Presenting at an academic conference can be a hugely exciting and rewarding experience. But it is also entirely normal to be a bit nervous before your first presentation. In the spirit of Norse in the North’s mission to encourage and promote postgraduate participation within Viking and Medieval Scandinavian studies, the organisers have provided some advice on what to expect and how to prepare for your first paper.
INFORMATION FOR FIRST TIME PRESENTERS
What is a conference paper?
A conference paper is an opportunity for you to share an original piece of your research. Your research does not need to be entirely completed – delivering a conference papers are often a good way to get feedback on an ongoing project – but you should have some tentative conclusions or results to share and discuss.
Papers are organised into sessions, comprising of a panel of 3-4 papers. At Norse in the North we adhere to the following standards:
- In a session of 3 papers, each paper should be limited to 20 minutes.
- In a session of 4 papers, each paper should be limited to 15 minutes.
- It is standard practice to include visual aids, whether in the form of slides or handouts.
After all the panelists have given their papers, the audience will be invited to ask questions. This is an opportunity for the asker to clarify a point you have mentioned or to perhaps ask your opinion on a related point. If you’re not sure of the answer, it’s completely normal to say so!
Do I need to pay to attend?
Whether or not presenters or attendees need to pay a registration fee varies from conference to conference depending on their size and their levels of funding. Norse in the North is free to presenters, and may (depending on the year and the costs) require a small fee from other attendees.
What should I wear at a conference?
Much like the cost of the conference, the expected attire of presenters and attendees varies from conference to conference. In the UK, where Norse in the North is based, speakers are encouraged to wear whatever they feel is comfortable and appropriate. For some people this may mean a suit, while for others, this may mean jeans and a jumper.
Do note however that other conferences, particularly those held abroad, may expect their presenters to dress more formally. If you’re not sure about the expectations of a conference, feel free to contact the conference organiser to ask.
POLICIES AT NORSE IN THE NORTH
The following are the policies and expectations held by Norse in the North, organised by Durham University, the University of York, and the University of Leeds.
Eligibility and Paper Policies
Norse in the North welcomes from current postgraduate students at any level of study (MA, MPhil, PhD) from any area of medieval studies, including, but not limited to: Archaeology; Anthropology; History; History of Art; History of Religion; Linguistics; Literature; and many more.
All proposed papers are expected to be unpublished original research. Only one submission is permitted per applicant.
Respect & Dignity
Conferences are places for lively discussions founded upon mutual respect. Whatever career stage, participants at Norse in the North deserve to be treated as colleagues and afforded the opportunity to share ideas and ask questions without fear of embarrassment. Whether as an attendee or as a presenter, please treat others with professional courtesy and respect.
To ensure Norse in the North remains a supportive, inclusive environment, we have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, hate-speech, or harassment. For more information, see the student conduct policies or the statements on respect and dignity produced by Durham University, the University of York, and the University of Leeds.
We encourage the responsible use of social media as a way to share research with the public and to permit those cannot attend conferences to follow and participate in discussion.
Norse in the North maintains an active presence on Twitter for this purpose. The same principles apply to all social media channels used to discuss Norse in the North, whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other services.
Many of our attendees use Twitter or other social regularly to discuss presentations at Norse in the North, and you should anticipate that your colleagues may tweet about your paper unless you have expressly requested otherwise. Please specify if you do not want your paper discussed online at the start of your paper. Other delegates should respect the wishes of individual speakers. If a speaker is happy for you to discuss their paper, please observe the following guidelines:
- On Twitter, use the year-specific hashtag (i.e. #NITN2022 ) so that all users can see all tweets related to the event.
- Clearly attribute the content of the tweet to the speaker and mention them by at least their surname. On Twitter, if they have an account and you know their username, include their handle instead (i.e. @NorseintheNorth).
- Always try to report the content of the paper accurately and respectfully. Be sure to separate your own comments about a topic from those of the speaker or any other participants. If you quote anyone directly, use quotation marks.
- As outlined above, our policy on mutual respect extends to online discourse. Social media provides an opportunity to engage with the speaker’s ideas, ask questions, or make suggestions but please do not tweet anything you would not be willing to say to the speaker in-person, in a public forum.