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June 2014 News Brief

Sunday, June 22, 2014   (0 Comments)
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June 2014 | News Brief

In this issue:
  • Call for Proposals
  • How to Submit a Successful Proposal
  • Proposal Submission Tips
  • Important Dates


Montreal 2015 Call for Paper, Panel, and Workshop Proposals

The Society for Cinema and Media Studies announces its call for proposals for the 2015 conference.  Please join us Wednesday, March 25 through Sunday, March 29, 2015 at The Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

Bienvenue à Montréal!  A Bilingual cultural mecca, Montréal hosts one of the most dynamic music, film, art and culinary scenes in North America.  Named the UNESCO City of Design in 2011, Montréal hosts dozens of film and cultural festivals, museums, and galleries.  A rich cultural and architectural heritage round out a young, vibrant city that embraces difference and diversity.

The 2015 SCMS Conference Program Committee welcomes quality paper, panel, and workshop proposals on any topic related to cinema and media studies. The deadline for proposals is Friday, August 29, 2014 (5:00 pm Central Time)

You may access the conference proposal forms on our website here: Submission Forms. The conference section of our website contains the detailed guidelines and instructions for how to compose and submit proposals, as well as a lengthy FAQ section.  For more about how the proposal system works and helpful advice on submitting a successful proposal, keep reading!



What Makes a Successful Proposal?

A good proposal will clearly and succinctly identify several key elements: 1) the thesis of the argument or research to be presented; 2) the scholarly context of the paper's thesis and/or intervention; how does this thesis forward previous understanding? Why is it important? And 3) the methodology of the research/analysis; how will this paper accomplish its goals?  This latter point might entail identifying new evidence or a new methodology.  In addition, effective abstracts are well written, present a synthesized version of the paper-to-be-presented and conform to the length requirement of the proposal system. Abstracts should be articulated to the format in which the research will be presented (individual paper, workshop, pre-constituted panel). If you are unfamiliar with writing a conference paper proposal, we suggest that you show your abstract to an experienced colleague for editorial suggestions and guidance.


SCMS Proposal Submission Tips

Tip #1:

Read the guidelines and instructions in the proposal system and know these rules:

  • Everyone must be a registered website user either as a temporary member (good for web access for 30 days) or as a regular (paid) member.
  • The system searches the website database by last name. If you are submitting a panel or workshop proposal and have a presenter who is not in the database, you can create a temporary member record for the presenter. You will need to enter the individual’s name, institutional affiliation, and mailing and e-mail addresses. You will also need to create a username and password for him/her. Be sure that you inform the presenter of his/her username and password AND of the SCMS membership and conference registration requirements.
  • Only one proposal submission per person.
  • Only one paper presentation per person.
  • Participation is restricted to two, different activities. Chairing and presenting are two different things. Presenting on a workshop and presenting a paper are also considered to be two different activities.
  • Panel proposals should have a chair and four presenters or a chair, three presenters, and a respondent. In each case, the chair can be a presenter on the panel.
  • Workshop proposals should have at least four, but no more than five presenters (including the chair).
  • Membership in the Society is required to present at the annual conference. Requests for waivers of the membership and/or conference registration fees may be granted in exceptional circumstances for artists or renowned scholars from other disciplines or filmmakers whose contributions are essential to the panel or workshop topic. Waiver requests must be submitted with the proposal by August 29, 2014 (5:00 pm Central Time). Note: waivers cannot be granted to the same individual in two consecutive years.

Tip #2: Develop and save the text of the proposal as a document in advance rather than typing it directly into the form.

Open call paper proposals need: 1) a title, 2) a summary no longer than 2500 characters including spaces and hard returns, 3) 3-5 bibliographic sources, and 4) an author bio no longer than 500 characters. If prepared in advance, paper proposals can be submitted in one visit to the proposal system. Paper proposals that are part of a panel proposal should not be submitted to the open call. They should be sent to the panel chair/organizer to be submitted as part of the panel proposal.

Panel proposals need: 1) a title, 2) a summary no longer than 2500 characters including spaces and hard returns, 3) 3-5 bibliographic sources, 4) a chair bio no longer than 500 characters PLUS the titles, summaries, bibliographic sources, and bios for each author. Text can be entered and saved in multiple visits to the system if you are waiting to receive the presenters’ paper summaries, bibliographic sources, and bios. The papers can be added one at a time and saved. After the third paper has been added, the submit button will activate and you can submit if the panel is complete.

Workshop proposals need 1) a title, 2) a summary no longer than 2500 characters including space and hard returns, 3) 3-5 bibliographic sources, 4) bios no longer than 500 characters per bio for each presenter. The summary should explain why the topic is suited to a workshop format and how you will involve the audience.

Tip #3: How to Decide What Type of Proposal to Submit

There are a few key differences to keep in mind when deciding whether to propose an open call paper, a pre-constituted panel, or a workshop.

A pre-constituted panel encourages a high degree of specificity that the organization of open call papers into panels by the Program Committee does not necessarily seek to achieve.

Open call paper proposals allow the Program Committee, when arranging sets of papers into sessions, to do so in a way that tries purposely to foster conversation between and convergence of different media, genres, and national or regional cinemas.

By comparison and by definition, pre-constituted panels allow for a tighter focus, often concentrating their topic on a particular genre, medium, and national or regional identity. If you want your paper to be included in a tightly focused panel, you should make use of the Bulletin Board to organize a panel or to see if your work already fits in possible panel topics soliciting papers. Pre-constituted panels, it should also be noted, historically have a slightly higher acceptance rate.

Workshops are distinct from panels in that they focus on field-specific topics with brief presentations by presenters that lead to focused substantive discussion and debate among workshop participants and the audience. Workshops are intended to be dialogical, interactive, and productive work spaces. Topics are typically focused on pedagogy, research strategies, and methodologies. They may also explore major intellectual issues/trends in the discipline. Workshop proposals should describe how your topic is best suited to the workshop format and how you plan to involve the audience.

Tip #4: Save your proposal often if you are not submitting the entire proposal at one time or if you have frequent interruptions.

After you log in, the proposal system pages and forms will time out after two hours. Open call paper and workshop proposals should not require much time to cut and paste the text into the form and then submit. Panel proposals may require more time to gather and enter all of the information. After entering the third paper of a panel proposal, the submit button will activate. If the proposal is complete, save it and proof before submitting. If the panel will have four papers, save the proposal after entering the fourth paper and then do the final proof before submitting.

Tip #5: Proof the proposal carefully before submitting.

  • You cannot make changes or corrections after it has been submitted.
  • If you need minor corrections or edits, email them to the SCMS Office.

Tip #6: Submit early.

Submitting your proposal before the end of August allows you time to contact the SCMS Office ( with submission questions and ensures that your proposal has been submitted well before the deadline. If your hard drive dies or you experience a power outage or other unforeseen events, you will still have time to submit before the deadline.


Looking for a paper topic?  Visit the SCMS Conference Bulletin Board here:
Send abstracts in response to announcements by July 15 at 5 pm CT.

Keep tabs on important conference dates here:

All photographs © Michael Kackman, 2014

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