Future conferences must make every effort possible to include everybody, including those with health challenges. Where AC was unavailable, panels held in the afternoon probably should have been cancelled.

Why attend HSS?

In addition to sharing scholarship, attendees come to HSS to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and find future collaborators.

Event Attendance

Overview of Events


Janskerk, venue of the plenary session
HSS Plenary Session and Opening Reception
HSS Distinguished Lecture and Prize Reception
Railway museum, venue of the Paris lecture
Elizabeth Paris Public Engagement Lecture

Looking for more photos from Utrecht 2019? See albums from the meeting on our Facebook page


πŸ₯‚ Receptions

Special Interest Group and Caucus Events

Get To Know Our Interest Groups and Caucuses

Interest Group Purpose 2019 Events
Early Science Forum Promote scholarly interest in scientific and technology work from antiquity through the seventeenth century Sponsed Panel, Business Meeting
Earth and Environment Forum Promote histories of land, sea, and sky, in all manner of physical, human, and life sciences Sponsored Panel, Business Meeting
Forum for History of Human Science Promote research, education, and scholarship in the history of human science Sponsored Panel, Distinguished Lecture, Business Meeting
Forum for the History of Health, Medicine and the Life Sciences Promote history and historians of the medical and life sciences (including nursing, traditional health practices, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, pharmacy, etc.) Business Meeting
Forum for the History of Science in Asia Promote scholarship in the history of science, medicine, and technology in Asia Sponsored Panel, Business Meeting
Forum for the History of the Chemical Sciences Promote history of the chemical sciences Sponsored Panel, Business Meeting
Forum for the History of the Mathematical Sciences Promote history and historians of the mathematical sciences Sponsored Panel
Physical Science Forum Promote scholarship in the history of the physical sciences, including but not limited to physics; earth, space, and atmospheric science; astronomy, and materials science Distinguished Lecture, Sponsored Panel

Caucus Purpose Events
Collections, Archives, Libraries, and Museums proposed Provide a space for scholars in the history of collection-based institutions or efforts to mobilize collections to explore the history of science, technology, and medicine Organizational Meeting
Graduate Student and Early Career Caucus Provide resources for graduate students and early careerists Mixer, Meet & Greet, Mentorship Events, Sponsored Panel, Business Meeting, and more
HSS Women’s Caucus Focus on the role and status of women in the profession Sponsored Panel, Women's Caucus Breakfast

Meeting Resources

From the Suggestion Box a select few

HSS has a major diversity problem: both ethnic and nationalistic. The meeting is overwhelmingly attended by Europeans and North Americans. This is partly because of the lack of financial support afforded to scholars based in low income countries and partly due to the arduous and extortionate process of applying for visas. I would strongly recommend providing financial support for visa costs and subsidising travel from low-middle income countries irrespective of career status.

It is better to cancel events than 'plough ahead' in dangerous conditions. HSS must ensure the safety of all attendees. Perhaps events in late afternoon should have been held remotely. HSS must now clarify its policy on the health and safety of conference attendees. Sadly, there will always be those who advertise their commitment through stoic calls to 'keep calm etc. etc.' -- that won't do. This isn't Iron Man. Such attitudes, if implicitly accepted as the policy of HSS, become a form of discrimination against those unable to attend in extreme conditions. It's now time for an official statement from HSS on precisely what its health and safety policy is.

The Flashtalks session actually worked really well, despite my initial skepticism. Perhaps there could be more than one to bring even more junior scholars into the conference.

Sessions with overlapping topics seem to often be scheduled against each other. I know scheduling must be difficult, and some conflicts are inevitable, but it seems like there must be a better way!

Perhaps have it at 2 or 3 locations at once, on different continents, so that less people have to fly. I think with technology, it can still feel like one conference. E.g. if a keynote is in North America, than people in Europe and Asia (for example) can listen via Skype, but still in a big hall together. I have positive experiences with this at another conference. The call for papers could have been a bit earlier, especially since the deadline was shortly after the holidays. For me, trying to organize a panel and not having a big network yet as a PhD-student, it was a bit stressful, (though not impossible as we did manage to get together the panel just in time).

A plan of the meeting rooms in the PdF/programme would have saved some confusions and late arrivals. A longer CFP window to enable session-wrangling (I regretted not arranging a session, as my session was very miscellaneous).

Diversity continues to be a key challenge for HSS. It would be a huge benefit to think of ways of engaging more graduate students and emerging scholars from non-European backgrounds into the meeting. Special outreach, travel funding, and/or a dedicated prize may be ways of approaching this.

Offer /do even more to encourage non traditional formats and sessions on newer topics/questions that can be approached in a variety of ways particular to historians of science e.g. climate change, decolonization, migrant crisis, reckoning with gender dynamics etc

Keep doing name badges without institutional affiliation -- it was a great way to cut down on the social weirdness regarding rank/affiliation, it gave everyone a nice conversation opener about where they're currently based, and made it easier for independent and early career researchers to work out how to list their affiliations. Great move, keep doing it.

Diversity within the discipline still seems to be a fundamental issue. It remains extremely noticeable that so few BME researchers are involved. It was good to see a discussion group on LGBTQ+ issues in HSTM, but this was not a full panel and happened at lunchtime, giving a prevailing feeling that queer dimensions of the field are still considered peripheral or unimportant. It would be good to see HSS tackle some of these issues more boldly at the nest meeting.

[...] It's all very well saying we want to engage more with history of science scholarship from the global south, but if we don't then go to those talks and actually do the engaging, it's really not great. There's not one easy solution to this, but I wanted to raise it explicitly.

There is a real inequity between organised sessions and those put together by the organisers from submitted papers. With a few exceptions, the latter were poorly attended. It is very demoralising to give a paper to four people. It is also a waste of scholarly resources, and creates a two-tier system. Please could HSS think about how to value non-organised sessions. For example, we talked in the chemistry group about publicising chemistry papers even in non-organised sessions; it might also be worth HSS nominating rapporteurs to go to non-organised sessions so that the Society is making sure that people's work is heard by senior colleagues.

The registration pack in its current form is hardly worth the trouble--it would be helpful for everyone to be given a printed map showing all the room locations, and another map showing any 'external' sites. Also offer small academic societies/interest groups a chance to include brochures/materials at minimal or no cost.

- provide a simple (paid) lunch, to facilitate meeting colleagues in an informal setting - provide a bit more time for breaks, for the same reason - don't hold the (wonderful) graduate student book giveaway only 5 minutes after the official end of the last session, when several sessions were still ongoing - the meeting app is extremely useful, but still has a few programming flukes that make it more cumbersome to use than necessary

I found the website with the program schedule rather frustrating this year-while it was great for searching for particular sessions, I had a really difficult time trying to get any kind of overview of the conference (again, maybe this was actually possible & I just couldn't figure out how, or maybe it actually was indeed difficult...). So, making this aspect of the conference more user-friendly, as it's been in the past, would be very helpful.

-Limit sessions to 1.5 hours (2 hours was too long) -Provide more than a 30-minute gap between the end of the last session and start of the evening events -Accept more pedagogical session proposals -Encourage senior members to be friendlier to junior attendees (HSS still has a bad reputation in this regard)

The Website, the electronic submission process, and the APP were all too complex and I did not find these user-friendly. Use another system next time. It was too difficult to find out information on ones own session, and get updates.

🎀 Join the conversation on Twitter (#hss19) or send us a message via Twitter, Facebook, or email.