Guidelines for Conference Hosts

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Annual ESTS Conference: Guidelines for conference hosts

These guidelines are intended for potential conference organisers.  They provide details and guidance on what the Society expects from its annual conference.  Any further questions may be addressed to the Secretary, Wout Dillen (, or the President, Wim Van Mierlo (

You can download a Word-version of these guidelines here.


The ESTS annual conference normally takes place in November; the precise dates are agreed at the Board meeting of the preceding conference. The length is normally 3 days.

Which theme or topic?

The conference topic is proposed by the organizers and approved of by the Board. The specific title of the conference is decided upon by the organizers. Any aspect relating to textual scholarship can be used as a theme.  It is common practice that the local hosts propose a theme that is closely aligned with their institutional specialism or expertise; however, themes must be framed in such a manner so as to be inclusive of textual scholars working in other areas, periods or textual traditions.

The identification of the event as an ESTS international conference must be explicit.  We welcome the possibility of hosting the conference in association with another Society, even as a joint event coinciding with one of that Society’s regular meetings.

Which language?

The main conference language (i.e. the language of the papers, but also of the programme and of communications with the participants) is English. The use of other languages in addition to English are permissible however. If that is the case, we ask that abstracts are made available in English.

Scientific/academic committee

The organizers are responsible for appointing a scientific/academic committee of local and/or international experts. The committee must however also include at least one member of the ESTS Board who will be involved in all aspects of the committee’s work, including the assessing and selecting of papers.

Invited speakers

The organizers are free to invite one or more keynote speakers whose expertise provides a suitable fit with a facet of the conference theme. Preference should be given to speakers whose standing and reputation would significantly enhance the scholarly value and appeal of the conference.

Call for papers, programme and dissemination

The programme is produced following an open call for papers to be disseminated not less than 6 months before the conference date. The call for papers must be posted on the ESTS mailing list ( and on the ESTS website. It is recommended however that the call for papers is circulated as widely as possible using any suitable channel (mailing lists, social media, local networks, etc.).

The conference organizers are also expected to create and manage a local webpage (e.g. a WordPress site or their institutional website) which provides practical information about location, programme, conference venue, travel information etc.  It is customary to post one or more iterations of a draft programme as well as the final programme.


The ESTS does not subvent the annual conference. However, it can offer support of various kinds.

Organizers are expected to budget according to local needs, requirements and available funds. As a minimum, ESTS expects that conference organizes provide a suitable venue, that is equipped for projection and AV and wheel-chair accessible; and catering for at least two coffee breaks per day for each full conference day.  It also customary to provide lunch for participants and/or a welcome drinks reception, but the Society recognises that this may not always be possible. An (optional) conference dinner is also recommended.

Setting the fee level is a prerogative of the organizers since it depends on local conditions and prices; however, as a courtesy the ESTS Board would like to be consulted on the fees.

The Society can offer support with funding applications to regional, national, or international academic organizations and learned societies. Sponsors (private and academic) must be duly acknowledged for their support in the programme as well as on the website and any other publicity.

The Society strongly encourages participation from PhD students and therefore asks that conference hosts offer a reduced fee to PhD students: normally at least €20 below the full delegate fee.  Where necessary, the Society will remit the difference between the reduced fee and the full fee to the host institution for PhD students who are presenting.[1]

The Society recognises that public funds cannot always be used for refreshments.  On application, the Society can make a contribution towards the cost of a drinks reception.[1]


All actives participants at the conference (speakers, respondents, chairs), with the exception of invited speakers and special guests, must be full, paid-up members of ESTS.  Conference organizers are responsible for communicating this condition to all potential and actual participants. It is normal practice that membership dues are collected by the conference organisers at the time of registration and remitted to the Society after the end of the conference.

Number of participants

The number of participants normally varies from 50 to 80, coming from different European and also non-European countries.  There is no minimum or maximum restriction, unless local conditions require otherwise.

Speakers are invited to submit papers revised for publications to Variants: the Journal of the European Society for Textual Scholarship. We ask that the local conference website, call for papers and any personal invitations makes clear that this option is available to speakers, including keynotes.


A room and a time slot in the programme should be made available during the conference (in the evening or at lunch time) for the Board meeting (12 people, roughly 2 hours) and for the plenary Annual Members Meeting (circa 1 hour) at the end of the conference.

Updated: December 2017

[1] Please note that this arrangement constitutes a commitment in principle and is subject to negotiation with the conference organisers. The Board reserves the right not make a financial contribution.